Develop LFTR and factories: ~$5Billion. Build 100MW LFTRs on assembly lines: ~$200 Million.
Fuel for 1GW LFTR: $10,000/yr. (LWR: $50-60 Million/yr.)
A 1 GigaWatt LFTR generates $595 million to $690 million of electricity per year, plus:
- 150kg xenon @ $180,000.
- 125kg of neodymium @ $150,000
- 15Kg Pu-238 (only Pu-239 is fissile) for radioisotope power @ $75M-150M
- 20kg medical molybdenum-99, plus 5g Th-229 (decays to Bi-213 for cancer treatments)
- 20Kg radiostrontium for remote heating units.
Capital costs are generally higher for conventional nuclear versus fossil-fuel plants, whereas fuel costs are lower… because the construction, including the containment building, must meet very high standards; the facilities include elaborate, redundant safety systems; and included in capital costs are levies for the cost of decommissioning and removing the plants when they are ultimately taken out of service. The much-consulted MIT study The Future of Nuclear Power, originally published in 2003 and updated in 2009, shows the capital costs of coal plants at $2.30 per watt versus $4 for light-water nuclear. A principal reason why the capital costs of LFTR plants could depart from this ratio is that the LFTR operates at atmospheric pressure and contains no pressurized water. With no water to flash to steam in the event of a pressure breach, a LFTR can use a much more close-fitting containment structure. Other expensive high-pressure coolant-injection systems can also be deleted. One concept for the smaller LFTR containment structure is a hardened concrete facility below ground level, with a robust concrete cap at ground level to resist aircraft impact and any other foreseeable assaults. Hargraves, American Scientist Vol 98, July 2010
Limited decommissioning cost vs. LWR systems, infrastructure & waste. Total development cost for Th-MSR may be less than ‘true cost’ of decommissioning current LWR. Th-MSR’s value in burning existing waste may offset its total Build & Operational Cost. Kennedy TEAC3
The U.S. nuclear industry has already allocated $25 billion for storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel. FLiBe Energy. [Perhaps the company that builds LFTRs will get the contract? Development of LFTRs and construction of manufacturing plants for the entire world would cost less.]
For economics of solid fuel reactors, including construction, fuel, waste, decomissioning, see Doty Energy – Fission.