rating (MW (e)) were ordered. Units of this size are competitive with fossil-fuel production. Since 1962, nuclear systems have been ordered with 800, 1000, and 1,100 MW (e) capacities.
8. From 1953 through June of 1967, orders have been placed for nuclear power plants as set forth in Appendix A.
9. In addition to the orders referred to in Finding 8 above, 14 utilities have announced plans to build nuclear generation plants. The average capacity of these proposed plants is 904.3 MW (e).
10. In general, it takes about four to six years from the time a nuclear power plant is ordered until it is commercially operable.
11. In nuclear power plants, the energy source is uranium. Steam to operate the generators is produced in a large and complex apparatus known as the Nuclear Steam Supply System (hereinafter the NSSS unit).
12. Two basic types of NSSS units are now on the market: the boiling water reactor and the pressurized water reactor. The technical differences between these two types of reactors are not significant to this action.
13. The main element of an NSSS unit is the pressure vessel or reactor. Uranium fuel assemblies, control rods, and various other instruments are housed in the reactor, and surrounded by water. External to the reactor are the components necessary to transfer the energy output of the reactor to the more or less standard generating and transforming equipment.
14. The nuclear fuel for the reactor is a uranium compound which is formed into pellets and placed inside tubes which are approximately one-half inch in diameter and 12 to 14 feet in length. These tubes are arranged in the reactor in clusters to form a unit called a fuel assembly. Thirty to forty thousand tubes are generally required, and the exact number in each cluster varies greatly from one reactor to another. Since the tubes are immersed in water for long periods, they must be made of corrosion resistant material. At present, a zirconium alloy is most commonly used for these fuel tubes.
15. The hardware portion of each NSSS must be individually designed to meet the requirements of the ordering utility. As a result, it is necessary in each case to design and engineer the uranium compound itself, the number and arrangement of fuel tubes, and the location of the fuel assemblies within the reactor.
16. The fuel which is placed in the NSSS unit initially is referred to as the core. During the operation of the unit, the fissionable uranium isotope, U (235), is depleted (this process is referred to as "burn-up"), and efficiency-reducing materials known as poisons are developed. After 12 to 18 months of operation, the NSSS unit is shut down, approximately one-third of the fuel assemblies are replaced, the fuel assemblies are relocated, and the poisons withdrawn. Thereafter, one-third of the fuel is replaced annually for the life of the reactor. The replacement fuel assemblies are referred to as reloads or reload batches, and the process of fuel replacement and reorganization is termed fuel management.
17. The estimated useful life of a nuclear generating station is approximately 30 years. A complete station of the 800 to 1000 MW (e) variety, including land, buildings, hardware, and the initial core, costs about $150,000,000. The NSSS unit alone costs approximately $30,000,000 to $40,000,000; the initial core costs about $25,000,000 to $30,000,000; and each reload batch costs about $8,000,000 to $10,000,000. Based on present cost levels, fuel costs projected over the life of the reactor will total between $250,000,000 and $300,000,000 for each reactor.
18. Nuclear fuel assemblies ("fabricated fuel") are the end-products of a highly sophisticated and complex manufacturing process. The separate steps of this process are as follows:
(a) Uranium deposits must be located and mining operations undertaken.