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A Techno-Economic Analysis of Future Nuclear Energy Systems

May 27th, 2014

A paper presented to the Institution of Chemical Engineers Conference on Nuclear Energy, Manchester University, 9-11 April 2014

Stephen Bush and David MacDonald


The paper sets out the calculated costs and emission implications of two alternative electricity supply strategies and the place of nuclear power within them, over the period 2015-50.  One strategy , “Going Green”, is proposed by the UK National Grid (2009-13).  This puts meeting emissions/time targets as its first objective.  The second strategy, “Secure Energy” as previously advanced by the authors (2009), puts price competitive supply as its first objective with minimising emissions as its second.

Broadly the principal difference on the ground between the two systems is that “Secure Energy” favours building around twice the new nuclear capacity that “Going Green” does, which favours increasing wind capacity to about four times the present.  Both strategies deploy mainly gas-fired electricity generation to meet the UK electricity supply requirement.

For nuclear new build, the paper discusses different reactor types and their fuel cycles.  Particular stress is laid on the “learning” cost advantage of building a long-term sequence of the same type of reactor.  The advantages of a parallel programme of fast-breeder reactor construction and an innovative programme of civil reactors in the 50-100 MW range are also discussed.

Key words: Nuclear, Electricity, National Grid, Fast Breeder, Going Green, Secure Energy, Economics.

To read the full paper as a pdf please click on the link Techno economic analysis6