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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE NUCLEAR POWER TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Committee on Future Nuclear Power Development Energy Engineering Board Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C. 1992
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. This is a report of work supported by Contract Number DE-FGO2-88NE37983/R from the U.S. Department of Energy to the National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Nuclear Power : technical and institutional options for the future / Committee on Future Nuclear Power Development, Energy Engineering Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 0-309-04395-6 1. Nuclear power. I. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on Future Nuclear Power Development. II. National Research Council (U.S.). Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems. TK1078.N86 1992 333.792'4—dc20 92-18493 CIP Copies available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Copyright 1992 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. S634 Printed in the United States of America First Printing, June 1992Second Printing, August 1992Third Printing, December 1992
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE COMMITTEE ON FUTURE NUCLEAR POWER DEVELOPMENT Chairman JOHN F. AHEARNE, Executive Director, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina Members SAID I. ABDEL-KHALIK, Associate Director, Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta ADOLF BIRKHOFER, Lehrstuhl für Reaktordynamik und Reaktorsicherheit, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany SOL BURSTEIN, former Vice Chairman, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Milwaukee RALPH C. CAVANAGH (Liaison to Energy Engineering Board), Senior Staff Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco BENJAMIN HUBERMAN, Consultant, Washington, D.C. CHARLES R. IMBRECHT, Chairman, California Energy Commission, Sacramento PETER T. JOHNSON, former Administrator, Bonneville Power Administration, Portland, Oregon E. MARCIA KATZ, Associate Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville EDWARD H. KLEVANS, Head, Nuclear Engineering Department, Pennsylvania State University, University Park JOHN W. LANDIS, Senior Vice President and Director, Stone & Webster Engineering Corporation, Boston, Massachusetts TERRY R. LASH, former Director, Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety, Springfield EUGENE W. MEYER, former Managing Director, Kidder, Peabody & Company, Inc., New York, New York KENNETH J. NEMETH, Executive Director, Southern States Energy Board, Norcross, Georgia DAVID OKRENT, Professor of Engineering and Applied Science, University of California at Los Angeles ZACK T. PATE, President, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Atlanta, Georgia HOWARD K. SHAPAR, Counsel, Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge, Washington, D.C. NEIL E. TODREAS, Professor, Department of Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge GEORGES A. VENDRYES, former Director, Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, France
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE RICHARD WILSON (Liaison to Energy Engineering Board), Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts National Research Council Staff ARCHIE L. WOOD, Executive Director, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems MAHADEVAN (DEV) MANI, Director, Energy Engineering Board NORMAN M. HALLER, Consultant and Study Director THERESA M. FISHER, Study Administrative Assistant ENERGY ENGINEERING BOARD Chairman JOHN A. TILLINGHAST, President, Tiltec, Portsmouth, New Hampshire Members DONALD B. ANTHONY, Vice President and Manager for Technology, Bechtel Corporation, Houston, Texas RICHARD E. BALZHISER, President and Chief Executive Officer, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California BARBARA R. BARKOVICH, Partner, Barkovich and Yap, Consultants, Berkeley, California JOHN A. CASAZZA, President, CSA Energy Consultants, Arlington, Virginia RALPH C. CAVANAGH, Senior Staff Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council, San Francisco, California DAVID E. COLE, Director, Center for the Study of Automotive Transportation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor H. M. (HUB) HUBBARD, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C. CHARLES R. IMBRECHT, Chairman, California Energy Commission, Sacramento CHARLES D. KOLSTAD, Associate Professor, Institute for Environmental Studies and Department of Economics, University of Illinois, Urbana HENRY R. LINDEN, Max McGraw Professor of Energy & Power Engineering & Management, and Director, Energy and Power Center, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago S. L. (CY) MEISEL, former Vice President, Research (retired), Mobil R&D Corporation, Princeton, New Jersey DAVID L. MORRISON, Technical Director, Energy, Resource & Environmental Systems Division, The MITRE Corporation, McLean, Virginia
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE MARC H. ROSS, Professor, Physics Department, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Managing Director, Garrett Ceramic Component Division, Torrance, California HAROLD H. SCHOBERT, Chairman, Fuel Sciences Program, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park GLENN A. SCHURMAN, Vice President, Production (retired), Chevron Corporation, San Francisco, California BERTRAM WOLFE, Vice President and General Manager, GE Nuclear Energy, San Jose, California Ex-officio Board Member RICHARD WILSON, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts Energy Engineering Board Staff MAHADEVAN (DEV) MANI, Director CLARENDON, SUSANNA, Administrative Assistant KAMAL ARAJ, Senior Program Officer JAMES J. ZUCCHETTO, Senior Program Officer NORMAN M. HALLER, Consultant Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems ARCHIE L. WOOD, Executive Director MARLENE BEAUDIN, Associate Executive Director Technical Editor CAROLETTA LOWE, Columbia, Maryland
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an advisor to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth Shine is the president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Preface In the Conference Report (100-724) accompanying the fiscal 1989 appropriations bill for Energy and Water Development (H.R. 4567, Public Law 100-371), the U.S. Congress requested that the National Academy of Sciences conduct “. a critical comparative analysis of the practical technological and institutional options for future nuclear power development and for the formulation of coherent policy alternatives to guide the Nation's nuclear power development.” The Senate Appropriations Committee Report 100-381 entitled Energy and Water Development Appropriation Bill, 1989, which also accompanied the bill, noted: The [Senate Committee on Appropriations] believes that nuclear fission remains an important option for meeting our electric energy requirements and maintaining a balanced national energy policy. The Committee continues to strongly support the need for a responsive nuclear fission program, but finds the current civilian nuclear power reactor program to be a deficient aggregate of numerous reactor types and conceptual variations being developed without the guidance of well-defined strategic objectives. The Committee finds further that the future development and institutionalization of nuclear power development should be rethought, newly defined, and directed to be responsive to current and projected conditions. In response to the congressional request, the National Academy of Sciences formed the Committee on Future Nuclear Power Development under the Energy Engineering Board of the National Research Council. The Committee's formal Statement of Task appears below: The committee will conduct a critical comparative analysis of the practical technological and institutional options for future nuclear power development and formulate coherent policy alternatives to guide the nation's nuclear power development. The Congressional intent in directing this study was that the future development and institutionalization of nuclear power development be rethought, newly defined, and directed to be responsive to current and projected conditions. In conducting this critical comparative analysis, the committee will undertake the following tasks: The committee will identify the full range of practical technological options for the next generation of civilian nuclear power reactors. The committee will develop criteria to evaluate these options. These criteria should reflect the extent to which the technologies are likely to lend themselves to nuclear power plants that will exhibit characteristics such as the following:
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Safety in operation; Economy of operation; Suitability for the operational, institutional, financial, regulatory, and policy environments that are likely to prevail at the time such plants might be constructed; Amenability to efficient and predictable licensing; Environmental acceptability, both in day-to-day operations and with respect to the fuel cycles they employ; and Resistance to diversion of sensitive nuclear materials. The committee will evaluate the technological options in terms of these criteria. The committee will review and assess development approaches for the next generation of reactors, taking into account likely federal funding limitations. Particular emphasis will be put on approaches to establishing the level of safety that can be achieved by these reactors, to defining regulatory requirements likely to be imposed on these reactors, and to establishing, during the research, development, and demonstration program, the extent to which such regulatory requirements have been met. The committee will also consider the appropriate role for and level of private sector involvement in the development program. The committee will assess, in light of the technological options and development approaches under consideration, the relevance of existing facilities of the Department of Energy that support civilian power reactor development. The committee will also consider the need for any new facilities. The committee will address other aspects of the future civilian power development program necessary for completion of the broad purposes of this study. Based on the results of the foregoing tasks, the committee will develop a set of coherent policy alternatives to guide the nation 's future civilian nuclear power development program. The committee will formulate recommendations in terms of these alternatives. The committee will document its conclusions and recommendations, and the reasoning therefore, in a final report. The Committee was constituted to reflect a wide range of expertise and views in order to ensure that the study's conclusions and recommendations would take into account all relevant considerations and demonstrate the greatest balance possible.
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE The full Committee met on eight occasions from May 1989 through March 1991. Subcommittees and working groups also convened during this period to review the literature and other relevant materials provided by government, industry, academic, and public interest organizations, and to prepare working drafts. During the study, the Committee was briefed by representatives from many organizations, including the Executive Branch (the Department of Energy and the national laboratories); the Congress (the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the Office of Technology Assessment); the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; domestic and foreign vendors of reactor systems; the academic community; and the Electric Power Research Institute. (Information regarding the Committee's meetings is provided in Appendix A.) The Committee agreed not to examine the desirability of further developing and deploying nuclear power. Instead, the Committee sought to answer the following question: If nuclear power is to be retained as an option for meeting U.S. electric energy requirements, what reactor technological options, associated Department of Energy research and development programs, and institutional changes would best serve that end? This study's purpose was not to advocate a new generation of nuclear power plants nor to assess the desirability of nuclear power relative to alternative energy sources. The Committee assumed that, at a later time, others would decide whether and under what conditions further development of nuclear power in the United States is warranted. The Committee performed each of the tasks in its formal Statement of Task as follows: The Committee identified the technological options for the next generation of reactors. In addition, after examining the range of reactor types that have active proponents, longer term options were identified (Chapter 3). The Committee listed the criteria followed to address these options (Appendix B). The Committee evaluated the options using these criteria as a framework (Chapter 3). The Committee assessed the development effort required (Chapter 3) and prioritized what programs, in the Committee's judgment, should be funded (Chapter 4). The Committee addressed which DOE facilities should be retained, depending on which alternative program is selected (Chapter 4). The Committee addressed a variety of other aspects, primarily institutional, deemed necessary for retaining the nuclear option (Chapter 2).
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE The Committee developed policy alternatives in terms of near-term and long-term nuclear programs (Chapter 4). The Committee provided its conclusions and recommendations (Chapter 5). This report is the product of long hours of concentrated effort by the Committee members and the staff. The report benefited from the extensive comments provided by more than a dozen peer reviewers. Theresa Fisher devoted prodigious time to the many drafts. Norman Haller was extraordinary in his data searches and talent for accurate summarizing. His truly herculean efforts enabled this report finally to be produced. Archie Wood provided seasoned advice at critical times. Time and other constraints led several members of the original committee to resign. They nevertheless made important contributions, particularly Albert Babb. John F. Ahearne Chairman Committee on Future Nuclear Power Development
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Table of Contents SUMMARY 1 General Conclusions, 1 Electricity Demand, 2 Construction Costs and Times, 2 Performance, 3 Public Attitudes, 3 Safety, 4 Institutional Changes, 4 Industry, 4 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 5 Industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 7 Department of Energy, 7 Environmental Protection Agency, 7 Administration and Congress, 7 Other, 8 Alternative Reactor Technologies, 8 Net Assessment, 9 Alternative Research and Development Programs, 13 1. INTRODUCTION 15 The Committee's Charge, 16 References, 18 2. THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK 19 Future Electricity Generation, 21 Future Demand, 21 Future Supply, 22 Growth in Competition, 24 Integrated Resource Planning, 26 Environmental Factors, 26 Electricity Generation Costs, 27 Capital Carrying Charges, 28 Operation, Maintenance, and Fuel Costs, 34 Nuclear Costs in Other Countries, 37 Costs of Disallowances, 39 Liability Protection, 43 Utility Management of Construction and Operations, 43 Concurrent Design and Construction, 44 Standardization, 45 Plant Management, 47 Plant Performance, 49 Public Attitudes, 57
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Influencing Factors, 57 Ambiguity of Polls, 58 Improving Public Attitudes, 59 Safety Issues, 60 Prevention of Nuclear Accidents, 60 Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Safety Policy, 61 Utility Improvement and Self-Regulation, 62 Safety of Existing Reactors, 62 High-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal, 69 Licensing and Regulation, 71 The New Licensing Rule, 71 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 73 Impact of Advanced Reactors, 73 Relations with Licensees, 73 Possible Conflicts of Interest, 75 State Regulation of Nuclear Power, 76 State Safety Regulation, 77 State Economic Regulation, 77 References, 80 3. ASSESSMENT OF ADVANCED NUCLEAR REACTOR TECHNOLOGIES 91 Overview of Advanced Reactor Technologies, 91 Large Evolutionary Light Water Reactors, 93 Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, 95 Advanced Pressurized Water Reactor, 98 System 80+ Standard Design Pressurized Water Reactor, 100 Mid-Sized Light-Water Reactors with Passive Safety Features, 102 Advanced Passive Pressurized Water Reactor, 104 Simplified Boiling Water Reactor, 106 Other Reactor Concepts, 110 CANDU-3 Heavy Water Reactor, 110 Safe Integral Reactor, 113 Modular High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor, 117 Process Inherent Ultimate Safety Reactor, 122 PRISM Liquid Metal Reactor, 125 Evaluation of the Technologies, 133 Safety, 135 Economy, 137 Market Suitability, 140 Fuel Cycle, 142 Safeguards & Physical Security, 144 Development Risks, 147 Licensing, 150
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Overall Assessment, 151 References, 156 4. FEDERAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ALTERNATIVES 161 Current Programs, 162 Funding Projections for Near-Term and Long-Term Technologies, 162 Facilities Currently Supported by Department of Energy, 162 Federal Research and Development Alternatives, 163 Assumptions, 164 Irradiation Test Capability, 164 Nuclear Regulatory Commission Research, 165 Common Research Elements, 166 Reactor Research, 166 University Research, 166 Operational Performance Improvement and Plant Life Extension, 167 Alternative Program 1: Light Water Reactor Development and Common Research Elements, 168 Introduction to Alternatives 2 and 3, 170 Alternative Program 2: Alternative 1 Plus Liquid Metal Reactor Development, 171 Alternative Program 3: Alternative 1 Plus Accelerated Liquid Metal Reactor Development, Including Light Water Reactor Actinide Recycling Studies, 172 Excluded Programs, 174 Costs of the Alternatives, 174 Additional Considerations, 176 Summary, 176 References, 178 5. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 180 General Conclusions, 180 Electricity Demand, 181 Costs, 181 Construction Costs, 181 Construction Time, 182 Prudency, 182 Operation, 182 Performance, 182 Public Attitudes, 183 Safety, 183 Institutional Changes, 184
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Industry, 184 Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 186 Industry and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 187 Department of Energy, 188 Environmental Protection Agency, 188 Administration and Congress, 188 Other, 189 Summary, 190 Alternative Reactor Technologies, 190 Large Evolutionary Light Water Reactors, 191 Mid-Sized Light Water Reactors with Passive Safety Features, 191 CANDU Heavy Water Reactor, 191 Modular High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor, 192 Safe Integral Reactor and Process Inherent Ultimate Safety Reactor, 193 Liquid Metal Reactor, 193 Net Assessment, 194 Alternative Research and Development Programs, 197 INDIVIDUAL VIEWS OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS 199 APPENDIX A 203 Committee Meetings, 203 APPENDIX B 209 Criteria Developed for the Comparative Analysis of Advanced Reactor Technologies, 209 LIST OF ACRONYMS 214
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE Illustrations FIGURES S-1 Assessment of advanced reactor technologies. 11 2-1 U.S. industry performance indicator trends through 1990. 52-55 3-1 Advanced boiling water reactor, pressure vessel and core. 96 3-2 Advanced pressurized water reactor integrated safety systems. 99 3-3 Elevation view of System 80+ containment. 101 3-4 AP-600 passive cooling systems. 105 3-5 The simplified boiling water reactor. 108-109 3-6 Steam supply system of CANDU-3. 111 3-7a The safe integral reactor. 114 3-7b The safe integral reactor heat removal systems. 115 3-8 The advanced modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. 118 3-9 The process inherent ultimate safety reactor. 123 3-10 PRISM nuclear steam supply system and containment. 127-128 3-11 Advanced liquid metal reactor actinide transmutation recycling of light water reactor fuel. 132 3-12 Assessment of advanced reactor technologies. 153 5-1 Assessment of advanced reactor technologies. 195 TABLES 2-1 Projected and Actual Summer Peak Demand Growth Rates by Year of the Estimate 22 2-2 Projections of Growth in U.S. Electricity Demand, 1988 to 2010 23 2-3 Components of Highest, Lowest, and Average Total Generating Costs in 1988 for Nuclear and Coal-Fired Plants Owned by Major Private Utilities 28 2-4 Overnight Construction Costs for Selected U.S. Nuclear Power Plants, by Year of Commercial Operation 31 2-5 Construction Times for 110 U.S. Nuclear Power Plants 33 2-6 Comparison of U.S. Nuclear Power Plant Construction Time Spans with Those of Other Countries 34 2-7 Average Operation and Maintenance and Fuel Costs for Nuclear and Fossil-Fueled Plants Owned by Major Private Utilities 36
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE 2-8 Nuclear and Non-Nuclear Disallowances by Issue During the 1980s 40-41 2-9 Nuclear Disallowances By Year During the 1980s 42 2-10 Comparison of Average Sizes of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants in Commercial Operation with U.S. Plants Receiving Construction Permits 45 2-11 Load Factors of Nuclear Power Plants (OECD Countries) 50 2-12 Number of Precursors and Associated Conditional Core Damage Probabilities 64 2-13 Mean Core Melt Frequency (Reactor Year-1) 66 3-1 Vendor Descriptions of Technical Aspects of Advanced Nuclear Reactors 92 3-2 Key Utility Design Requirements for Advanced Light Water Reactors 94 3-3 Estimates Provided by Vendors Related to Evaluation Criteria 134 3-4 EPRI-Estimated Overnight Capital and Operations and Maintenance Costs (In December 1988 Dollars) 139 4-1 Near Term R&D Funding Required 175
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NUCLEAR POWER: TECHNICAL AND INSTITUTIONAL OPTIONS FOR THE FUTURE NUCLEAR POWER
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