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Cost Escalation in Nuclear Power

Montgomery, W. David and Quirk, James P. (1978) Cost Escalation in Nuclear Power. Environmental Quality Laboratory Memorandum, 21. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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This report is concerned with the escalation of capital costs of nuclear central station power plants between the early 1960s and the present. The report presents an historical overview of the development of the nuclear power industry and cost escalation in the industry, using existing data on orders and capital costs. New data are presented on regulatory delays in the licensing process, derived from a concurrent study being carried on in the Social Science group at Caltech. The conclusions of the study are that nuclear capital costs have escalated more rapidly than the GNP deflator or the construction industry price index. Prior to 1970, cost increases are related to bottleneck problems in the nuclear construction and supplying industries and the regulatory process; intervenors play only a minor role in cost escalation. After 1970, generic changes introduced into the licensing process by intervenors (including environmental impact reviews, antitrust reviews, more stringent safety standards) dominate the cost escalation picture, with bottlenecks of secondary importance. Recent increases in the time from application for a construction permit to commercial operation are related not only to intervenor actions, but also to suspensions, cancellations or postponements of construction by utilities due to unfavorable demand or financing conditions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Additional Information:© 1978 Environmental Quality Laboratory. California Institute of Technology. Sponsored by National Science Foundation Grant No. APR-75-16566 AOI and Energy Research and Development Administration Grant No. EY-76-G-03-1305.
Group:Environmental Quality Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFAPR-75-16566 AOI
Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA)EY-76-G-03-1305
Series Name:Environmental Quality Laboratory Memorandum
Issue or Number:21
Record Number:CaltechEQL:EQL-M-21
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format.
ID Code:25744
Deposited By: Imported from CaltechEQL
Deposited On:08 Oct 2009
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:08

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