The Cost of Nuclear Electricity: France after Fukushima

Nicolas Boccard

The Fukushima disaster has lead the French government to release novel cost information relative to its nuclear electricity program allowing us to compute a levelized cost. We identify a modest escalation of capital cost and a larger than expected operational cost. Under the best scenario, the cost of French nuclear power over the last four decades is 59 d/MWh (at 2010 prices) while in the worst case it is 83 d/MWh. On the basis of these findings, we estimate the future cost of nuclear power in France to be at least 76 d/MWh and possibly 117 d/MWh. A comparison with the US confirms that French nuclear electricity nevertheless remains cheaper. Comparisons with coal, natural gas and wind power are carried out to the advantage of these.

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