The UK’s nuclear industry says the costs of building new power plants could be slashed by as much as 30% by 2030
A cross-industry team working as part of the government-backed Nuclear Sector Deal has set out the key factors it says are necessary to reduce risk and expenditure.
The ‘Nuclear New Build Cost Reduction’ report proposes improved simplicity of design and construction methodology, repeating designs across multiple stations, and building up and transferring skilled workforce to new projects.
In reaching these conclusions, the report incorporates lessons from projects across the globe and shows that nuclear power is vital to achieving net-zero by 2050, whilst creating thousands of high-quality jobs and economic opportunities across the country.
It highlights the importance of “vigorous pre-construction planning”, stressing designs should be as mature as possible and emphasising that all key stakeholders must be aligned on the scope and scheduling of a project ahead of construction being started.
The report also calls for successful designs to be repeated – it predicts constructing a number of the same reactors will be able to dramatically reduce design costs, allow the application of best practice from previous projects and facilitate continuous investment in the supply chain and workforce training.
Humphrey Cadoux-Hudson CBE, Chair of the Cost Reduction Working Group of the Nuclear Sector Deal, said: “I am very pleased to say that the nuclear new build cost reduction workstream has made great progress, and our report clearly shows it’s possible to deliver a cost-effective programme of new nuclear power stations in the UK.
“But promises of cost reduction are not enough – in making this case, the developers of new nuclear plants are showing that we recognise the delivery risks we face, and how to manage them.”
Nuclear Industry Association chief executive Tom Greatrex said: “Nuclear power stations are very cost effective to run due to high reliability, low and predictable fuel costs, and very large volumes of power generated whatever the weather.
“This report demonstrates that the upfront costs can be tackled effectively by bearing down on construction complexity and risks, and by tackling unnecessarily high financing costs.”