Monday, 1 September 2014

Comparing wind and nuclear raw material costs (repost of Guardian CiF PatLogan post)


There are some really interesting comparisons around materials usage between wind and nuclear.

A typical 2.5MW land-based turbine uses about 390 tonnes of steel and 1100 tonnes of concrete (that's ignoring access roads) It's got a 20-25 year operational life, and (in the UK) will average about a 27% capacity factor.

Output over life is

(2.5*25*0.27) = 16.875 MW-years.

So that's 23.1 tonnes of steel per MW-year and 65.2 tonnes of concrete per MW-year.

A 1620MW EPR (the most resource intensive of the UK new-build designs) . That's got a 60 year design life, at a capacity factor of 90%.


(1620*60*0.9) = 87,480 MW-years

It uses 205,000 cubic metres of concrete (at about 2.4 tonnes/cubic metre 492,000 tonnes- ) and 71,000 tonnes of steel.

That's 5.6 tonnes of concrete per MW-year, and 0.81 tonnes of steel per MW-year

In other words, the wind option uses about 13 times as much concrete, and 28 times as much steel per unit of output over life.

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