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[en] Purpose: Detailed evaluation and cost analysis of a cranial contrast-enhanced MRI (c-ceMRI) in outpatients, inpatients, patients in an intensive care unit and children under anesthesia. Materials and Methods: Based on a detailed process-oriented model, we calculated the cost of a cranial MRI for the four situations mentioned above. A comprehensive evaluation of the overhead and personnel costs was performed. Results: We performed 5108 MRI examinations on 2 scanners in the year 2008. 2150 examinations (42 %) were identified as c-ceMRI. For inpatients we calculated a total cost of Euro 242.46 per examination with a personnel cost of Euro 81.71 for the radiological department. In outpatients we calculated total costs of Euro 181.97 with radiological personnel costs of Euro 68.67. Patients coming from an intensive care unit were treated by an intensive care team, which resulted in total costs of Euro 416.58 with Euro 283 in costs for radiological personnel (32.8 %). MRI examinations of children under anesthesia resulted in costs of Euro 616.79 for the hospital, of which Euro 285.78 were radiological personnel costs (34.5 %). Conclusion: In this study we evaluated for the first time different radiological scenarios of a c-ceMRI at a university hospital. Considering the present reimbursement situation, all outpatients covered by statutory health insurance resulted in a deficit for the hospital. Particularly high costs for patients in intensive care units as well as for children under anesthesia have to be taken into account and are currently not adequately covered by care providers. (orig.)
[en] High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor (HTGR) combined with a direct cycle gas turbine offers one of the most promising nuclear electricity generation options after 2010. Japan Atomic Energy Agency has been engaging in the basic design and development of Gas Turbine High Temperature Reactor 300 (GTHTR300) since 2003. Costs of capital, fuel, and operation and maintenance have been estimated. The capital cost of the GTHTR300 is lower than that of the existing light water reactor (LWR) because the generation efficiency is considerably higher whereas the construction cost is lower owing to the design simplicity of the gas turbine power conversion unit and the reactor safety system. The fuel cost is shown to equal that of LWR. The operation and maintenance cost has a slight advantage due to the use of chemically inert helium coolant. In sum, the cost of electricity for the GTHTR300 is estimated to be below US 3.3 cents/kWh (4 yen/kWh), which is about two-third of that of current LWRs in Japan. The results confirm that the net power generation cost of the GTHTR300 is much lower than that of the LWR, indicating that the GTHTR300 plant consisting of small-scale reactor units can be economically competitive to the latest large-scale LWR. (authors)
[en] Smaller size reactors are going to be an important component of the worldwide nuclear renaissance. However, a misguided interpretation of the economy of scale would label these reactors as not economically competitive with larger plants because of their allegedly higher capital cost (dollar/kWe). Economy of scale does apply only if the considered designs are similar, which is not the case here. This paper identifies and briefly discusses the various factors which, beside size (power produced), contribute to determining the capital cost of smaller reactors and provides a preliminary evaluation for a few of these factors. When they are accounted for, in a set of realistic and comparable configurations, the final capital costs of small and large plants are practically equivalent. The Iris reactor is used as the example of smaller reactors, but the analysis and conclusions are applicable to the whole spectrum of small nuclear plants. (authors)
[en] Available in abstract form only. Full text of publication follows: The uncertainties of decommissioning costs increase high due to several conditions. Decommissioning cost estimation depends on the complexity of nuclear installations, its site-specific physical and radiological inventories. Therefore, the decommissioning costs of nuclear research facilities must be estimated in accordance with the detailed sub-tasks and resources by the tasks of decommissioning activities. By selecting the classified activities and resources, costs are calculated by the items and then the total costs of all decommissioning activities are reshuffled to match with its usage and objectives. And the decommissioning cost of nuclear research facilities is calculated by applying a unit cost factor method on which classification of decommissioning works fitted with the features and specifications of decommissioning objects and establishment of composition factors are based. Decommissioning costs of nuclear research facilities are composed of labor cost, equipment and materials cost. Of these three categorical costs, the calculation of labor costs are very important because decommissioning activities mainly depend on labor force. Labor costs in decommissioning activities are calculated on the basis of working time consumed in decommissioning objects and works. The working times are figured out of unit cost factors and work difficulty factors. Finally, labor costs are figured out by using these factors as parameters of calculation. The accuracy of decommissioning cost estimation results is much higher compared to the real decommissioning works. (authors)
[en] This first article of two on solar air-conditioning takes a look at how interest in solar-driven cooling systems is growing, especially in the Mediterranean area. The author comments that scientists are warning that, in spite of the fact that first all-in offers for solar cooling systems are on the market, much research and development still has to be done in this area. Contributions presented by various lecturers at a seminar on solar air-conditioning in Freiburg, Germany, are summarised. The dangers involved in using components that are badly suited to each other are noted. A check list method presented at the seminar is briefly mentioned and it is stressed that all costs, including regular maintenance fees, should be included in calculations and when making comparisons
[en] Purpose: Questions are being raised regarding the cost of particle therapy (PT), and with them criticism that PT is too expensive to allow the expected gain in effectiveness. This paper aims to get more insight in the cost and cost-effectiveness of particle therapy and to discuss a future strategy that allows for critical assessment of this health technology. Material and methods: A systematic literature review based on an earlier published comprehensive review was performed and updated until June 1st 2008. Besides, current business plans of PT projects were examined. Additionally, results retrieved from a cost-simulation tool developed under auspice of the ENLIGHT were discussed. Results: The current literature on cost-effectiveness of PT is scarce, non-comparable, and largely not performed according to standard health technology assessment criteria. Besides, different perspectives for cost evaluations have been used, making it difficult to compare and to determine the relative impact in terms of costs for this new treatment modality. Conclusions: Evidence on the cost-effectiveness of PT is scarce. Adequate reimbursement is necessary to support such innovative yet costly treatments. For now, model-based economic evaluations performed at least from a health care perspective may help us to gain evidence-based insight into cost-effectiveness
[en] Ways of using different decision-aiding techniques for optimizing and evaluating radon remedial measures have been studied on a large set of data obtained from the remediation of 32 houses that had an original indoor radon level above 1000 Bq/m3. Detailed information about radon concentrations before and after remediation, type of remedial measures and installation and operation costs were used as the input parameters for a comparison of costs and for determining the efficiencies, for a cost-benefit analysis and a cost-effectiveness analysis, in order to find out whether these criteria and techniques provide sufficient and relevant information for improving and optimizing remediation. Our study confirmed that the installation costs of remediation do not depend on the original indoor radon level, but on the technical state of the building. In addition, the study reveals that the efficiency of remediation does not depend on the installation costs. Cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis lead to the conclusion that remedial measures reducing the indoor radon concentration from values above 1000 Bq/m3 are always acceptable and reasonable. On the other hand, these techniques can neither help the designer to choose the proper remedial measure nor provide information resulting in improved remediation.
[en] A study was sponsored by FEMP in 2001 - 2002 to develop methods to compare life-cycle costs of federal energy conservation projects carried out through energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) and projects that are directly funded by appropriations. The study described in this report follows up on the original work, taking advantage of new pricing data on equipment and on $500 million worth of Super ESPC projects awarded since the end of FY 2001. The methods developed to compare life-cycle costs of ESPCs and directly funded energy projects are based on the following tasks: (1) Verify the parity of equipment prices in ESPC vs. directly funded projects; (2) Develop a representative energy conservation project; (3) Determine representative cycle times for both ESPCs and appropriations-funded projects; (4) Model the representative energy project implemented through an ESPC and through appropriations funding; and (5) Calculate the life-cycle costs for each project.
[en] In 2001 the cost of the ITER project was estimated at 6 billion euros (6.109), today, 9 years later this cost is expected to reach 16 billions euros. The recent sharp rise of the costs of raw materials (concrete, steels...), the necessary technological modifications of the reactor in order to get the most appropriate today's technology, and the particular management of the ITER project (no unique direction but 7 national agencies) have largely contributed to the size of the extra-costs. Some discontent is growing and begins to question the viability of such a project. Usually big scientific machines exceed their initial budget but never to ITER's extend. A second reassessment of ITER costs may mean the end of the project. (A.C.)
[en] Fast reactors exhibit two major advantages over classical thermal reactors: sustainability and waste minimization. The deployment of 4. generation nuclear reactors depends on economical, industrial and political issues. We feel that the waste radiotoxicity reduction argument, although very crucial and socially sensitive, could not by itself justify implementing a new reactor system including a dedicated reprocessing scheme. But the foreseen tension of the uranium market may urge on developing fast reactor systems. Putting aside politics, we tentatively try to answer a very simple question: At which uranium price will it be economically competitive to build a fast reactor instead of a light water one? The leveled cost of nuclear electricity is analyzed and split into its different components (investment, fuel supply, fuel cycle,..). Assuming some minimal and reasonable hypotheses, fast reactors costs are compared with light water ones. The uranium price necessary to compensate for the higher investment cost of fast reactors is then deduced. One major conclusion that can be drawn from our study may be summarized as follows: if the uranium market price maintains its present level for a long period of time, fast reactors are already today an economically attractive option. (authors)