Comparison of Small Modular Reactor and Large Nuclear Reactor Fuel Cost

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DOI: 10.4236/epe.2014.65009    3,378 Downloads   5,323 Views  

ABSTRACT

Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer simple, standardized, and safe modular designs for new nuclear reactor construction. They are factory built, requiring smaller initial capital investment and facilitating shorter construction times. SMRs also promise competitive economy when compared with the current reactor fleet. Construction cost of a majority of the projects, which are mostly in their design stages, is not publicly available, but variable costs can be determined from fuel enrichment, average burn-up, and plant thermal efficiency, which are public parameters for many near-term SMR projects. The fuel cost of electricity generation for selected SMRs and large reactors is simulated, including calculation of optimal tails assay in the uranium enrichment process. The results are compared between one another and with current generation large reactor designs providing a rough comparison of the long-term economics of a new nuclear reactor project. SMRs are predicted to have higher fuel costs than large reactors. Particularly, integral pressurized water reactors (iPWRs) are shown to have from 15% to 70% higher fuel costs than large light water reactors using 2014 nuclear fuels market data. Fuel cost sensitivities to reactor design parameters are presented.

Cite this paper

Pannier, C. and Skoda, R. (2014) Comparison of Small Modular Reactor and Large Nuclear Reactor Fuel Cost. Energy and Power Engineering, 6, 82-94. doi: 10.4236/epe.2014.65009.

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