**LWR (Light Water Reactor) Fuel Cycle Costs**

All assume 100$/kg Uranium and 150$/kg SWU (enrichment)

• Light Water Reactor(per Gwe)

• 20M$ Uranium(200 Tonnes, 100$/kg)

• 20M$ Enrichment

• 10M$ Fuel Fabrication

• Annual Fuel Cost 0.6 cents/kwh

• But must pay off initial fuel load

– 3 to 5 Tonnes U235 + Fabrication

– ~200M$ = 0.26 c/kwh (10% Discount Rate)

• **Total Fuel Cycle ~ 0.86 cents/kwh**

**Size of Heat Exchangers for different types of nuclear reactors**

**Fast Breeder Fuel Cycle Costs**

• Sodium Fast Breeder

• Capex of reprocessing equipment???

• Fabrication costs?

• Looking only at the initial load of fissile*

• Need ~ 18 Tonnes Reactor Grade Pu (12 T fissile)

– 100$/gram= 1.8 B$ = 2.3 c/kwh

• Or start on ~ 20 TU235 at 50$/g = 1.25 c/kwh

– 20 years worth of U235 for a LWR

– Over a hundred years worth for a DMSR

• This does ignore Pu production credit but processing costs must be factored in

• IFR or TWR are about half traditional FBR startup

**MSBR (molten salt breeder) Fuel Cycle Costs**

Estimate based on ORNL (Oak Ridge National Lab) 4541 and 4812 (1972) and 7.5 times “nuclear” inflation

Old 75% capacity factor but new 10% discount rate (ORNL was 13.5%)

• Single Fluid Graphite Breeder(MSBR 1970s)

• 1500 kg/GWe starting fissile load

• 150 M$ fissile 100$/gU233 or Pu= 0.23 c/kwh

• Annual and startup Thorium= negligible

• Starting and makeup salt = 0.07 cents/kwh

– Enriched Lithium costs an unknown factor but likely low impact

• 10 day processing cycle

• Processing Plant Cap +Op

– ORNL 4541, 100M$ 0.16 cents/kwh

– ORNL 4812, 260M$ 0.4 c/kwh

• Sounds high but still only 5$/kg of salt processed

– PUREX is 1000$/kg

• **Total Fuel Cycle = 0.46 to 0.7 cents/kwh**

– Large Processing cost uncertainty

**MSFR (Molten Salt Fast Reactor) Fuel Cycle Costs**

Estimate based on ORNL 4541 and 4812 and 7.5 times “nuclear” inflation

Old 75% capacity factor but new 10% discount rate (ORNL was 13.5%)

• Fast Spectrum(MSFR 2005 to present)

• 5.5 T/GWe, 6 month processing time

• 550 M$ fissile 100$/g U233 or Pu= 0.85 c/kwh

• Less starting and makeup salt = 0.03 cents/kwh

• Processing Plant Cap +Op

– Much lower rate (1/18th MSBR) but economy of scale lost?

– Also need process blanket salt

– ~0.1 cents/kwh? Perhaps much higher?

• Total Fuel Cycle ~ 1 cent/kwh

– Again large cost uncertainty

**DMSR (Denatured Molten Salt Reactor) Fuel Cycle Costs**

Estimate based on ORNL 4541 and 4812 and 7.5 times “nuclear” inflation

Old 75% capacity factor but new 10% discount rate (ORNLwas 13.5%)

• Single Fluid Graphite Converter(DMSR 1980)

• Runs off Thorium plus Low Enriched Uranium

• 3450 kg/GWe starting fissile, No processing

• 175 M$ fissile 50$/g U235= 0.26 c/kwh

• Annual and startup Thorium= negligible

• More carrier salt = 0.14 cents/kwh

– Converter able to use inexpensive alternate salts

• Average Conversion Ratio 0.8 over 30 years

– ~150 kg/year U235 (in LEU)

– 50$/g = 7.8M$/year = 0.12 cents/kwh

• **Total Fuel Cycle = 0.52 cents/kwh**

– Very little uncertainty

– 9 T of Pu (IFR startup) would start and run for over 30 years

– Great potential for improvement

*If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks*

Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.

Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.

A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.