China s Low $1565 per Kilowatt Nuclear Power Build Cost and new Cleaner Coal Plants

China has officially broken ground on six domestically engineered CPR-1000 pressurized water reactors, generating around 1080 MWe each. The total investment in Yangjiang’s six reactors is to be 69.5 billion reminbi ($10.1 billion), giving a construction cost of 10,700 reminbi per MWe ($1565 per KWe), according to Zhang Guobao, head of the National Energy Bureau. He added that this was was ‘much lower’ than the figure for desulfurized coal-fired power plants in the province.

Costs for US nuclear plants can be twice as much.

Regarding bare plant costs, some recent figures apparently for overnight capital cost (or Engineering, Procurement and Construction – EPC – cost) quoted from reputable sources but not necessarily comparable are:

EdF Flamanville EPR: EUR 3.3 billion/$4.8 billion, so EUR 2000/kW or $2900/kW
Bruce Power Alberta 2×1100 MWe ACR, $6.2 billion, so $2800/kW
CGNPC Hongyanhe 4×1080 CPR-1000 $6.6 billion, so $1530/kW
AEO Novovronezh 6&7 2136 MWe net for $5 billion, so $2340/kW
KHNP Shin Kori 3&4 1350 MWe APR-1400 for $5 billion, so $1850/kW

FPL Turkey Point 2 x 1100 MWe AP1000 $2444 to $3582/kW

NEK Belene 2×1000 MWe AES-92 EUR 3.9 billion (no first core), so EUR 1950 or $3050/kW
UK composite projection $2400/kW
NRG South Texas 2 x 1350 MWe ABWR $8 billion, so $2900/kW

CPI Haiyang 2 x 1100 MWe AP1000 $3.25 billion, so $1477/kW
CGNPC Ningde 4 x 1000 MWe CPR-1000 $7.145 billion, so $1786/kW
CNNC Fuqing 2 x 1000 MWe CPR-1000 (?) $2.8 billion, so $1400/kW
CGNPC Bailong/Fangchengang 2 x 1000 MWe CPR-1000 $3.1 bilion, so $1550/kW
CNNC Tianwan 3&4, 2 x 1060 MWe AES-91 $3.8 billion, so $1790/kW

On the assumption that overall costs to the utility are twice the overnight capital cost of the actual plants, then the figures quoted above give:
SCEG Summer 2 x 1100 MWe AP1000 $2200/kW

Another indication of financing costs is given by Georgia Power, which said in mid 2008 that twin 1100 MWe AP1000 reactors would cost $9.6 billion if they could be financed progressively by ratepayers, or $14 billion if not. This gives $4363 or $6360 per kilowatt including all other owners costs.

Mid 2008 vendor figures for overnight costs (excluding owner’s costs) have been quoted as:
GE-Hitachi ESBWR just under $3000/kW
GE-Hitachi ABWR just over $3000/kW
Westinghouse AP1000 about $3000/kW

January 2008 Energy Construction Cost Comparison

New prices could be lower now because of lower costs for steel and concrete. Labor costs should also be coming down.

China Breaks Ground on IGCC Cleaner Coal

China is also breaking ground on their first first integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plant (cleaner burning than regular pulverized coal and potentially carbon neutral.)

Underpinning China’s potential leadership in carbon-neutral coal power is broad expertise with gasification. By 2010, China will have installed 29 gasification projects since 2004, compared with zero in the United States, according to the Gasification Technologies Council, a trade group based in Arlington, VA. Most of these Chinese projects turn coal into synthesis gas (or syngas)–a blend of carbon monoxide and hydrogen–to feed catalysts that synthesize chemicals and fuels. IGCC technology uses the same syngas to drive turbines and generate electricity with far less pollution than conventional coal plants. For example, mercury and soot levels [soot: ie. particulates are the main air pollutant from coal that causes lung and heart disease. Still if you are going to make coal plants at least build cleaner ones.] are close to those seen at natural gas-fired plants, while carbon dioxide comes out in a pure stream that should be easier to capture and sequester.

The project plans to start up a 250-megawatt IGCC plant in Tianjin in 2010 using a novel gasifier designed by the Thermal Power Research Institute in Xi’an; the plant will also supply some syngas and heat to local chemical plants. GreenGen plans to catapult the output of the gasifier design, from a 36-tons-per-day pilot plant, directly to commercial scale of 2,000 tons per day.

And GreenGen is already preparing to scale up further: in April, GreenGen and Tianjin officials signed an agreement for two 400-megawatt IGCC units. Meanwhile, Chinese utility firm Huaneng, GreenGen’s majority stakeholder, started up a CCS pilot project at its Beijing coal power plant this summer.

Wikipedia on integrated gasification combined cycle plants.

2007 MIT Technology Review article on China’s Greengen IGCC plants and carbon sequestering plans.

They’re not emissions free, but their gas streams are more concentrated, so the sulfurous soot, carbon dioxide, and other pollutants they generate are easier to separate and capture. Of course, once the carbon dioxide–the main greenhouse gas–is captured, engineers still need to find a place to stow it. The most promising strategy is to sequester it deep within saline aquifers and oil reservoirs. In preliminary analyses, Chinese geologists have estimated that aging oil fields and aquifers could absorb more than a trillion tons of carbon dioxide–more than China’s coal-fired plants would emit, at their current rate, for hundreds of years.

IGCC plants still cost about 10 percent to 20 percent more per megawatt than pulverized-coal-fired power plants. (And that’s without carbon dioxide capture.)

China is still building a lot of regular coal electricity plants

Ningdong Coalfield is one of the 13 large-scale coal bases ratified by the government, with a proven coal reserve of 27.3 billion tons. According to estimates, the eight projects will trigger development in relevant industries and result in an investment scale of 130 billion yuan, directly consuming around 600,000 tons of steel and around 1 million tons of cement, as well as creating 45,000 jobs.

The plan calls for all the projects in the Ningdong base to be completed and in operation by 2020.

Sept 2008 review of wroldwide IGCC and carbon capture and storage projects.

After more than doubling in price from 2000, nuclear plant costs and other energy plant construction costs are on their way down in the USA and around the world. 17% lower prices in 2008.

The situation with steel shows a sharp slowdown.

Steel Prices – London Metals Exchange