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December 10, 2007



This sounds interesting. But it seems to me that there may be other options than off-shore wind farms that don't affect the visibility off-shore (wave technology, underwater turbines, etc). I wonder if this is part of this plan. This would be great if they get it done.


Britain and Portugal are probably the leaders in developing wave and tidal power:
These sources are at very early stages of development though, comparable to wind power twenty or so years ago, and won't be generating substantial amounts of power for some time.


I would second DaveMarts opinions. Also the tidal/wave power schemes will have power versus time variability which is substantially decorrelated with wind. In plain english that means that a combination of different forms of generation should have less variability than wind alone. Most of the proposed alternative energy -as well as nuclear should be considered to be complementary to each other. Of course given a fixed amount of research and venture capital funding there will still be battles over which forms get resources.

Bill Hannahan

During the 2006 heat wave California wind peak capacity in California dropped to 4% for seven days while the demand peak rose almost 20% above average.

Wind output over the entire U.S. was down 20% while electricity consumption for the nation jumped 20% above average during july and august.

Relying on wind for a large fraction of your energy is too big a risk.

Here is a proposal to provide all U.S. electricity with wind power.


Give it a careful read and then look at these review comments



Bill, that is a very interesting read - thanks a lot for the link.
Perhaps I should say that I agree with you, and that for base-load capacity it seems to me that nuclear would be the way to go, perhaps for 30GW in the UK.
My reservations are that I wouldn't trust the powers that be at least in this country with an electric toothbrush, let alone a reactor, as safe though the designs can be any system assumes some degree of minimal competence in its implementation which the government does not show.
They can't keep data secure, let alone plutonium.
Moving on from that though, and assuming that a nuclear future does not get the go-ahead in a very substantial way, it is interesting to work out the implications.
A much more developed grid would seem to me desirable in any case, as a lot of resources could then feed in, for instance solar thermal, and mitigate needs for storage.
That is really my response to the critiques of this wind-powered hypothetical future - that no-one seriously believes that wind would be virtually the only resource used, although the excercise is interesting as a 'what if'
Your critique of the proposals centres on hot weather with low wind.
This is ideal for solar thermal, from the south-west in the US, and from North Africa for Europe.
It would perhaps be reasonable to expect contributions from hot dry rock geothermal, which has got a very widely distributed resource base, and perhaps from wave power in areas like the UK
Cost is of course the great unknown in these scenarios.
In short, I would agree with you that nuclear would be the sensible low-carbon option, but would further argue that a better grid is needed, and I also find it possible that very large amounts of energy could be generated from a variety of sources, and that that would be m0ore practical than using solely wind, but that the costs are presently not clear.

Jim from The Energy Blog

Richard Stuebi has a December 10 post in the Cleatech Blog, on offshore wind, that raises a lot of questions on the cost of offshore wind, in particular the cost of the support structure, which makes it questionable whether offshore wind will be economical in the near future.

Bill Hannahan

Expanding on Jims note;

the installed cost of an onshore wind project is projected to increase from an actual cost of Euro 1540/kw in 2003 to a forecasted cost of Euro 2940/kw by 2013. For an improving technology in a growing marketplace, this cost trend is clearly opposite of what should be expected. …

also stated by Vestas was that players in the offshore wind industry have learned from their previous projects that they substantially underestimated actual costs and implementation risks (e.g., bad weather or heavy seas limiting installation productivities), and are now building “more realistic” contingency cushions into the economic projections of upcoming projects.


That’s $4,330 U.S. dollars / kw of onshore wind. Assuming a .35 capacity factor, the cost / kw output is $12,370.

The cost for 990MW of output, equal to a large coal or nuc plant, is $12.2 billion. With luck they will last half as long as a nuc plant.

The cost of offshore windfarms will be much higher than the price quoted above, probably about double. That might explain this.

On 5 December 2007, the German Cabinet presented its final draft of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG):

Initial feed-in tariffs for offshore wind energy projects are supposed to be raised from 9.1 ct/kWh at present to 14 ct/kWh if the respective wind turbines are commissioned by 31 December 2013.


This is in euros, so figure 20.58 cents / kWh U.S.

If U.S. nuclear plants got the same deal they would raise an additional $162 billion per year.

Good luck Brits, hang on to your wallets.


Bill, we really don't have a problem here in the UK!
They will announce a huge build like this, which will keep the greens happy, then not build it.
Of course, they won't upset greens by building nuclear either, so what they will actually do is build more coal plants!
So our wallets should be safe, although of course we might get our feet wet.


Bill, there are so many figures floating around which don't reconcile with each other that it can get hard to work out what is going on.
Here are some costs from GE:
At $650 million for 500MW of installed capacity that works out around $1300/Kw of installed capacity, using our (generous) estimate of .35 for actual capacity, around the $4330 you quote for installed.
I couldn't get back to the original presentation by Douglas Westwood through the links, but it sounds to me that he may already be referring to actual output capacity in his figures, not installed, and if this is the case the figures are in agreement and the costs would be around a third of what you have taken them to be.
Do you agree with this, or have I missed something?
It is still pretty pricey, mind - and off-shore more so!

Bill Hannahan

… it sounds to me that he may already be referring to actual output capacity in his figures, not installed, and if this is the case the figures are in agreement and the costs would be around a third of what you have taken them to be.
Do you agree with this, or have I missed something?

Dave, thanks for the GE link. The GE price is today’s price, whereas the number in Jim’s link is estimated for 2013. I assume both are data plate based on the 2003 comment here.

“the installed cost of an onshore wind project is projected to increase from an actual cost of Euro 1540/kw in 2003 to a forecasted cost of Euro 2940/kw by 2013.”


Just saw your reply Bill, as I was posting this - I think you will find it interesting!
I've tracked that Douglas Westwood down - not the exact lecture, but here are his thoughts on costs of off-shore wind:
Relevant figures are that offshore installed capacity costs for 2002-06 was $2.29m MW, projected to $3.25MW for 2007-11
at the capacity figure you use of .35 that works out to $6.5bn for the equivalent of the 990MW coal plant you referenced, rising to just over $9bn for a build now.
Pretty horrid, although shy of the $24bn or so you were indicating for offshore wind.
I reckon you may be a bit generous with your estimate of .35 as capacity though, but what is a couple of billion between friends?
Of course, I may have lost a decimal point somewhere....:-)


Incidentally, Bill, what in the name of Ned made you choose 990MW to reference instead of 1GW? :-)


Whilst we are on the subject of wind power, here is a reference to how much back-up power you need if you have a substantial proportion of the gird powered by wind:
The pdf is very informative if you google for it - haven't got the URL handy
Seems to boil down to either it doesn't replace much, or quite a lot depending on how it fits in with peak use.
It tracks quite well in Northern Europe


The information I have been able to locate shows wind power onshore as being around twice as expensive as nuclear, and offshore 3 times.
Coal and gas depend on how you feel about carbon dioxide.
'A UK Royal Academy of Engineering report in 2004 looked at electricity generation costs from new plant in the UK on a more credible basis than hitherto. In particular it aimed to develop "a robust approach to compare directly the costs of intermittent generation with more dependable sources of generation". This meant adding the cost of standby capacity for wind, as well as carbon values up to £30 per tonne CO2 (£110/tC) for coal and gas. Wind power was shown to be more than twice as expensive as nuclear power.'
The supply and costs of natural gas seem likely to go through the roof before long, say by 2012:
Now to get the greens to face reality.....


How about putting the Chavs to work. Install exercise bikes with small attached generators in their homes. In order to receive public assistance, someone in their household would have to pedal at least an hour a day during peak electrical demand periods. Then just feed it back to the grid. I wonder how you'd go about quantifying the energy produced? I guess you could invent a new unit of measure: 1 CHAVpower = 200 watts.


Yep Jim, look at Cape Wind. It is a huge cost and an eco problem to anchor towers on the sea bed.

That is why mass produced floating wind, wave, and current generators all on one platform are the better option for offshore wind. Mass assembley in shipyards will allow larger machines at a cheaper price.

Assembling large wind machines onsite, offshore or on land, is problematic. Shipyards have all the equipment right there to assemble the machines and float them.

This is reminiscient of WW 2 Liberty ships. Mass produced freighters that kept the UK going until the uS could really join the war.

With a floating design like the Norsk Hydro unit, with wave generator installed around the water line, and an underwater rotor to catch tidal current power, the cost per kwh would go way down.

If problems occur later it is easy to tow these units to another location or back to the dock for rebuilding. Anchored machines are there to stay without major underwater construction work. it is dangerous near the shallow water that offshore wind towers are usually anchored in.

I believe that the new 20 mw machines rumored to be under design in Europe would be perfect for this deployment. The larger units are much easier assembled in the dock and towed into position. The larger the parts, the more difficult remote assembley and transportation of the pasrts will be, on land or sea.

The other great wind US resource area, the great plains, is an easier place to house sub assembley plants and transport the huge parts. It is nearly deserted in many northern remote areas that have really high steady winds.

It is heartening that the UK is planning to go with wind. Add wave and tidal current power and float it all Britainia. You are the great sea faring empire, it's your heritage.

Bill Hannahan

I should have used 900 MW, a 1000 MW plant at 90% cappacity factor. New plants are bumping up to 1500 MW, but I will use 900 for now.



Using the $3.25 / watt number I get $8.4 billion. That’s in the 2007-2011 range, so say 2009, a year and a half from now.

Jims reference was euro 2.94 - $4.33 in 2013, 5.5 years from now. That works out to $11.3 billion in 2013.

Multiply by 2 for offshore and another 1.5 to replace a 1500 Mw plant. Then there is the cost to rebuild it in 20 years.

The cost of nuclear plants could escalate just as fast, but if we start mass producing floating nuclear plants, the increased production efficiency and reduced interest charges due to shorter build times, can offset the inflationary factors. Windmills already have these asvantages.


Check out the real cost comparison that counts. Total cost, always going up for fueled power sources. And waste disposal too. Always upward in price.



So far as I know the biggest wind turbine they are thinking about at the moment is 5-8MW.
Combining wind and wave might be possible, at least for the electric cables and so on undersea, and for some designs of wave generator, although not for ones like the pelamis.
Sites where there is a good tidal resource are far more limited, and in Britain they are looking to exploit them with turbines which are wholly subsurface.
Putting them in most of the locations suitable for wind and wave would just not generate a lot of energy.
Here is what is happening for tidal energy in the UK:
As for the mass production and so on, that applies to other energy sources as well, things like coal and nuclear, so off-shore wind not likely to close the cost gap much.
It is currently around 3 times the cost of nuclear or coal.
You have a much better wind resource in the states, as there is plenty of space on the Great Plains and the engineering is a lot less complex without going off-shore.


Bill, we are in good agreement - IOW the proposed on the costs of nuclear vs wind.
The 33GW name-plate power suggested by the British government giving an actual out put of around 10GW would cost around the same as producing the same 33GW of power, say 30GW actual, from nuclear, which would make a huge contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions as it is equivalent to the baseload in the UK.
Not a sensible way to spend money.
I'm not quite clear what you are referring to when you say the costs need multiplying be 2 to allow for off-shore instead of onshore.
The figures I gave such as the $3.25million MW already allow for offshore construction.
In any case though, the figures bad enough to mean that economically the off-shore option is not worth serious consideration.
Incidentally, I think that your figure of 20years before off-shore wind installations need replacing is on the optimistic side!
On land they are rated for 25years, and there have been reliability problems with a lot of turbines needing servicing ahead of schedule, and even the concrete bases cracking - the problem being the extreme variability of the wind causing sudden stress.
All that ain't nothing compared to the corrosive and ferocious environment in the North sea in winter!
It doesn't really matter though, we might as well allow the most optimistic estimates of costs for off-shore wind, since even on that basis they are rubbish.


Bill, thanks for your link on the nuclear genIII reactor.
There are a lot of good designs out there.
Incidentally, the one under construction in Finland is rated at 1600MW, which might be a useful figure to base calculations on as the French consortium is about the most active at the moment.
The system I really like is this one:
That is some way in the future though, and there are plenty of very good designs around at the moment, including your favourite of pebble-bed.
Just out of interest, a book published in 1977 by Fred Hoyle called 'Energy or Extinction' has exactly the same arguments we are checking here - he comes to the conclusion that the way forward is advanced nuclear reactors and that proposals for wind generators are not viable.
Interesting that nothing much has changed in the interval.

Bill Hannahan

Just for the record my paper is a guest on Jim Holm’s site. It is his idea to convert coal plants to nuc’s with a pebble bed reactor, which I think is very innovative.

I think we agree that existing designs can meet our needs for a few hundred years, and we should be building these as quickly as possible, while in parallel, exploring advanced designs for the future.

The “forecasted cost of Euro 2940/kw by 2013” , $4.33 U.S.,is for onshore.


I applied factor of 2 for offshore. This does not include cost of backup.

Good luck, I hope we can learn from Europe’s experience, but at the moment many Americans are determined to go down that expensive dead end road.


Total cost is key Dave, as the graph in that article I linked to indicates. Nuclear and coal can't compete on total cost, even with more expensive offshore wind. Why?

Because coal and nuclear fuel and waste disposal costs for nukes keep rising. Another important factor is that most nuclear power cost estimates are very dated. Or they exclude all the other costs involved except the cost of the reactor itself. The last US nuclear reactor built came in at 8 bucks per watt. That was in the late 80s. construction costs have at least doubled since then. maybe 12 bucks per watt would be more accurate now.

Of course in China with no regulation and very low labor costs nukes might be cheaper. But so would be wind manufactured and installed in China. I'm looking for china to embrace floating offshore wind/wave.

Nukes are almost a dead issue in the US, UK, and most of Europe. Germany is shuttering its nukes in favor of wind and solar.. The mega capital needed is just not available for that kind of high risk.

As far as tidal and wave/wind combined, yes fewer sites are available, but think of the east coast of the uS and the Gulf stream. It's slow but no problem, 180 times the power in flowing water versus blowing wind, due to the greater density.

River and inlet openings where currents are stong are a good location for underwater current too. but of course navigation is then a problem. For areas where rivers have to support boat traffic, endless belt systems that lie along the bottom would be better.

Coal is better converted to natural gas underground with bacteria. Nukes are only feasible for processing the waste they already created, a few experimental reactors at already contaminated sites should be allowed. Then compare costs to renewables, if the new improved nukes pass cost, safety, and corruption free operation criteria, then and only then, some 15 years down the timeline, consider allowing new nuclear power buildout.

By then it will be too late to help with GHG climate change, and the possibility that nukes can ever beat wind on cost is almost nil.

Mass production of nuke and coal plants? Not hardly. The pieces have to be hauled to the site and assembled with cranes.

With floating offshore wind, the whole unit is assembled in a ship yard and towed out to the site. Check out the Norsk Hydro design, really great!


Yeah, you nuclear fans agree. What a surprise. You are living in the same dream world where Chernobyl, Hanford, Paducah, Rocky Flats, Three Mile Island, Oak ridge and all the other contamination disasters never happened.

A world where no one wants to invade Iran with the excuse (lie) that they have nuclear power and are using it as a smoke screen to build bombs. Even when the oil runs out, the war mongers will still use nuclear proliferation as an excuse for invasion. And nuclear waste will still be lying around free for terrorists to pick it up and build dirty bombs.



Nuclear waste and safety. They don't go well together, kind of a clash.

How well is the South Carolina nuclear landfill (yes, landfill, unlined trenches contain reactor parts and other high level waste) guarded from terrorists scavenging for dirty bomb materials? We know it is running into nearby groundwater and streams.

How much to clean the groundwater? Will that make nuclear power cost more than offshore wind per kwh? yep, maybe 1000 times more.

Charles Barton

amazngdrx is now an expert on nuclear safety. Notice how he cannot tell the difference between the cold war era practices at The Savannah River Site and the the practices followed by power companies operating reactors. Lumps together four other cold war facilities at Hanford, Paducah, Rocky Flats, and Oak Ridge, with the poorly designed and badly operated Soviet reactor at Chernobyl. Finally amazngdrx uses the magic words, Three Mile Island. What amazngdrx does not tell you is that during and after the Three Mile an accident not one was killed, no one was injured, and no one got cancer. The Three Mile accident proved that the safety back ups for nuclear power really work.

Except for the successful operation of nuclear safety procedures at TMI, none of the cases amazngdrx mention have anything to do with whether new reactors are safe. I do wish that amazngdrx would lean the difference between cold war facilities and nuclear power plants, and learn something about nuclear safety.


Hey amazingdrx,
Now apply the same criteria to the deaths (real, not hypothesisised) from coal.
Welcome to the real world.


I'm not in favor of coal. I would like it turned into natural gas underground using bacteria.

It doesn't take an exprt to find the many devestating problems that nuclear power poses. They are all around us, leaking contamination. And posing a risk from terrorism. And used as excuse for invasion.

I favor a renwable distributed generation and storage internet enabled smart grid and conservation in the form of plugin hybrid vehicles, electric mass transit, and geo heat exchange and heat pump heating/cooling.

A centralized grid dependent upon coal and nuclear power and gas guzzling as usual is obsolete, in the face of GHG climate disaster, economic recession from high energy prices, and the constant costly disasters with nuclear power.

Bill Hannahan

I favor a renwable distributed generation and storage internet enabled smart grid and conservation in the form of plugin hybrid vehicles, electric mass transit, and geo heat exchange and heat pump heating/cooling.

I favor cold fusion. A 1 quart thermos bottle cold fusion reactor with no radiation or heat emission rated at 10 kW continuous electric for 50 years between refuelings, for a cost of $500.

Bill Hannahan

On second thought lets make that 1000 kW. I enjoy a responsive motorcycle.


Bill, I think the guys at Cleantech in the link you gave have misunderstood the guy that they are quoting.
Here is a link to his thoughts straight from the horse's mouth:
As you can see, they already refer to his estimate of off-shore costs, not on-shore.
Still, whatever, off-shore is nowhere near economic.


Hi,- it can get frustrating when our sincerely held thoughts are not accepted by others, but in general we need to somehow accept that others just as sincerely disagree, without their being part of some evil conspiracy, and that acceptance is in fact the only terms on which debate such as that on this site can be conducted.
The figures I have been using are present build costs for nuclear - they are actually constructing one in Finland amongst other places.
Currently it is coming in at around 4.5billion euros for a 1600MW plant.
As for the current waste, everywhere except the US reprocess that into more fuel, so it is in fact a resource and the main thing which would allow extensive use of nuclear power far into the future.
In the UK we have a massive clean-up bill for nuclear waste, but this is essentially the cost of the nuclear weapons program, and is not indicative of clean-up costs for future reactors.
A lot of the technologies you refer to are indeed hopeful, and need more research, but for the time being they do not work at anything like an economic price, whereas nuclear would generate electricity without much carbon very cheaply.
For instance, for the cost of 33GW name-plate production from off-shore wind in the UK, actually yielding around 10GW on average, we could build around 33GW of nuclear yielding 30GW, and vastly reduce our carbon emissions.
I am concerned enough about global warming to feel that this would be the right option.
In 10 or 15 years time the situation might have changed and PV or solar thermal or something might be economic, with a super grid importing from hotter regions.
But we haven't got the technology at the moment, much as I wish we had.


Construction cost for nuclear power, $4.25 per watt? Where there is universal health care. Where education in science and technology is fully funded by the government. Where contractors are held to schedule and cost. Where research funding is also higher than almost anywhere else.

Where the biggest cruise ships are built? Competing on a global scale for the best. lowest cost production of the biggest ships ever built (imagine their efficiency turned to producing floating wind/wave/current power generating platforms).

Not China mind you. With it's ultra low, below slave labor costs. Who can beat that unfair competitive advantage with pure quality that translates into lower overall cost?


Where the standard of living is among the highest in the world in terms of quality of life.

Yep, it figures they would be the ones to make nuclear power work, if it could be made to work anywhere.

Comparing their industrial performance and culture to that of the US is interesting, but unless you import a whole crew here to build reactors, and a whole support system for the crew that exists in Finland. Then find out how much the company from Finland wopuld charge for that. And factor in delays for litigation and payoffs to local, state, and federal government officials.

Until you figure in all that, you can't get to the final cost of a new nuclear plant in the US. I'm betting around 10 dollars a watt if you could get a Finnish company to do that here. But why would they do it? Finland would instead build more of it's own nukes.

Why would a Finnish company expose itself to the many financial and legal liabilities of operating in the US?

If the Fins could do it for 10 bucks per watt here, Bechtel and GE could do it for 15 maybe? Without cost over runs. When has a US nuclear contractor ever done that?

Forget that nonsensical nameplate rating/capacity factor argument too.

Compare cost per kwh. Plug $4.25 per watt into that chart I linked to. At that price the total cost of wind is less than nuclear power right now. And nuclear fuel costs are rising rapidly.

How much could Finland mass produce floating offshore power for? 2 bucks per watt? Real watt, not a fake capacity factor watt.

Anyway, let's look back later and see how the Finnish reactor performs, and the total final cost. Is waste processing/recycling figured in? How about decommisioning costs?

All spent fuel and nuclear waste is recycled all over the world, except in the US? on what fantasy world is that the case? What color is the sky in your world?

Does it have a radioactive glow coming from the nuclear winter cloud banks? Hehey.



Here is the source of that chart, the perpetually pro-nuclear "Economist" magazine. It's behind a subscription wall, but let us assume they used the lowest possible production costs for nuclear power. That usually only includes the cost of the reasctor itself, uninstalled. If they are using typical nuclear power advocate figures.

The figures I remember nuclear power advocates using are around $1.60 per watt for that calculation. Substitue the purported Finnish cost equivalent in US dollars. $4.25 per watt, 2 1/2 times the cost most probably used in that graph, for nuclear power capital investment cost.

That boosts nukes even further up the chart, on the more expensive that wind side.

Kit P

Why is Finland building a new nuclear power plant? Because they are a world leader in building nuclear power plants or because they have no coal and their economy is increasing dependent on importing large amounts of imported electricity from a country that has shown a tendency to use energy as a weapon?

Finland is not building the reactor. The utility bid the project and different companies bid on it. The design must meet Finnish regulations.

How well will the reactor built in Finland to western designs perform? Very well judging from the 4 reactors already operating there. Just like the 104 US reactors.


It is just a really, really good idea to look objectively and read up properly on a subject before making sweeping judgements about it.
The lead contractor in the Finnish plant is of course French, not Finnish - the same guys who have built and run successfully the many reactors in the French nuclear fleet, without major incident for many years.
The same guys who are bidding to build many of the proposed US plants.
They actually attribute many of the cost overuns to having to use inexperienced Finnish sub-contractors, exactly as they would have to do in the US.
FYI the French re-processing plant is based just outside Le Havre, the British one was at Sellafield, although it is not currently processing British nuclear fuels - it will probably start up again if we build more reactors.
I don't have information to hand on the location of the Russian and Chinese processing facilities.
The estimates you got from the Economist are probably just that, estimates, that is why I prefer to use real figures whenever possible, such as how much has actually been spent so far to build the Finnish reactor.
If the estimates you refer to in the Economist are old, then the price difference is not surprising, steel, concrete, just about everything have been going up in price a lot lately, basically due to expansion in China using resources - they are currently building over 100 coal fired generators a year.
It is not just the costs of building nuclear which are up - so is the cost of building coal plants, and more particularly wind, which shares in common with nuclear that most of the costs are up-front.
If anyone were considering building reactors to the design used in Chernobyl, myself and most of the people you think of as being pro-nuclear would be very anti, but we are not.
Discrimination has to be a bit finer than 'nuclear bad'- useful questions start at what nuclear design, what are the real risks and costs and so forth.
Nuclear has got an excellent record, certainly in comparison to coal which is what people are actually building instead.
The cost of some renewables may drop and might become a viable large scale alternative, especially PV in hot areas, but we can't build them cost effectively at the moment.

Charles Barton

amazingdrx The French, recently sold a couple of those same very expensive reactors to China. But the Chinese also bought 4 AP-1000 reactors from Westinghouse a few months ago. The cost of the 4 reactors, $5.3 Billion, just a a little more that one French reactor. The AP=1000 is going for $1200 per Kw in china, or $1.20 per watt. Guess which reactor the Chinese have announced they are going to buy more copies of. amazingdrx I wish you would find out what you were talking about for once.


The real problem for the climate is the coal build in the developing world - China alone built 114 coal fired plants last year.
The barriers to getting some of that over to nuclear are enormous, let alone to renewables.
Here's why they build coal plants:
Even something like Ausra's technology if successful would find it tough, as it would be generated a long way away from the major population centres, and the grid would need a lot of development.
The only thing that I am aware of with the possible potential to stop this in it's tracks would be high-altitude wind, as if you can do it at all it would be an order of magnitude cheaper than anything else, and doesn't use much land.

Kit P

Charles B, I think you will find the French business model is a little different than what you have seen before because they can offer uranium mining, enrichment, and fuel fabrication for many years. More of a partnership in producing electricity than just selling equipment.

Charles Barton

Kit P., I understand that the 2 French reactors come with a price tag of $6.4 billion or more, for 3.2 GWs. Westinghouse is giving the Chinese the Technology to raise the output of the AP-1000's to 1.25 GW each. So the Chinese are paying the French $2 billion per GW, and Westinghouse $1.2 Billion pre name plate gig, and $1.06 per output gig. Westinghouse expects to lower the price of AP-1000 as it enters into large scale production. 4 AP-1000s have been ordered in the United States this year, and at least 8 more are expected to be ordered next year, with even more orders expected in 2009. The Chinese have indicated that they expect to place more orders for AP-1000.

Kit P

Charles B, I went and read the press releases of both Westinghouse (a Japanese owned company) and Areva. Neither provided the numbers you provided. Clearly these companies have different business models. The French have already built 4 reactors in China and is involved in 4 of the many reactors under construction. What is amazing is that Westinghouse won a contract at all. I wonder how much credit goes to Bush administration because our regulations prevented doing nuclear business in China.

I agree with Charles B's primary point. The US has the capacity to economically build nuclear power plants. The fact that the US and the EU has learned a lot from recent construction experience in Asia is because that is where the construction was taking place.


DaveMart wrote: The figures I have been using are present build costs for nuclear - they are actually constructing one in Finland amongst other places. Currently it is coming in at around 4.5billion euros for a 1600MW plant.

No. The 1600MW Finnish nuclear reactor unit Olkiluoto 3 is $4.4 billion USD, or $3 billion euros.

That works out to $2.75/watt.

Amazingdrx wrote: Construction cost for nuclear power, $4.25 per watt?

No. It is $2.75/watt for one particular First of a Kind reactor unit that is presently being constructed by Areva and Siemens in Finland.


Costs of nuclear:
Is where my figures were from.
I rounded up as it is still not finished.
For the purposes of the argument in hand which was whether off-shore wind is viable, I went at the top end of the figures for nuclear, to make every allowance, and nuclear was still way cheaper than wind.


Sorry, nucbuddy, my mistake,- your figures are of course correct - I transposed Euros and dollars.

Kit P

"Local contractors did not have the breadth of operations expected or needed to carry out such a big project," said Ray Ganthner, senior vice president for new plant deployment at the U.S. headquarters of Areva NP, the company's reactor construction unit.”

So much for amazingdrx's claims about the skill of Finnish industry. In any case, bad concrete pours and bad welds are part of any construction project. Good projects have contingency funds to rework expected problems. How likely are you to hear about such problems at a wind or solar project?

This is the kind of biased reporting from journalist,

“Today at Olkiluoto-3, a behemoth whose excavation site covers the equivalent of 55 soccer fields”

When Olkiluoto-3 is finished you will get one soccer field sized project next next to twp other reactors. The environmental impact will be tiny compared to wind or solar.

Chanel Bags

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Such a big challenge to the workers of the company.

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I would love to know if they have had any progress with this.

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This is great!! The US really should start stepping up their game...

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