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 Post subject: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 28, 2014 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Dec 23, 2014 3:57 pm
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I noticed a plant shutdown in the news. The article says the expected cost to dismantle the plant is $1.25B

http://www.barchart.com/headlines/story/4636044/mixed-reaction-as-vermont-yankee-plant-shuts-down

How can these life-cycle costs be reduced in a Gen-IV reactor design?


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 4:17 am 
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decommissioning costs aren't important in the life cycle costs, because they occur at end of life. If you set aside 0.2 cent/kWh you'll have billions for decommissioning after 40+ years.

I agree though it is strange that demolishing stuff would be billion-dollar expensive. To understand where costs could be lowered we need to understand the fundamental problem here. Which we don't, or at least I don't.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 11:23 am 
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A significant slice of this cost is due to LNT assumptions. Resulting in an essential requirement to bring the radioactivity levels back to much lower than Denver levels.

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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 5:47 pm 
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macpacheco wrote:
A significant slice of this cost is due to LNT assumptions. Resulting in an essential requirement to bring the radioactivity levels back to much lower than Denver levels.


Even so, can you imagine spending 1.25 billion USD on demolishing an industrial facility? Most of it is just non contaminated concrete and steel. It is a strange mystery to me, everything nuclear is expensive to the point of begging belief, but no one can give a clear account of where the money is going. For visualizing, a billion dollars is 1000 workers working for 10 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 7:45 pm 
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Remember, you either have to do the work with certified radcon workers or let it sit (SAFSTOR) for a good number of years till the activation products decay and then use regular workers. As stated earlier, this is somewhat driven by the rather absurd LNT.

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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 8:44 pm 
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Maybe they should just fill the entire containment with grout - not even dismantle everything, take the head off the reactor and fill the vessel too.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 9:19 pm 
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Quote:
How can these life-cycle costs be reduced in a Gen-IV reactor design?


For a big solid fuel reactor I imagine that we should do the maximum to protect the vessel and the internal structures from the neutron flux in order to minimize the activation. This is also good for the durability of the vessel. We can use neutron reflectors or blankets. We can also use replaceable neutron absorber materials placed around the neutron reflectors/blankets. These absorbers will be replaced during refuelling.

We should also minimize the activation of the corrosion products coming from the cladding and the primary circuit and decrease the occurence of cladding failures with a stronger cladding. Easy to say, much difficult to do. There are also some radioactive products which diffuse everywhere like tritium.

Personaly I would say that we should just defuel the reactor and simply wait some time after shutdown in order to let the level of radioactivity decrease and after that begin the dismantling.
I am not sure but I believe that one of the options that EDF was thinking about is to wait 40 years before to begin the decomissionning. After 40 years some products like 60Co have nearly disappeared. We can maybe seal the entrances of the facilities, I am not sure if the people will accept it.

For a small reactor I guess we can easily remove the vessel from the plant in one piece. It is maybe possible to also design big power plants with vessels which can be replaceable. That increases the lifetime of the power plant and diminishes the dismantling costs.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 30, 2014 12:17 am 
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Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
It does not cost that much. I think they are fishing for increased rates.

I believe Ch2mhill got 1 billion over 5 years( award fee) to do D&D work at the INL. in that time they took down MTR,PBF,ETR,EBRII and the Idaho chemical processing plant main processing building and a ton of highly radioactive labs. They also took down a bunch of non-radioactive office buildings.They also retrieved a large amount rocky flats waste destined for WIPP from 6 different pits. And yes some facilities after they striped out what they could were filled with a special grout. But that would depend on the state of Vermont. I would think a large portion of that plant is not radioactive. and yes the answer is why the rush. Take the fuel out of it and let it sit. sell off what part are usable elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 30, 2014 3:44 am 
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E Ireland wrote:
Maybe they should just fill the entire containment with grout - not even dismantle everything, take the head off the reactor and fill the vessel too.


I don't like this at all. It is an old fashioned and unintelligent plan, that screams "this is dangerous, we fill 'r up with concrete 'cuz we're incompetent and don't know what else to do" to the public.

Besides most of the material isn't even radioactive at all and the part that is, after the fuel is removed, isn't dangerous to the public. Lock the doors for a few decades (people accept this) and let the activated material decay. Then demolish to a greenfield site or whatever else the local authorities or public fancies. Preferably there would be a new nuclear plant built on the same site, the site is already suitable and people are used to it. Future power demand will be bigger than it is right now, that is certain as well.

With wind turbines this is called "repowering". Replace an old 0.5 MW turbine with a 5 MW one. Wind turbines are feeble things, imagine doing this with nuclear plants. Old 500 MW BWR replaced by a 1550 MWe ESBWR for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 30, 2014 11:04 am 
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To get an idea of how much 1.25 billion is: it is the budget of the world's tallest skyscraper being built right now, at over 1000 meters tall.

http://www.kingdomtowerskyscraper.com/

Now someone explain to me clearly why mothballing an old piece of concrete and steel and then demolishing it costs as much as actaully building a hyper modern ultra high tech skyscraper.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 31, 2014 11:36 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
Now someone explain to me clearly why mothballing an old piece of concrete and steel and then demolishing it costs as much as actaully building a hyper modern ultra high tech skyscraper.
The NRC.

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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Dec 31, 2014 2:19 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
To get an idea of how much 1.25 billion is: it is the budget of the world's tallest skyscraper being built right now, at over 1000 meters tall.

http://www.kingdomtowerskyscraper.com/

Now someone explain to me clearly why mothballing an old piece of concrete and steel and then demolishing it costs as much as actaully building a hyper modern ultra high tech skyscraper.



They're getting a hell of a deal on that skyscraper. My previous employer finished a ~30 story this year for 1 billion (their headquarters). It's lavishly furnished but I'm sure Kingdom Tower will be too.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Jan 01, 2015 6:28 am 
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Location: Vitoria-ES-Brazil
Let's realize that for a 60 year operational life with 1GWe of output at 97% uptime, that's 510TWh worth of electricity generated. Assuming US$ 60/MWh (or US$ 60 million / TWh), that's US$ 30.6 billion worth of electricity throughout those 60 years. For a typical 1.33GWe net reactor, that's US$ 40.60 billion worth of electricity ! So US$ 1.25 billion isn't much, as long as the reactor isn't sacrificed early like San Onofre ! Anyhow, with hormesis instead of LNT that price should drop by about 2/3 (ok, that's my wild guess).

Talking about life-cycle costs, very interesting reading:
http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/pr ... sh-nuclear

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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Jan 01, 2015 7:22 am 
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The nukes are usually connected to the Very High Voltage Power net. There are roads and railway lines, cooling Towers , water intakes, Administration buildings, all the infrastructure necessary for a power plant...

The Best is to follow Cyrill and place a new nuclear at the same spot.

The Green friends usually prefer recycling.

In this way the whole steel scrap of the old Nuke should be mixed to the regular scrap. If 3000tons of light radioactive scrap from the Primary circuit is mixed to 5 Mio. tons of scrap the radioactivity should by below the regulatory limits.

The concrete scrap of the reactor building should be grinded and used as filler in road construction.


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 Post subject: Re: Life-cycle Costs?
PostPosted: Jan 01, 2015 3:45 pm 
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Joined: Jul 14, 2011 9:22 pm
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Location: Forest Park, GA
Will they mix radioactive steel at any plants?
I just got to go on a tour of a steel plant a few months ago, and they had several processes to detect radioactivity.
They even told us flat out that if they detect radioactivity in a batch as its melting down they will scrap the entire 20 ton melt.


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