Compared to other nuclear plants, the modular DBI thorium reactor design is less capital intensive, has a shorter path to revenue and has lower fuel costs. In addition, because the reactors are small and modular, both large and small customers, enabling a wide range of applicability, can use them. DBI/Century Fuels customers, the reactor operators, will be able to generate electricity at lower cost compared to traditional Gigawatt size reactors and therefore will increase their profits.
The DBI reactors will require only a small capital outlay. Total overnight capital costs of new plants using 25MWe or 50MWe modules are estimated to be in the $40 million to $73 million range on average (varies depending on the specific of a project).
With short construction times, capital carrying costs are further reduced. A single 50 ME module is estimated to have a 12-18 month construction time, after which it can start generating electricity and revenue. For multiple-module plants, when optimized for short construction times, a 2-3 year capital carrying cost is estimated (compared to the 7 year carrying cost of a conventional large Gigawatt plant).
The DBI reactor also will have low operation and maintenance (O&M) production costs compared to conventional large Gigawatt plants. Thorium ore, the primary energy source, and uranium ore, the secondary source, together represent only about 6% of total production costs. These low percentages reduce the impact of volatile uranium ore price fluctuations on overall O&M costs.
The DBI reactor fuel cycle also enhances savings because the DBI reactor is a Breeding/Breeder reactor. The DBI reactor breeds all or most of its own fuel, resulting in increased power output per unit of fuel input.
In addition, the DBI reactor designs, compared to traditional nuclear reactors, are much simpler mechanically, operates at lower pressures, is highly automated and requires fewer support and maintenance personnel. These features further reduce O&M production costs.
As mentioned in the lower fuel costs section, the thorium fuel itself offers significant economic benefits of current nuclear fuels.