||Improved nuclear power plant performance means more electricity for less money. The AP1000® reactor has several design features that improve plant production and worker safety:
Operations and Maintenance
- Eighteen-month fuel cycle for improved availability and reduced overall fuel costs
- Significantly reduced maintenance, staging, and testing and inspection requirements
- Reduced radiation exposure and less plant waste
- Sixty-year design life
Operating nuclear plants in the United States are already competitive producers of electricity compared to coal-fired plants. This is enhanced by the fact that fuel cost accounts for about 25 percent of production costs for nuclear power, while the remaining 75 percent of the production cost is in the fixed cost of operation and maintenance. That means that nuclear power production is much less sensitive to changes in fuel costs than fossil-fuel-powered plants, where fuel costs can account for 75 percent or more of the production cost.
And, because of the smaller, simpler plant design, the AP1000 requires less equipment and infrastructure to test and maintain the plant. Lower operating and maintenance requirements also save money in the form of smaller maintenance staffs. The selection of proven components ensures a high degree of reliability to reduce maintenance. Standardization of components reduces spare parts inventories, training requirements, and shorter maintenance times are achieved. Additionally, built-in testing is provided for critical components.