Small modular reactors (SMRs) offer simple, standardized, and safe modular designs for new nuclear reactor construction. Factory built SMRs promise competitive economy when compared with the current reactor fleet. Construction cost of a majority of the projects, which are mostly in their design stages, is not publicly available, but variable costs can be determined from fuel enrichment, average burn-up, and plant thermal efficiency, which are published design parameters for many near-term SMR projects. This paper gives a simulation of the fuel cost of electricity generation for selected SMRs and large reactors, including calculation of optimal tails assay in the uranium enrichment process. The fuel costs of several SMR designs are compared between one another and with current generation large reactor designs providing a rough comparison of the long-term economics of a new nuclear reactor project. SMRs are predicted to have higher fuel costs than large reactors. Particularly, integral pressurized water reactors (iPWRs) are shown to have from 15% to 60% higher fuel costs than large reactors. Fuel cost sensitivities to reactor design parameters are presented.
- Nuclear Engineering Division
Small Modular Reactor and Large Nuclear Reactor Fuel Cost Comparison
Pannier, CP, & Škoda, R. "Small Modular Reactor and Large Nuclear Reactor Fuel Cost Comparison." Proceedings of the 2014 22nd International Conference on Nuclear Engineering. Volume 5: Innovative Nuclear Power Plant Design and New Technology Application; Student Paper Competition. Prague, Czech Republic. July 7–11, 2014. V005T16A009. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICONE22-30903
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