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[en] In France, nuclear power licensing is based on the following: – An initial design life of 40 years; – No time limit for NPP operation; – As the plant ages, the safety authority conducts an extensive safety review (PSR) every ten years to ensure that the plant continues to be in conformity with the original safety standards and with any additional requirements; – Improvements required as a result of the PSR process, of updates to the safety standards, of operating feedback and of lessons learned, must be implemented. Électricité de France (EDF) has proposed solutions to meet the safety standards and is responsible for implementing them as agreed and approved by the safety authority. The latter is responsible for issuing the authorization to continue operation for ten more years, assuming that the outcome of the PSR is satisfactory and the safety analysis report meets the current licensing requirements
[en] In the Russian Federation, there are ten operating NPPs, and the number of reactor units operating within these plants is 37. The age distribution by number of operating years of the nuclear power generating units in the Russian Federation is shown. The nuclear power share of electricity production, as an average trend, is about 16%. The cost of electricity produced from NPPs is 1.0416 roubles per kW⋅h, equivalent to $0.018 per kW⋅h. Information about the cost of electricity produced by other types of power plants is not available.
[en] A feasibility study is composed of several specialized studies that may be conducted for practical reasons in parallel by different expert consultants. The final report should include a detailed summary of the various studies and an integrated assessment to ensure that gaps are not present at the interfaces. For more information on feasibility reports, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Preparation of a Feasibility Study for New Nuclear Power Projects, IAEA Nuclear Energy Series No. NG-T-3.3, IAEA, Vienna (2014). can be consulted. For first-time users, a general review may be useful as a first step before embarking on a feasibility study; an IAEA e-learning module, with its multimedia examples and hands-on exercises, may be a good starting point. The topics listed may be included in a feasibility study, but the list is not exhaustive since local conditions and circumstances may require even more modifications.
[en] This publication describes the various approaches to the techno–economic assessment of a project for the long term operation of a nuclear power plant in its specific market environment. It examines the process of defining the technical scope required to prolong the operating licences of nuclear power plants and highlights the need for further studies on technical cost drivers and economic assessments in order to better define the cost boundaries of long term operation. Information is also provided on the new IAEA software LTOFIN, which was developed to assist in performing long term operation economic assessments within the process described in the publication.
[en] At the time of writing, Brazil had two NPPs in operation, Angra 1 and Angra 2, contributing 2% of the total installed capacity in the country. The main source of electricity generation is hydropower. A third NPP, Angra 3, was suspended due to limitations of Eletronuclear’s cash flow as of 2017. In addition to the environmental licensing process and the required public hearings, the NPP operating licence process of the Brazilian National Nuclear Energy Commission (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear, CNEN) consists of: – The site approval process; – The construction licence; – The authorization for the use of nuclear material; – The authorization for initial operation; – The authorization for permanent operation. The first operating licence is issued for a period of 40 years, but must be revalidated every ten years, through a PSR, for the next ten years
[en] One of the four units of the Dukovany NPP in the Czech Republic has been in operation since 1985 and its original design life was 30 years. In the 1990s, the operator decided to prepare the plant for LTO. One of the first steps undertaken was a techno-economic feasibility study that took two years to complete (2006 and 2007). This study provided the information necessary to support the operator’s decision to proceed with LTO and decide its optimal duration. The feasibility study developed: – The economic parameters needed to define the most profitable duration for LTO (+10, +20 or +30 years beyond the original design life); – The basis for an effective LTO assurance programme; – The economic planning methods and the tools to help implement the NPP extended service life management programme.
[en] China initiated nuclear power operation in 1991 when its first NPP unit, Qinshan 1, a 300 MW(e) PWR, was connected to the grid. As of 31 March 2015, China had 26 units connected to the grid, 23 of which were in commercial operation. The age distribution of the 23 units in commercial operation is as follows: 20 units operating for less than 20 years, 3 units between 20 and 30 years. The main source of electricity in China is thermal power (of which 90% is from coal), which contributed 75.25% of electricity production in 2014. The nuclear power share of electricity production is only about 2.28%. However, the nuclear share is slowly rising as new NPP units come on stream. At the time of writing, most nuclear and conventional power plants in China are located along the eastern coastal areas, close to the large electricity users. Coal fired plants remain the main source of baseload electricity production in China. They also cause air quality issues and are handicapped by the distant location of the coal mines in the country’s interior, which adds transportation cost to the final cost of electricity from these plants. In this context, increasing the nuclear power share in China is seen as an attractive alternative to coal fired solutions. Even more economically attractive, compared with both new NPPs and new coal fired plants, are LTO solutions. In general, cost–benefit studies in China have shown that both LTO of existing NPPs as well as new NPP builds continue to be primary contenders in all Chinese electricity system scenarios.
[en] An example from the USA of the evaluation and implementation process for LTO is the Vermont Yankee NPP. The plant began operation in 1972, when the NRC issued a 40 year operating licence. In 2002, the plant was purchased by Entergy Nuclear and was being operated in a ‘merchant’ (or liberalized) market for electricity. At that time, the plant had operated for 30 years. The purchase deal included a ten year wholesale power purchase agreement that helped ensure a reasonable financial situation until 2012. In 2004, based on the economics of LTO where Vermont Yankee was located, it was determined that the cost of a licence renewal project to obtain the option of 60 years of operation was justified. The nuclear plant had been well maintained and no major equipment replacement or refurbishment was required to ensure safe and reliable operation for up to 60 years, as per the LRA . For example, from 2003 to 2006, the plant implemented plant upgrades to support a 20% power uprate, which helped further improve the economics of LTO. This meant more megawatts for approximately the same annual O&M costs. The upgrade also improved the material condition of significant portions of the plant (i.e. secondary system upgrades and replacements needed to allow 20% higher power levels). In 2011, the NRC granted a licence authorizing Vermont Yankee to operate for up to 60 years as long as the safety and environmental conditions of the licence were maintained. In 2012, the plant reached the 40 year milestone and was successfully operating beyond the original licence term (i.e. the period of extended operation) and was supplying more than 70% of the electricity generated in Vermont.
[en] Risk obviously involves uncertainty. Uncertainty is the set of all outcomes, both favourable and unfavourable. The unfavourable outcomes represent risk, whereas the favourable ones represent opportunity. Thus, uncertainty can give birth to either, or both, risk and opportunity. Risk is also defined as the probability that an unfavourable outcome will occur. Similarly, opportunity is defined as the probability that a favourable outcome will occur. Uncertainty describes any situation that we do not completely control. Risk describes a situation with a probability of a negative outcome. There are several types of risk inherent in global energy projects, such as technical, cost, schedule, price, operating factor and political. Accepting risk and providing contingency to cover it is one form of risk control. Other forms of risk control include risk avoidance, risk sharing, risk reduction, risk transfer, insurance and risk containment. Energy projects have the potential to carry substantial risks and uncertainty. It is important to know how risk and uncertainty could affect expected results from the project and to identify the potential impacts on the investors (owner/operator, investing institutions and government). An analysis of risk and uncertainty will provide key information to allow decision makers to judge whether the project should proceed under the proposed terms. Such an analysis will also assist in negotiations and identification of terms that may mitigate risk or uncertainty for investors. For many energy projects, it is important to have the ability to analyse risk and find ways to best mitigate it, identify potential conflicts of interest and successfully negotiate related issues. It is recommended that investors incorporate an analysis of risk and uncertainty as part of their overall feasibility analysis of such projects. It is also recommended that investors identify the potential impact from identified risks and uncertainties on expected outcomes. Examples of risks and uncertainties related to projects include: – Risk and uncertainty associated with the market the project is attempting to capture. – Risk and uncertainty of investors’ revenues from the project. – Risk and uncertainty associated with the recipient’s costs and resource requirements. – Risk and uncertainty with regard to the recipient’s financial and/or credit status. Sometimes a financial guarantee or credit enhancement is required, (e.g. a debt service guarantee). – Risk and uncertainty that the project will be completed or built, when or as anticipated. – Risk that other expected outcomes may not occur as anticipated and that investors’ goals will not be achieved. – Risk and uncertainty of future legislative actions and regulatory change by any level of government that may adversely impact a project and its funding.
[en] At the time of writing, there were two NPPs in operation in the Czech Republic: Dukovany and Temelín. Dukovany has four WWER-440/213 units of Russian design which were commissioned between 1985 and 1987. Temelín has two WWER-1000/V320 units, also of Russian design, which were commissioned between 2000 and 2002. The four Dukovany units have been in operation for 20–30 years, while the two Temelín units have been operating for less than 20 years. The share of nuclear power generation in the Czech Republic is currently about 40% of total electricity output. In the national energy strategy, this share is supposed to increase to 50% after 2040. The share of hydropower in total electricity production is about 1%. Electricity production from solar, biomass and wind power is subsidized. Therefore, only nuclear, coal and gas plants can be compared. The production cost of electricity from gas power plants is higher than the market price. This is the reason that a newly constructed gas plant was never started. The electricity production cost from the Dukovany NPP is about 35% lower than the lowest cost from coal plants. In the case of Temelín, it is about 10% lower. The design lifetime of both NPPs is 30 years, which was originally based on the lifetime of the main components, such as steam generators, reactor coolant pumps and pressurizers. The design lifetime of the reactor pressure vessels is 40 years. The operating licence is unlimited in the Czech Republic, but the national regulator – the State Office for Nuclear Safety (SONS) – requires a safety review of the NPPs every ten years and can authorize continued operation of an NPP for another ten years based on: – The PSR results; – The updated FSAR; – The completion of all improvements required in previous SONS reviews.