Repetition is the key to cutting nuclear costs, not innovation. Despite embarking on the construction of a giant EPR at Hinkley Point the Government is tempted by the idea of leapfrogging to a generation of SMRs perhaps influenced by the possibility of showcasing home grown Rolls Royce technology. The case for a leap forward has been made by Michael Liebreich because of the high cost of Flamanville and Vogtle. The problem is, with most industries innovation drives down costs whereas nuclear has a negative learning curve. Shellenberger says building the 5th and 6th reactor of the same type in South Korea is 25% cheaper than the 1st and 2nd.
FT 14th Sept 2020 read more »
Tom Samson, Rolls-Royce: Levelling up with nationwide nuclear power – Michael Shellenberger and Christopher Barnard (Comment, September 4) highlight the importance to Britain of nuclear power, but they misunderstand the opportunity presented by small modular reactors. We are using well-understood energy technology to create a low-cost power station that is easier and faster to build and achieve scale than traditional ones. It offers Britain a low-carbon opportunity that must be grasped. We have decades of infrastructure and power experience and have invested significantly to bring about this opportunity, with government support. Our design is focused on de-carbonising future energy needs by providing secure and reliable clean power at a price comparable with intermittent offshore wind, while creating an estimated 40,000 high-skilled British jobs. We will support the vital levelling-up agenda by establishing new factories and industrial activity across Britain, and we will target billions of pounds in export revenues. Our design will contribute to a low-cost nuclear future. We are reducing construction and delivery risks by using a factory-built modular power plant. Our approach drastically reduces site-based construction activities and results in a more predictable, controllable and faster outcome, with a target build cycle of four years per 440 megawatt unit.
Telegraph 12th Sept 2020 read more »