Thank you for your unique insight Peter. That information correlates well with a summary of Darlington's cost increases published by the CNA (Canadian Nuclear Association) about ten years ago. It is important to note that the two-year delay imposed on Units 3 and 4 in 1982 is given as the single largest cost increase to Darlington, at $3.7 billion (escalated dollars).
The CNA's summary covers the period from Darlington's project go-ahead in 1981 (when the cost estimate stood at $7.4 billion) to 1992, when Units 3 and 4 were still a year from completion. The cost estimate at that time had reached $13.5 billion -- an increase of $6.1 billion (60% due to the two-year deferral of Units 3 and 4). Nine schedule delays are listed, amounting to 5 years per unit. Approximately 70% of the cost increase is attributed to these schedule delays, plus changes in financial (borrowing) policy. In the end, about 40% of Darlington's cost was interest charges.
It is important to put these numbers into perspective. Darlington is now less than a quarter-way into its projected lifespan (barring life-extension, which CANDU reactors are well-suited to), and has generated roughly $8 billion worth of wholesale electricity. On top of this, it has saved consumers over $2 billion in avoided fossil-fuel usage (taking the rule-of-thumb of $250K/unit-day in savings, and applying the lifetime capacity factors for each of Units 1-4). Darlington provides 20% of Ontario's electricity, and produces no air pollution.
In short, Darlington will make back its investment several times over.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: FRASER Peter, IEA/LTO [mailto:Peter.FRASER@iea.org]
> Sent: Thursday February 14, 2002 8:14 AM
> To: 'email@example.com'
> Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] confusion on Darlington history
> Since I was at the Ministry of Energy during the latter part
> of Darlington's
> history, I think I can help clear up some of the confusion on cost and
> in-service dates as well as answering the question about government
> intervention. Unfortunately, most of my files on the subject
> are back in
> Canada and so I will be relying on my memory for some of this.
> 1. "Initial" cost estimate for Darlington
> The "release estimate" in June 1978 gave a "design and
> construction" cost of
> $3.95 billion based on in-service dates for the units of 11/85 to 2/88
> (i.e., mid to late 80s). However, this estimate did not
> include heavy water
> or commissioning costs. My preferred starting point for
> Darlington estimates
> comes from what the Ontario Hydro Board had actually approved
> a year earlier
> (1977) a total cost of $5 billion (which included heavy water).
> 2. Delays in in-service dates:
> - Hydro announced delays to the project in April 1979 and
> March 1980
> due to lower load forecast. The government directed the
> utility to advance
> the schedule in March 1981. The net impact was that when the
> Ontario Hydro
> Board in August 1981 approved a new budget for the project
> ($7.5 billion,
> includes heavy water and commissioning) the schedule for each
> unit had been
> delayed two and half years from the 1978 estimate. The next year, the
> schedule for units 3 and 4 were delayed a further two years.
> This was the
> last delay attributed to the forecast of lower load.
> Subsequent delays in in-service dates were attributed to
> 3. Direct government intervention in the project
> - The government's intervention in 1981 brought forward
> the dates of
> the first two units by half a year and the last two units by a year.
> - The other direct intervention was when a Select
> Committee on Energy
> interim report in December 1985 recommended to the (Liberal)
> government that
> work on Darlington 3 and 4 be stopped until they could
> consider whether
> completing these plants were cost-effective. I believe that
> the Minister
> did ask Hydro to delay work on those units until the
> following August, when
> the committee issued its final report. However, while Hydro may have
> incurred extra costs because of the work stoppage, they subsequently
> (January 1987) advanced the projected in-service dates for
> these units by
> six months.
> 4. Costs of heavy water for Darlington
> I don't the final figures for this, but the numbers I have
> say $1.5 billion
> (including interest).
> Peter Fraser, Principal Administrator
> Energy Diversification Division
> International Energy Agency
> 9 rue de la Fédération
> 75739 Paris Cedex 15
> tel: +33 (0)1 40 57 67 46
> fax: +33 (0)1 40 57 67 39
> e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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