IAEA Hosts First Meeting on Estimating Nuclear Plant Construction Costs

The meeting focused on the prospective capital and operating expenditures associated with pre-construction, construction, and operation of new, commercial-scale plants, including first-of-a-kind concepts, as well as identifying critical cost drivers and options to reduce costs.

The International Atomic Energy Agency hosting its first-ever technical meeting on nuclear power plant cost estimation April 24-26 in Vienna, Austria. Nuclear experts from around the world took part to discuss the challenges of nuclear power construction projects.

IAEA provides technical support to Member States on various aspects of developing nuclear infrastructure, including cost estimation of nuclear power plant construction. This meeting gave senior managers, analysts, energy planners and others involved in nuclear power cost estimation, nuclear technology development, and nuclear power plant operations/ownership a chance to discuss issues associated with cost estimation and cost management in new plant construction projects.

The meeting focused on the prospective capital and operating expenditures associated with pre-construction, construction, and operation of new, commercial-scale plants, including first-of-a-kind concepts, as well as identifying critical cost drivers and options to reduce costs.

There are two new reactors under construction in the United States at Southern Nuclear Energy Co.'s Vogtle plant in Waynesboro, Ga. Vogtle units 3 and 4 will be the first in the industry to use the Westinghouse AP1000 advanced pressurized water reactor technology and the first new nuclear units built in the United States in the past three decades, according to the company.

Southern Company subsidiary Georgia Power announced March 29 that the 35-foot-tall nuclear reactor vessel had been successfully installed inside Unit 4 containment at the Vogtle plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its annual assessment letter for Vogtle 3 and 4 on March 2, 2018, covering calendar year 2017. NRC determined that the units "were being constructed in a matter that preserved public health and safety and met all cornerstone objectives," the letter said, adding that all inspection findings during 2017 had very low (green) safety significance.

NRC issued annual letters to all 99 commercial nuclear power plants in the United States around that time. All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories, according to the agency's March 5 announcement.

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