8 Mar (NucNet): South Africa’s state-owned utility Eskom has given itself the internal target that for new nuclear to make sense, the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from the project must be between $60 and $80 (€56 and €75) per MWh for the first two reactor units, the company’s chief nuclear officer David Nicholls said.
In a recent report, the International Atomic Energy Agency put the LCOE for the construction of new nuclear power plants in a range from $40 to $100 per MWh.
The agency said there is “significant overlap” in the range of the average LCOE produced by various energy technologies, but despite its significant up-front costs nuclear is competitive.
LCOE is the long-term price at which the electricity produced by a power plant will have to be sold at for the investor to cover all their costs.
In an interview posted online Mr Nicholls said reactor construction time will be six years and plant economic life 60 years.
South Africa has said it wants to generate 9,600 MW of energy from as many as eight reactors that should begin operating from 2023 and be completed by 2029, with total price estimates reported by local media ranging from $37bn to $100bn.
South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear power station near Cape Town, operated by Eskom, has two reactors that generate almost 5% of the country’s electricity.