Okay, Perry Nuclear Power Plant was constructed by the company that became First Energy here in NE Ohio nearly 33 years ago. And they're still arguing with our PUCO (our state regulator) on increasing rates and fees to help pay off the initial costs of building the plant. Operating costs are wrapped into your generation costs on your bill. This is still paying off actually building the place. And while they don't have to replace the fuel often, when they do it is very expensive.
And did I forget to mention the numerous safety violations. Although Perry is First Energy's safest plant, they've still had their issues of being shut down for months to correct safety issues. Davis-Bessy is worse. You may remember they were shut down for nearly a year to fix a problem were acid had eaten a significant hole in the reactor lid. You know, that six inch thick lead dome that holds the radioactive emissions within the reactor chamber that is supposed to be visually inspected every month.
And then there's the waste. Forget the spent fuel (although there's been problems with that), I'm mostly thinking about the
Oh, and Yucca Mountain still isn't online. Once it is, it'll take fifteen years to ship and prepare the waste we already have (that's not counting the extra waste we produce in those years).
Is nuclear power better for the environment? Yes and no. It's a trade off. Right now we're mostly concerned with decreasing our green house gas emissions and nuclear power (in it's generation) produces very little. However, producing the fuel rods, construction of the plants, and operations off the plant site do produce those gases. Not as much as a coal fired plant. And the waste nuclear produces, volumetrically wise, is much reduced. that waste, however, is a centuries long issue.
So, why do the French have so many of them? Because they don't have much local coal or natural gas and their African