Monday, July 25, 2011
Chinese Nuclear Power Plant Costs
This post was prompted by something I've seen written many times on various blogs and news reports for the past couple of years, that new nuclear power plants are NOT expensive. In fact, they say, China is building dozens of them for about $2 billion (US dollars) per reactor, where the reactor produces 1000 MW. I have my doubts about the $2 billion per reactor, (which is $2,000 per kW) as those who read and follow SLB are probably aware. In the USA, some recently-published numbers for proposed new nuclear power plant projects are more like $8,000 per kW. As an example, the now-defunct South Texas Nuclear Power Plant Expansion was to have two reactors at 1100 MW each, with a published cost estimate of $17 billion. That works out to $7,730 per kW, but it also ignores the inevitable cost over-runs, and extra interest costs for long delays. I would be surprised if that STNP Expansion would be built for less than $25 billion or roughly $12,000 per kW.
Therefore, I was quite interested to read a news item today, regarding a large new nuclear power plant under construction in southern China. The plant will have six reactors, at 1000 MW each. Total cost should be $12 billion, using the $2,000 per kW figure I've seen bandied about. Yet, CLP Holdings, LTD, purchased a 17 percent interest in the plant for $11 billion. CLP is a utility company in Hong Kong. CLP's 17 percent represents roughly the output from one-sixth of the entire plant, or one reactor. If 17 percent of the plant is worth $11 billion, then the entire plant is worth approximately $64 billion. That works out to a bit more than $10,000 per kW. That is much more in line with what new nuclear plants are projected to cost in the USA.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.