People are always asking why Nuclear Power Plants cost so much. They want to blame regulation, or safety measures. Maybe even because of unnecessary cost over runs. Mainly they do this because “They want to build more NUCLEAR Power Plants”. But the fact of the matter is you can’t build them cheaper and in fact given the costs of the 2 Major Nuclear catastrophes, maybe you need to build them more expensive. The simple fact, is that a new Coal Fired Plant can cost 2 billion dollars and kill the atmosphere while a Uranium Fired Plant could cost 4 billion dollars and kill us.
Anyway here is some discussion of that:
Should any discussion of nuclear power go on for long enough, it becomes inevitable that someone will rant that the only reason it has become unaffordable is a proliferation of safety regulations. The argument is rarely (if ever) fleshed out—no specific regulation is ever identified as problematic, and there seems to be no consideration given to the fact that we might have learned something at, say, Fukushima that might merit addressing through regulations.
But there’s now a paper out that provides some empirical evidence that safety changes have contributed to the cost of building new nuclear reactors. But the study also makes clear that they’re only one of a number of factors, accounting for only a third of the soaring costs. The study also finds that, contrary to what those in the industry seem to expect, focusing on standardized designs doesn’t really help matters, as costs continued to grow as more of a given reactor design was built.
More of the same
The analysis, done by a team of researchers at MIT, is remarkably comprehensive. For many nuclear plants, they have detailed construction records, broken out by which building different materials and labor went to, and how much each of them cost. There’s also a detailed record of safety regulations and when they were instituted relative to construction. Finally, they’ve also brought in the patent applications filed by the companies who designed the reactors. The documents describe the motivations for design changes and the problems those changes were intended to solve.
Go there and read. Sorry I was late. More next week.