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Investigating the Economic Viability of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Ahmed Abdulla, Inês Azevedo, and M. Granger Morgan May 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "Investigating the Economic Viability of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Ahmed Abdulla, Inês Azevedo, and M. Granger Morgan May 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 Investigating the Economic Viability of Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Ahmed Abdulla, Inês Azevedo, and M. Granger Morgan May 2012

2 2 Large reactors are falling out of favor Carnegie Mellon University On cost: Building a large reactor is viewed as a big, complicated, scary, long-term commitment Average size of U.S. reactor = 1,000MW e (NRC 2011) Move to large reactors driven by scale economies Can we produce nuclear reactors like aircraft? Safety of reactor operations Spent fuel management Diversion of fuel to nefarious ends High capital cost

3 3 Small reactors produce less than 300MW e (IAEA) Variety of sizes and technologies (light water and non-light water) Interest in small modular reactors (SMRs) Carnegie Mellon University Possible advantages: Factory fabrication Modular construction Flexibility in siting and sizing Shorter construction schedules Lower capital outlay Expanding the market: Orgs that cannot afford large plants Difficult geographies Constrained grids New approaches to safety Alternative end-uses Charleston Regional Business Journal (2012, April 11). NuScale, NuHub to partner on small modular reactors. Retrieved May 14, 2012, from http://www.charlestonbusiness.com/news/43456-nuscale-nuhub-to- partner-on-small-modular-reactors?rss=0

4 4  2011/12: DOE spent $110 million on SMR RD&D  “The department is hoping for $500 million over the next five years” *  These adopt familiar PWR operational principles  Most U.S. vendor designs (any many intl. ones) are of this variety We focus on integral light water SMRs Carnegie Mellon University * Wald, M.L. (2011, February 11). Administration to Push for Small ‘Modular’ Reactors. The New York Times. Retrieved September 30, 2011 from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/science/earth/13nuke.html?_r=2 ** DOE. (2011, February 15). Small Modular Reactors. Retrieved July 21, 2011, from DOE - Office of Nuclear Energy: http://www.ne.doe.gov/pdfFiles/factSheets/2012_SMR_Factsheet_final.pdf *** Dan Ingersoll, personal communication, September 27, 2011. Funding reflects the DOE’s belief “that these SMRs can be commercially deployed within the next decade.” ** “the question mark to me…. is: where are they going to come out in dollars per kWe?” “the best data available, which is [sic] largely conjecture, exists [sic] with vendors.” ***

5 5 Building on techniques developed at CMU for focussed elicitation of expert opinion, we conduct technical interviews to arrive at estimates of cost, working with experts in the nuclear industry. Here we try to generate such estimates Carnegie Mellon University Twelve nuclear experts agreed to participate in our elicitation: All actively working on SMR projects, or closely related to SMR vendors Experts come from several departments Technical services, project management, and supply chain development

6 6 We explore 3 nuclear reactor designs Carnegie Mellon University Scenario 1: 1,000MW e ‘conventional’ GenIII+ reactor Scenario 2: 45MW e SMR Number 1 Scenario 5: 225MW e SMR Number 2 Left: Thompson, K. (2011, June 27). Concepts and Prototypes: Two Next-Gen Nukes. Popsci. Retrieved October 1, 2011 from http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2011- 06/next-gen-nuke-designs-promise-safe-efficient-emissions-free-energy Center: Heft, G. (2011, April). Small Modular Reactors Make Headway in Many Countries. Black & Veatch Solutions Magazine. Retrieved October 1, 2011 from http://solutions.bv.com/small-modular-reactors-make-headway-in-many-countries/ Right: Westinghouse Nuclear (2011). Explore the SMR. Westinghouse SMR. Retrieved October 1, 2011 from http://www.westinghousenuclear.com/smr/smr.swf 60ft 18m 89ft 27m 220ft 66m

7 7 Scenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3Scenario 4Scenario 5 1 unit GenIII+ 1,000MW e 1 unit SMR No. 1 45MW e 5 units SMR No. 1 225MW e 1 unit SMR No. 2 225MW e 24 units SMR No. 1 1,080MW e We explore 5 nuclear plant deployment scenarios Carnegie Mellon University

8 8 One-unit scenarios: overnight cost per kW e Carnegie Mellon University 1 unit GenIII+ 1,000MW e 1 unit SMR No. 1 45MW e 1 unit SMR No. 2 225MW e Scenar. Expert * ** * Incl. owner’s cost

9 9 How much would an SMR project cost? Carnegie Mellon University 1 unit SMR No. 1 45MW e 5 units SMR No. 1 225MW e 1 units SMR No. 2 225MW e Scenar. Expert * ** * Incl. owner’s cost

10 10 It will take less time to construct SMR plants Carnegie Mellon University There is consensus that a conventional, 1,000MW e n th -of-a-kind plant would take 5 years from first concrete to commissioning The single-unit SMR n th -of-a-kind plants would take 3 years from first concrete to commissioning 0% 100% % project completion construction duration (years):35

11 11 Assessing the economic attractiveness of SMRs Carnegie Mellon University “Both academic studies and vendor materials tout the potential economic benefits of SMRs. After studying the literature, we have compiled a list of these benefits. Here, we would like your opinion on these benefits: how valuable do you consider each?”

12 12 Safety and security: challenges faced by SMRs Carnegie Mellon University “Here, we would like your opinion on which safety concerns are alleviated by SMR deployment (compared to GenIII+) and which concerns are not.”

13 13  We have estimates of how much deployment scenarios would cost  Factory fabrication, modular construction, and shorter constructions schedules hold promise in “improving the chances” of iPWRs  iPWRs do not constitute a paradigm shift when it comes to safety and security Technology will cater to a larger market than conventional nuclear  What would an SMR cost schedule look like?  Where in the world would these be viable now?  How do you move to a place where SMRs can be deployed in different parts of the world? (Institutions + proliferation)  How do the communities hosting these plants feel about them? (does the public’s perception of SMRs differ from that of large reactors?) Moving forward with data from elicitation Carnegie Mellon University


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