Techno-economic analysis for construction and operation of a fleet of nuclear power plants in South Africa as proposed by the IRP 2010
Collins, Ashley Jacques
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The South African Government has prioritized industrialization and infrastructure investment to ensure electricity supply and distribution to its people and industries. In order to realize this, the Government intends to construct a fleet of nuclear power plants (NPPs) with a combined output capacity of 9 600 MW, which is in alignment with the updated Integrated Resources Plan (IRP 2016) for South Africa. However, before a procurement decision can be made, policymakers must first address concerns regarding the economic viability of nuclear technology. A study is therefore required to support the policy-making process. This research proposes that a techno-economic analysis be performed in order to provide some context to the debate about the cost of nuclear energy, i.e. nuclear power economics. The methodology for this research starts with an initial survey of literature concerning nuclear power economics and the key aspects by which it is influenced. Literature concerning various nuclear power projects and the various nuclear power plant technologies was also considered. The scope of this research is limited to Generation III and Generation III+ plants that are currently operational, under construction, as well as approved nuclear projects that have valid contracts in place. The Generation III and Generation III+ reactor technologies that were considered for this research include the AP1000, EPR1600, Hualong One, APR1400, and the VVER1200 reactor technologies. The research focuses on accumulating costing information to be used for conducting economic simulations. The various designs were also evaluated for their technical capabilities. A mathematical model was developed to perform the economic evaluation. The model inputs for the calculation of the Overnight Capital Cost (OCC) are explained and described. It is assumed for this research that the nuclear component industry is fully integrated with components being sourced internationally at competitive prices, and that nuclear power economics is sensitive to variations in the labour cost as well as labour productivity. The emphasis is therefore on determining the Overnight Capital Cost (OCC) for each project, were it to be constructed within the South African economic landscape, but also to observe the influence of labour cost and labour productivity on the OCC. The different scenarios were prepared on a country-by-country basis and were developed by reference to a common set of generic assumptions for each scenario, as described in the modelling procedure (refer to § 4.1). The Total Capital Investment Cost (TCIC) component of each project was transformed to a localized (South African) OCC for projects, were it to be constructed within the South African economic landscape. The results indicate that the average OCC for constructing one of the five technologies within the South African economic landscape is $2 910/kW. The technology with the lowest localized OCC is the APR1400 at a cost of $2 293/kW. A sensitivity analysis will also indicate which assumed or determined variable will have the greatest impact on the localized Overnight Capital Cost
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