Motorcycle Helmets Learn more about A/C bundle plans offered in your area NRG Corpus Christi William S. Utility Complaints next   — Doug S 3 weeks 1 day SmarTricity Super Saver GET RATES Total 100%Capital cost escalationWith relatively few nuclear plants constructed in North America and Western Europe over the past two decades, the amount of information on the costs of building modern nuclear plants is somewhat limited. The shift to Generation III reactors has added further uncertainty. Other non-nuclear generation technologies also show variation, as do major infrastructure projects such as roads and bridges, depending upon where they are built. However, the variation is particularly crucial for electricity generation as its economics depend so much on minimising capital investment cost, which must be passed onto consumers, in contrast to roads, bridges and dams which are usually less complex. Large infrastructure projects of all kinds tend to be over budget and late in most parts of the world, according to research by the University of Lincoln (UK) and the European Union's Megaproject.The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency’s (NEA's) calculation of the overnight cost for a nuclear power plant built in the OECD rose from about $1900/kWe at the end of the 1990s to $3850/kWe in 2009. In the 2015 report Projected Costs of Generating Electricity, the overnight costs ranged from $2021/kWe in South Korea to $6215/kWe in Hungary. For China, two comparable figures were $1807/kWe and $2615/kWe. LCOE figures at a 3% discount rate range from $29/MWh in Korea to $64/MWh in the UK, at a 7% discount rate from $40/MWh (Korea) to $101/MWh (UK), and at a 10% rate $51/MWh (Korea) to $136/MWh (UK).The 2015 NEA report makes the important point regarding LCOE: “At a 3% discount rate, nuclear is the lowest cost option for all countries. However, consistent with the fact that nuclear technologies are capital intensive relative to natural gas or coal, the cost of nuclear rises relatively quickly as the discount rate is raised. As a result, at a 7% discount rate the median value of nuclear is close to the median value for coal [but lower than the gas in CCGTs], and at a 10% discount rate the median value for nuclear is higher than that of either CCGTs or coal. These results include a carbon cost of $30/tonne, as well as regional variations in assumed fuel costs.”The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) calculated that, in constant 2002 values, the realized overnight cost of a nuclear power plant built in the USA grew from $1500/kWe in the early 1960s to $4000/kWe in the mid-1970s. The EIA cited increased regulatory requirements (including design changes that required plants to be backfitted with modified equipment), licensing problems, project management problems and mis-estimation of costs and demand as the factors contributing to the increase during the 1970s. Its November 2016 report, Capital Cost Estimates for Utility Scale Electricity Generation Plants, gave an estimate for a new nuclear plant of $5945/kW (overnight cost).There are also significant variations in capital costs by country, particularly between the emerging industrial economies of East Asia and the mature markets of Europe and North America. Variations have a variety of explanations, including: differential labour costs; more experience in the recent building of reactors; economies of scale from building multiple units; and streamlined licensing and project management within large civil engineering projects.The French national audit body, the Cour des Comptes, said in 2012 that the overnight capital costs of building nuclear power plants increased over time from €1070/kWe (at 2010 prices) when the first of the 58 currently operating PWRs was built at Fessenheim (commissioned in 1978) to €2060/kWe when Chooz 1&2 were built in 2000, and to a projected €3700/kWe for the Flamanville EPR. It can be argued that much of this escalation relates to the smaller magnitude of the programme by 2000 (compared with when the French were commissioning 4-6 new PWRs per year in the 1980s) and the resultant failure to achieve series economies. The French programme also arguably shows that industrial organization and standardization of a series of reactors allowed construction costs, construction time and operating and maintenance costs to be brought under control. The total overnight investment cost of the French PWR programme amounted to less than €85 billion at 2010 prices. When divided by the total installed capacity (63 GW), the average overnight cost is €1335/kW. This is much in line with the costs that were then provided by the manufacturers.In several countries, notably the UK, there is a trend towards greater vendor involvement in financing projects, but with an intention to relinquish equity once the plant is running.A presentation by Dr N.Barkatullah, UAE Regulation & Supervision, at the World Nuclear Association’s 2014 Symposium showed the risk in construction costs (per kilowatt of capacity), much of it due to financing cost incurred as a result of delays:The same presentation showed the following ranges of figures for overnight capital cost in different parts of the world:The IEA-NEA Nuclear Energy Roadmap 2015 estimates China’s average overnight costs of approximately $3,500/kW are more than a third less than that in the EU of $5,500/kW. Costs in the US are about 10% lower than the EU, but still 30% higher than in China and India, and 25% above South Korea. In its main scenario, 2050 assumptions for overnight costs of nuclear in the United States and European Union are estimated to decline somewhat, reaching levels closer to those in the Republic of Korea, while costs in Asia are assumed to remain flat.In China it is estimated that building two identical 1000 MWe reactors on a site can result in a 15% reduction in the cost per kW compared with that of a single reactor.A 2016 study by The Breakthrough Institute on Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors presented new data for overnight nuclear construction costs across seven countries. Some conclusions emerged that are in contrast to past literature. While several countries, notably the USA, show increasing costs over time, other countries show more stable costs in the longer term, and cost declines over specific periods in their technological history. One country, South Korea, experiences sustained construction cost reductions throughout its nuclear power experience. The variations in trends show that the pioneering experiences of the USA or even France are not necessarily the best or most relevant examples of nuclear cost history. These results showed that there is no single or intrinsic learning rate expected for nuclear power technology, nor any expected cost trend. How costs evolve appears to be dependent on several different factors. The large variation in cost trends and across different countries – even with similar nuclear reactor technologies – suggests that cost drivers other than learning-by-doing have dominated the experience of nuclear power construction and its costs. Factors such as utility structure, reactor size, regulatory regime, and international collaboration may have a larger effect. Therefore, drawing any strong conclusions about future nuclear power costs based on one country's experience – especially the US experience in the 1970s and 1980s – would be ill-advised.Plant operating costsOperating costs include the cost of fuel and of operation and maintenance (O&M). Fuel cost figures include used fuel management and final waste disposal.Low fuel costs have from the outset given nuclear energy an advantage compared with coal and gas-fired plants. Uranium, however, has to be processed, enriched and fabricated into fuel elements, accounting for about half of the total fuel cost. In the assessment of the economics of nuclear power, allowances must also be made for the management of radioactive used fuel and the ultimate disposal of this used fuel or the wastes separated from it. But even with these included, the total fuel costs of a nuclear power plant in the OECD are typically about one-third to one-half of those for a coal-fired plant and between one-quarter and one-fifth of those for a gas combined-cycle plant. The US Nuclear Energy Institute suggests that the cost of fuel for a coal-fired plant is 78% of total costs, for a gas-fired plant the figure is 87%, and for nuclear the uranium is about 14% (or 34% if all front end and waste management costs are included).Front end fuel cycle costs of 1 kg of uranium as UO2 fuel CSP 100 220 2014 Trade? Does renewable energy seem out of reach? The story we all hear is that fossil fuels are way cheaper and more plentiful. Most people don’t realize, however, that renewable energy is cheaper5 and more available than ever.6 But is it worth the extra cash? 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