Edgardo Sepulveda is a Toronto-based economist who studies telecommunications and electricity markets. In this episode, Edgardo explains why the U.S. nuclear sector is shrinking in states with deregulated electricity markets, the need to align “patient capital” with societal goods, why nuclear energy needs strong government support,  and why Ontario is leading the world in the nuclear renaissance. (Recorded February 2, 2024.) 

Episode Transcript

0:24 – Robert Bryce

Hi, everyone. Welcome to the Power Hungry Podcast. I’m Robert. On this podcast, we talk about energy, power, innovation, and politics. And I’m pleased to welcome, after an extended delay, my new friend, Edgardo. He is a Toronto-based independent consulting economist. And we’re going to talk about the politics and the issues around nuclear power and nuclear deployment. Edgardo, welcome to the Power Hungry Podcast.


0:48 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Fantastic to be able to join you. I’ve been a longtime fan, Robert, so it’s great to be on this podcast.


0:57 – Robert Bryce

Well, that’s great. It took us a while to make it happen, but now we’re going to make some more podcast magic. So if you’ve listened to the Power Hungry podcast before, you know that guests introduce themselves. So I’ve given you kind of a general introduction as an independent consulting economist and a Canadian at that. Imagine you’ve arrived at a party or somewhere and you don’t know anyone and you have 60 seconds to identify yourself. Please do so.


1:22 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Sure, thank you. My name is u guardo of pul vda I amm an economist by training, longtime resident of Toronto, Canada. I’m an immigrant. I was born in Chile. First language is Spanish. And I’ve been working on regulatory economics for about 35 years now. Initially with one of the telecom companies here in Toronto, and then independent consulting. And then about seven or eight years ago, got into the energy space and so the rest is history as they say.


1:57 – Robert Bryce

Well, I didn’t know you were from Chile. I was going to guess maybe Spain. But since you mentioned Chile, let’s start there. Because Chile has been one of the success stories, or nominally so, in South America as a country that liberalized their economy, embraced capitalism, and freer markets. Now, it’s been tensioned back and forth. But relative to Argentina, Chile’s been in a, well, relative to Argentina, a lot of places are success stories. Talk about Chile for just a minute before we dive into nuclear power economics.


2:29 – Robert Bryce

I’m just curious, since you mentioned that, what did Chile do? Who instigated that? It’s widely, I think, credited to the American economist, who was it that they followed his lead, but Milton Friedman.


2:46 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Milton Friedman. F. Yes. Yes.


2:47 – Robert Bryce

Thank Yeah, I. Had a little. Brain, Brain freeze there. Milton Friedman. What happened in Chile that allowed it to be one of the better, more successful countries in South America?


2:59 – Edgardo Sepulveda

This is an interesting topic, especially when it comes to electricity, Robert, because one of the things that we’ll be talking about, you know, in the podcast will be about restructuring of the electricity markets in the United States and elsewhere.


3:17 – Robert Bryce

Or deregulation, right? Or some, you know, depending on… Ken Lay called it restructuring from Enron.


3:22 – Edgardo Sepulveda



3:22 – Robert Bryce

He. Called. The Market.


3:22 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s. Right, Right, That’s right. And it’s very.


3:24 – Robert Bryce

Word was restructuring, right? It’s all somehow treating the move toward electricity as a commodity rather than a monopoly,


3:26 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s right.


3:32 – Robert Bryce



3:34 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so that’s exactly it. And then we’ll be talking about ownership. And so one of the things that, you know, and all of this has long history. And some of it, as far as I’ve been able to track in that respect, Chile was was, was a, was a leader in that respect. It was one of the sort of the first ones to be subject to this kind of restructuring or liberalization deregulation of the electricity sector. Now, one of the things we’re going to be talking about is that in the U.S. And in Canada and around the world, especially sort of since the mid one thousand nine hundred ninety seconds onwards, these have been fundamentally political processes that have been responding to a particular political economy, and ultimately laws passed through democratically elected governments.


4:33 – Edgardo Sepulveda

The contrast in Chile is that this is done under dictatorship, and it was done basically at the end of the gun. And one of the things that the economists within the military regime there took one of the things from Milton Friedman and some of the others, they were called the Chicago boys, after having studied at the University of Chicago, very neoliberal, very conservative, very pro-market, was that they were probably the first country in the world that started to split the generation from transmission distribution and started to create markets for generation assets and ultimately privatized.


5:20 – Edgardo Sepulveda

So this was in early 80s and kind of was finalized in sort of mid to late 80s. And then, you know, this was the model And that model was ultimately then implemented in the UK under Margaret Thatcher. And then ultimately, you know, it came to North America, where, you know, many states, as we’ll discuss, and a number of provinces here in Canada actually went through this model that had been kind of test-driven in Chile, then kind of perfected in the UK, and ultimately, you know, arrived on these shores.


6:04 – Robert Bryce

You know, I didn’t know that history, but that Chile, I knew it was Britain then to the US, right? And Enron was a leader in both in the UK restructuring and then in California, then in Texas. And this idea about electricity as a commodity rather than a service, which is one of the things that I think is one of the key corrupting factors or key things that has made electricity market, well, the electricity sector, I almost said market there, Yeah, I see Isaac Orr from the Center for the American Experiences.


6:36 – Robert Bryce

There’s no such thing as a free market in electricity. But let’s jump to that because you’ve just recently written a piece for your website edcarb.org. That’s edcarb.org. About this issue of public ownership and nuclear power, it’s headlined, will more U.S. Nuclear advocates support increased public ownership and or re-regulation? And I think this is a key point because it know, I’m very pro-nuclear and I know you are as well, but I’m also very sober about the potential for nuclear in the United States to succeed, particularly in states like Texas or California where you don’t have a stronger government role.


7:20 – Robert Bryce

So talk about, well first tell us why you did this analysis because you obviously put quite a lot of time into it, looking at the history of ownership in 2008 and then in 2004 and the change over that time period. And you clearly show an increase in public ownership versus the areas where the privatized or deregulated markets. What set you out? What set you off to do this kind of analysis?


7:47 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Well, it’s the, it’s the um. It’s, it’s basically what I do for work, except this is pro bono. This is all volunteer. And so, you know, as as a reg, as a regulatory economist, especially within the network industry, such as telecoms, such as electricity, you know, we look at, we’re not engineers, so we’re not going to look at you know, you know, reactor designs. We’re not going to look at the safety. I have a peripheral understanding of all of that, but in my area, what we do is we look at the underlying economics of the industry and what drives the industry.


8:39 – Edgardo Sepulveda

One of the fundamental parameters that we study is markets and ownership. I mean, this is fundamentally, if you go back to Adam Smith, one of the forefathers of the economics, he was all about markets, governance, and ownership. We always look at that. I’m a nuclear advocate. And so You know, since getting into the energy space seven or eight years ago, I started looking at the great, sometimes heroic and sometimes victorious, but sometimes, you know, there was defeat from U.S.


9:18 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Advocates on specific nuclear reactors, whether it be Indian Point, whether it be, you know, Diablo Canyon, Palisades, etc. And then you kind of, from an economist’s perspective, you start thinking, well, let’s try to connect the dots. Like, these are specific, let’s call it tactical battles.


9:39 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Right. These are all specific things we’re trying to save this. But, you know, you start thinking, what do they have in common? Well, you know, California, restructured. The Apple Canyon, 100 percent PG&E owned, you know. And then you go Indian Point, New York, restructured, you know, 100 percent, you know, privately owned. And then you go, where are things getting built? Well, Watts Bar, too. Tennessee, traditional, 100% public. And so, you know, you go, Okay, well, I wonder if anyone’s done this.


10:18 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And I looked in the literature. And no one had done it. And so 200 hours later of digging through, you know, electricity reports from the EIA, and going back to 2008 and going reactor by reactor, what is the ownership structure of that reactor? How has that changed? Is it still operating from two thousand eight to twenty twenty four et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. You’re able to do this data analysis that is able to parse out whether by public ownership, private ownership. And one of the interesting things I found that I wasn’t aware of before is that a lot of them are mixed ownership.


11:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Like South Texas, like Vogel, like a lot of these things where you’ve got an operating company such as Georgia Power, and then you’ve got a series of, this is in Vogel, then you’ve got a series of, for example, small municipalities or co ops that they basically do you can think of it as an SMR, whereby you take an equity share of the actual reactor to be able to spread, not be fully exposed. I think that’s the same thing with South Texas, with the city of Austin.


11:46 – Robert Bryce

And the city of San Antonio, but the plant is operated by NRG, or no, no, they just changed ownership. Who was it that bought it? It changed ownership. But the punchline here, if I can cut to that, because I’m looking at your report that was published on January 27th, and you find that between two thousand eight and twenty twenty four the capacity, that is all of the, in terms of gigawatts, in the restructured states fell by 10%, but in traditional states, it grew by almost 3% or 2.7%.


12:19 – Robert Bryce

So there is a clear change when you look at this, and I take all your points about, well, these are not exact definitions, right? You have a restructured state like Texas, but uh city of austin city of san antonio own big shares of the south texas project so there’s differences in ownership and we can talk about how you know nuanced we want to be but the point here I think that you’re getting to if I’m not mistaken is and the way I see it I’ll just give my Here, I’ll ask it as the way I’m supposed to be asking questions.


12:52 – Robert Bryce

Is strong government ownership,


12:54 – Robert Bryce

Strong government participation, strong government oversight and involvement in these electricity market and electricity sectors, is that essential for nuclear to succeed?


13:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That evidence says yes. And so I didn’t, I, you know, it was not clear that it was not clear Because one of the things you’ve got to, I mean, you know this, most outside of the United States, most nuclear has traditionally, even to this day, being publicly owned, certainly built under, you know, whether it’s, you know, EDF in France, you know.


13:38 – Robert Bryce

Rosatom in Russia.


13:39 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Rosatom, these are all very large, you know, public enterprises. Built in, let’s call it traditional markets. And so in that sense, the US was a bit of an outlier in terms of that its existing nuclear fleet was primarily private. And so it’s not that private ownership versus public ownership is necessarily the driving force. United States being an example, but uh, in combination and this is the sort of the hypothesis, Robert, in combination with restructured markets, that is what I found to be that combination.


14:33 – Edgardo Sepulveda

To be very detrimental, not only for the maintenance…


14:37 – Robert Bryce

So you can have, so you can have private ownership, but if it’s in a traditional market or a non-restructured market,


14:44 – Robert Bryce

Then those reactors could have a better chance of succeeding. And I think you say it pretty well here.


14:49 – Robert Bryce

Right at the end. The aim of this blog, you say, was to show a particular political economy has been detrimental to nuclear in the US. Prescription to support increased public ownership and re-regulation, however, may be too bitter a pill for most U.S. Nuclear advocates. But I got to tell you, I mean, we’re on the same page here and took us a while to get together and talk about this, but I think that You’re right. You look around the world at China, which is building now more nuclear reactors than any other country in the world.


15:19 – Robert Bryce

And India might be the distant second place. But India as well, Russia, France, South Korea, UAE.


15:30 – Robert Bryce

These places are where the government is heavily involved in the ownership, in the construction, in the finance, in all of these aspects. They’re saying this is a public good and I think that is even economists would use that that’s this service this industry this this this network is a public good and we can’t we have to be very uh much more involved but well so then let’s look at the Us, Let me ask you this, so where can nuclear, Vogel was, let’s be clear, a mixed success, right?


16:06 – Robert Bryce

Incredible cost overruns, over time, over budget by about twice. Can nuclear succeed anywhere in the US? I mean, are you bullish on it in the US? What do you think needs to happen in the United States for new nuclear power plants of any size, gigawatt, SMR, name it? What is going to be needed to make them work here?


16:25 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Yeah. And so, look, what we see is, first of all, I mean, this has been in the United States as it has been in Canada, which is sort of one of the reasons that I’m still kind of, you know, very pleased with the events of the last two or three days in Canada, which we’ll talk about. But in Canada and the United States,


16:47 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Where we’ve had basically stable electricity demand, so we’re not growing, right? And, and, and you know, the, the idea that you’re going to invest billions of dollars in in like a generation asset, like a nuclear reactor, a nuclear plant, that’s going to take you, best case scenario, four or five years, worst case scenario, 10 years to build. And and you’re going to be able to, you’re not going to be able to recover those costs like wind, three or four years, or like solar in whatever, even less.


17:35 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Or in a you know in a natural gener you know in a in a gas generation plant in maybe five or six years, you’re not going to be able to recover your investment in maybe 10, 15, 20 years. One of the things that’s driving, generally in the West, the slowdown of nuclear bills, or almost zero nuclear bills, This is why we’re seeing it in Dubai, we’re seeing it in China, we’re seeing in Russia, especially in China, which is growing, is that it’s very difficult, whether it’s for a government or for a private entity, Robert, to be able to invest in a generation asset that’s gonna go for 50 years when you’re uncertain about demand.


18:21 – Edgardo Sepulveda

You could build it and maybe they won’t come, right? And so there’s a risk associated with that, And so that’s why we see in Ontario, for example, you know, potential bills that were programmed for the early 2000s. And at the time, you know, sort of the state enterprise or the government were saying, I don’t know if I can do this because I don’t know if I’m going to have demand. And it’s going to be a white elephant where we’re going to be selling it, you know, demand, you know, we’re not going to need it.


18:50 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And as you know, electricity has to be fine balanced. If you have too much capacity, you’re burdening, you know, you’re burdening consumers with higher than necessary costs. If you don’t have enough capacity, you’re in a situation of potential blackouts. Right? And So,


19:05 – Robert Bryce



19:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

You know, that idea of the right balance has always been, so this is. These are challenging times because of lack of traditional historical growth under which the U.S. Nuclear fleet was constructed in the 60 S, 70 S, 80 S. We were going. Six. Seven percentage.


19:22 – Robert Bryce

Had. Where had. High single, where we had high single-digit growth or even double-digit growth for. Years. In a for years in a row.


19:27 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s. Exactly.


19:30 – Robert Bryce

So the risk then, because these are such long-lived assets, the risks are such, whether it is on the demand side or, you didn’t mention cost of capital, but that’s the other part that the government is going to have to step in and say, well, we’ll take the risk because we got deep pockets and we see this as a long-term investment that is a societal good.


19:51 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s exactly it.


19:52 – Robert Bryce

But in the restructured markets or these deregulated markets, the companies, the corporate bosses, and this is not a criticism, it’s just the reality, they’re looking at the return on their invested capital and they’re saying, well, we’ve got a three or five year horizon. If we don’t have any clarity about that, we’re out. Well, why else would you build nuclear? We’re only going to build solar and wind because, especially now with the tax credits, it’d be an idiot to build anything else.


20:17 – Robert Bryce

I mean, that’s just the fact, I think.


20:18 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. And so even private, even public under those situations would be a real tough going, right? And so you contrast that to Vogel or you contrast that to, you know, OPG here in Ontario, where you have a rate base and the rate base, you know, for our listeners, you know, basically says that there’s a regulatory compact with, you know, your regulatory agency, you know, it would be the Georgia Public Service Commission, here it’s called the OAB, where basically you say, you know, I’m going to, I am, I, you know, for a return of providing this service, the regulatory agency, the economic regulatory agency, again, economic, not the safety, the economic regulation, will be, will allow you to recover those costs over the long run.


21:17 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Under that situation, whether it’s private investment or public investment, you know that you’re going to be able to recover those costs over 50-60 years, or 30 years as the case may be. You’re not required through spot pricing, which is what those restructured markets do, where it doesn’t guarantee you next day’s prices. Right, you know, it guarantees maybe the next five minutes of pricing. So there’s no guarantee of the return on investment there. And then you’ve got all.


21:51 – Edgardo Sepulveda

As you said, all the other out of market revenues that people are recovering through tax credits. You know, and the rest. The other thing.


21:59 – Robert Bryce

Of So if we’re going to boil that down, Edgardo, then we’re talking about by using by having more government involvement, and you know, it’s kind of the nuance here, you know, is, you know, direct accountability to the Public Utility Commission and setting rates. By having more government ownership and involvement, you’re reducing the political risk and the capital risk, right, which is the market risk, I guess, really, it’s the market risk. Which is capital risk, right?


22:27 – Robert Bryce

It’s the same in some ways, but those are all three are connected, right? Political capital in the market risks, right? And that ownership by having government involvement, you don’t eliminate those risks, but you’re easier to socialize them, I guess. How would you describe that?


22:44 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s right. I mean, what you’re doing is one of the things that, you know, this liberalization restructuring that occurred, you know, in the late one thousand nine hundred ninety seconds early 2000s was a a recomposition of of the incentives. And so you’re aligning, you’re aligning basically, sector in such a way that you were driven by by short-term spot options. Your alignment and the way in which you’re going to be compensated for those short-term options basically was all on short-term returns.


23:34 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so short-term returns aren’t really conducive to long-term investment. And so there was a misalignment between the types of generation assets like nuclear that have particular kind of capital characteristics that are not conducive to the short term, the short term spot markets. Ultimately, what we’re looking for, whether we’re building highways, whether we’re building airports, whether we’re building dams, whether we’re building nuclear plants, is we’re looking for patient capital.


24:19 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And if markets and the rules of the markets are not conducive to aligning that patient capital with those societal wishes as to what you want out of the sector, those two are not going to be, are not go, are in conflict. Therefore, we see the market responding to that over the last 16 years, whereby In markets that have been restructured to promote short-term thinking rather than patient capital, what we see is an exit by private capital from those markets, and what we see is five gigawatts in 16 years retire, exit in the United States.


25:09 – Edgardo Sepulveda



25:10 – Robert Bryce

Contrast, I like that the summary kind of if I’m going to read it back to you is this, you have to have alignment of patient capital with societal good. Right. And you mentioned airports, dams, you know,


25:23 – Robert Bryce

Highways, libraries, you know, there’s no return on investment in libraries, I don’t think, but They’re a societal good. I love libraries. But is that the right way to think about it? Is that aligning patient capital or aligning the incentives for patient capital so that you meet societal goods? Is that a proper way to phrase it?


25:44 – Edgardo Sepulveda

I like it. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I just thought of it now with your help. And I think that’s the way to think about it. And that. It necessarily requires government because Let’s not forget sort of where we are now in the restructured market. I mean, the experiment, Robert, to go towards restructured markets, which is relatively new historically, it’s only the last 20 years. For the first 100 years of the electricity sector, government in the United States and elsewhere was extremely involved,


25:52 – Robert Bryce

Necessarily requires government.


26:21 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Right? Every single state of the 50 states had a public service commission. We had a PUC, a Public Utilities Commission, and we had a situation where the electricity sector helped us give us the modernity that we see around us. It was an extremely successful model. And so and so, you know. The revolutionaries, in a sense, were the free marketeers, the Eneronites, the Kenneth Leys, who said, 20 years ago, think about what it meant. It’s one of those things that’s amazing. You’re basically an industry that has grown, doubled basically, that is the driving force of modernity.


27:15 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And suddenly, whether, first of all, again, at the end of a gun in you know, in, in, you know, in, in pinch chile, then under Margaret Thatcher and then in the US, basically people said, you know what, we don’t care about if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, we’re actually gonna break it. And we’re gonna have this experiment where, and think about, when you think about sort of free markets and lack of government involvement, think of the government involvement, Robert, where in the 16 states that identify in the blog, in assemblies, in state assemblies, in state senates, and ultimately signed by the state governor.


28:00 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Not because there was an antitrust problem, which had been the case of Standard Oil when it was broken up in 1911, or AT&T when it was broken up by the Department of Justice in 1982, 84, because of antitrust. There’s no problem, but basically they said, you know what? Forget about your property rights. We’re actually going to unbundle you. We’re gonna require you to separate yourself and we’re going to unbundle the generation asset. And only that. But we’re not only that, but we’re going to also federalize the system.


28:31 – Edgardo Sepulveda

These are U. These are state control, state regulated regulatory entities that gave up power to FERC for those RTOs and the generation assets. So you’ve got two things that are truly revolutionary. You’re having basically the elimination of certain property rights by requiring the selling of your generation assets for companies that had often been in existence for a hundred years by state legislation. And then the states basically giving up power, the authority, the responsibility, and bringing it up to the federal government.


29:12 – Edgardo Sepulveda

So that was truly a revolutionary process that I’m still amazed that people got away with it. They were very ambitious. There was a huge free market process. There were a lot of money involved and everyone was involved. I mean you’re familiar with this and they persuaded both Democrats and Republicans 50-50 to do this. To break up their own industry. And so you’re thinking about…


29:36 – Robert Bryce

And the Republicans did it because they liked this idea of the free market, and the Democrats did it because companies like Enron could go to the Sierra Clubbers and the solar and wind guys and say, see, we’re going to give you a way to get into the market.


29:49 – Edgardo Sepulveda



29:50 – Robert Bryce

And so there’s a great, there’s a quote from this, this is speaking of that very time period now. I just want to find this one. It was, Yeah, it was saint patrick’s day 1999. So almost exactly 25 years ago and there was the debate in the in the texas legislature about this restructuring that enron was pushing and there’s a this great quote from Senator david sibley who was from waco texas now waco texas is not a bastion of liberalism um, and he says On the Senate floor, he says, starting in 2002, people will be able to shop.


30:31 – Robert Bryce

If they don’t like the electricity, electric provider they’ve got, they can switch, he said. If the price of a can of beans goes up $0.10, people shop elsewhere, shop somewhere else. If the price of electricity goes up, people for the first time will have a choice on what they’re going to do. It’s no more business as usual. But this idea of electricity as beans God damn, no, wrong. It ain’t beans, Senator. And to call it beans just is indicative of this kind of misunderstanding and misapprehension of what the thing is.


31:04 – Robert Bryce

But it’s like you said, it’s this uniting of the free market guys with the liberals and we’re going to make it greener and Enron and this corporatism and all of this thing coming together to throw overboard what had been a very successful model for more than a century. I mean, I just wanted to, I love that quote, right, about that whole thing, but it’s the specter of Enron still is haunting electric markets now 23 years after the company went bust.


31:31 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so what we have, and, you know, again, I’m not the first person to comment. I’m the first person to comment on the nuclear side, Robert, but, you know, I mean, both academic and policy economists have been looking at you know, what we often don’t have in economics is a natural experiment, right? Like we’re usually having to compare an actual reality to a potential of the reality and kind of be able to compare across those two states. But in the case of the United States, we actually have a pretty good natural experiment, which is that, you know, 16, 17, 18 states restructured, the others didn’t.


32:15 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so you can compare performance. Right? And so that’s where I was kind of That was my inspiration, is that we have these natural experiments and you can do a back-to-back comparison and it’s pretty valid. Economists have been looking at investment, have been looking at price, have been looking at reliability, comparing across these two models and to be able to say, this one’s doing well, this one’s not doing well. Across the board, the great promises of the restructured markets have just not borne fruit.


32:47 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Prices are not lower.


32:50 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Investment is not higher. People were sold a bill of goods. As we say, you’re in Canada, people were sold a bottle of goods. And now sort of, how do you go back? And So there are There are,


33:01 – Robert Bryce



33:05 – Edgardo Sepulveda

How do you go back? How do you put How do you put Humpty Dumpty together again? Right? Like, how do you do that?


33:13 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so there are initiatives, as I mentioned. I mean, even people within FERC commissioners are talking about how this experiment, partial experiment, because a lot of companies, a lot of states did not do that.


33:26 – Robert Bryce



33:27 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Florida, you know, most of the Southeast did not.


33:31 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Georgia didn’t. Much of the Midwest did not. And they’re happy. They’re happy. There’s no push for them to go restructure. All they have to do is look at like, you know, Texas. They have to look at California. They have to look in New York and they go, no, thank you. I’m glad I didn’t. I’m glad I resisted at the time and I don’t want to go there. So there are initiatives. There is a small hubbub of policy wonks and academics and policymakers that are saying, listen, this was not good. It did not turn out.


34:01 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so one of my humble calls is for nuclear advocates to start to get interested in that process.


34:09 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Because it’s not only good it’s not only good for the sector, it’s good for nuclear. And so that’s why my question,


34:18 – Edgardo Sepulveda

A little provocative, is will more US nuclear advocates support public ownership and re-regulation? It’s because there is a push right now in the US, as there is in Canada, but in the US for public power, But it’s mostly coming from proponents or advocates of wind and solar, whether they’re pushing in New York, whether they’re pushing.


34:39 – Edgardo Sepulveda

There was a referendum in Maine. That’s coming from when the nuclear s or wind and solar because what do they want? They want the state to socialize or manipulate the company. In order to get more wind and solar.


34:53 – Robert Bryce



34:53 – Edgardo Sepulveda



34:54 – Robert Bryce

Well, and I think that’s a good point. And it’s a really interesting one. My read of why they’re pushing for that the wind and solar crowd is they want to be able to condemn private land for their wind and solar projects. I think that that is fundamentally about property and and the expansion of the amount of of land that they need now. Maybe it’s couched for other reasons, but I think it’s fundamentally about land use, right? That they don’t have that power to condemn the property.


35:18 – Robert Bryce

And now there are a lot of democratic states that are trying to do an end run around that.


35:23 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Ah, interesting. Okay.


35:25 – Robert Bryce

So let’s talk about, well, first, I want to talk about Pickering and then let’s come back to Indian Point. So we’re here in early February and just in the last few days, another big win for pro-nuclear people in Canada with the announcement from Ontario Power Generation to refurbish the nuclear reactors at Pickering. You and Chris Kiefer and all the other pro-nuclear folks in Canada are kicking ass. I mean, it’s been pretty impressive. Canada is now clearly leading the world when it comes to the nuclear comeback.


35:59 – Robert Bryce

How important was this decision by OPG to go back into Pickering and refurbish those reactors?


36:07 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Oh, it was, it was, you know, I mean, the shovels are not in the ground, the, you know, stuff hasn’t been ordered. So we just got to, got to be careful that, you know, these things, but there is now a political announcement by the province, by the Ministry of Energy that did the photo op there, Chris Kiefer, and, and a bunch of other colleagues from Canadians for Nuclear Energy, which is sort of the advocacy group that’s been pushing for this for three,


36:44 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Four years, wrote the report, et cetera, et cetera. There was an announcement made. So just in terms of, for our listeners that aren’t familiar with the nuclear sector in Ontario, We are kind of like France and kind of like Illinois, I believe it’s Illinois, are sort of one of the few jurisdictions in the world that is more than 50% nuclear. We will, depending on the year, we’re at six fifty five sixty percent And that is, we have 18 nuclear reactors that are operational, and all of them were publicly built.


37:37 – Edgardo Sepulveda

You know, upper poll, our discussion. Robert they’re all publicly built. They’re all can-do reactors, a particular technology of reactors, and they’re in three locations. That’s Darlington, Bruce, and Pickering. Pickering had two reactors, A and B. A was the oldest. They were built in the early 70s. They’re the oldest technology, but B was built in the one thousand nine hundred eighty seconds and so they’re now running for 40 years. And and so there was basically means in super.


38:14 – Robert Bryce



38:19 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Simplistic terms, is you’re taking out the guts and maintaining the chassis, right? And that’s because of safety and other issues with the brittlement given sort of the high pressure radioactive environment within the guts of the reactor. This has already been done in both Darlington and Bruce. Those are combined $28 billion dollar excuse me twenty eight billion dollar uh refreshments excuse me, over 15 years. And so the advocacy was, we’ve got to save Pickering because it’s now running to the end of its prescribed life.


39:03 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so could we persuade the province and specifically OPG, which is the, you know, the, the, the provincial entity that actually operates the reactors, could persuade them to, instead of doing something else, because we are starting to increase potential growth of electricity. This is the big change. Compared to 15 years ago, when the decision was taken not to refurbish, because we had flat growth. We were in the middle of the two thousand eight two thousand nine recession.


39:43 – Edgardo Sepulveda

We were actually decreasing in electricity demand rather than potential for increasing. Now, with EVs, we’ve attracted in Ontario three large car battery plants, Philantis, VW. We are transferring our steelmaking to electric arc furnaces, and we’re expecting a very significant demographic growth. For all these reasons, for the first time, realistically, we’re going to have we’re not going to go back to the 7% or eight you know seven or eight percent per year growth, but we’re maybe going up to two point five percent to three percent which is better than what we’ve been doing over the last 20 years, which is flat lining right and so in this context, we’re starting to realize from a planning perspective that we’re going to need more juice.


40:45 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Then you start thinking, what are my alternatives? Do I want to build new stuff, including intermittent renewables? Or do I want to refurbish this nuclear plant that has been performing very well and that’s going to provide us with clean reliable baseload power at a regulated rate. Because remember, OPG is regulated by the Ontario Electricity Board. That’s the lead-in and they’ve now committed to doing it. What they’re going to be doing is starting in probably in three or four years.


41:28 – Edgardo Sepulveda

The commitments now, they’ve put up $2 billion to do a lot of the prep work, engineering, design, et cetera, et cetera. And if everything goes well, they’re gonna start the actual refurbishment, you know, in three or four years. And they’re gonna be having all four of them operating by probably early 2030s, mid 2030s. And they’re gonna be running, Robert, they’re gonna be running for 30, 35, 40 years after that, right? So they’re gonna be running from 2035 to 2075. And, and, you know, they’re gonna be providing that kind of,


42:05 – Robert Bryce

But it’s a big win. It’s a big win for this. To recap what you’re saying, how I didn’t read it back to you is this idea of long-term thinking. No, we’re going to plan for the future. We know this is what we’re going to need. We’re taking the long view. And that is one of the key issues, I think, in the U.S. Utility sector. One of the many, right? We have 3,000 different electricity providers in America, which is just a stunning number, right? It’s incredibly diffused, the whole ownership.


42:34 – Robert Bryce

But the long-term view that is a difficult thing to get across in America amidst all these other challenges. But I think that’s great and I mean you know really it solidifies Canada’s position in my view as I think it’s objectively true now. Outside of China, Canada is the country in the world now that has been the most aggressive in its announcements that is going to embrace nuclear and expand nuclear and be very clear about that. And I’d say it’s Ontario more specifically than Canada in general.


43:04 – Robert Bryce

So let’s just jump back to the U.S. For a minute because We’ve talked about restructured markets and we talked about New York. And I have an oh wait quick station break again if you’re not they didn’t get the earlier introduction. My guest is Edgardo. He’s a Toronto based consulting economist who usually works on telecom but made the big mistake of getting into electricity. You can find his work and what we’re talking about here, this really terrific analysis that he did on decarbonization and U.S.


43:39 – Robert Bryce

Nuclear growth on his website, edcarb.org. That’s E-D-E-C-A-R-B-D-O-R-G. He’s also on Twitter at E underscore R underscore Sepulveda. Okay, but you list Indian Point here and I just, I’m still seething about the closure of Indian Point. Entergy did it, but to your point, who built Indian Point? Who built those power plants? It was the New York Power Authority and effectively gave them away for a song to Entergy. Entergy ran them for a few years and then decided they were facing some, well, they’re facing a lot of litigation from those idiots at Riverkeeper and those bigger idiots at Natural Resources Defense Council and they found another willing idiot in Andrew Cuomo Not that I’m bitter.


44:24 – Robert Bryce

But they closed that plant, the final reactor in 2021. And what has happened in New York? Power prices have gone up, CO2 emissions have gone up, and their reliance on natural gas for our generation has increased. I mean, all of it was predictable. All of it was well-known. They’re not building offshore wind because it’s too incredibly, too expensive. And it’s just, but it seems that you have it. It’s the first plant that you list here in one of your graphics or one of your tables here on the restructured markets.


44:54 – Robert Bryce

So I’ve given you my spleenectomy here, analysis of Indian Point. Why did Indian Point close?


45:02 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Well, look, yeah, I mean, I the reason I pointed out was not to not to. I mean, look, I didn’t focus on on on Indian Point specifically, other than to point out that the New York Power Authority Basically, in that fervor to liberalize, two years after New York restructured, New York Power Authority said, I’m getting rid of this because it’s basically a merchant. It’s going to be a merchant reactor, and we don’t like our chances. And there was also pressure from


45:52 – Robert Bryce

The State. Government.


45:52 – Edgardo Sepulveda

You. Know, the State assembly, et cetera, which ultimately has political control of, you know, whether it’s NYPA or any of the other, you know, like in Ontario, right? So, I mean, you’ve got to be careful about, you know, I mean, and, and, and people are rightly cautious about political control and public ownership for those very reasons, right? So, it’s not that this is like, nothing ever bad happens under the situation, is that certain characteristics of nuclear, and again, without having to repeat it, you take your pros and cons and you take your balance, right?


46:32 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so what happened in Indian Point was, you know, there was litigation, but also ultimately, you know what? A private company will take the litigation if they can think they can make the money. I mean, we know this. Right you put it into you put it into your cost of doing business, and if you think that you can do it, or if you think that you’ve got another one where you can make money, like Fitzpatrick. Right so ny the nipa sold Indian Point 3 and Fitzpatrick to Alt 22 Energy, I think it was.


47:11 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Fitzpatrick continues, and from what I understand, the deal.


47:17 – Edgardo Sepulveda

With Cuomo was that I’ll shut down Indian Point and I’ll keep Fitzpatrick. That was the quid pro quo.


47:29 – Robert Bryce



47:29 – Edgardo Sepulveda

From the political process was I need to shut this one down, because if you don’t shut this down, I’ll shut both of them down. So there was political pressure. So the idea that there’s no political pressure on private enterprise is also naive. Right? And so but A, you know, but had they been a regulated, you know, and this is the, you know, the, the comparison, Robert, had this been a regulated entity where they were guaranteed a fair rate of return based on a cost of service regulation, maybe they could have held out.


48:03 – Edgardo Sepulveda

I don’t know. Again, those are the tactical, those are the tactical battles on a reactor by reactor. We’re being defensive from a nuclear advocacy. We’re trying to save.


48:16 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Specific onesies and twosies.


48:17 – Robert Bryce

Like in Illinois, or. Now in. Michigan,


48:19 – Edgardo Sepulveda

An Illinois, Right?


48:20 – Robert Bryce

Or. It was. An indian Point,


48:21 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s. Exactly. And So.


48:22 – Robert Bryce

And instead, Instead of a broader, instead of a broader sensibility about this is the technology we know works, this is the technology we need to get behind. Yeah, therein lies the problem,


48:32 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And we need to change the rules.


48:36 – Robert Bryce

Because then you’ve got to put your thumb on, I mean, that’s what they did in New York. They put the thumb on the scale and made out of out of market payments to the upstate nuclear plants to keep them open.


48:47 – Robert Bryce

And they wouldn’t provide out-of-market payments to the downstate reactors at Indian Point.


48:52 – Robert Bryce

And there’s the issue here in Texas. So I had Jimmy Glotfelty, who’s a sitting member of the Public Utility Commission here in Texas. He’s been charged by Governor Abbott to head this new working group on new nuclear in Texas. And I challenged him on this. I said, well, how are you going to make this work? Oh, well, we have various ways to do it. Well, the long answer, the very short answer is in the Texas market, an energy-only market, they’re going to have to create some kind of out of market thing to put the thumb on the scale of nuclear to say, this is the kind of generation we want here.


49:26 – Robert Bryce

I mean, it seems to me that simple, or am I missing something?


49:30 – Edgardo Sepulveda

No, no, that’s exactly it. I mean, that’s the way in which you know, when the solar have, have increased in the United States, primarily through those subsidies in out of market, right? And so, but you know, Yes, of course, out of market to save a particular, you know, nuclear plant or promote new nuclear. Great. But I mean, that’s, you know, that’s, you know, that’s an incrementalism to try to patch things over when systemic risk exists. And that’s what I’m trying to get at. I’m trying to, from a different perspective, is to point out that yes, we can patch things over in those restructured markets to try to save plants, to try to get new plants built, but it’s going to be an uphill battle because of the systemic risks of spot markets and private ownership that is not possible to have those long-term patient capital that is misaligned with those markets.


50:41 – Edgardo Sepulveda

It’s always going to be an uphill battle. And so, we’re all busy. Nuclear advocates are doing a great job in the United States. So my only ask is, can you actually do something else? Can you start thinking about re-regulation? Can you start thinking about private versus public ownership? Because you will always be on your back foot until you start addressing the systemic issues which are driving the economics of nuclear given its particular attributes.


51:17 – Robert Bryce

And when you say that, one of the things that immediately pops in my head is, well, that patient capital is needed because the upfront capital requirements for nuclear, like with hydropower, are extraordinarily high. You’re making this big investment right at the beginning, and you’re going to have to wait to get paid out. We’ve talked around the issue of capital. In the US, I wrote a piece on my sub stack a little while ago and I talked about, you know, I was nuclear now, question mark, right, using Oliver Stone’s headline or his title.


51:53 – Robert Bryce

But to me in the US, it’s regulation, capital and fuel in that order. Is that the right order to think about them? Because the regulatory part of this, I was pointing to the NRC, but if we broaden that out, it’s also regulatory issues around how this asset, how this infrastructure is seen by government as part of the critical infrastructure as a whole. So, I mean, are those the right three things or would you reorder them? But that’s the way I put it, regulation, capital and fuel. Of course, they’re all connected, but they all have to be solved at once.


52:27 – Robert Bryce

Or can you make a hierarchy?


52:31 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Yeah, look, I mean, we’re all, you know, I mean, an engineer would focus on different things. As an economist, I would focus on economic regulation and ownership, which is what I’m trying to do in this blog. The other thing, Robert, is with Vogel 3 and 4, like Vogel 1 and 2, It is a regulated state, Georgia, so that’s one thing in terms of that on its column. We. Can kind of say,


53:06 – Robert Bryce



53:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Yeah, this is new, but the other thing that a lot of people miss or de-emphasize is that Vogel is a public-private partnership. Yes, the operating is Southern company. An investor. Owned utility but but ultimately they own only forty five percent of vg just like South Texas. Right. And just like some of the other ones, Vogel is a 55% public ownership reactor. And so it’s Oglethorpe, it’s the you know the the municipal cooperatives of Georgia. There’s a series of other things that own combined the 54, 55%.


54:02 – Edgardo Sepulveda

So again, you have, over the last 18, 16 years, you have an increase, a decrease in privately owned capacity in.


53:31 – Robert Bryce

An investor an investor on utility, publicly. Traded.


54:17 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Restructured markets. And then you have on the opposite hand, Watts Bar, T V A in in in Tennessee, that’s 100% publicly owned. And then you have Vogel 3 and Vogel 4, which are the two new reactors that will come, I mean, 3 is already on board. I heard today that 4 is now coming on board second quarter, also delayed another quarter. But again, restructured market, public-private partnership with fifty five percent fifty five percent. You know, public ownership. And so there’s a sharing of risk, there’s a sharing of equity between the operating company at Southern, and then the other ones that probably don’t have the expertise, but they do have the deep pockets, like Austin Energy, for example, like you know in in your hometown, that owns 16% of Southern Texas.


55:21 – Edgardo Sepulveda

South Texas.


55:22 – Robert Bryce

Texas project.


55:23 – Robert Bryce



55:25 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Again, you know, Vogel is is a story of restructured markets, public private partnership, 55 percent public ownership. And so the Evidence.


55:36 – Robert Bryce

And One of the key owners, if I can just interrupt, is Oglethorpe Power, because I was in Savannah, in fact, I think it was in November, at a Cooperative Finance Corporation meeting, and the CEO of Oglethorpe presented, in fact, on the problems that they had at Vogel on getting the thing built and the cost overruns and how they had to play hardball with Southern. A lot of that was off the record, but they did agree to allow me to publicize the number. They’re going to pay $0.13 or $0.14 kilowatt hour, right?


56:05 – Robert Bryce

Oglethorpe is for the power coming from Vogel. But they have 38 electric membership corporations. So there’s mostly public entities, publicly owned utilities in the South and in Georgia that own Oglethorpe, and then Oglethorpe owns a percentage in Vogel. So that ownership, but it was a way to spread the risk, right?


56:26 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s exactly it. Spread the risk and not have a single entity have to build, like, you know, so that’s the, I mean, you know, if one of the reasons Sms chatter about SMRs is that you need to have smaller smaller units to not have such a huge risk. Already in the United States for the last 40 years, people have recognized this and have restructured the deals, the equity ownership in such a way to spread that risk. Because Oglethorpe would never have built you know a one point two gigawatt reactor, but they could own, and I’m just looking at the numbers now, Robert, Oglethorpe owns 30%.


57:17 – Edgardo Sepulveda

The Municipal Electrical Authority of Georgia owns twenty two percentage and you know the little city of Dalton, Georgia, kind of like Austin, owns one point six percent and so and then and so it’s Southern that owns the forty five percentage so there’s a there’s a good model of risk sharing. Um, yeah, you know, you know in a traditional. Capital.


57:40 – Robert Bryce

Patient but patient capital and And and michael smith the ceo At oglethorpe talked about this He said look we’re we’ve already put all this money in and there was kind of like we can’t quit now, right? We can’t go back to our owners and say well, we’re just gonna have to write off the whole thing We’re gonna have to ride this out, but they had to seek the best deal that they could get with that project. So um But let’s just talk for a minute just about SMRs because the other thing that’s happening at Darlington and then because we’ve been talking for nearly an hour and I want to honor your time commitment.


58:12 – Robert Bryce

Do you think there’s a difference in terms of the how the, you know, we’re talking about patient capital, we’re talking about backing, we’re talking about this deployment of technology versus the application of policy, right? And right, technology should, in theory, lead the policy, as I’ve talked about with Brent Bennett, and on podcast, we’re going to publish pretty soon on electric vehicles. But specifically the technology in nuclear, should we, I’ll put it to you simply, as simply as I can, should we be focusing on gigawatt scale reactors or do you think SMRs will find more purchase in the market?


58:49 – Robert Bryce

Because we’re building, gee, he’s gonna, gee, Hitachi, one of the BW, BWXR, or do I have my Bw. Rx,


58:55 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Bw. Uh. Three. Hundred. That’s. Right. That’s.


58:56 – Robert Bryce

Bw Rx. Three Hun Zero. Will. Be built. At Darlington, Will be. One of the first SMRs in North America. They’re going to build that at Darlington.


59:04 – Robert Bryce

And deploy that. So do you see as an, from an economic standpoint, gigawatt versus 300 megawatts or SMRs, do you have a bias toward one or the other, or where you think they will work better in the market?


59:16 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Look, I think the decision to go for an SMR in Darlington was one of spreading of risk, among other things, right? And so they already, as a government, as a public entity, they were already, like I said, they were refurbishing Darlington, Bruce was getting refurbished. There had not been a decision yet on refurbishing Pickering and the decision had to be made what to do with this precious land at Darlington where you already had approved. I mean, you know how difficult it is to get approval, right?


1:00:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

So, they had approved already for Darlington B, let’s call it. So, Darlington A, which is already built. Darlington B, The plan was, Bryce, 20 years ago, that Darlington B would be built, right?


1:00:18 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And then we didn’t have the demand, and so the decision was taken not to build another four can-dos there. That was the original plan.


1:00:26 – Edgardo Sepulveda

But smartly enough, you know, OPG and the government maintained the licensing for Darlington B, the site licensing. And so they kept it going with a view to building in the future, right? So then you have the decision as to if you’re going to build, why are you going to build it? And I think what we’re seeing now is, for example, two weeks ago in Alberta, which is one of the other provinces in the prairies in the West, there was a signing between OPG, which is the company, the state-owned enterprise here in Ontario that is doing the SMRs, and a private entity because Alberta is kind of like Texas, it’s mostly private, energy-only market, to look into building SMRs.


1:01:22 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And OPG also has signed a similar situation with Saskatchewan, which is one of our other prairie provinces, and has had MOUs with Poland and a couple other countries. So I think my take, I don’t have specific detailed information. My take is that one of the reasons that OPG and the province ultimately chose this SMR, even though from an economic perspective, one could have gone for a can-do, but I think one of the reasons, one of the considerations is that they’re thinking of this as a potential export opportunity.


1:02:06 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Right? And so, you know, they’ve been talking to TVA down in Tennessee. Right? Like the Who. And by the way, the CEO of TVA was the form C, of O, the ash.


1:02:19 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so.


1:02:19 – Robert Bryce

This is a way for them, I guess,


1:02:22 – Robert Bryce

To boil it down. OPG was seeing this as a way to develop the technology, spread some of the political risks, spread some of the technology risk, and see the Op and Op is a as a as a leader more broadly, maybe.


1:02:34 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Well, that’s exactly it. Because, I mean, there was the decision to do one. We’ve broken ground. That’s going to be operational, fingers crossed, in 2028. I mean, that’s like around the corner, right? There’s a decision to do three more. What’s happening is that the Albertans of the world, the Saskatchewans of the world, the Polans of the world, and other countries, including down in TVA, are waiting to see that first one built to see how it goes. No one wants to be the first of a kind, Robert.


1:03:03 – Edgardo Sepulveda

We know this. Vogel is an example of that. They. Want. To. See it one.


1:03:06 – Robert Bryce

And The Bw. And the Bw. Rx has the advantage of using traditional low-enriched uranium. It’s in the fairway for what everybody is familiar with, so it’s not a big change over to some different fuel form factor. Or hey Lou, the rest of it. So.


1:03:21 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And so I think that’s one of the strategic decisions was that they were thinking within Ontario and spreading some of the sort of you know basically diversification. And they’re also thinking as a first mover and the strategic advantage for OPG, together with Hitachi and GE, is in terms of potential expertise in the same way that, for example, a KEPCO will do in Korea, where they’re the ones. It’s the actual public enterprise that goes to the Emirates and builds it. And so they have the technology, they know the know-how.


1:04:01 – Edgardo Sepulveda

I think OPG would like to be able to do that.


1:04:05 – Edgardo Sepulveda

I don’t know if they will, but I think that’s one of the strategic considerations where they want to be an SMR, a global SMR player.


1:04:18 – Robert Bryce

And they have patient capital.


1:04:19 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And they have patient capital.


1:04:22 – Robert Bryce

Yeah. Well, this has been great. So now I know, Edgardo, I think you’ve listened to the podcast before. Guests introduced themselves at the beginning. At the end, I always ask them the same question. So what are you reading these days? It looks like you’re in your office there. What books are on the top of the shelf or top of the list there that are at hand?


1:04:42 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Well, I will get to that. But one of the other things that I meant to mention is I binge-watched Juice, your new docuseries.


1:04:58 – Robert Bryce

The new docuseries, yeah.


1:04:59 – Edgardo Sepulveda

The new docuseries that you just put out. It’s fantastic and great work. So I wanted to say that because I already put out a tweet and it’s very sharp. It’s great to see a lot of friends and colleagues that you interviewed. I think I’ve met or know everyone that was there, almost. So it was very sharp, sharp cinema. Great interview. So congratulations. I want to say. That. Because. It. Was,


1:05:26 – Robert Bryce

That’s. That’s. Very. Kind, Thank you.


1:05:27 – Edgardo Sepulveda



1:05:27 – Robert Bryce

That. Mike. Tyson,


1:05:27 – Edgardo Sepulveda

  1. Know. It was really good.


1:05:29 – Robert Bryce

Tyson Covert did a great job.


1:05:30 – Edgardo Sepulveda

That’s right. Congratulations. To Tyson. As well.


1:05:31 – Robert Bryce

He just did. A tremendous, Tremendous job.


1:05:33 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Yeah. Yeah. No, it looks really good. I mean, that’s the other thing. It looks really, really sharp. I don’t get to read much fiction. I am between work and this pro bono. That I do for electricity, I’m mostly reading papers. So it’s gonna be a bit of a boring thing, but I do a lot of academic reading because one of the things I can understand those things and I try to kind of infuse my work and my advocacy work based on that kind of like, you know, robust research and so, Much of it is to try to keep myself up to date on what Academy is thinking, methods and methodologies, and to see where the gaps are.


1:06:27 – Edgardo Sepulveda

This is where this blog comes out. There’s a huge gap to look at these systemic issues associated with nuclear in the United States. That’s what I mostly read. I read your Substack. I read Emmett Penny’s sub stack, excellent subs stack, and I listen to a lot of podcasts, obviously Decoupled, Titans of Nuclear, Power Hungry podcast. I was a big fan of Exhaust. I’m now a big fan of Nuclear Barbarians. The list goes on.


1:07:00 – Robert Bryce

Okay. And so we’ve talked about the challenges. Obviously, there are many challenges, both in the power sector and elsewhere. What gives you hope?


1:07:09 – Edgardo Sepulveda

Um, well, I mean, again, uh, still a little, uh, you know, uh, on, on cloud about this decision. And so, you know, the decision, you know, the, the idea that, um, you know, uh, public advocates, uh, with research and evidence and energy, um, can make a difference. And I think, you know, that’s what, uh, Canadians for nuclear energy did. Again, shout out to President Chris Kiefer, a common friend of ours, who led this charge. Fingers crossed that we see the refurbishment, but that’s just an example where so many people thought that the decision was done, that it could not be reversed.


1:07:57 – Edgardo Sepulveda

And, you know, this is sort of the payoff that one gets. And, you know, that is hopeful in democracies. You know, that’s what should give us hope about the idea of, again, evidence-based policy with advocates that are, you know, blood, sweat and tears and hope that can actually make good policy and have it reflected in government decisions.


1:08:28 – Robert Bryce

Well, that’s great. And I think that’s exactly right. And that, you know, that decision and the revival of nuclear does in fact show that a few people, a few motivated people who know what they’re doing and can really stay motivated and stay involved can really change things. And so that has been, you know, my cynicism is unbounded, but I still try to balance it with some optimism. Well, Edgardo, it’s been a pleasure talking with you. It took a while for us to get it to happen, but we did.


1:08:56 – Robert Bryce

My guest, it’s been a pleasure to talk to Edgardo. He is an independent consulting economist. He’s based in Toronto. You can follow up on his reporting and his blog. There’s a lot of work that he put into looking at the nuclear in the United States and the changes in nuclear ownership and capacity at edcarb.org. He’s on Twitter at e underscore r underscore Sepulveda. Edgardo, thanks for coming on the Power Hungry podcast. It’s been great fun. And thanks to all of you out there in podcast land. Until next time. See ya.

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