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Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors

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  • Lovering, Jessica R.
  • Yip, Arthur
  • Nordhaus, Ted

Abstract

The existing literature on the construction costs of nuclear power reactors has focused almost exclusively on trends in construction costs in only two countries, the United States and France, and during two decades, the 1970s and 1980s. These analyses, Koomey and Hultman (2007); Grubler (2010), and Escobar-Rangel and Lévêque (2015), study only 26% of reactors built globally between 1960 and 2010, providing an incomplete picture of the economic evolution of nuclear power construction. This study curates historical reactor-specific overnight construction cost (OCC) data that broaden the scope of study substantially, covering the full cost history for 349 reactors in the US, France, Canada, West Germany, Japan, India, and South Korea, encompassing 58% of all reactors built globally. We find that trends in costs have varied significantly in magnitude and in structure by era, country, and experience. In contrast to the rapid cost escalation that characterized nuclear construction in the United States, we find evidence of much milder cost escalation in many countries, including absolute cost declines in some countries and specific eras. Our new findings suggest that there is no inherent cost escalation trend associated with nuclear technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Lovering, Jessica R. & Yip, Arthur & Nordhaus, Ted, 2016. "Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 371-382.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:91:y:2016:i:c:p:371-382
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.01.011
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    Cited by:

    1. Lovering, Jessica R. & Nordhaus, Ted & Yip, Arthur, 2017. "Apples and oranges: Comparing nuclear construction costs across nations, time periods, and technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 650-654.
    2. Bistline, John E., 2016. "Energy technology R&D portfolio management: Modeling uncertain returns and market diffusion," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 1181-1196.
    3. Sascha Samadi, 2016. "A Review of Factors Influencing the Cost Development of Electricity Generation Technologies," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(11), pages 1-25, November.
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:2346-2364 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:833-:d:98793 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Koomey, Jonathan & Hultman, Nathan E. & Grubler, Arnulf, 2017. "A reply to “Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors”," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 640-643.
    7. Rhodes, Joshua D. & King, Carey & Gulen, Gürcan & Olmstead, Sheila M. & Dyer, James S. & Hebner, Robert E. & Beach, Fred C. & Edgar, Thomas F. & Webber, Michael E., 2017. "A geographically resolved method to estimate levelized power plant costs with environmental externalities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 491-499.
    8. Sascha Samadi, 2017. "The Social Costs of Electricity Generation—Categorising Different Types of Costs and Evaluating Their Respective Relevance," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(3), pages 1-37, March.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:302-:d:128486 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:gam:jeners:v:10:y:2017:i:12:p:2169-:d:123388 is not listed on IDEAS

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