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Vogtle’s two new nuclear reactors: will they be economically viable?

The challenge to building new nuclear reactors in the U.S. has to do with new technology, the exacting construction and the relative affordability of other energy sources, experts said. While there could be long-term advantages to new nuclear energy, including its relative efficiency and lack of greenhouse gas emissions, the short-term costs are considerable and could sink the projects before they are completed, experts said.

The recently suspended nuclear expansion at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in South Carolina over its burgeoning costs has raised questions about the future of Vogtle’s two new nuclear reactors and other projects……

Capital costs could increase from $5.7 billion to $7.4 billion and financing costs from $2.3 billion to $3.5 billion. Because Georgia Power has the only publicly reported numbers attached to the project, some have used those figures to calculate the total cost at $25 billion, but it cautioned against that figure because the costs for the other companies involved in the project are different.

If the costs came in at the highest estimate and were the same across the board for all partners, the project would actually exceed $27 billion…….

One way of assessing whether adding a new nuclear plant makes economic sense is by looking at measures that seek to compare energy technologies based on what it costs to build and operate them, called levelized cost of electricty, and comparing it with the value of the electricity it would add to the overall system based on the cost of producing it. According to a report earlier this year from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a nuclear reactor that came online in 2022 would actually cost nearly $40 more in kilowatt hour of electricity produced than generating that same electricity by other means………


August 16, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, USA

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