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Topic Title: Fusion energy: promises and problems
Topic Summary: and no cost effective solutions in sight
Created On: 30 June 2014 06:36 PM
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 30 June 2014 06:36 PM
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Joined: 05 September 2004


Fusion energy: promises and problems

Is this perhaps the route to fix ITER?

How to Fix ITER

but how can we stop ITER project costs from skyrocketing?

Cost Skyrockets for United States' Share of ITER Fusion Project

I am not sure that costs can be contained once I start some further reading...

Actions Needed to Finalize Cost and Schedule Estimates for U.S. Contributions to an International Experimental Reactor

page 17...

"According to DOE documents, the current $3.915 billion cost estimate for the U.S. ITER Project includes the following:
. $1.469 billion (38 percent)[27]
. $928 million (24 percent) in contingency to address potential schedule delays or increases in costs for manufacturing components, including $852 million in contingency for the remaining work to procure and deliver U.S. hardware components, and $76 million in contingency for U.S. cash contributions to the ITER Organization; to complete the remaining work to
procure and deliver U.S. hardware components for ITER;[28]
. $541 million (14 percent) to account for project costs through June 2013;
. $519 million (13 percent) for remaining cash contributions to the ITER Organization to pay for scientists, engineers, and support personnel working at the ITER Organization; the assembly and installation of the components in France to build the reactor; quality assurance testing of all ITER member-supplied components; and contingencies; and
. $458 million (12 percent) for escalation costs, such as changes in
currency exchange rates and commodity prices, which are driven by
the extended length of the project due to the funding assumptions
used to develop the cost estimate."

After this some of the reasons given for the cost overruns are stated.

I like the following paragraph at the top of page 21...

"DOE's current cost estimate for the U.S. ITER Project reflects most of the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate, and its schedule estimates reflect all characteristics of a reliable schedule.[34]
However, DOE's estimates cannot be used to set a performance baseline that would commit DOE to delivering the project at a specific cost and date primarily because of some factors that DOE can only partially influence. The factors DOE can only partially influence include an unreliable international project schedule to which the U.S. schedule is linked and an uncertain U.S. funding plan. DOE has taken some action to address the factors that have prevented it from setting a performance baseline and finalizing its estimates, but significant challenges remain."

Classic! I must remember

"reflect most of the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate"

except perhaps the single most important defining characteristic of a "reliable cost estimate" which in my book is....

...that the actual final cost comes in within the contingency tolerances allowed for within the original budgetary cost...However that is not the definition the U.S. Government Accountancy Office uses...see page 22

"Four Characteristics of High-Quality, Reliable Cost and Schedule Estimates

Characteristics of [high-quality] reliable cost estimates

Comprehensive : A comprehensive cost estimate has enough detail to ensure that cost elements are neither omitted nor double counted.
Well-documented : A well-documented cost estimate allows for data it contains to be traced to source documents.
Accurate : An accurate cost estimate is based on an assessment of most likely costs and has been adjusted properly for [future] inflation.
Credible : A credible cost estimate discusses any limitations because of uncertainty or bias surrounding data or assumptions.

Characteristics of [high-quality] reliable schedule estimates

Comprehensive : A comprehensive schedule includes all government and contractor activities necessary to accomplish a project's objectives.
Well-constructed : A well-constructed schedule sequences all activities using the most straightforward logic possible.
Credible : A credible schedule uses data about risks and opportunities to predict a level of confidence in meeting the completion date.
Controlled : A controlled schedule is updated periodically to realistically forecast dates for activities."

For schedules the word "control" is used in the wrong sense I think; US GOS actually mean something like "maintained" or "current", which seems to imply it is no longer estimated !?!

To me the use of the word control would imply that all effort is made to keep the estimated schedule within a certain tolerance [in days or weeks or years] of the updated or current schedule.

I wonder if the people who write this sort of guff have ever actually worked on a real life engineering project.

James Arathoon

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