India Builds Nuclear Reactors that are CHEAPER THAN SOLAR per unit of Electricity

This is EVEN BEFORE considering
-longevity of nuclear (> 60 yrs vs 30 yrs for solar)
-cost of storage or backup for solar
This is an interesting twitter thread. I have no idea of truth or accuracy of the claims.


India’s building codes are virtually non-existent. Not surprised the cost of construction is that low. Hoping it does not turn into a problem.


As first glance, the numbers for the nuclear plant look fairly accurate, but I have some problems with the way the cost is calculated.

I found this source, which appears to be official, stating the cost of Kakrapar 3 & 4. If I converted the currencies correctly, this comes to $2.3 billion US. These are smaller heavy-water reactors, similar to the CANDU design they use in Canada.

The way they compared costs in the tweet, though, is not standard. They just divided construction cost by the yearly expected electricity output. That is not the usual way costs are compared. A proper Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) calculation is more complicated, and includes operation, maintenance and fuel costs. These extra expenses were not included in the table in the tweet.

That said, $2.3 billion for a nuclear power plant of this size is very low compared to the high costs that nuclear plants in the west have had.

Lastly, it is improper to compare nuclear against solar in this way. Nuclear plants produce electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Current battery technology is not a solution for 24/7 solar. Show me even one modern industrial city that gets 100% of its electricity from only solar plus batteries.

  • Pete

I have no idea about the truth or accuracy of the claims but wholesale should always be cheaper than retail. That being the case the motivation for rooftop solar is redundancy, not being dependent on the grid, and it also requires storage.

When enough rooftop solar comes into being a phase change happens, Virtual Power Plants (VPP), rooftop solar feeding the grid with the excess power generated which, in turn, lowers the cost of rooftop solar. The Science of Complexity calls this “an emergent property.”

The name “Science of Complexity” was aptly chosen.

The Captain


I think the land is cheaper the closer they get to China.



On the subject of India and nuclear power, here are a few items from World Nuclear News.

From May 2:
Companies sign agreement to build 6 indigenous PHWRs.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

From last month…
A government official says India’s nuclear generation capacity will triple by 2031.

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

India’s nuclear plants tend to be smaller than plants built in the west. They have chosen heavy-water moderated plants in most cases to avoid the need for enriched uranium. They have also contracted with Russia’s nuclear power company to build several of Russia’s VVER style plant.

India still gets around 75% of its electricity from burning coal, so they have a long way to go if they are going to reduce CO2 emissions to something reasonable.

  • Pete