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Revisiting the cost escalation curse of nuclear power: New lessons from the French experience

  • Lina Escobar Rangel

    ()

    (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - École Nationale Supérieure des Mines - Paris (ParisTech))

  • François Lévêque

    ()

    (CERNA - Centre d'économie industrielle - École Nationale Supérieure des Mines - Paris (ParisTech))

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    Since the first wave of nuclear reactors in 1970 to the construction of Generation III+ reactors in Finland and France in 2005 and 2007 respectively, nuclear power seems to be doomed to a cost escalation curse. In this paper we reexamine this issue for the French nuclear power fleet. Using the construction costs from the Cour des Comptes report, that was publicly available in 2012, we found that previous studies overestimated the cost escalation. Although, it is undeniable that the scale-up ended up in more costly reactors, we found evidence of a learning curve within the same size and type of reactors. This result confirms that standardization is a good direction to look, in order to overcome the cost escalation curse.

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    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number hal-00780566.

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    Date of creation: 03 Dec 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:hal-00780566
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://hal-ensmp.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00780566
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    1. McCabe, Mark J, 1996. "Principals, Agents, and the Learning Curve: The Case of Steam-Electric Power Plant Design and Construction," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(4), pages 357-75, December.
    2. David, Paul A. & Rothwell, Geoffrey S., 1996. "Standardization, diversity and learning: Strategies for the coevolution of technology and industrial capacity," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 181-201.
    3. Kessides, Ioannis N., 2012. "The future of the nuclear industry reconsidered: Risks, uncertainties, and continued promise," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 185-208.
    4. Fifield, S G M & Power, D M & Sinclair, C D, 2002. "Macroeconomic Factors and Share Returns: An Analysis Using Emerging Market Data," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(1), pages 51-62, January.
    5. Lindman, Åsa & Söderholm, Patrik, 2012. "Wind power learning rates: A conceptual review and meta-analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 754-761.
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