I have been criticised by people both for and against nuclear energy for the bluntness of these calculations. Please note this is not an attempt at an LCoE (Levelized Cost of Equity/Energy/Electricity - see? Even the acronym is nebulous), but rather a reflection on the kind of assessment most people make when they see headlines like 'Nuclear costs blowout to $25Billion'.
Even though a properly researched and detailed LCoE report is the best way to fully assess the cost of an energy source, people don't immediately consult their nearest LCoE report do they? No, they make a direct basic calculation in their head and conclude that nuclear is too expensive.
This post is designed to show that even at billion dollar levels the basic calculations they make don't necessarily prove nuclear is any more expensive than renewables.
I'm sure hardened critics will immediately Google for an LCoE that matches their basic assessment, and supporters will do the same. In my view, we need to get back to basics, or at least to a set of assumptions we can all agree on. Frankly, I'm sceptical of the accuracy of 'weighted average cost of capital' over a 90 year timeframe. Too many things can happen in 90 years. Even 30 years.
But if this article prompts you to deep-dive into the relative costs of energy sources, all power to you, but take note LCoEs are a dime-a-dozen and I haven't seen one yet that's truly independent, peer reviewed, and without unverifiable long-term assumptions or wide margins of error.