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jnsaff2 · 2024-03-25 · Original thread
The best example for Nuclear is Barakah [0]. I just so happened to do the napkin math for it compared to solar + batteries yesterday.

TL;DR Barakah is 4 reactors with total of 5,6GWe and came $5B under budget at $24.4B to about $4.4B/GW which is 4x the solar case. At about $1B/GW the solar capacity factor would even out in a very sunny and cloudless location.

Build time for each reactor (smartly staggered) was 8 to 7 years.

You would not get batteries in the same budget at all.

That said I think solar can be built much cheaper. $0.5B/GW BoS should be easily achievable with module prices alone being in the $0.15B/GW range at the moment.

Jenny Chase in her book Solar Power Finance Without the Jargon [1] comes to the conclusion that both nuclear and solar+batteries end up at about $100/MWh energy price.

With the energy price being equal there are really only two questions left over:

1. How fast can you build out capacity? Here the win is hands down solar. Everything is super modularized, systems/costs/buildout scale in a very linear fashion and can be stupidly parallelized. A GW of Solar PV can be physically built in months. For nuclear this is at best 7 years but more realistically 10y+.

2. What about places in higher latitudes where seasonal variation of insolation varies drastically? Nuclear would obviously be ideal as it does not care about seasons, smart people could also make use of waste heat. That said, would it still be faster to build out HV links to carry power from further away than to wait for nuclear to happen? Don't know.



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