Other savings advantages (beyond low labor costs) are possible by simplifying reactor design, and lowering materials input. Building a reactor with less materials and fewer parts lowers nuclear costs directly and indirectly. Decreasing core size per unit of power output also can contribute a cost advantage. Direct saving relate to the cost of parts and matetials, but fewer parts and less material also means less labor is required to put things together, since there is less to put together. In addition a small reactor core structure, would, all other things being equal, require a smaller housing. Larger cores mean more structural housing expenses.
In order to keep the American and European economies competitive, the United States and Europe must adopt a low cost, factory manufactured nuclear technology. Molten Salt nuclear technology represents the lowest cost approach, and is highly consistent with factory manufacture and other cost lowering approaches. Couple to that the outstanding safety of molten salt nuclear technology, the potential for dramatically lowering the creation of nuclear waste, and the obstacles to nuclear proliferation posed by molten salt nuclear technology, and we see a real potential for keeping the American and European economies competitive, at least as far as energy costs are concerned.
I also had written an article about China’s nuclear build and the exporting of cheap reactors and how that could solidify the high end projections of the WNA for 2030.
A Feb 2009, McKinsey report (234 pages) that suggested what China could do for a greener economy. It looks like China will move even faster on several aspects of electrical generation than the report recommends. China is building out nuclear, hydro and wind power faster than the report talked about. The McKinsey plan does suggest making all cars in China electric by 2020.
Here is an older view of China’s energy generation mix for 2015 and 2020. 114GWe for 2020 may be 7% of 1600GW but China is forecasting about 6500TWH for 2020 and the 114 GW would be about 800 TWH or about 12% of generation.
In terms of high speed rail, China’s high-speed railway have reached up to 7,413 kilometers in operation and 10,000 kilometers under construction. 13,000 kilometers should be in operation by the end of 2012. At the end of 2012, China could have more operational high speed rail than the rest of the world combined.
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