An Assessment of the Economics of Future Electric Power Generation Options and the Implications for Fusion
An Assessment of the Economics of Future Electric Power Generation Options and the Implications for Fusion This study examines the potential range of electric power costs for some major alternatives to fusion electric power generation when it is ultimately deployed in the middle of the 21st century and, thus, offers a perspective on the cost levels that fusion must achieve to be competitive. The alternative technologies include coal burning, coal gasification, natural gas, nuclear fission, and renewable energy. The cost of electricity (COE) from the alternatives to fusion should remain in the 30-50 mils/kWh (1999 dollars) range of today in carbon sequestration is not needed, 30-60 mils/kWh if sequestration is required, or as high as 75 mils/kWh for the worst-case scenario for cost uncertainty. The reference COE range for fusion was estimated at 70-100 nmils/kWh for 1- to 1.3-GW(e) scale power plants. Fusion costs will have to be reduced and/or alternative concepts derived before fusion will be competitive with the alternatives for the future production of electricity. Fortunately, there are routes to achieve this goal.
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