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How to build nuclear power plants cheaper and faster

Published Mar 08, 2011

The current cost of building nuclear power plants is extremely high. That's because it takes time to build nuclear power plants and manufacturers build everything on site. One way of reducing costs is to ensure that the next generation of nuclear power plants are modular. This is according to Henryk Anglart, senior lecturer in nuclear technology at KTH.

"Modular nuclear power plant is the way to go. They are both cheaper and they can be erected a lot faster," says Henryk Anglart.

He compares it with building vehicles in which different modules are assembled to make a car; different modules, such as the bottom plate, shared by different cars. This is all about series-produced nuclear power plant.

"Previously, every nuclear power plant was housed in a unique building that was erected on site, and there were a number of different companies that built power plants. In the future, some parts of the nuclear power plant will instead be built in factories and transported to the construction site," says Henryk Anglart.

The reason for this is that competition among those who build nuclear power plants has increased. Competition from other energy sources such as wind power and natural gas has also become harder. Moreover, yesterday's subsidies have been abolished. Today, nuclear power construction belongs to the private sector.

Building modular nuclear power plants could also be one way among many of keeping electricity prices in check. This may be necessary. According to the Energy Agency, Swedish households paid over SEK 40 billion to the electricity companies last year. The amount they paid increased by 24 percent compared to 2009; in Swedish crowns, this is an increase of SEK 8 billion. Viewed over a longer period of time it looks quite bad.

"Electricity prices in Sweden have gone up by 80 percent over the past 10 years. Electricity prices are dependent on many factors, but it is plausible to expect that cheaper nuclear power plant construction would affect the price positively," says Henryk Anglart.

For more information, contact Henryk Anglart at 08 -5537 8887 or

Peter Larsson