A Second Cost Analysis of Light Water Reactor Power Plants

by W. E. Mooz

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A statistical analysis of light water reactor power plant capital costs that uses a database that is larger and of higher quality than that used in a previous study. The data span six years, and include virtually all U.S. LWR power plants presently in commercial operation. During this period average capital costs increased at the rate of about $140/kWe (1978 dollars) per year, and average construction time increased at the rate of about four months per year. Significant economies of scale, either in construction time or capital cost, were not detected. Other findings were that plants built in the Northeast continued to show higher average costs than those in the rest of the country, the experience of the architect-engineer is a factor in reducing costs, and the costs of plants with cooling towers could not be distinguished from those without.

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