Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation and Real Options
Keywords:nuclear fuel cycle, front-end, back-end, economic evaluation, evaluation methods, NPV, uncertainty, flexibility, real options
AbstractThe first part of this paper describes the nuclear fuel cycle. It is divided into three parts. The first part, called Front-End, covers all activities connected with fuel procurement and fabrication. The middle part of the cycle includes fuel reload design activities and the operation of the fuel in the reactor. Back-End comprises all activities ensuring safe separation of spent fuel and radioactive waste from the environment. The individual stages of the fuel cycle are strongly interrelated. Overall economic optimization is very difficult. Generally, NPV is used for an economic evaluation in the nuclear fuel cycle. However the high volatility of uranium prices in the Front-End, and the large uncertainty of both economic and technical parameters in the Back-End, make the use of NPV difficult. The real option method is able to evaluate the value added by flexibility of decision making by a company under conditions of uncertainty. The possibility of applying this method to the nuclear fuel cycle evaluation is studied.
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