Development of LFTR equipment technology, testing of the design and construction, and construction of factories to produce them: ~$5Billion.

Build 100MW LFTRs on assembly lines: ~$200 Million.

Fuel for 1GW electricity in a LFTR or any MSR: $10,000/yr. (Compare to LWR: $50-60 Million/yr.)

Generating 1 GigaWatt electricity in a Molten Salt Reactor generates $595 million to $690 million of electricity per year (varies based on the current local price of electricity), 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.

Radioisotopes and Medical Isotopes from LFTR

Low estimate of those stated amounts: $670,330,000/GW-year.

So, at 20% markup for the 10 x 100MW reactors, producing 1GW electricity for a year, plus an additional reactor “on standby”, the buyer would be making money in under 5 years. Have an additional reactor “on standby” for maintenance or any problems, so the city would have essentially zero downtime in electricity production (no needing electricity from long-distance sources).

Get additional reactor capacity to use the heat for industrial processes. One use would be more energy-efficient (at higher temperature) desalination of water. Another use would be making CO2-neutral vehicle fuel from H2O + CO2; the heat of the reactor would, for some MSR designs, be enough to directly split water and carbon dioxide, which could then be used for making gasoline with no pollutants (depending on the purity of the water and carbon dioxide).

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.