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Reactors (Costs)

Volume 981: debated on Wednesday 19 March 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will compare the capital costs of a 1000 MW advanced gas cooled reactor and pressurised water reactor and fast reactor and the estimated cost of electricity produced by each.

I am advised by the CEGB that the capital cost of thermal nuclear stations for construction in the near term is provisionally estimated at about £1,000 per kW (at March 1980 prices). This figure is, however, subject to uncertainty and depends on the placing of firm contracts. It is not possible to add any information on the capital cost difference between AGR and PWR, although the 1977 thermal reactor assessment by NPC indicated that the PWR could cost some 15 per cent. less than the AGR.The estimated cost of electricity from thermal reactors depends not only on capital costs but also on estimates of future fuel costs themselves subject to uncertainty. Current CEGB forecasts indicate that they expect generation costs for the next thermal stations to be within the range 2·0–2·5 pence per kWh (March 1980 prices) and to be lower than the estimated costs of electricity from comparable fossil-fuelled plant.Because of its earlier stage of development no comparable information is available for the fast reactor.