Results 1 - 10 of 24
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[en] This thesis studies the role of innovation and industrial structures in the nuclear power sector. The analysis of innovation is based on the use of patent data as a measure of innovation effort. On the one hand, we study the determinants of innovation and, on the other hand, its impact on operating and safety performance of existing nuclear reactors and on construction costs. We show that nuclear safety regulation can induce innovation and improve safety performance, but at the same time contributes to increases in construction costs. The analysis of the role of industrial structures allows us to study the impact of learning by doing opportunities both for construction and operation of reactors, as well as the effect of electricity market liberalization on operating performance. In particular, we show that the divestiture of electricity production and distribution activities induces a substantial improvement in the availability of nuclear reactors. (author)
[en] This paper examines the evolution of innovation in nuclear power reactors between 1974 and 2008 in twelve OECD countries and assesses to what extent nuclear innovation has been driven by economic incentives, political decisions and safety regulation considerations. We use priority patent applications related to Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) as a proxy for innovating activity. Our results highlight that nuclear innovation is partly driven by the conventional paradigm where both demand-pull, measured by NPPs constructions in the innovating country and in the rest of the world, and technology-push, measured by Research and Development (R and D) expenditures specific to NPPs, have a positive and significant impact on innovation. Our results also evidence that the impact of public R and D expenditures and national NPPs construction on innovation is stronger when the quality of innovation, measured by forward patent citations, is taken into account, and have a long run positive impact on innovation through the stock of knowledge available to innovators. In contrast, we show that political decisions following the Three Miles Island and Chernobyl nuclear accidents, measured by NPPs cancellations, have a negative impact on nuclear innovation. Finally, we find that the nuclear safety authority has an ambivalent effect on innovation. On one hand, regulatory inspections have a positive impact on innovation, one the other hand, regulatory decisions to temporarily close a NPP have an adverse impact on innovation. (author)
[en] The success of Korea in winning, in December 2009, a USD 18.6 billion nuclear tender in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has led to a growing interest in the organization and strengths of the Korean nuclear industry. In this paper, we present the main economic and political factors that explain the success of the Korean consortium. In particular, thanks to an active national program of Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) construction, Korea has developed distinct competitive advantages in terms of low cost, high credibility and high performance. At the same time, due to the important barriers to enter into the nuclear export market in the UAE, Korea has had to sacrifice its profit margin and has benefited from a strong political support from its government through export financing. More importantly, Korea's success is also due to its alliance with Westinghouse and the support of the US diplomacy. Subsequently, we show that while Korea has recently experienced setbacks in nuclear tenders, it will most certainly try to win in the short run a second nuclear tender with another aggressive price. In the longer run, Korea could take a growing share of the international market for NPPs. However, the extent to which Korea can achieve its long term export target will depend upon its capacity to finance nuclear export through export credits and upon the development of its alliance with Westinghouse. It is important to note that this paper was written before the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The scale of the human and environmental consequences of this accident are still unknown, and will undoubtedly have short and long term consequences on nuclear safety requirements and public attitude toward nuclear energy, which will most certainly impact the outlooks for nuclear new-builds. (authors)
[en] Several work sites where the first reactors of the third generation are being built have encountered major difficulties with several causes. This can, in large part, be set down to the absence, for twenty years now, of big programs of this sort in the United States and Europe. The costs of the first reactors of a new generation have ballooned. Thanks to accumulated feedback, this article shows how and why tomorrow's nuclear industry will be competitive, not only as it already is in Asia but also in other geographic zones. The range of economic results presented herein is coherent with public authorities' strategic analyses. The findings are: that a program for updating France's fleet of nuclear reactors is needed and should be started fast; that the closed cycle should be pursued; and that the first phase of the Cigeo Plan (for a nuclear waste repository) should be launched. (authors)
[en] This paper provides the first comparative analysis of nuclear reactor construction costs in France and the United States. Studying the cost of nuclear power has often been a challenge, owing to the lack of reliable data sources and heterogeneity between countries, as well as the long time horizon which requires controlling for input prices and structural changes. We build a simultaneous system of equations for overnight costs and construction time (lead-time) to control for endogeneity, using expected demand variation as an instrument. We argue that benefits from nuclear reactor program standardization can arise through short term coordination gains, when the diversity of nuclear reactors' technologies under construction is low, or through long term benefits from learning spillovers from past reactor construction experience, if those spillovers are limited to similar reactors. We find that overnight construction costs benefit directly from learning spillovers but that these spillovers are only significant for nuclear models built by the same Architect-Engineer (A- E). In addition, we show that the standardization of nuclear reactors under construction has an indirect and positive effect on construction costs through a reduction in lead-time, the latter being one of the main drivers of construction costs. Conversely, we also explore the possibility of learning by searching and find that, contrary to other energy technologies, innovation leads to construction costs increases. (authors)
[en] On 8 August 2020 at 19:52 local time, unit 5 of the Tianwan nuclear power plant (NPP) in Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China, was connected to the grid. The first concrete of this ACPR1000 reactor had been poured on 27 December 2015, meaning that this milestone was achieved less than five years after construction first began (WNN, 2020). This level of construction performance contrasts with that observed in recent projects in Western OECD countries where projects have been characterised by significant delays and cost overruns. In some cases costs have more than tripled from initial estimates. This poor track record has helped create the perception of the increased overall risks associated with new NPP projects and is weighing on near term decisions over whether to pursue new developments or not. As a result, nuclear energy may be unable to deliver its expected role in reducing carbon emissions (IEA, 2020). On the other hand, successes like that in Tianwan demonstrate how the nuclear sector can deliver cost effectively and on a predictable time frame if the right conditions are in place during the planning and execution of these projects. In other words, the problem is not associated with nuclear energy as such but with specific projects. In light of these trends, in 2018 the NEA formed an ad hoc expert group to consider the issues around reducing the costs of nuclear power generation. The group's objective was to identify industrial strategies and governing frameworks to unlock significant cost reductions in the deployment of large Generation III reactors over the next decade and beyond in OECD countries. The group gathered together participants from academia, the nuclear industry and international organisations to provide a 360-degree view of the economic issues faced by nuclear new build and to collect first-hand insights of ongoing projects
[en] This paper discusses the causes of increased construction costs for third generation nuclear reactors, and the conditions that would enable a reduction in those costs. The analysis is conducted at three levels. First, we review the data on construction costs from the past and present. Second, we analyse feedback from the first pilot projects to determine the reasons behind the escalation in costs of the past decade. Finally, this enables us to identify several drivers of cost reduction that could lead to an immediate 30 % reduction in construction costs for reactors based on serial production
[fr]Ce papier revient sur les causes de la hausse des couts de construction des reacteurs nucleaires de 3e generation et les conditions de leur reduction. Cette analyse est conduite a trois niveaux: premierement, les donnees des couts de construction recents et historiques sont passees en revue. Deuxiemement, nous analysons le retour d'experience des premieres realisations des 'tetes de serie' afin d'evaluer les raisons de hausses des couts au cours de la derniere decennie. Enfin, ceci permet de degager plusieurs leviers de baisse des couts qui viennent conforter la perspective d'une reduction de l'ordre de 30 % du cout de construction 'overnight' pour des reacteurs 'de serie'
[en] After an editorial on the issue of nuclear within the French multi-year energy programming, a first article discusses the influence of the emergence of new technologies and new approaches for energy transition (development of a low carbon economy, actors in research and development, development of transverse research activities, contribution of a system-based approach, of economy and of social and human sciences). A second article proposes an overview of researches on technologies implemented within the frame of the French multi-year energy programming and of the national low carbon strategy: overview of technical advances in the main energy sectors, researches in the energy sector (an integrated energy sector, storage needs, nuclear research, deep geothermal energy, wind energy, and non mature sectors), overview of researches in agricultural techniques, in the forest-wood-biomass sector, in the industrial sector, in low carbon mobility, in building de-carbonation, and in waste processing. The next article discusses actions implemented and actors involved in the public debate on the French energy transition, while another one addresses and comments the economic impact of European technology research bodies and of the CEA. Various events are then presented
[en] After an editorial about the importance of mobility de-carbonation, a first article proposes a synthetic overview of a study performed by the SFEN and by using the PRIMES model in order to identify the most efficient long-term pathways to reach objectives of de-carbonation of French and European energy systems in 2050. The second article reports a workshop held in June 2018 on human and social sciences and mobilities. Thus, it proposes an overview of the present situation of knowledge about the design and diffusion of new mobilities within the society. Discussed issues are the revolution of technologies and of usages, factors determining changes in behaviours, de-carbonation public policies and public expectations, how to conduct a societal change towards new mobilities, the future of the autonomous and sustainable vehicle, and soft mobilities. The third article proposes a synthesis of contributions and debates of a seminar on the development of bio-fuels in aviation. The next article addresses a research thesis which studied whether nuclear plants could be an option to support de-carbonation of French and European heat sectors.
[en] A first article, based on a detailed survey on the French nuclear sector, proposes a diagnosis for today and an overview of future perspectives for this sector. The authors notably address the issue of abilities necessary for the French nuclear fleet renewal, and discuss the consequences of a lack of visibility beyond 5 years. A second article reports a study of technological improvement potentials for electrified vehicles (battery and hydrogen), based on scenarios for France until 2040: present situation and technological road maps for batteries, fuel cells, hydrogen tanks and vehicles, scenario modelling and results in terms of fleet structure, of total cost of ownership and emissions, and of transition cost. The third article briefly sheds a light of the project of Multi-annual Energy Programming (PPE) and the role of research, and the fourth one proposes a recall of support mechanisms for the installation of photovoltaic panels in France. It addresses various issues: mandatory purchase (feed-in tariff, bidding processes, self-consumption), political supports (evolution of prices, injection into the grid, self-consumption), the photovoltaic solar plan in France and the future of self-consumption.