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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2012 9:20 am 
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'The latest report estimates total projected costs for the project of $6.2 billion - slightly up on the $6.1 billion projected costs in its last semi-annual report but still lower than the $6.5 billion originally projected when the Georgia PSC originally certified the project in March 2009. Although Exelon recently decided to drop plans for a new nuclear plant at Victoria County in Texas, citing economic conditions and low natural gas prices, Georgia Power says that nuclear still represents net savings compared to a combined cycle natural gas option identified as the "next best" alternative. According to the report, the Vogtle units will represent net savings of over $5 billion over the next best alternative over the lifetime of the plant.'

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Vo ... 09127.html

Since NG is probably around half the sustainable price and currently sells at a loss, then the economics of nuclear power even in the US are probably unanswerable if we can build at anything like this cost.

A possible counter influence to this is if interest rates rise, as the costs of nuclear are obviously upfront.
Still, not only is nuclear effectively carbon free, but it should be cost competitive under almost any scenario.

I don't know how they are doing so much better on price at this plant than at others in the West, but one cheap plant clearly indicates that high cost is not inherent in the technology.

NB I have amended the title of this thread, as it was inaccurate.
From the source it was not clear that the costs given referred only to Georgia Power's share.
Unfortunately this does not amend the title throughout the thread, so the original inaccuracy remains as the header on the rest of the posts/


Last edited by DaveMart on Sep 08, 2012 12:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sep 04, 2012 10:01 am 
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Hmm, it is not clear to me whether this represents all of the costs, or only the portion due from Georgia Power:

'Georgia Power is part of a group of municipal and cooperative electric companies building the new reactors at Vogtle. The utility is responsible for $6.1 billion of the estimated $14 billion project. Georgia Power customers are already footing the bill for the project, paying down the reactor’s financing costs with a monthly fee on their bills. The project also received $8.3 billion in taxpayer-backed federal loan guarantees.'

http://www.ajc.com/news/business/plant- ... 4-1/nQRBK/

Is the difference due to the way financing costs are calculated, or is there double counting going on, or what?
Confusing!


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PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 4:11 pm 
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If you look at the bottom of the WNN page the cost is project as 14 B and that's for 2.2 GWe, that's expensive power in my book.


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PostPosted: Sep 05, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Hi Lindsay.
I would not trust Wiki on this, as any anti-nuclear bod could provide the figures, and throw in all sorts of imaginary costs, as they regularly do. They tend to bung in decommissioning costs and so on, when these are paid for in the running costs, and double count anything they can get away with.
It is pretty difficult to get authoritative figures, as a lot of it depends on how interest is allocated


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 5:15 am 
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Well, I have found the cost breakdown for Vogtle, and it shows both figures.
The $6.1 bn represents the Georgia Power share
Link:
https://epic.sites.uchicago.edu/sites/e ... alcopy.pdf

Page10 and 11, figures 1,2, 3 and 4 are at the heart of it.

On page 10 fig 1 they give the certified cost at $6.1 bn, including financing and escalation for Georgia Power

On page 11 fig 3 the total project cost is shown as $13.3bn.

The Total project cost/kw is $6,000

The Overnight cost which does not include financing and escalation is $3,886kw in fig 4.


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 6:25 am 
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Ok, so the total project cost is around 14 billion with 4 billion of that for financing.

With a 5 year construction period, that allows us to infer that the interest rate is 7%. (1.07^5=1.4=14/10).

Let us take $4500/kWe as the overnight cost then. At 7% interest and 20 years this gives 5.4 cents per kWh for the capital. Not bad. Add 1.7 cents/kWh for fuel, enrichment, fabrication, waste storage and decommissioning, gives 7.1 cents per kWh levelised cost. Not bad for first of a kind passive plants.


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 7:49 am 
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Hi Cyril.
That sounds about right.
I'd really recommend going through the paper I linked, as it is the best I have seen on giving a proper accounting breakdown.

I couple of comments from the paper which talk to your concerns.
They note the increase in costs after around 2005, and that although it is larger than for gas and coal, generating costs in general have risen.
They also comment that since the peak in commodities prices cost pressures have eased.

Much of the rise in the case of nuclear is due to different accounting, as tenders are now expected to be firm, and so firms put in a safety margin.
In turn their sub-contractors on fixed price contracts ensure a wider safety margin than they would have in the past, so cost estimates go up cumulatively in large part due to the new, stricter tendering process.

Previous cost estimates, and they reference a 2004 study by MIT, also had early cost estimates which have now been refined, and they assumed build of current reactor designs, whereas costs now reflect the introduction cost of new technology.

The estimates specifically exclude future reductions due to series production (FOAKE), and represent first of a kind costs.
Amongst those costs are what they refer to as those of 'Americanisation', ie although they can to some degree leverage the experience of build in China, where they are further ahead in the first build of AP1000 reactors, they incur around $800 million in making sure that American standards are met.

Although your 7.1 cents/kwh as a levelised cost sounds in the right ball park, this is as a plant gate cost and is substantially more than gas and coal without sequestration, where we might think in terms of perhaps 5 cents/kwh.

A recent analysis by 'The Economist' says:
'For a plant costing $5,500 per kW, capital makes up 75% of total costs in Europe and America. UBS reckons the levellised cost of such a plant in Europe is 11% higher than the cost of a gas plant. It would take a quintupling of the carbon price to wipe out that differential. And those calculations assume that it is as easy to borrow to finance a nuclear plant, with all its uncertainties and regulatory risk, as it is to finance a gas plant, which is probably unrealistic.'

And the put the cost advantage of gas in the US at about double that in Europe:
http://www.economist.com/node/21549094

They are rather more optimistic about small nuclear, and also attribute much of the cost advantage of China and Korea to fundamentally more efficient production and continuity of build rather than simply labour costs.

I would further comment that gas prices in the US are below production costs, and need to about double to go into the black.

So there are certainly significant cost challenges for nuclear power, but the costs are not wildly higher than fossil fuels.


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 9:18 am 
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Vogtle gets most of the press attention, but the Summer Nuclear Plant expansion by SCANA (South Carolina), is not far behind. This will also be 2 AP1000's. For some reason the costs there are quoted as $9B. That is so much less I expect it involves some different accounting.


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 9:21 am 
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A little off-topic, but I think the recent acquisition of the Shaw Group by Chicago Bridge and Iron (CB&I) is interesting. Shaw is the contractor for all the AP1000's currently under construction. CB&I seems to have some faith in the 'nuclear renaissance'.


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PostPosted: Sep 06, 2012 11:38 am 
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Steve:
pages 12 & 13 of the link I gave analyse costs at Summer:

'The “base project cost” appears to be the equivalent of an overnight cost estimate, as it does not
include financing or escalation.13 The remaining adjustment to be made is to convert the estimate
into 2010 dollars for consistency. Multiplying the total project overnight cost calculated in Table
2-4 by this factor yields a total overnight cost of over $8.6 billion in 2010 dollars. Dividing that
total by the installed capacity of the plant returns an overnight cost of $3,617 per kW in 2010
dollars, derived as shown in Table 7.'

The overnight costs at least are within a couple of hundred of Vogtle.
Ownership costs are widely variable by site.

The other build being considered in Florida includes transmission as well, so is even more difficult to compare.


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PostPosted: Sep 07, 2012 1:18 am 
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The cost of near complete Indian 700MW PHWR is stated to be $ 1700/KW. The Russian and Chinese costs are close.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf02.html
The link gives a comparison of overall costs. If the UK has to outsource the reactors, they would profit by buying them from Russia or Asia (less Japan).


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PostPosted: Sep 07, 2012 3:13 pm 
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SteveK9 wrote:
Vogtle gets most of the press attention, but the Summer Nuclear Plant expansion by SCANA (South Carolina), is not far behind. This will also be 2 AP1000's. For some reason the costs there are quoted as $9B. That is so much less I expect it involves some different accounting.


Not really. But a very different financing methodology.


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PostPosted: Sep 07, 2012 3:19 pm 
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DaveMart wrote:
Steve:
pages 12 & 13 of the link I gave analyse costs at Summer:

'The “base project cost” appears to be the equivalent of an overnight cost estimate, as it does not
include financing or escalation.13 The remaining adjustment to be made is to convert the estimate
into 2010 dollars for consistency. Multiplying the total project overnight cost calculated in Table
2-4 by this factor yields a total overnight cost of over $8.6 billion in 2010 dollars. Dividing that
total by the installed capacity of the plant returns an overnight cost of $3,617 per kW in 2010
dollars, derived as shown in Table 7.'

The overnight costs at least are within a couple of hundred of Vogtle.
Ownership costs are widely variable by site.

The other build being considered in Florida includes transmission as well, so is even more difficult to compare.


The financing methodology in use at Summer is the South Carolina Base Load Recovery Act. It's essentially a "pay as you go" scheme with many reviews and a lot of oversight. It makes the plants cheaper since you are not paying as much interest but a bit riskier since the state public service commission could change their minds. But so far it has been very solid and dependable. A few billion has been spent at Summer and the outlook is very positive going forward. This is all publicly available information if you know where to look.


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PostPosted: Sep 07, 2012 4:09 pm 
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If you already have the link to better information, perhaps you would share.
Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sep 07, 2012 4:17 pm 
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DaveMart wrote:
If you already have the link to better information, perhaps you would share.
Thanks.

http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess117_200 ... ls/431.htm

Google searches will also help.


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