I fear that the Quora format is a little short to deal with this in all its complexity and aspects, but will still make a few things.
Even though AREVA (nowadays Framatome) presents the EPR gladly as a generation 3 reactor it is actually a terribly over-engineered generation 2 PWR and also another super large.Although there are several producers of PWR (Pressurized Water Reactor) They all follow a basic design from the years 50. It is by far the most popular reactor type especially since the years 80.
After Chernobyl, Framatome and Siemens put their engineers to work to gather all the experience of the last 40 – 50 years, the best solution for all the problems that one had seen, and what one had ever thought of in the design Work.And with TMI and Chernobyl in thought to push safety to extremes. Not only by doubling and tripling many circuits but also by a thorough expansion of sensors and actuators.
That was also combined with the highest power we have ever done in a PWR.(Max 1,800 MW-usually limited to 1,600 MW). If you know that most reactors are previously between 700 and 1400 MW then you can see that there are also extra costs to cope with this scale.
And Olkiluoto and Flamandville were the first 2 EPRs to be built, so with all the building experience needed.With the safety authorities who constantly watched over the shoulders and also the many validation files that still had to be drawn up during the process. The adaptation needed because many components that were selected in 1990 by the engineers are no longer available today. So updating files, new validation etc.
Anyway, to make it short, we can say that the EPR is the Rolls-Royce under the nuclear power plants.Super safe, very comfortable, something you can be proud of that it is in front of your door. But maybe an Audi is also good enough. This proves the Russian VVER and Korean (south) or the French Framatome D4 designs. Where an EPR costs around 10 billion € and requires roughly 12 years to build, these reactors are in 5-6 years and for 4 billion building. Admittedly “but” 1,000 MW electrical power. But that also better fits in the management of the high-voltage grid.
So in short.The EPR was chosen during the Nuclear Renaissance years when money was apparently not a problem. Meanwhile, we had the financial crisis and the whole energy landscape that has changed. I suspect that today few operators would choose an EPR. For example, it would be surprising that Poland would choose an EPR for their first reactor.
The discussion of whether the costs are better than for green energy is a completely different subject.First, then you have to define what is “green”. A nuclear power plant has by far the smallest footprint when it comes to climate AND environment. Outside the CO2 during mining of the Uranium and the construction (and maintenance) of the plant, they do not emit any CO2. And by the large energy density of the core reactions compared with chemical (fossil) reactions has me a few order large less concrete and steel needed per MW of electricity produced. And certainly compared to wind energy. And then speak in not yet of the surface on the earth needed to install them.
The production of solar cells also requires a lot of energy and today the use of solar cells is mainly an export of our CO2 to China I fear.
I am going to conclude this topic here because this can lead very far and some decisions are not carried out on the basis of technical or scientific basis nowadays.
For France and Belgium, atomic currents are very important for exports.Still 70 – 80% of the energy needs in neighbouring countries depend on this atomic current and because of the relatively new European 60kV net this can be easily transported. That is also the advantage of DC, DC, that you can move it far.
A type IV reactor is a special pressure reactor and this new technique is very efficient.The problem ultimately remains the waste that is stopped in corners and holes. The current power plants were outdated and gave much more risk and mess up.
In relation to the emission of a coal or gas fired plant, this is only water vapour at a nuclear power station; As you may understand, the CO2 laws and regulations are decisive for the choice of nuclear power plants, because air quality is seen as more important.With type IV, the safety is also much bigger, they are Earth-shock resistant and it was time to replace the old leaking power plants anyway.
A few large nuclear power plants can provide an energy requirement that is similar to an awful lot and large wind farms and hundreds of gas stations.And we did not want to pump a gronings gas anymore; So it was choosing. They do get these costs, because the energy requirement is greater than ever before.
The green energy has become cheap, two extremes:
US $23/kWh UAE $0.0179/kWh
But storage is tremendously expensive because “batteries make” requires a lot of energy, hydrogen does not make sense in day-night (too low efficiency) and too expensive for summer-winter storage.In Summer-Winter remains: methanol from CO2, Ammoniacgas, hot water storage. Nuclear energy is therefore competitive with storage of green energy and also CO2 arm. Heating on wood is also CO2-poor. One simply has to learn or dare to count and optimize the use.
It is not a fair comparison.
Green energy is still missing something: the certainty of delivery 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Sufficient storage capacity is missing.
The failure of nuclear power stations, or the dismantling of existing nuclear power stations, would mean that we should start using more fossil fuels.So I am sure that it is worth investing in nuclear power for the time being,
In the longer term, it would be wise to also invest more in developing new energy storage techniques on a very large scale.Batteries get a lot of attention, but there are also alternatives. One talks about hydrogen, but in the temporary storage of electrical energy in hydrogen, at least 60% of the energy is lost. Also at thermal storage there are large losses. More promising is storage in gravity energy. Countries with reservoirs can sometimes use them for storing electrical energy by pumping water upwards. In the Netherlands we had long ago the plan Lievense that wanted to pump up the water level in the Marker. A very interesting concept that is still in the first development phase is the uppumping of a huge piece of rock ground in the form of a cylinder. If science and technology are poked, other good ideas will be born. Given the importance of this for society, it is unfortunate that relatively little money is being stopped by governments in this kind of development.