HKNIC - Overall cost comparsion

Overall cost comparsion
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The total cost of producing a unit of electricity commonly includes the costs of building the generating plant, of any fuel, of the upkeep of the equipment, of financing the construction, of disposing any waste and of retiring the plant when it is no longer operable. While the method of cost calculation is generally simple, individual cost items may vary considerably owing to the volatility of prices, and from country to country depending on the abundance of national resources and government policies.

Today, studies and statistics show that nuclear energy is in many places competitive with fossil fuels such as coal and gas in its unit cost for electricity generation. This has been brought about by improved operation of nuclear power stations worldwide over the last two decades and by rising prices for fossil fuels. The cost of nuclear power has allowed for the high cost of building a nuclear power station, the costs of disposing any end products during power production and the cost for station decommissioning.


Overall cost comparsion

Image Credit : DNMC


An example is the 2005 study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an organisation comprising of most of the developed countries in the world, which provides evidence for this assertion. In 1998, an earlier OECD study showed that at 5% discount rate, in seven out of 13 countries, nuclear power would be the most competitive choice in new base-load capacity commissioned by 2010. The study was updated in 2005 by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). This later study showed that nuclear power had increased its competitiveness during the intervening seven years. Two factors that favour nuclear power were not included in the study. It made no allowance for emission costs, which apply only to fossil fuels. The study also made allowance for an operable life of only 40 years, against the 60 year operable life that has been shown to be achievable for most US nuclear power stations.
Projected Generating Cost for 2010 (OECD/NER and IEA, 2005)
Among renewable energies, only the unit cost of hydropower is comparable to that of coal, gas and nuclear power. Since other renewable energies have only recently been introduced into the commercial market, their costs are relatively high and they often need support from government policies or subsidies to make them marketable.