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Fuel Cost

Table 4
1 GW coal plant fuel and waste flows
( 90% capacity factor )
Coal Type: Australian Thermal
LHV (MJ/kg) 25.36
Coal, Tons Per Year 2,487,000
USD per kWh 0.0227
Sulfur Tons Per Year 17,400
Ash Tons Per Year 298,000
CO2 Tons Per Year 6,318,000

This table shows the annual fuel requirement of a 1 GWe coal plant at 90% capacity factor. The table assumes Australian Thermal Coal at a landed cost of $80 per ton, and 45% plant efficiency. This is about as good as it gets for coal. This plant burns 7600 tons of this high quality coal per day. The table also shows the main waste streams. The unit fuel cost is 2.27 cents per kilowatt hour.

A 1 GWe ThorCon requires an initial fuel charge of 3,156 kg of 20% Low Enriched Uranium. We also need to add 11 kilograms of this fuel per day. Every 8 years the fuel must be changed out. The uranium is easily recoverable, but we do not give ourselves any credit for this. Assuming a yellowcake cost of $66 per kg, a conversion to UF6 cost of $7.50, and 90 dollars per SWU, ThorCon’s levelized fuel cost is 0.53 cents per kilowatt-hour. See the Executive Summary for details.

Every 8 years the plant will end up sending about 160 tons of spent fuel back to the recycling facility. This material will be about 75% thorium, with 95% of the remainder valuable uranium. Even if we don’t attempt any separation, other than boiling off the salt, the total fuel waste stream averages about 2 m3 per year.

ThorCon has more than a 4:1 advantage over coal in fuel costs, and at least a 50,000:1 advantage in solid waste volume. If the easily separated uranium is re-enriched, then ThorCon’s fuel cost will drop further, and uranium requirements will be nearly halved.

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