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Author of controversial memo puts the final nail in the coffin: Nuclear power in Denmark is not cost-effective

Even with district heating generation and a higher capacity factor, nuclear power in Denmark is still too expensive, according to calculations by an associate professor in energy planning at Aalborg University.

ING, Frederik Marcher Hansen 14. Mar 2023

Nuclear power in Denmark makes no sense, asserts Jakob Zinck Thellufsen, associate professor in energy planning at Aalborg University, during a presentation at the IDA trade union.

The controversial energy technology can neither help us achieve the climate goal for 2030 nor pay for itself compared to wind and solar energy, even if the nuclear power plants run almost continuously and generate district heating as a side benefit.

Jakob Zinck Thellufsen is the main author of the memo “Facts about nuclear power: Input for a fact-based discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power as part of the green transition in Denmark”.

The memo was published in October last year and brought a lot of criticism.

Jakob Zinck Thellufsen has recalculated the scenarios for nuclear power in Denmark in the second version of the memo, which is currently being finalized, but which he partially revealed during the presentation.

………………………… Overall, however, this does not change the conclusion…………………………………..

Even if the construction costs are reduced to EUR 4.5 million per MW, the costs of a nuclear power-dominated energy system will be about 5 billion higher than of an energy system dominated by wind and solar power…………………………..

We can see that it’s possible to do it significantly faster in Asia, in around seven to nine years. But we have to compare that to the time required to build an offshore wind farm (including planning, ed.). And if it is pure construction time that we are looking at, it takes longer,” he says.1

Thus, nuclear power in Denmark will not be able to play a role in reaching the Danish climate goal of 70 percent lower CO2 emissions in 2030 compared to 1990, he states.

SMRs are also too expensive

Jakob Zinck Thellufsen has also looked at the small modular reactors, SMRs, which are claimed by proponents of nuclear power to be able to solve one of the biggest problems with conventional nuclear power—the costs.

During his presentation, he showed a figure of what the first SMRs from UK’s Rolls Royce and USA’s NuScale are expected to cost.

The cost is around EUR 55–70 per MWh, while the cost of the Danish offshore wind farm Thor is significantly lower at EUR 40 per MWh, and the cost of offshore wind turbines in Denmark in 2030 is expected to be just over EUR 30 per MWh.

“I’m not sure that either Rolls Royce’s or NuScale’s SMRs will be the right choice in the future, but it can be quite difficult to find figures on what they actually cost. […] and the technology is also developing, so it might be cheaper to do it (buy SMRs, ed.), but there the technology is also developing here (points to the figures for offshore wind, ed.), so the competition continues,” he says.

Where should we place them (the SMRs, ed.)? And how long can we wait for this to happen? That, I think, is an interesting topic to discuss.”


March 24, 2023 - Posted by | business and costs, EUROPE

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