At the B&W mPower™ modular reactor press conference, Tina Seeley of Bloomberg News asked the first questions. She was interested in getting some kind of pricing information and also information about the relationship of the federal loan guarantee program to the success of the project.
John Fees, CEO of McDermott International Inc. took the question and provided the kind of answer that can frustrate people who do not understand the difficulty of putting any kind of numbers on a major project where there are simply too many unknowns and dependencies for a valid answer. There were some key parts to the answer, however. Mr. Fees stated that his company believes that the capital cost of the systems will be competitive with larger reactors and they believe that the modular nature of the design makes it less dependent on loan guarantee programs.
As he described it, B&W is supportive of loan guarantee programs, but believes that they are a symptom of the difficulty of financing a $6-8 Billion project that does not have good certainty of delivery. By going to factory manufacturing, the uncertainty should be greatly reduced.
In the video clip above, John Fees makes a slip of the tongue that is easy to understand for a Q&A session. He provided an answer that was off by a factor of 1000 (or by two syllables). What he said was he thought it was possible that an mPower™ could be completed for a capital cost of “under $5,000 per megawatt”, what he must have meant was “under $5,000 per kilowatt”.
If B&W really could produce mPower™ reactors for less than $5,000 per megawatt ($5 per kilowatt), they would fly off of the shelves with a total plant cost of just $625,000 for each module.