Nuclear problem: Cost

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Literature Review: Cost problem for Nuclear

This “Ten Problems for Nuclear in the 2020s” booklet identifies ten relevant areas from very recent contributions put forward at academic level in the form journal articles, conference proceedings and students theses. Ten freely accessible internet references have been selected for each area and direct links are provided at the end of each chapter for own consultation. Our selected references do not intend to mirror ranking indexes nor establish novel classifications. On the contrary, they are meant to represent peer-reviewed, diverse and scientifically-sound case studies for vertical dissemination aimed at non-specialist readers. They will also be able to scoop even more references through the bibliography that is reported at the end of each selected reference.

Without further ado, these are the ten problems that we are going to introduce in this booklet:

  1. cost, 
  2. climate change,
  3. fission,
  4. fusion,
  5. waste,
  6. security,
  7. proliferation,
  8. accidents,
  9. applications,
  10. outer space.

Each problem has its own dedicated chapter made of an introductory section, a short presentation of the ten selected references and a conclusions section.

The final chapter of this booklet will report the conclusions from each chapter again in order to provide a complete executive summary.

1 Cost

THE PROBLEM — Nuclear power is cost competitive with other forms of electricity generation, except where there is direct access to low-cost fossil fuels. Despite a reduction in the rate of global nuclear energy deployment, nuclear power continues to be a promising solution to both the increasing demand for electricity and the increasing challenge of climate change. While there is little economic rationale for new nuclear builds in the United States or Western Europe, China and Russia continue to build new nuclear capacities, supported by energy policies and significantly lower construction costs.

CASE STUDIES — … buy this booklet from Amazon

CONCLUSIONS — Nuclear power plant construction is typical of large infrastructure projects around the world, whose costs and delivery challenges tend to be under-estimated. Nuclear waste presents perhaps the largest liability—and opportunity—for taxpayers and the nuclear industry. The global trend is now moving toward more standardized designs and small modular reactors might be especially well suited to off-site construction. Taken together, the aggregate impact of nuclear, hydroelectric and solar/wind generation reduced global reliance on fossil fuels from ~95% of primary energy in 1975 to ~85% in 2020. The high initial cost of building new nuclear power plants in the United States is a key reason for the noncompetitive levelized cost of electricity for both existing and new nuclear power plants. When placed in a larger capacity marketplace, HTGRs have limitations because of higher levelized power costs. In a future carbon-free electricity sector, deployment of advanced small modular reactors would be competitive if the projected levelized costs for electricity for these designs can be attained. The UK and France started in mid-2019 with targets to achieve net-zero by 2050, but perhaps the most significant development in 2020 was the pledge by China to achieve net-zero by 2060. Nuclear power, along with hydropower, forms the backbone of low carbon electricity generation today. Sub-Saharan African countries might leapfrog over the large-scale, traditional light-water nuclear technologies to nuclear technology that is smaller, modular, more flexible and, overall, more appropriate.

TEN FREE REFERENCES FROM THE INTERNET — … buy this booklet from Amazon

“Ten Problems for Nuclear in the 2020s” booklet for Amazon Kindle, 2020; click on the cover to go to the dedicated Amazon listing page

booklet updated on 20 Jul 2021, now on sale as version 1.1

By TenProblems

Literature Reviews for Inquisitive Minds