What is killing the nuclear renaissance?

What is killing the Nuclear
10th IAEE European Conference
Steve Thomas ([email protected])
PSIRU (), Business School
University of Greenwich
2. Shortages of skills and manufacturing capability; 3. Unnecessary delays in licensing and planning; The US programme
• Announced 2001, first plants to be in service by 2010 but orders not now likely before 2012 • Assumed Gen III+ plants economic but subsidies • Range of subsidies offered but loan guarantees key • Initially expected to cover 80% of debt, 50% of total cost. Now expected to cover 80% of total cost • Originally subsidies for 6 units, now 15 (5 designs) • Expected cost up from $1000/kW to >$5000/kW so • 31 units proposed but many not likely to proceed The UK programme
• Gen III+ plants not assumed to be economic but government committed not to offer subsidies • 4 designs examined by NII but 2 withdrawn and • EDF and RWE/E.ON both expecting to build 4 units • EDF will choose EPR but RWE/E.ON have not • Now lobbying by utilities for subsidies, eg a levy or Why no orders?
Financial crisis? Will make finance harder but
Shortages of skills and manufacturing capability?
If Renaissance does start, will inhibit it but not preventing orders now • Unnecessary delays in licensing and planning?
Original schedules optimistic but no reason for regulators to delay for no good reason Design deficiencies: EPR?
• Offered by Areva NP (Areva/Siemens) and derived • Certified France, Finland, under review USA, UK • Chosen by EDF for UK & 6 units proposed for USA • Under construction Finland, France, on order China • Olkiluoto > 3 years late and 50-60% over budget • Flamanville > 20% over budget after 2 years work • Instrumentation & control problems: Finnish regulator threatening not to allow start-up and UK regulator not allowing certification Design deficiencies: AP-1000?
• Offered by Toshiba/Westinghouse and scaled up • AP-600 certified by NRC 1997 after 5 years but no • Certified by US (2006) after 5 more years • Revisions to design submitted after approval and not • Under review in UK and reports of tension between Design deficiencies: ESBWR?
• Offered by GE-Hitachi & probably most radical • Good progress with NRC but no review outside • 6 units proposed for USA but all in doubt • Exelon said it wanted ‘more mature designs’ that offered ‘more certain cost structures and better availability of information.’ Design deficiencies: ABWR?
• Offered by GE-Hitachi & Toshiba in competition • First ordered 1989, certified by NRC 1997 • 4 units in service and 2 under construction in Japan • Interest from India but no interest in Europe or • NRC approval expires 2012: what will be required for renewal (aircraft protection, instrumentation)? • Will this make it gen III+ (cf AP-1000 experience)? Design deficiencies: APWR?
• Late start with NRC, earlier version reviewed by • 30 years of development but still no orders • Is Mitsubishi experienced enough? No experience Escalating costs
• Up to 2002, nuclear industry predicted construction • 2009: Ontario tenders $6700/kW and $10000/kW • Cost estimates before construction always an under- • If cost pass-through to consumers not guaranteed, • Loan guarantees protect vendors & banks and allow • They don’t protect utilities from bankruptcy or from • If costs over-run, borrowing will be very expensive • Estimated default rate for USA 50% so expensive to Conclusions
• Scale of political support unprecedented • Pro: decisions on planning, regulatory approval and • Con: vulnerable to changes of government • If fundamentals of technology and economics are • Outcome may be a handful of heavily subsidised units in USA, one or two loss-making plants in UK • What would be the opportunity cost for renewables Déjà Vu?
• In 60s, vendors kick-started ordering with 12 grossly underpriced orders that nearly bankrupted them • Designs were scaled up too fast and economies made on materials to bail out the economics • These had consequences on reliability for decades • Is the $1000/kW claim forcing vendors to make • Now mistakes will be paid for by utilities, vendors, banks and taxpayers if loan guarantees are offered

Source: http://www.aaee.at/2009-IAEE/uploads/presentations_iaee09/P_thomas_stephen.pdf


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