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Response to bananas (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 08:52 PM

3. SMRs will lose the economies of scale of large reactors.

From the press release:
SMRs will lose the economies of scale of large reactors. As the report notes: “Nuclear reactors are strongly sensitive to economies of scale: the cost per unit of capacity goes up as the size goes down. This is because the surface area per kilowatt of capacity, which dominates materials cost and much of the labor cost, goes up as reactor size is decreased. Similarly, the cost per kilowatt of secondary containment, as well as independent systems for control, instrumentation, and emergency management, increases as size decreases … For these reasons, the nuclear industry has historically built larger and larger reactors in an effort to benefit from economies of scale. The four designs would reduce the size of each reactor considerably: by a factor of five (Westinghouse) to a factor of 25 (NuScale) relative to the reactors now being built in Georgia and South Carolina. Such large size reductions imply significant increases in unit cost due to loss of economies of scale.” It is highly questionable whether mass manufacturing cost reduction can make up for the cost escalation caused by loss of economies of scale.


This is the basic problem - there's no such thing as a free lunch.

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bananas Aug 2013 OP
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