The Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) is looking into building four nuclear reactors.
“We consider it advisable that we install two more reactors at the Laguna Verde nuclear power plant [in Veracruz] and two on the Pacific coast,” CFE thermoelectric generation coordinator Héctor López Villareal told a press conference.
The cost of each 1,400-megawatt (MW) reactor, with a lifespan of about 60 years, would be about US $7 billion, according to CFE estimates.
“The cost of the initial investment is high, but the cost of operation is low while in conventional [combined cycle] power plants . . . the initial investment cost is low and the cost of the operating fuel is high. So it’s a question of diversifying, that’s what we want to do,” said López.
Although the cost of building a combined cycle power plant would be $500 million, the natural gas they burn costs $3 to $4 per gigajoule generated, while a nuclear plant can produce a gigajoule for less than a dollar.
López said the nuclear reactors would diversify Mexico’s electrical grid, lowering its dependence on natural gas, fuel oil and coal.
He added that in the 29 years that the Laguna Verde plant has been operating, there has not been one “serious incident” that released radioactive material into the atmosphere, and none of the workers has been negatively affected.
The two reactors at the plant were put into operation in 1990 and 1995 with an initial installed capacity of 675 MW each. Their capacity was increased to 800 MW each 10 years ago.
Within the first eight months of 2020, López expects to present a feasibility study for the project to CFE director Manuel Bartlett Díaz, the Secretariat of Energy (Sener) and the president.
The announcement comes after Energy Secretary Rocío Nahle García said in September that a study should be conducted to consider the expansion of nuclear power in Mexico.
Source: Forbes México (sp)