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PostPosted: Feb 03, 2013 7:51 am 
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Posts: 5060
DaveMart wrote:
Russian, Chinese etc builds are going to be impractical for this round of US reactors, as they have not even begun certification.
In any case, I don't think the problem lies with the companies as such.
When they are building in a conducive place, such as China or Korea, the same companies which have massive cost and time overuns in the West do fine.
The problem is not confined to nuclear build either.
For instance in the UK:
'The report identified a number of drivers for the higher cost of construction in the UK compared to other EU countries and supports the view that higher costs for UK infrastructure are mainly generated in the early project formulation and pre-construction phases.'

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/iuk_cost_review_index.htm

And the rest of Europe itself has way higher costs than elsewhere.
I don't know enough and have not involvement in the sector needed to comment precisely on the factors involved, but it is sure not simply cheap Chinese labour.
Infrastructure builds both in the US and Europe are way above competitive levels.


This is something I'm very interested in, but can't find a comprehensive answer. The general answer seems to be the institutionalization and bureaucratization of nuclear power in the West, which has a debilitating effect on doing anything novel or better. It scares off new companies, new technologies and innovation. Unintentionally of course, which is the ironic part - in naively trying to avoid risk, we actually end up with more risk to us all (eg more fossil fuel usage, usage of older nuclear plant technologies with no passive safety features, etc.). But it's very difficult to unravel the onion completely; for example there is no publicised information about the exact breakdown of cost overruns on Olkiluoto EPR.

In recent discussions, the issue of quality control and quality assurance has been pointed out to me as a major factor in cost overruns. If a subcontractor has a single page in a single document not in order, the entire component or module is not allowed by the regulator and regulations to be delivered and installed, messing up the schedule, which then impacts further cost overruns in the rest of the project with delays...


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PostPosted: Feb 03, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am
Posts: 247
In my view differences is wage rates are in the noise, a non-factor.
The increase in cost associated with limiting suppliers
to those that have jumped thru the hoops to get certificated
is far more important. But I suspect the real damage
associated with the NRC approach goes far deeped.

At the risk of repeating myself, here's what I wrote to a friend
who raised the paperwork issue.

BEGIN QUOTE

if amount of documentation and number of certificates were a measure of quality,
naval ships would be orders of magnitude more reliable
than commercial ships.
In fact, the reverse is true by a very large margin.
See http://www.c4tx.org/ctx/pub/two_ships.pdf

The fact that all the paperwork stifles competition
and gets in the way of improvements only partially
explains why this is the case.
I've worked for and with both naval ship yards and commercial ship yards.
They are on different planets.
In the top commerical yards,
good ideas are jumped on and the good engineers get promoted.
Eventually you end up with a top management made
of top aggressive engineers who eagerly seek out likeminded mentees.

In the naval yards, any thinking outside the box is either
immediately dismissed or dropped into a paperwork process
from which it rarely emerges.
I have a whole series of war stories.
The good kids get turned off and leave. The people who get
promoted are the ones who best know how to work
the system.

When I meet with a group of medium to top level
people at a Korean yard, I'm with a bunch of peers or betters.
In the US naval yards, the higher up you go,
the less impressive the people.
A naval/NRC style program ends up promoting the wrong people.
And then everything falls apart. See LPD.

END QUOTE

My guess is that the same system has wrought the same results at NRC.


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PostPosted: Feb 03, 2013 1:28 pm 
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Thanks for the insider insights, Jack.


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PostPosted: Feb 03, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Joined: Jun 05, 2011 6:59 pm
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Location: NoOPWA
The LPD17 Class is what the Navy got when they tried to build what was supposed to be a war ship using commercial practices. The issue is that a lot of basic requirements are so folded into the "Navy Way" that they often don't get specifically written down. So when trying to CHANGE the "Navy Way" into a commercial way, there is a lot of fumbling and rework as said basic requirements get missed and then re instituted. Folks call it "requirements creep" but in fact it is only requirements retention when folks who are more crafty than wise try changing things.

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DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)


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PostPosted: Feb 04, 2013 9:10 am 
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Joined: Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am
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Kiteman is making my point.

The pure warships are even worse.

Consider the USCG Legend class.
cost 650 million for 4500 ton displacement bloated patriol boat.
The commerical yards could build eight 350,000 ton displacement
tankers for 650 million.

But that's nothing compare to the Zumwalt destroyer:
7 billion dollars for a 15,000 ton ship.
If a single destroyer can cost
7 billion, than a 7 billion dollar 1 GWe NPP
is a spectacular bargain.

Kite thinks these are reasonable numbers.
Like I said "different planet".


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PostPosted: Feb 04, 2013 3:35 pm 
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Joined: Jun 05, 2011 6:59 pm
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Location: NoOPWA
You missed my point. Navy ships are not commercial ships. They have VASTLY different requirements. A commercial ship loaded with weapons is a piece of expensive worthless crap.

If you want an "inexpensive" Navy Ship, build the Navy Ship the Navy way. If you want a hideously expensive Navy ship, try building to Navy requirements a cheap commecial way. You get stupid results.

The DDG1000 was one of those attempts, while also attempting to shoehorn a battle cruiser's worth of capability into a "destroyer's" chassis. The surface ship architect's wet dream!

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DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)


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PostPosted: Feb 04, 2013 9:17 pm 
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Joined: Aug 29, 2008 4:55 pm
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Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
The navy uses a written standards based system while commercial uses an expert based system. When they forced this appraoch on our little group the time and expense we spent on simple things increased 10 times.


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PostPosted: Feb 04, 2013 10:46 pm 
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Given that most American shipyards only design one or two combat ships per career, the written standards are how one maintains the expertise. Unfortunately, the standards writers cannot predict all the ways that those who are craftier than they are wise can "interpret" to circumvent the standards.

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DRJ : Engineer - NAVSEA : (Retired)


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PostPosted: Feb 05, 2013 4:37 am 
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All this supports my contention that we need an expert-based system and that we need to build a lot of nuclear powerplants per year.


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PostPosted: Jun 22, 2015 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Jun 12, 2011 2:24 pm
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Location: Taunusstein, Germany
Does anyone understand this?
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-UK ... 06155.html

What do they mean by "The definition of the radioactive source term; the nature and amount of radioactivity"?


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