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US DOE Awards $7.3 million for “Deep-Burn” Nuclear Technology Research & Development

One of the unique features of the high temperature gas-cooled reactor is the TRISO fuel used for the fission reaction. Click to enlarge.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected teams led by Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to advance the technology of nuclear fuel “Deep-Burn” in which plutonium and higher transuranics recycled from spent nuclear fuel are destroyed while generating energy. This technology advances nuclear power production and reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced in the end.

These R&D activities are aimed at establishing the technological foundations that will support the role of the Very-High-Temperature, gas-cooled Reactor (VHTR) in the nuclear fuel cycle, one of the prototype reactors being researched under the DOE’s Generation IV Nuclear power program. (Earlier post.) The work will be carried out in two parts: Advanced Modeling and Simulation Capability for VHTR Development and Design at a cost of $1 million led by Argonne National Laboratory; and Transuranic Management Capabilities of the Deep-Burn VHTR at a cost of $6.3 million led by Idaho National Laboratory.

Through a competitive process, two national laboratories teams from Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory were selected for work totaling $7.3 million. The laboratories are partnering with other national laboratories, universities, and industry on the project.

The concept of destruction of spent fuel transuranics in a TRISO-fueled (TRIstructural ISOtropic) gascooled reactor is known as Deep-Burn. The term “Deep-Burn” reflects the large fractional burnup of up to 60-70% fissions per initial metal atoms (FIMA) that can be achieved with a single pass, multi-cycle irradiation in these reactors. The concept is particularly attractive because it employs the same reactor design that is used for the NGNP program, with the same potential for highly efficient electricity and hydrogen production. Spent TRISO fuel from Deep-Burn can be either placed directly into geologic storage to provide long-term containment to the residual radioactivity or recycled for fast reactor fuel.

In parallel to the physics analysis, preliminary work has indicated that, due to the large amount of useful energy that can be extracted from the Deep-Burn TRISO fuel (up to 20 times larger than from mixedoxide (MOX) fuel in LWRs), it may be possible to recover all or part of the costs of reprocessing LWR spent fuel. The Deep-Burn concept creates a completely different paradigm for the near-term economics of closed fuel cycles if the cost of spent LWR fuel reprocessing can be offset by the value of the recovered transuranics (TRU) in a Deep-Burn reactor producing power at competitive cost.

As indicated in the course of previous analysis, the Deep-Burn gas-cooled reactor will be nearly identical to the Low-Enriched Uranium (LEU) version currently under development for commercial applications. All of the engineering elements of the Deep-Burn concept that relate to the reactor core and the power production are common to the NGNP and are being addressed in the NGNP program and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) program for weapons-plutonium disposition. Although the deep-burn TRISO fuel shares common elements with the TRISO fuel proposed for the NGNP TRISO fuel and the NNSA’s Plutonium (Pu)-TRISO fuel, many aspects of the Deep-Burn concept still need to be investigated. In order to further develop the technology basis and establish the practical feasibility of the Deep-Burn concept, DOE is initiating work to resolve many of the remaining issues associated with fabrication and performance of the special TRU-loaded TRISO fuel to be used in the Deep-Burn VHTRs.

—Funding Opportunity Number DE-PS07-08ID14907

The primary mission of the Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) remains the production of high-temperature heat for use as a source of process heat for generation of electricity. A further goal of this work is to enable a quantitative assessment of the scope, cost and schedule implications of extending the NGNP mission in the future to destruction of plutonium and other transuranics.

The Deep-Burn R&D effort will be coordinated with the ongoing Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) programs to ensure synergism and to avoid duplication of efforts. The R&D that will be carried out is a part of DOE’s Generation IV program.


  • Funding Opportunity Number DE-PS07-08ID14907: Deep Burn: Development of Transuranic Fuel for High-Temperature Helium-Cooled Reactors


stas peterson

@| ,

Nice try but it won't wash.

The life expectancy of the solar facility is about 10 years. So you must build 6 of them at $688 million for the first one, to equal the 60 year life of the "small nuclear facility". I don't know what nuclear design you are talking about, as there are none that small, that I know of, except the abandoned AP-600.

Then you must build the backup power plant for when the sun doesn't shine, like 12 hours a day and rainy, or cloudy days.
So in addition to 6 generations of solar plants, build the nuclear facility too, as the backup. And only use it as a standby at nite, or rainy days.

Want to substitute windmills? They don't last as long as the solar facility. The nationalized UK Electric utility says based on its operating experience, its 2000 windmills are scrap iron, in about 9 years of operation and exposure to the elements. So if you built them you'd need 7 generations worth, times the cost per generation, to equal 60 years life expectancy of a nuclear plant.

Now the same UK electric utility says its windmills only produce electricity at an up time of 24.1%. Between being shut down for repair, the wind isn't blowing hard enough, or it's blowing too hard. They must shut them down when the wind is less than 8 mph, and when it is greater than 33 mph. And when they do run, they seldom produce rated power because the wind is not blowing at nameplate rated speed. So the over all up time is 24.1%. But that not the only problem. Wind is Variable, changing speed in rapidy, in gusts, and producing variable electric generation in equivalent amounts. An entire wind farm experiences the same wind, so it resembles a single enormous windmill, sloshing power into the grid, out of the grid, and seldom delivering constant power.

That causes grid resonances, oscillations, as power surges this way and that, and it creates blackouts, across the entire grid.

For example a normal power plant is feeding power to the grid pushing electricity into the grid, suddenly a massive surge of electricity is pushed into it, overheating it, and causing safety systems to trip it off line; the sudden power loss of the generator tripping off causes a demand elsewhere in the grid, and another trips off under the strain of trying to supply power beyond its capacity. Eventually the grid collapses into a blackout. This is not a theory. It has happened in the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, and in T Boone Pickens' lil ol' Texas windmill utility. Wherever variable and intermittent power, (spelled Solar and Wind), grow to a certain amount of total electric generation, oscilations result. You can restrict it, or build some more base load to ride through and damp the oscillations out, hopefully.

The UK utility artificially restricts some of the windmills in a wind farm from working, purposely, because the magnitude of the power sloshing from that wind farm can't be handled. So build some stable backup base load plants to stabilize the grid.

How about a nice Nuclear facility?

So the real cost in the real world is build a base load, nice and stable nuke or a coal plant. Period.


Build a wind farm and/or a Solar array, also build a nuclear plant, to stabilize it or provide for its inmtermittency. And also plan on rebuilding the solar/windmills every 9 or 10 years for the next 60 years.

That's cheaper? Not hardly.

And we haven't even spoken of the pollution effects. Solar is about 10% efficient. So its "thermal pollution" figure isn't half like a nuclear plant but 90%. Just what you want to do, to fight your Global Warming is "thermally pollute" the landscape?

Oh did I mention that the solar array, in addition, reduced the Albedo better than a perfect black body? The solar cell engineers struggled to make it so, to capture every photon possible. Fighting global warming and raising the heat energy absorbed by the sun by 30% or more? Even more of a Global Warming problem. Wonderful.

Did you ever wonder why the early pioneers of electricity didn't just hook up generators to the windmills they already had? Or why windmills and solar facilities weren't built a long time ago?

It wasn't a conspiracy by Big Oil. After all, They did build hydroelectric. They just weren't as dumb as pseudo-green know-nothings.


@Jul 27, 2008 2:05:34 PM
and David Ahlport if you are one and the same.

David, nice to meet you, I have been taking to you for some time now with much excitement and joy.

The problem with current nukes is that they are all designed, certified, and custom built on a site by site basis.

It is the same as a custom car being designed for an owner from scratch. Such a custom car can cost a million or two.

But you can get a new Ford from a new car lot for $25,000.

The TRICO nukes could be built in China, and imported: ….cheap labor, …..like Wal-Mart

This is from the IAEA, which is well regarded international organization; not connected to the US government.




Being small, factory-fabricated, having a construction period of only about 2 years, involving a relatively small investment of about 1000 $/kWe, and meeting the incremental character of increase in energy demand, FBNR could be viewed as an attractive long-term investment opportunity.

FBNR - fixed bed nuclear reactor …. That is their name for the TRISO reactor.

Sorry to drop the price from $2/watt to $1/watt. Buy now before the price gets any cheaper.

As for $25000/kW for solar, thats flipping insane.

That number came form your post!!!

Florida Power and Light recently installed a solar array capable of producing 110 Megawatts of electricity at a cost of $688 Million.

Solar farm
110/4 = 27.5 effective megawatts

$688,000,000/27.500,000 = $25/watt construction cost

Kit P

I am not aware of any 110 MWe of solar that FP&L has installed recently. This confused poster may be thinking of repowering of an existing solar thermal plant that mostly runs on natural gas. While I think that hybrids of fossil and renewable energy are a good idea because they increase reliability and lower the cost renewable energy, the cost of major overhauls are lower than new build.

Kit P.

There is not a problem with current nukes. Bigger is better especially when considering per MW costs. Lots of small reactors are built for special needs like subs and air craft carriers. If you want cheap, the Russians or China will build one for you. If you want the US NRC to certify the design it will cost a bit more. I am not suggesting that anything is wrong with what they are doing but the process is open the public participation in the US. I think the adversarial we use in the US serves us well and what is one more year when you are building something to last for 60 years.

All large power plants must undergo a licensing process. Renewable energy is particularly vulnerable. Large coal and nuke plants set aside lots of money for legal fees.

Furthermore, all power plants are built from scratch for the owners with as many of the components manufactured in a factory. Nuclear reactors are not cars, solar panels, or cell phones.

What has changed in the US, is that builders can opt for a COL where the construction and operating license are combined and approval is provided before construction starts. What this means from a practical standpoint is that finished plant can be held up in court if the plant is constructed per the requirements.

Kit P



The innovative thing about the TRISO fuel and associated reactors is that it is the fuel that is certified. The fuel provides the protection from radiation and meltdown and not the reactor. So if the TRISO fuel is produced in one factory that is certified all plants that use the fuel are certified for radiation and meltdown. Because of this, the reactor certification is very much simplified.

Certification is as follows:

• Fuel design –done once at the lab.
• Fuel production – done by quality control at the factory.
• Reactor design – done once at the lab.
• Reactor construction – done by quality control at the factory.
• Site installation – done once at the site.

Small is beautiful.

The small TRISO reactor can be configured in a modular way to provide the same power output as a big current nuke. Up to ten highly automated TRISO reactors can be piped together and controlled from a common control room. A TRSIO reactor module can be added to the cluster as needed to meet increasing needs.

Evacuation zone

The evacuation zone for a current reactor is 10 miles.

For a TRISO reactor it is 400 yards around each reactor. This simplifies community emergency planning.


The TRISO reactor is totally automated. It needs only 150 people to man it no mater how many are used in a reactor installation.

By contrast, a large current reactor needs 800 people to keep it going.
This makes it operational costs cheaper.


The goal is to make TRISO reactors just like solar panels and wind mills but cheaper. Another goal is to keep legal expenses to a minimum through good design.

The TRISO reactor is not good for lawyers.


I would encourage everyone to check this ppt presentation out. I think that the deep burn idea might be good, but the technology that Kirk describes in his presentation might be better.


Roger Pham

Hi, y'all,
This article and comments have been very informative. I think that the following will make everyone happy:

How about building TRISO reactors for covering baseload, and using NG or H2 gas turbine plant for peak load, with assistance of solar electricity during the summer for peak load. Meanwhile, solar and wind energy can be devoted more for the production of H2 for use in transportation and peak-load power plants. If more TRISO plants will be built than needed for base-load in Spring and Fall, than the excess base-load output can also be used for H2 production as well.

Our energy future is looking even more promising now!


Solar cells are made of silicon and have no moving parts. Silicon is tough stuff. Rocks are composed largely of silicon. Put a rock in a sealed container and it will last a long long time. I expect that solar cells will probably still be around producng electricity for a LONG LONG time.

Nuclear reactors have hundreds of thousands of moving parts that have to function perfectly to prevent a catastrophic accident. Moving parts wear out, moving parts each add a weak point to any mechanical system. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is when a moving part doesn't. Murphy's Law: Anything that CAN go wrong WILL, and at the worst possible time. Nuclear reactors are licensed to operate for 20 years. Then they have to be relicensed. You cann't say that nuclear reactors will last for 60 years. So far, there has never been a single one that has.

BTW--that is 110 Mw output. It is built and in operation. The output is about 1/4 of what the nuclear reactor was originally estimated to cost to build. Round $688 million up to $700 million X 4 = $2.8 billion. Less than half of the cost of the nuclear by another $700 million(the cost of the original solar array). And FAR less than the current revised estimate of $12 billion for the reactor. And that includes NOTHING for operation, fueling, waste, maintaince, safety, securiy(and on and on).

Nuclear energy at over 3 TIMES the cost to build is no bargain compared to solar energy.


@Roger Pham

Hi Roger

The TRISO reactor is used for load following.

The TRISO control rods can adjust the reactor output in the order of a few minutes. That is another advantage of being small.

A current big nuke can reduce power by 50% in 12 hours.

The TRISO reactor will be perfect to backup solar and wind.

There is nothing bad about solar. Al Gore will get the price down and there will be plenty of solar. But something has to backup solar. Power storage costs money.

When a TRISO reactor is not making electrify, it could be making Hydrogen, and, Roger, you know how important that is!



Thorium fuel cycle

In the thorium fuel cycle thorium-232 absorbs a neutron in either a fast or thermal reactor. The thorium-233 beta decays to protactinium-233 and then to uranium-233, which in turn is used as fuel. Hence, like uranium-238, thorium-232 is a fertile material.

The United States first tested U-233 as part of a bomb core in Operation Teapot in 1955.

After starting the reactor with existing U-233 or some other fissile material such as U-235 or Pu-239, a breeding cycle similar to but more efficient than that with U-238 and plutonium can be created.

No mater what you do, you will get Uranium in a reactor. Without TRISO fuel packaging, you will need a containment building. Because of that kirk idea is expensive.


Wetdog: Nuclear reactors have hundreds of thousands of moving parts that have to function perfectly to prevent a catastrophic accident.

I see that like Lad, you stopped reading this article as soon as you hit the word "nuclear". It is also pretty clear you stopped reading about "nuclear" in general sometime in the early 1970's.


"The safety systems in the AP1000 are passive, relying on things like gravity and natural recirculation rather than active systems such as pumps. The Passive Core Cooling System (PCCS) is the AP1000's passive analogue to the Emergency Core Cooling System used in currently operating reactors. The PCCS is passive because none of the systems are reliant on AC power and the actuation for the safety systems is automatic. The valves required for alignment are usually fail-safe (requiring power to stay in their normal, closed positions) and are always powered by energy stored in batteries, springs, or compressed gas."

We can also check into Axil's PBMR technology, which is even more "walk away safe" than the AP reactor designs:


"The core is designed so that passive cooling is adequate to keep the fuel within its safe temperature range during shutdown. No secondary containment is considered necessary."

Moving parts wear out, moving parts each add a weak point to any mechanical system. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is when a moving part doesn't.

Earth to Wetdog: the power grid contains moving parts. Lots of them. They need lubrication, maintenance, and replacement on a regular basis. People have to walk the lines and trim trees. Stuff like that.

So I once again return again to the question you are ignoring: who is going to pay for this "grid" you wish to "tie" into? Actually, you must tie into, since an effective wind or solar baseload will be impossible without such. Who will fix the 20,000km power line to Australia when it is accidentally cut?

Nuclear energy at over 3 TIMES the cost to build is no bargain compared to solar energy.

The Chinese are building 4GW of AP reactors for $8 billion dollars. This is $2/W.

If you claim that nuclear is 3x more expensive than silicon solar, we should be able to find such solar systems in the $2/3 -> $0.60/W range, tops.

To be a fair comparison, it should be noted that these solar watts should be functionally equivalent to nuclear watts too: the end user shouldn't be able to tell the difference. So much more solar capacity will be necessary, much more grid support, etc.

All for 60 cents/watt.

Where is this system?


If everything said about the TRISO reactors is true then it would be hard to argue against it.
Not producing any CO2 is extremely significant.

Still seems like they're glossing over environmental costs of producing the pellets and disposing of them.

And not to confident in the chinese producing the plants. the japanese..that's fine but don't have much confidence in chinese high tech or QA.



The TRISO fuel stops meltdown by itself. When a marble heats up, the ceramic that it is made of stops the neutron flux so that the marble never gets over 1600C. The burn point of the marbles is 2600C. No moving part; just like solar cells. It is all done by the TRISO materials.

In China, the prototype HTR-10 has been up for some time. It uses TRISO fuel; here is a video that shows it, the walk away loss of coolant test, the waste storage behind a wooden doors; the TRISO fuel, how it looks and how it is made, and the building itself.

danm, if it makes you fell better, we will produce everything here in the good old US of A..


That is a great thing about fixed PV having no moving parts to fail. Also exporting to the home voltage grid requires no new transmission line. However where I live the real price of PV is around $10 per watt, or $10k per kilowatt. When I hear the term 'summer load following' I read that as 'air conditioning'. If real world average air conditioning works out a kilowatt per person that's at least $10k of installed PV per person. Multiply that by the population of most countries.

UT Geologist.

I am a Geologist and any Geologist can tell you 10 places off the top of there head that have been stable underground over the course of 10 to 100's of millions years from sesmic and tectonic processes well below ant ground water. im talking crystaline basement rocks of PreCambrian ages. Spent fuel can be entombed in such a place and left for millions of years to decay naturally. The Canadian Shield comes to mind first it has been stable geologicaly for 1.5 billon years anything emplaced in the granitic rock there will not move or be subject to tectonic processes for millions if not billions of years. Rock at that depth is crystaline and none porus once the containers fail the rock itself entombs the wastes forever removing them from the biosphere. wasting the energy value of the actinides in SNF is a bad idea its far better to reprocess the wastes using a non-aqueous process like the floride volitility process. There for eliminating the liquid wastes streams with current UREX or PREX processing. The fission products are mixed fused to a glass/ceramix matrix similar to basaltic rocks from which they cannot ever leach out. the binding energy to the ceramic exceeds the solubility potential of hot water by a few orders of magnituted such that in every case Ka=

UT Geologist.


Ka less than Qa meaning the equilibrium concentration with water is in the parts per billion or less. while the actinides are recycles to be used as fuel for deep burn or fast breed reactors. Since the Japaniese have proven that yellow cake can be process from seawater for 25000 yen a kilo the need for breed reactors is debatable since 25000 yem = $264 american and yellow cake is trading for over $100 already and even at that price yellow cake is only 2% of the total cost per kwhr of nuclear power doubling the cost will only increase the cost of nuclear power by 2%. at $100 kg yellow cake UOX fuel accounts for .051 CENTS per KWHR doubling that to 1.1 cents is hardly uneconomic. yellow cake at $260 kg is on a BTU to BTU basis equivalent to oil at $6 a barrel or coal at $26 a ton. Given that the oceans hold billons of tons of Uranium it is an unlimited resources once a price threashold of $260 kg is reached for mined uranium.


@UT Geologist

In TRISO fuel, the waste is entombed in ceramic before it is even created and used during the production process of the fuel.

Uranium can be extracted from coal ash at ½ lbs per ton. Before we go to water, go to coal ash; it is more concentrated there.

The Chinese will extract Uranium form coal ash soon.




In 2007 CNNC commissioned Sparton Resources of Canada with the Beijing No.5 Testing Institute to undertake advanced trials on leaching uranium from coal ash out of the Xiaolongtang power station in Yunnan. The ash contains 160-180 ppm U - above the cut-off level for some uranium mines. The power station ash heap contains over 1700 tU, with annual arisings of 106 tU. Two other nearby power stations burn lignite from the same mine.


Nuclear power.

$12 billion/ 485 Mw = $24.74 per watt

Solar energy

$688 million/ 110 Mw = $6.25 per watt

Nuclear energy costs too much. Nuclear energy requires fuel, safety, security, and beauracracy. Safety and security measures can fail, ESPECIALLY when you have a beauracracy in charge. Nuclear energy produces the most toxic substances known. Nuclear energy is monopolistic in nature. The only thing we get is electricity.

Solar and wind power produce electricity. Solar and wind power produce no toxic substances or waste. Solar and wind require no fuel. Solar and wind do not require any particular safety, security measures, and nothing anything remotely like the kinds of beauracracy that the nuclear industry requires.

We do not need nuclear power---we have better ways of making electricity. Less expensive, safer and far more durable.



The efficiency of solar is based on where you are on earth. Solar is a lot better in Florida then it is in Maine or Minnesota. It is due to the angle of the sun and the amount of air that the light has to pass through to get to the panels.

Work up some solar cost numbers for different parts of the country, take into account the season also and the average cloud cover.


It disgusts me to use Republican tools here (fear), but solar and wind power are relatively impervious to terrorists, either foreign or domestic, whereas nuclear will always be centralized and thus of always being capable of doing huge damage. The localization of solar power provides local efficiency, entrepreneurship, invention and safety, none of which is possible with nuclear. Think of 50 years of efficiency, entrepreneurship, invention on our national and world needs. 50 years of nuclear dependence will produce nothing except more nuclear dependence, and the non-localized highly centralized core of power associated with it, which is already making itself heard.

Missing the Market Meltdown

"Renewable energy is attracting Wall Street but nuclear power isn't. Why? Simple economics.

Capitalists have already scuttled Patrick Moore's claimed nuclear revival. New U.S. subsidies of about $13 billion per plant (roughly a plant's capital cost) haven't lured Wall Street to invest. Instead, the decentralized competitors to nuclear power that Moore derides are making more global electricity than nuclear plants are, and are growing 20 to 40 times faster.

In 2007, decentralized renewables worldwide attracted $71 billion in private capital. Nuclear got zero. Why? Economics. The nuclear construction costs that Moore omits are astronomical and soaring; low fuel costs will soon rise two-to fivefold. "Negawatts"—saved electricity—cost five to 10 times less and are getting cheaper. So are most renewables. Negawatts and "micro-power"— renewables other than big hydro, and cogenerating electricity together with useful heat—are also at or near customers, avoiding grid costs, losses and failures (which cause 98 to 99 percent of blackouts).

The unreliability of renewable energy is a myth, while the unreliability of nuclear energy is real. Of all U.S. nuclear plants built, 21 percent were abandoned as lemons; 27 percent have failed for a year or more at least once. Even successful reactors must close for refueling every 17 months for 39 days. And when shut by grid failure, they can't quickly restart. Wind farms don't do that.

Variable but forecastable renewables (wind and solar cells) are very reliable when integrated with each other, existing supplies and demand. For example, three German states were more than 30 percent wind-powered in 2007—and more than 100 percent in some months. Mostly renewable power generally needs less backup than utilities already bought to combat big coal and nuclear plants' intermittence.

Micropower delivers a sixth of total global electricity, a third of all new electricity and from a sixth to more than half of all electricity in 12 industrial countries (in the United States it's only 6 percent). In 2006, the global net capacity added by nuclear power was only 83 percent of that added by solar cells, 10 percent that of wind power and 3 percent that of micropower. China's distributed renewables grew to seven times its nuclear capacity and grew seven times faster. In 2007, the United States, China and Spain each added more wind capacity than the world added nuclear capacity. Wind power added 30 percent of new U.S. and 40 percent of EU capacity, because it's two to three times cheaper than new nuclear power. Which part of this doesn't Moore understand?

The punch line: nuclear expansion buys two to 10 times less climate protection per dollar, far slower than its winning competitors. Spending a dollar on new nuclear power rather than on negawatts thus has a worse climate effect than spending that dollar on new coal power. Attention, Dr. Moore: you're making climate change worse."

There definitely won't be an affordable Tokomak fusion reactor in the next 50 years - if ever:

Cheap sea-water uranium is absurd:

In this tiny research project:
they collected 1 kg of uranium with polymer-sheets weighing 350 kg. This polymer consisted of 52,000 sheets had an area of 16 m2, a thickness of 16 cm and had to be stored in a depth of 20m, 7km away from the shore for 240 days.

This whole process including production of 52,000 sheets, cages, mounts, time, transportation, processing should cost less than $300?

This means that one 16 m2 sheet has to cost less than 1 cent. Where does anyone obtain 16 m2 polymer sheets for less than 1 cent? And where does one transport and process a 16 m2 sheet for less than 1 cent?

And 350 kg polymer requires 1000 kg of oil? Where does one obtain 1000 kg of oil for less than $300 in 30 years from now?

Do the nuclear guys consult Alice in Wonderland when they come up with these ridiculous claims?

It's cheaper, lighter and easier to simply place photovoltaic-sheets on existing roofs without needing any cages and obtain electricity directly for 30 years without having to harvest and process any yellow cake and having to build extremely expensive nuclear power plants.


And of course, nuclear fuel costs are significant:

Dr. Kim opened our eyes.

He told his audience that fuel is four to five times the ‘hyped’ cost of nuclear power – between 20 and 25 percent instead of the mere five percent.

He announced, “At $1000/pound for uranium, a nuclear utility’s fuel cost would rise to $70/MWH compared to $5/MWH at legacy contract prices of about $20/pound.

Dr. Kim shot down the premature conclusion that utilities would rather pay the high prices instead of going through a costly decommissioning process. He said, “There is no compulsion to immediately decommission – stations can be held in standby or cold shutdown.”

Finally, he took up the matter of ‘utilities not caring about fuel costs.’ He pointed out, “Take $900 million from your company’s annual net profits. See how happy your management is.”

Because of what we've previously been led to believe, we questioned his numbers and conclusions. So we asked TradeTech’s Gene Clark for a second opinion. Clark emailed back and confirmed Dr. Kim’s calculations were accurate, writing, “At $1000/lb U3O8, I get $86.6/MWh total, but $16.6 is the carrying cost. Without the carrying cost, it’s exactly $70.”

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