Comparative evaluation of nuclear reactor technologies of different maturity levels on economic risk measures
Less mature nuclear reactor technologies are characterized by a greater uncertainty due to insufficient detailed design information, operational data, cost information, etc., but the expected performance characteristic of the less mature options are usually more attractive in comparison with the more mature ones. The greater uncertainty is, the higher economic risks associated with the project realization will be. In this regard, within a competiveness comparative evaluation of less and more mature nuclear reactor technologies, it is necessary to apply economic risk measures to balance judgments regarding economic performance of less and more mature options. The economic risk terminology provides a good basis for judgments regarding risks-benefits associated with less and more mature nuclear reactor technologies to inform a decision-maker whose decisions should be responsible with a clear recognition of the risks and risks acceptance.
An evaluation of any risk metrics (such as, Value-at-Risk, expected shortfalls, tail Value-at-Risk) assumes calculations of different characteristics of probability distributions of associated economic and financial performance indicators (net present value, present value, internal rate of return, discounted payback period, levelized cost) and requires application of a Monte-Carlo based statistical analysis. An examination of applicability of statistical risk measures for different economic and financial performance indicators including uncertainty treatment techniques is presented in the report within a trial case study on a comparative evaluation of less and more mature unspecified LWRs. Based on the case study, it was possible to demonstrate a contradiction between the risks and performance for a set of economic efficiency indicators.
It is shown that application of economic risk metrics for nuclear reactor technology assessments and comparative evaluations seems useful to communicate with decision makers who are not familiarized with technical features and performance indicators but informed about economic risk concepts. The risk-based terminology may be effectively used to provide an interpretation of ranking results within a comparative evaluation of less and more mature nuclear reactor options. The presented simple case study has demonstrated the main trends associated with uncertainties incorporated into a comparative evaluation of less and more mature nuclear reactor technologies and lessons learned from the study should be further worked out for their accounting within comparative evaluation endeavors.
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