Why are nuclear crops so costly? Security’s solely a part of the story

Image of two power plant cooling towers.

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Ought to any dialogue of nuclear energy go on for lengthy sufficient, it turns into inevitable that somebody will rant that the one motive they’ve turn into unaffordable is a proliferation of security rules. The argument is never (if ever) fleshed out—no particular regulation is ever recognized as problematic, and there appears to be no consideration given to the truth that we would have realized one thing at, say, Fukushima that may advantage addressing by means of rules.

However there’s now a paper out that gives some empirical proof that security adjustments have contributed to the price of constructing new nuclear reactors. However the research additionally makes clear that they are solely one among numerous components, accounting for less than a 3rd of the hovering prices. The research additionally finds that, opposite to what these within the business appear to count on, specializing in standardized designs does not actually assist issues, as prices continued to develop as extra of a given reactor design was constructed.

Extra of the identical

The evaluation, achieved by a staff of researchers at MIT, is remarkably complete. For a lot of nuclear crops, they’ve detailed development information, damaged out by which constructing totally different supplies and labor went to, and the way a lot every of them price. There’s additionally an in depth document of security rules and once they have been instituted relative to development. Lastly, they’ve additionally introduced within the patent purposes filed by the businesses who designed the reactors. The paperwork describe the motivations for design adjustments and the issues these adjustments have been meant to unravel.

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