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There are plenty of conceptual/prototype/researchy reactors that are small like what you are talking about. The same issue that prevents larger scale nuclear from being developed is what is keeping these from being commercialized: cost. The cost is not inherent to nuclear technology but is to a large extent result of the regulatory regimes and politics around nuclear technology.

I see this claim trotted out a lot, and theres a bit of truth to it, but its highly exaggerated. The reality is that plant construction itself is just too expensive to finance and with a glut of cheap natural gas and goal in North America nobody is going to invest in nuclear plants. The plants that HAVE been built have been way over budget and completed way late or not at all.

Even of the first generation of plants, only half of them were completed, and the ones that WERE finished were way over budget. A UCS report that studies construction of plants around the world found that prices for new plants had escalated from 2-4 billion to 6-9 billion between 2000 and 2008.

And despite the picture being painted that government (regulation) is standing in the way of plant construction, the opposite is actually true. Government has practically gotten on its knees and BEGGED the private sector to build plants. Indirect and direct subsidies, loan guarantees, loans, tax breaks, accident liability caps, market price support. Not to mention the public pays for a big part of the fuel management cycle.

Because the public gives the nuclear industry so many gifts in so many different ways, its hard to pin down the exact number but lots of estimates say that the cost of subsidization is approaching 100% of the value of the power generated.

Subsidies often exceed the value of the power produced.

I think solar will become the predominant energy source faster than most people suspect. Electric grids span large enough distances in the developed world that pumped storage is applicable just about everywhere in developed countries. And in developing countries which are still undergoing electrification, having electricity some of the time (when the Sun is shining) is such a major advantage over not having electricity at all, that it will still be deployed there too. And, it's much easier in these countries for individuals and businesses to deploy their own small scale solar power to meet their needs than to rely on corrupt and remote and ineffectual governments to try to coordinate large centralized power plants.

I think it will come faster than people expect as well. Elon Musk predicted 30 years but that might be a bit optimistic.

A couple of quick points on storage. For residential applications it could be localized. A relatively small and inexpensive bank of batteries could smooth over fluctuations in solar power. Also, once electric cars are the predominant means of personal transportation, each of them will be plugged into an outlet in the garage each night and if there's enough interfaces millions of cars will be plugged into the grid at any one time. That's a whole shitload of storage, and it can be both added to and drawn from. That's not to say that it would be reasonable for the grid to drain the batteries of all these cars down to nothing when the sun isn't shining, but some sort of reasonable threshold could be worked out.

And the electric car revolution is going to make batteries a WHOLE lot cheaper... Heres an interesting LION model.

How-Cheap-Can-Lithium-Ion-Batteries-Get-

Also currently a lot of electrical energy is used to heat homes and make domestic hot water. Solar pre-heating combined with radiant heating could save a lot of electricity which could be used for other applications (like charging storage arrays), and heaters like the one below have the shortest buy back period of any solar project. The collector is just a ladder of copper pipes stuck to sheets of aluminium or any other metal with high thermal density.

Cirrex-solar-heating-system.jpg

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I see this claim trotted out a lot, and theres a bit of truth to it, but its highly exaggerated. The reality is that plant construction itself is just too expensive to finance and with a glut of cheap natural gas and goal in North America nobody is going to invest in nuclear plants. The plants that HAVE been built have been way over budget and completed way late or not at all.

Even of the first generation of plants, only half of them were completed, and the ones that WERE finished were way over budget. A UCS report that studies construction of plants around the world found that prices for new plants had escalated from 2-4 billion to 6-9 billion between 2000 and 2008.

But what has driven this tripling in cost? Did the materials needed to build a nuclear plant suddenly get 3 times more expensive? Is the labor now three times more expensive? Or is it that the company building it has to spend 3 times as long to get approvals, environmental assessments, permits, impact studies, community consultations, etc?

And despite the picture being painted that government (regulation) is standing in the way of plant construction, the opposite is actually true. Government has practically gotten on its knees and BEGGED the private sector to build plants. Indirect and direct subsidies, loan guarantees, loans, tax breaks, accident liability caps, market price support. Not to mention the public pays for a big part of the fuel management cycle.

Both statements can be true: the government can massively subsidize something and yet still largely stifle the ability for it to be done through regulation.

Also currently a lot of electrical energy is used to heat homes and make domestic hot water. Solar pre-heating combined with radiant heating could save a lot of electricity which could be used for other applications (like charging storage arrays), and heaters like the one below have the shortest buy back period of any solar project. The collector is just a ladder of copper pipes stuck to sheets of aluminium or any other metal with high thermal density.

Yep, I've actually built one of those before. But the problem with things like this are they are only useful for a very narrow subset of demand: individual home owners in areas with reliable sunlight. They can't provide the heating needed for commercial or industrial buildings, and not even for highrise apartments/condos since the water usage / roof area is so much higher. Therefore, the relative impact of such things on the overall energy needs of human civilization will be small. On the other hand PV just provides electricity to the grid and can be transmitted hundreds or thousands of kilometers to where it is needed.
Edited by Bonam

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But what has driven this tripling in cost? Did the materials needed to build a nuclear plant suddenly get 3 times more expensive? Is the labor now three times more expensive? Or is it that the company building it has to spend 3 times as long to get approvals, environmental assessments, permits, impact studies, community consultations, etc?

Yep, I've actually built one of those before. But the problem with things like this are they are only useful for a very narrow subset of demand: individual home owners in areas with reliable sunlight. They can't provide the heating needed for commercial or industrial buildings, and not even for highrise apartments/condos since the water usage / roof area is so much higher. Therefore, the relative impact of such things on the overall energy needs of human civilization will be small. On the other hand PV just provides electricity to the grid and can be transmitted hundreds or thousands of kilometers to where it is needed.

Material costs have increased, modern plant designs are more expensive to build, the real estate you build them on costs more, the construction skills are in short supply and nobody in the west will pick up a shovel for less than 30 bucks an hour... The skilled professionals cost much much more. Also the cost of capital is very high because nobody wants to invest. Often as high as 9%. The energy reguired to build them is more expensive as well.

Also the opportunity to automate construction of a nuclear plant is limited. Things like solar panels can be made on robotic assembly lines so labor costs are actually going down. For mega projects labor costs are going way up. In the 60's labor was only 30% of the cost of a nuclear construction project, but today its more like 60%.

The nuclear plant at Hinkley cost of escalated to the point where it will be the "most expensive object ever constructed on earth", and the second most expensive in the universe (behind the international space station).

Regulations have actually been eased over the last decade.

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict

Anyhow I'm not saying there's no truth to what you are saying. Regulation makes everything cost more, from automobiles, to homes, to roads, schools, bridges, etc. But the common refrain that regulation "killed the nuclear industry" is largely a myth. Its the fundamental economics.

Here's a good short article from Forbes that sums it up quite nicely.

From 2011 through 2013, as the overwhelming majority of the new reactors that had been proposed as part of the “Nuclear Renaissance” were abandoned or delayed, the industry blamed low natural gas prices. In 2013, when five old reactors were retired early, and today with many old reactors being considered for early retirement, the industry blames low wholesale prices that result from a market that is distorted by the entry of subsidized wind power.

The irony in these complaints is that for fifty years the selection of generating capacity has been rigged in favor of nuclear power with socialized accident insurance and waste management costs, forced purchase of overpriced power, and advanced recovery of construction costs. Nuclear advocates complaining about policies that balance things out a bit to give other generation resources a decent chance of delivering electricity would be laughably hypocritical, if it weren’t so important. In fact, if the playing field were actually level, nuclear would be in even more trouble than it is.

The nuclear hypocrisy does not stop with complaints about subsidies. The nuclear utilities continue to complain about the challenges of the safety and licensing requirements imposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, even after they convinced Congress to streamline and reform the process in the 2005. Yet, these challenges are matched by the obstacles utilities put in the path of alternatives at the public utility commissions, with hostile interconnection requirements, unfair contract conditions and uneconomic tariffs.

The fifty year failure of nuclear power to be economically competitive compels nuclear advocates to label every pro-consumer analysis as anti-nuclear. The anti-nuclear label is used to avoid the inconvenient truth about nuclear: it is and has been unable to compete economically with the alternatives available. More importantly, it is not likely to be able to compete for the foreseeable future.

The economic reality is that efficiency and natural gas can keep the lights on and computers running at a fraction of the cost of nuclear power and the cost of wind and solar have been declining dramatically. Utility scale solar with storage is entering the market, as is utility scale battery storage. The decision to give them a boost, is paying off. These alternatives have exhibited the one characteristic that has always eluded nuclear, declining costs driven by innovation, learning, and economies of scale.

I'm NOT anti-nuclear though. Obviously U-238 containment vessel reactors have failed and the concept should be abandoned, but that doesn't mean that research should stop. Thorium reactors might be more economical. Liquid flouride reactors would not require high pressure containment vessels. You could fire a missile at one if you wanted to and you would not have radiation disaster... The relatively harmless thorium would just pour out onto the ground. There's also much much less chance of a meltdown.

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Material costs have increased, modern plant designs are more expensive to build, the real estate you build them on costs more, the construction skills are in short supply and nobody in the west will pick up a shovel for less than 30 bucks an hour... The skilled professionals cost much much more. Also the cost of capital is very high because nobody wants to invest. Often as high as 9%. The energy reguired to build them is more expensive as well.

Also the opportunity to automate construction of a nuclear plant is limited. Things like solar panels can be made on robotic assembly lines so labor costs are actually going down. For mega projects labor costs are going way up. In the 60's labor was only 30% of the cost of a nuclear construction project, but today its more like 60%.

The nuclear plant at Hinkley cost of escalated to the point where it will be the "most expensive object ever constructed on earth", and the second most expensive in the universe (behind the international space station).

The $24 billion cost does seem absurd (ITER will likely exceed it by the time it's done, making it only the 3rd most expensive object ever built, but your point here stands). That said, it sounds like it will still be delivering energy at a cost of 9.25 cents per kWh over its lifetime, definitely on the high side but not absurd. Other reactors presently under construction come in closer to 5 cents per kWh, which seems to compare well with other energy sources. If the cost is on order of 5 cents per kWh for a typical new nuclear reactor, that strikes me as quite reasonable and possible to make a profit from. Indeed, under the terms of the deal the builders of Hinkley struck, they are getting an exceptional ROE:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinkley_Point_C_nuclear_power_station#Return_on_equity

Edited by Bonam

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The Chevron GORGON LNG project in Australia has cost somewhere between 56-70 Billion dollars. So it dwarfs these costs.

Nuclear plants should be cheaper than they used to be - because the technology has improved. But regulatory timelines make it impossible to be economic. Think about it. Right now, if you wanted to build a nuclear plant in North America, you'd better plan on 12-20 years to startup, and construction won't start for 7-14 years. Why? Regulatory requirements. The first nuclear reactors built at Hanford were designed, constructed and started up in about 18 months between 1943 and 1945. And those were done when we weren't even sure how it would work... Hanford was a horrendous design, to be sure, but it worked.

A lot of the construction can be automated - this is already happening in other industries. Materials haven't gotten more expensive. It's all about time to market and the amount of money wasted to do paperwork. All because people get "scared" of something they don't understand. Only two nuclear plants have had catastrophic accidents that affected the environment outside the fenceline. One was a bad design with bad operators (Chernobyl), the other was a decent design with a couple of flaws exposed by a natural disaster (Fukushima).

Nuclear SHOULD have a far great ROI than it does, but it falls down because the time to first revenue is too far away.

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I think what people are mostly concerned about is they don't trust their regulatory institutions and the political masters who run them to do so honestly and without a bias towards the things they're supposed to be protecting the public from. The public understands all too well how monumentally this can screw things up. From local environmental disasters like in Flint Mich to international financial and banking collapses, and even geopolitical scale disasters like the war on terror, the list of disasters big and small where government regulators and industry operators collude to either cover-up or otherwise delude people goes on and on and on.

Allowing people to work in the presence of power and wealth without proper oversight is like allowing nuclear workers near a reactor without proper shielding.

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According to the article below half of existing US nuclear plants are unprofitable. New York state just had to pay a $7.6 billion dollar bailout to nuclear facilities.

“Without these subsidies, nuclear plants cannot compete with renewable energy and will close."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/08/04/3803499/nuclear-power-bail-out/

Edited by Guest

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According to the article below half of existing US nuclear plants are unprofitable.

Nuclear competes with natural gas and in the US that makes many plants unprofitable. Only clueless people with no understanding of the power system think base-load nuclear power can be replaced with renewables that cannot guarantee power delivery when it is needed. If the nuclear plants close they will be replaced by natural gas and/or coal (that is what is happened in Germany).

That is why say this to anyone who claims to care about CO2: if you oppose nuclear you don't really think CO2 is a problem so why should anyone else care about CO2 when you don't?

Edited by TimG

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That is why say this to anyone who claims to care about CO2: if you oppose nuclear you don't really think CO2 is a problem so why should anyone else care about CO2 when you don't?

I only oppose nuclear because I think its problems will be ignored by regulators in similar form for similar reasons that problems with CO2 have been ignored. I'm also pretty sure people will be telling us there's nothing we can do about these problems without destroying the economy.

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You are the one who used the word 'efficient'. Efficiency is measured by energy input vs. energy output. Whether you like it or not some variant of nuclear will have to be the mainstay of our energy sources once fossil fuels run out. For now that is not an issue. Solar and wind even with battery backup does not produce an EROI large enough to keep our society running. (see http://festkoerper-kernphysik.de/Weissbach_EROI_preprint.pdf). EROI is a better measure of how efficient an energy source is.

Does anyone take into account the energy and resources used over decades to contain nuclear waste?

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Nuclear plants should be cheaper than they used to be - because the technology has improved.

No they shouldn't be. Materials and labor costs have gone up dramatically, and modern designs are more complex and require more highly skilled professionals to build.

For example... When generation 1 plants were under construction concrete cost $30 dollars per cubic meter. Now it costs about $200. When generation 1 plants were built the labor was 30% of the project cost, now its about 60%. And even before the new regulations came in in the 70's 1/2 of the plans to build Gen1 plants were scrapped, or the plants were abandoned during construction. Even then there was massive cost overruns and delays.

Containment Vessel U238 reactors are not economical and should be abandoned entirely. We don't even have enough money to decommission all the old ones, never mind build new ones. Nuclear energy is very promising but a new approach is needed and a lot more research.

Technology is great, but it makes some things a lot more expensive. For example, my business has 2 trucks... One is an old 1993 F350 diesel. The other one is a 2010 F350 diesel. Iv had to do the fuel pump on both of them. On the old truck its a simple lever driven pump that runs off the cam shaft... I replaced it for $60 dollars. The pump in the new truck? High tech electronic pump... $500 dollars. The electronic pump is better and controls the flow of fuel much more precisely... but you get the point.

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Nuclear is moving ahead just fine.....more plants are planned and/or under construction as reported in 2015:

http://www.mapleleafweb.com/forums/topic/24780-fossil-fuel-free-future/page-4#entry1078814

Right, and as pointed out in that thread, almost all the new construction of nuclear plants is in Asian and Eastern European countries. China wouldn't be plunking down reactors by the dozens if it wasn't cost effective. This again suggests that the cost problems dre talks about are not inherent to nuclear energy but just to the political and economic conditions imposed on nuclear energy in Western countries.

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Right, and as pointed out in that thread, almost all the new construction of nuclear plants is in Asian and Eastern European countries. China wouldn't be plunking down reactors by the dozens if it wasn't cost effective. This again suggests that the cost problems dre talks about are not inherent to nuclear energy but just to the political and economic conditions imposed on nuclear energy in Western countries.

Why are half of existing US plants unable to turn a profit? I get that fracking has produced gas, but I don't see how that impacts the cost of running established reactors.

Edited by Guest

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Why are half of existing US plants unable to turn a profit? I get that fracking has produced gas, but I don't see how that impacts the cost of running established reactors.

It affects the business case for investing capital for periodic upgrades that all reactors need.

Reactors that don't need new capital are fine because any income is better than no income.

Edited by TimG

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Right, and as pointed out in that thread, almost all the new construction of nuclear plants is in Asian and Eastern European countries. China wouldn't be plunking down reactors by the dozens if it wasn't cost effective. This again suggests that the cost problems dre talks about are not inherent to nuclear energy but just to the political and economic conditions imposed on nuclear energy in Western countries.

Like I said before, there's SOME truth to that but a lot of the cost problems ARE inherent to nuclear plant designs.

And every situation is different. In parts of China the air is so polluted you cant even see through it. So they are going all-in on hydro, nuclear, renewables etc. Plus they have a glut of nearly free labor. Your average worker on a nuclear construction project in China probably makes about 35 cents per hour USD. Also the roll of IPP's in China is relatively limited.

Western Europe is building nuclear plants for different reasons. France for example has less and .1% of the worlds coal, and 81 countries have more natural gas. Germany has a little more coal and gas but its very hard to recover. But these countries that have had to rely on nuclear plants have very expensive electricity. The UK costs 20 cents per KWH, same with France, Germany costs 35 cents per KWH. Denmark costs 41 cents per KWH, Japan costs 26 cents.

Power is cheapest in places with very low labor costs. 8 cents in China, 8 cents in India, and in countries with lots of coal and gas (Canada 10 cents, US 12 cents)

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And every situation is different. In parts of China the air is so polluted you cant even see through it. So they are going all-in on hydro, nuclear, renewables etc. Plus they have a glut of nearly free labor. Your average worker on a nuclear construction project in China probably makes about 35 cents per hour USD. Also the roll of IPP's in China is relatively limited.

Western Europe is building nuclear plants for different reasons. France for example has less and .1% of the worlds coal, and 81 countries have more natural gas. Germany has a little more coal and gas but its very hard to recover. But these countries that have had to rely on nuclear plants have very expensive electricity. The UK costs 20 cents per KWH, same with France, Germany costs 35 cents per KWH. Denmark costs 41 cents per KWH, Japan costs 26 cents.

Power is cheapest in places with very low labor costs. 8 cents in China, 8 cents in India, and in countries with lots of coal and gas (Canada 10 cents, US 12 cents)

Power is cheapest where there is hydro. Hence like 3-6 cents per kWh in BC and WA, some of the lowest prices on Earth despite high labor cost high tax jurisdictions.

Labor is cheaper in China but not that cheap anymore, and not for the highly skilled technicians and engineers that are needed for nuclear. I bet your estimate of $0.35 per hour for the average nuclear energy worker in China is off by at least a factor of 10. The average Chinese worker makes ~$3/hour, and workers building nuclear power plants are probably somewhat above the average. Many professional jobs in China now pay wages on par with what they make in the West.

Like I said before, there's SOME truth to that but a lot of the cost problems ARE inherent to nuclear plant designs.

I'm just not convinced yet. While you have presented some evidence it is not conclusive. What is the total material cost to build a nuclear power plant as compared to an equivalent power output natural gas power plant? What is the total number of man-years of labor needed in the actual construction of each? How much of the increased labor cost of nuclear isn't actually construction/operating expenses but expenses that are incurred because you have teams of highly skilled engineers and managers that need to be employed for 10+ years throughout the approval/review process before construction can even start? Keep in mind that when calculating returns on investment, businesses must discount future cash flows to find their present value, so cash flows that are decades out in the future are reduced by a significant factor while the labor costs accumulate in the present.

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I'm just not convinced yet.

Well.... invest in the nuclear industry then. Good luck with that.

How much of the increased labor cost of nuclear isn't actually construction/operating expenses but expenses that are incurred because you have teams of highly skilled engineers and managers that need to be employed for 10+ years throughout the approval/review process before construction can even start? Keep in mind that when calculating returns on investment, businesses must discount future cash flows to find their present value, so cash flows that are decades out in the future are reduced by a significant factor while the labor costs accumulate in the present.

I don't know the answer to those questions, but at the same time how much of those extra costs are offset by gigantic subsidies, government management of the fuel cycle, loan guarantees, accident liability caps, over market pricing, etc.

If you include all these things and average them out over the life of the nuclear industry, it has been subsidized to the tune of 7 cents per KWH. That is 140% of the average electricity costs during the lifetime of the nuclear industry.

And the government HAS to have a lot of regulation because the public assumes all the liability. If the nuclear industry had to buy liability insurance on the private market that covers their worst case scenario the costs would be astronomical. Not one private dime would be invested. And if they under-insured? Not one private dime would be invested.

The government is not an impediment to the nuclear industry it is quite literally propping it up with tax payer dollars.

A 2008 study by former utility staffperson Craig A. Severance based on historical outcomes in the U.S. said costs for nuclear power can be expected to run $0.25-0.30 per kWh

If the nuclear industry had to pay all its own bills but still got to keep ALC's?

According to Benjamin K. Sovacool, the marginal levelized cost for "a 1,000-MWe facility built in 2009 would be 41.2 to 80.3 cents/kWh, presuming one actually takes into account construction, operation and fuel, reprocessing, waste storage, and decommissioning"

But ALC's are probably the biggest subsidy. Nuclear accident liability is currently capped at 75 million dollars, and the public is on the hook for the rest. The claims for Fukishima are now at more than 250 billion.

If you want to get the government out of the game, then fine. Deregulate, end all subsidies and tax breaks, and have the industry pay back all its legacy subsidies. Give us our money back, stop asking for more, and then you don't have to follow our rules.

The entire industry would have been bankrupt a long time ago with government "interference".

The nuclear industry is only able to portray itself as a low-cost power supplier today because of past government subsidies and writeoffs. First, the industry received massive subsidies at its inception, reducing both the capital costs it needed to recover from ratepayers (the “legacy” subsidies that underwrote reactor construction through the 1980s) and its operating costs (through ongoing subsidies to inputs, waste management, and accident risks). Second, the industry wrote down tens of billions of dollars in capital costs after its first generation of reactors experienced large cost overruns, cancellations, and plant abandonments, further reducing the industry’s capital-recovery requirements. Finally, when industry restructuring revealed that nuclear power costs were still too high to be competitive, so-called stranded costs were shifted to utility ratepayers, allowing the reactors to continue operating. These legacy subsidies are estimated to exceed seven cents per kilowatt-hour (¢/kWh)—an amount equal to about 140 percent of the average wholesale price of power from 1960 to 2008, making the subsidies more valuable than the power produced by nuclear plants over that period. Without these subsidies, the industry would have faced a very different market reality—one in which many reactors would never have been built, and utilities that did build reactors would have been forced to charge consumers even higher rates.

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I agree that there are plenty of subsides going on for nuclear. But for all the money that the government puts into this industry to keep it going with one hand, it hobbles it at the same time with the other. I agree regulation is necessary from a safety standpoint, of course. The option of "give back the money and build without regulation" is obviously not on the table, because regulation is needed. I think the main problem with the regulations as they stand is the timeframes they impose on nuclear projects. Nuclear plants in the West routinely take decades from the initiation of planning to completion, not because it takes decades to build them but because it takes decades to get them cleared for construction. Anything that has an extra decade inserted into the timeline instantly becomes almost impossibly expensive.

We need to streamline the process so that all the necessary safety reviews and approvals can be done in 1-2 years instead of 10-20, and that alone would likely cut the effective cost to build these plants in half. This is especially important for new designs, many of which have functional/research prototypes built, but will take decades to receive approval for commercial use in Western countries.

Edited by Bonam

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We need to streamline the process so that all the necessary safety reviews and approvals can be done in 1-2 years instead of 10-20, and that alone would likely cut the effective cost to build these plants in half.

I find that a bit hard to believe. I couldn't find good sources, but I read that the cost of regulatory compliance is about 20 - 30 million per reactor, and then about 4.7 million per year after that. Its gonna be tough for that to add up to 1/2 the price of a 10 billion dollar reactor.

As for time delays the Keystone center cost $3,600 per kw, but if it was built in one single day (overnight cost) it would have been $2,950. A healthy savings for sure but not half, and not all of that difference is regulation. A lot of it is capital acquisition costs.

Also, the process has been greatly streamlined in the last ten years. Safety regulations have been eased... security regulation have been eased, and the cost of regulatory compliance has come down.

So like I said... lets see how they do in a free market. End Accident Liability Caps, end all direct and indirect subsidies and public participation in the fuel cycle, and have the industry pay back its legacy subsidies (about 360 billion in today's dollars I believe). Done deal! It will sink or swim.

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Right, and as pointed out in that thread, almost all the new construction of nuclear plants is in Asian and Eastern European countries. China wouldn't be plunking down reactors by the dozens if it wasn't cost effective. This again suggests that the cost problems dre talks about are not inherent to nuclear energy but just to the political and economic conditions imposed on nuclear energy in Western countries.

It also suggests that in China and Eastern Europe the cost will off-loaded onto the environment...socialized in other words.

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It also suggests that in China and Eastern Europe the cost will off-loaded onto the environment...socialized in other words.

Renewables also have a significant impact on the environment, including hydro.

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No they shouldn't be. Materials and labor costs have gone up dramatically, and modern designs are more complex and require more highly skilled professionals to build.

For example... When generation 1 plants were under construction concrete cost $30 dollars per cubic meter. Now it costs about $200. When generation 1 plants were built the labor was 30% of the project cost, now its about 60%. And even before the new regulations came in in the 70's 1/2 of the plans to build Gen1 plants were scrapped, or the plants were abandoned during construction. Even then there was massive cost overruns and delays.

Inflation from 1950s to 2010s is about that. So in real terms, the cost of concrete has not gone up that much. Labour has gone up, largely because of labour shortages and unionization. The fact we struggled in North America to convince young people to go into the trades instead of seeking university degrees in useless fields is part of the problem. We made blue-collar work "unattractive". A bigger problem is labour productivity - the on tool time for workers on large project sites has fallen from 50% to 20% in the last 25 years. There are numerous reasons for this, but many major construction sites have lots of people standing around waiting for instructions or materials. It is unfortunately that industry has gotten so bad at planning how to execute major capital projects, but the asset owners bear a lot of the blame.

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Inflation from 1950s to 2010s is about that. So in real terms, the cost of concrete has not gone up that much. Labour has gone up, largely because of labour shortages and unionization. The fact we struggled in North America to convince young people to go into the trades instead of seeking university degrees in useless fields is part of the problem. We made blue-collar work "unattractive". A bigger problem is labour productivity - the on tool time for workers on large project sites has fallen from 50% to 20% in the last 25 years. There are numerous reasons for this, but many major construction sites have lots of people standing around waiting for instructions or materials. It is unfortunately that industry has gotten so bad at planning how to execute major capital projects, but the asset owners bear a lot of the blame.

Heres a graph showing inflation adjusted concrete and steel prices...

6-large-concrete-wind-towers-a-low-tech-

Even with inflation costs have more than doubled just since 1980. Never mind 1950.

You have some good points about labor costs. Especially the "on tool time" point. I really feel that in both the industries I work in.

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