[Date Prev][Date Next]
[cdn-nucl-l] Nuclear and Wind Economics WITH NUMBERS
I'm doing a series of presentations for OPG new hires (OPG has hired
over 150 new graduates last year and despite layoffs, plans to continue
that trend in the nuclear division) and students (OPG has approximately
80 students this 4 month term, over 200 during the summer) and I've been
working on a handout for them compare wind and nuclear power generation.
I'd like to get comments from the 'panel' (yes, even you Tom) :)
The first two pages are technical - lots of NUMBERS - unlike the papers,
information without numbers is empty reading for an engineer. After
that, I do a quick cost analysis of a Pickering Unit with an 80%
capacity factor (not uncommon - Morgan's lifetime capacity graph is also
included). It goes something like this:
Net electricity produced in 1 year = 365.25 days = 8766 hours
508 MWe(net) * 8766 hours * 0.8 = 3,562,502.4 MWh
Then, a quick calculation for fuel cost. Pickering uses about 232 kg
U/day according to original design. The cost of Uranium is taken from
Cameco cost for 1 lb of U3O8 - currently $9.7 US, where the average cost
has hovered over the past 12 years. I'm not sure about the conversion
from U3O8 to UO2 - any info about a multiplier for that process?
Ignoring that, we have 1 year raw fuel cost for 1 Pickering unit as
= 232 kg U/day * 365.25 days * ($9.70 / 0.63) * 2.2046 lbs/kg =
That ignores manufacturing costs though (est?) Maybe double?
For staff, I think an average estimate is about 1 person per MW
installed - 500 employees, say an average of $75,000 per year (ignoring
benefits, unions, etc... Higher?) that gives $37,500,000 per year.
Plant maintenance costs (material cost only) I'm not sure about but I
wouldn't expect to be extremely high (estimates?) $10 million?
Plus money invested in the long-term disposal fund, and savings for
decommisioning costs. I believe the long-term disposal fund is at
something like $4 billion in total (not sure - other figures?) OPG's
annual report, page 24 says that OPG contributed $428.6 million (~$21
million per reactor) to the combined fund in 2000.
From what I could find, current electricity cost is about 8 cents per
kWh. So, the value of electricity generated by 1 unit in 1 year is:
3,562,502.4 MWh * 1000 * 0.08 = $285,000,192
So, roughly, one nuclear unit is netting $285m - ($6m + $38m + $10m +
$21m) = $210 million per year. Of course, this is distributed
throughout OPG, Hydro One, Toronto (or other) Hydro, but it seems to be
a lot to go around.
Comments at this point?
Back to wind...
The new 1.8 MW wind turbine does not have figures for capacity factor
available yet, but the Huron Wind 600 kW turbine at Bruce has been
operating since 1997. For 1997-2000, it has averaged 1,150 MWh per year
- a capcity factor of 21.9% (not bad - the top turbines in the world
average 25-30%). According to Environment Canada, the yerly mean wind
speed on the coast of Lake Huron and Lake Ontario are very clost - about
17.5 km/h. Using that capcity factor, the OPG Pickering Wind Turbine
will produce per year:
1.8 MW * 8766 hours * 0.219 = 3,455.6 MWh
(the 21.9% factor would include 4-6 days average downtime for
Therefore, to produce the same energy as 1 Pickering Nuclear unit would
3,562,502.4 / 3,455.6 = 1031 1.8 MW wind turbines
The 1.8 MW turbine cost about $3 million to buy and bring over from
Denmark. So, 1031 turbines would cost $3.093 billion (perhaps that many
could get a volume discount, though - I'm not sure about the source of
California's 20,000 wind turbines)
I'm not positive on construction cost of new CANDU 600 reactor ~ $1.4
billion (CAN) or $2333 per kW installed (higher/lower?) Operating cost
is of course higher for a nuclear unit (unless blade breakage becomes a
problem in the winter...)
Space requirements is another mentionable. Wind farms require ~3 blade
diameter clearance between towers, 8-10 diameters between rows depending
on landscape to prevent interference and counteract ground-effect
turbulence. 1031 turbines, therefore, would require
[sqrt(1031) * 78 m * 3] * [sqrt(1031) * 78 m * 8]
= 7.51 km * 20.04 km = 150.5 km2 area
FYI, land area of the Greater Toronto Area = 630 km2
To replace the Pickering A and B NGS would require
8,248 turbines, 5,040 km2 and $24.7 billion
In addition, energy storage to provide power when the wind is not
blowing is required. That many batteries can't be too cheap.
More comments are most welcome...
The full document is posted online at the Toronto Branch renewable
energy topical page at:
Under Wind Energy versus Nuclear Power (200 kb Word doc)