The cost of Europe’s new nuclear power plants

(EurActiv, 5 Apr 2024) An alliance of 14 pro-nuclear EU member states said the EU needs an additional 50 GW of nuclear power by 2050 to meet energy transition targets, requiring the construction of more than 30 new reactors.

The additional 50 GW of nuclear capacity is estimated to cost between €5 and €11 billion per GW, a range that “shows a great deal of uncertainty and a big difference in the assumptions”, energy economist Professor Jaques Percebois told Euractiv.

Basic assumptions

When costs are expressed in terms of electricity production (measured in kWh, GWh), they take into account the total cost of generating unit of power: investment in construction, operation (day-to-day running, maintenance, etc.) and fuel (loading, life cycle, etc.). This is the Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE).

However, estimates often focus on the investment costs required to construct the plant (measured in kW, GW)

“Because it represents around 70% of the cost of a new reactor while operating costs represent only around 15% and fuel costs around 15% of the total amount,” explained Percebois.

Different estimates may include or exclude costs associated with decommissioning plants and treating the waste. Cost figures can also be strongly impacted by assumptions about external factors like future inflation rates.

External link

EurActiv, 5 Apr 2024: The cost of Europe’s new nuclear power plants