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The Economics of IRIS

[+] Author Affiliations
K. Miller

British Nuclear Fuels, Warrington, Cheshire, UK

D. Paramonov

Westinghouse Electric Company, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. ICONE10-22173, pp. 561-565; 5 pages
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering
  • 10th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering, Volume 2
  • Arlington, Virginia, USA, April 14–18, 2002
  • Conference Sponsors: Nuclear Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-3596-0 | eISBN: 0-7918-3589-8
  • Copyright © 2002 by ASME


IRIS (International Reactor Innovative and Secure) is a small to medium advanced light water cooled modular reactor being developed by an international consortium led by Westinghouse/BNFL. This reactor design is specifically aimed at utilities looking to install new (or replacement) nuclear capacity to match market demands, or at developing countries for their distributed power needs. To determine the optimal configuration for IRIS, analysis was undertaken to establish Generation Costs ($/MWh) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR %) to the Utility at alternative power ratings. This was then combined with global market projections for electricity demand out to 2030, segmented into key geographical regions. Finally this information is brought together to form insights, conclusions and recommendations regarding the optimal design. The resultant analysis reveals a single module sized at 335 MWe, with a construction period of 3 years and a 60-year plant life. Individual modules can be installed in a staggered fashion (3 equivalent to 1005 MWe) or built in pairs (2 sets of twin units’ equivalent to 1340 MWe). Uncertainty in Market Clearing Price for electricity, Annual Operating Costs and Construction Costs primarily influence lifetime Net Present Values (NPV) and hence IRR % for Utilities. Generation Costs in addition are also influenced by Fuel Costs, Plant Output, Plant Availability and Plant Capacity Factor. Therefore for a site based on 3 single modules, located in North America, Generations Costs of 28.5 $/MWh are required to achieve an IRR of 20%, a level which enables IRIS to compete with all other forms of electricity production. Plant size is critical to commercial success. Sustained (lifetime) high factors for Plant Output, Availability and Capacity Factor are required to achieve a competitive advantage. Modularity offers Utilities the option to match their investments with market conditions, adding additional capacity as and when the circumstances are right. Construction schedule needs to be controlled. There is a clear trade-off between reducing financing charges and optimising revenue streams.

Copyright © 2002 by ASME



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