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Creating a nuclear power plant

  1. Aug 28, 2005 #1


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    How long does it take for a nuclear power plant to be built and to have its first reactor come on line? Lets start the time line at basically when the permit is requested and end it when the first reactor goes fully online. What kind of time period are we looking at there in the best case scenarios with no massive interuptions or complications occuring?
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  3. Aug 28, 2005 #2
    There are claims of 36 months for the new Westinghouse AP600/AP1000. The last reactor unit to come online in the United States took 25 years to build.
  4. Aug 28, 2005 #3


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    Well I wouldnt suppose that all nuclear power plants take 25 years to make just as I wouldn't suppose a claim would be very accurate as to the average time it woudl normally take.
  5. Aug 28, 2005 #4


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    We should've our latest up 2009, the final ok for building came around mid 2002. It's a third unit for this plant, but basically they're building it as a separate one.
  6. Aug 28, 2005 #5
    36 months may be optimistic, but it is believable from the point of starting construction to going critical. The reason a lot of plants took a long time was due to weaknesses in the licensing process allowing for interruptions and delays at many junctures. This increases construction time and drives up costs substantially.

    New regulatory procedures are in place to hopefully reduce this occurrence. For instance, the reactor design is licensed separately and before the plant is built, and there are set time periods for public debate.
  7. Aug 29, 2005 #6


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    A period of 36 months is quite optimistic. Probably 4-5 years is more realistic, and perhaps 6 years is even more so.

    One problem will be getting the piping and pressure vessels/steam generators. At the present time, these components are fabricated outside the US.

    Any plant will be new, and even though the NRC has adopted a simplified licensing process, the utility will probably be cautious.

    As for 25 years, I suspect that is a reference to Watts Bar, and this is due to extraordinary circumstances at TVA. They were overextended with multiple plants (including the unfinished Bellefonte units - first B&W plants along RWE's Mulheim-Kaerlich designed to use 17x17 fuel). The management put all the resources into upgrading and restarting Browns Ferry 2 & 3, with BF1 still mothballed. Bellefonte units are history. :frown:
  8. Aug 29, 2005 #7


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    Let me just elaborate some on what BCRion has said.

    The licensing process in the USA is a two step process. First the utility applies to build
    the plant; an action that can be, and frequently is; challenged in court. After a protracted
    period of lawsuits and public comment - the construction permit is granted and the utility
    can build the plant. After the plant is constructed, the utility has to apply for an
    operating license; and the whole process - lawsuits and all, questioning whether the plant
    should even exist; starts all over again.

    Can you imagine building your home in such circumstances? You convince all the zoning
    boards and planning boards that your house will be acceptable to the community and
    obtain your building permit. Then after properly construnction the house as per the permit,
    and as verified by the building inspector; you would then have to apply for a permit to
    actually inhabit the house. During this second permitting process; anybody can challenge
    any of the features and siting of the now completed house.

    That's the way nuclear power used to be licensed in the USA. The Congress has done
    some reform of the laws. Hopefully they have instituted a sensible process for licensing
    new reactors.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
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