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Response to FBaggins (Reply #13)

Thu Apr 12, 2012, 02:15 PM

14. Poor little feller just ain't got a clue...

In 2003 MIT was projecting the cost of nuclear in 2010 at $1500/kw. They projected a decline of $500/kw after the "renaissance" commenced to $1000/kw.

Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve?
By Joseph Romm

We’ve known for a while that the cost of new nuclear power plants in this country has been soaring.

Before 2007, price estimates of $4,000 per kilowatt for new U.S. nukes were common, but by Oct. 2007, Moody’s Investors Service report, “New Nuclear Generation in the United States,” concluded, ”Moody’s believes the all-in cost of a nuclear generating facility could come in at between $5,000 to 6,000 per kilowatt.” That same month, Florida Power and Light, “a leader in nuclear power generation,” presented its detailed cost estimate for new nukes to the Florida Public Service Commission. It concluded that two units totaling 2,200 megawatts would cost from $5,500 to $8,100 per kilowatt — $12 billion to $18 billion total! In 2008, Progress Energy informed state regulators that the twin 1,100-megawatt plants it intended to build in Florida would cost $14 billion, which “triples estimates the utility offered little more than a year ago.” That would be more than $6,400 a kilowatt. (And that didn’t even count the 200-mile $3 billion transmission system utility needs, which would bring the price up to a staggering $7,700 a kilowatt.)

Historical data cost on the French nukes have not been as well publicized. But Arnulf Grubler of the International Institute for Applied Systems in Austria, using “largely unknown public records,” was able to perform an analysis of French (and U.S.) nuclear plants for Energy Policy, “The costs of the French nuclear scale-up: A case of negative learning by doing” [$ubreq]:
Drawing on largely unknown public records, the paper reveals for the first time both absolute as well as yearly and specific reactor costs and their evolution over time. Its most significant finding is that even this most successful nuclear scale-up was characterized by a substantial escalation of real-term construction costs.

Average and min/max reactor construction costs per year of completion date for U.S. and France versus cumulative capacity completed.

Before discussing that paper, it is worth noting that renewable energy technologies have classic learning curves. Here is solar:

Wind power looks similar....


Finishing what was started long ago:
Watts Bar
Unit 2 construction project

TVA is currently working to finish the partially completed Unit 2. Unit 2 was about 80% complete when its construction was stopped in 1988. The official reason given for halting construction was a decrease in demand for electricity. Unit 2 remains partly completed (several of its parts being used on other TVA units), but on August 1, 2007 the TVA Board approved completion of the unit. Construction resumed on October 15, 2007, with the reactor expected to begin operation in 2012.[1] The project is expected to cost $2.5 billion, and employ around 2,300 contractor workers. Once finished, it is estimated to produce 1,180 megawatts and create around 250 permanent jobs.[2] Unit 2 is expected to be the first new nuclear reactor to come online in the USA in more than a decade.[3]
In February 2012, TVA said the Watts Bar 2 project was running over budget and behind schedule....

Watts Bar reactor cost to $4.5 bln, online '15
Reactor cost up from $2.5 billion estimate
Project was expected to start in 2012


TVA decided in August that it would complete the 1,260-MW Bellefonte 1 reactor. In the past, TVA said the project would cost about $4.9 billion and could enter service by 2020.
The company has said it would take about six years of construction time to finish Bellefonte 1, which was already about 55 percent complete.
But the ultimate cost and timing for Bellefonte depends on work at Watts Bar 2.
TVA started work on the Watts Bar and Bellefonte reactors in the 1970s but put both projects on hold in the next decade due
in part to a projected decrease in power demand.

New construction with transparent accounting:

The first license application for the third reactor (EPR) was made in December 2000[10] and the original commissioning date of the third reactor was set to May 2009.[11] However, in May 2009 the plant was "at least three and a half years behind schedule and more than 50 percent over-budget".[12][13][14] The commissioning deadline has been postponed several times and as of November 2011 operation is set to start in 2014.[15]

First concrete was poured for the demonstration EPR reactor at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant on December 6, 2007.[33] This will be the third unit on the site and the second EPR ever constructed. Electrical output will be 1630 MWe (net)[2] and the project involves around € 3.3 billion of capital expenditure from EdF.[34] The following is a condensed timeline for the unit:
From October 19, 2005 to February 18, 2006 the project was submitted to a national public debate.

On May 4, 2006 the decision was made by EDF's Board of Directors to continue with the construction.
Between June 15 and July 31, 2006 the unit underwent a public enquiry, which rendered a "favorable opinion" on the project.[35]

In Summer 2006 site preparation works began.

In December 2007 construction of the unit itself began. This is expected to last 54 months.

In May 2009 Professor Stephen Thomas reported that after 18 months of construction and after a series of quality control problems, the project is "more than 20 percent over budget and EDF is struggling to keep it on schedule".[27]

In 2010 EDF announced that costs had increased 50% to € 5 billion, and commissioning was delayed by about two years to 2014.[36]

In July 2011 EDF announced that the estimated costs have escalated to €6 billion and that completion of construction is delayed to 2016


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kristopher Apr 2012 OP
rhett o rick Apr 2012 #1
qb Apr 2012 #2
felix_numinous Apr 2012 #3
Vincardog Apr 2012 #4
FogerRox Apr 2012 #5
madokie Apr 2012 #10
DCKit Apr 2012 #6
SpoonFed Apr 2012 #8
DCKit Apr 2012 #9
FBaggins Apr 2012 #11
kristopher Apr 2012 #12
FBaggins Apr 2012 #13
LineLineLineLineLineLineLineReply Poor little feller just ain't got a clue...
kristopher Apr 2012 #14
FBaggins Apr 2012 #15
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