New Power Plant Construction


Project Simulation: Construction of a New Nuclear Power Plant


GoldSim can readily simulate the performance of complex projects, adding a dimension of realism that is not available with other project management software. In collaboration with Predicus LLC, an example model was developed to illustrate this capability. The model represents a proposed project by an electrical utility to construct a new nuclear power plant. 


The model simulates three key phases in the project’s development, incorporating all of the risk and financial factors that could come into play over the up to 18-year duration of the project.

  1. Initial planning and feasibility studies, including financial feasibility, site selection, and selection of the reactor manufacturer. Following these steps a go/no-go decision is simulated, where the project is cancelled if the preliminary evaluation is not encouraging.
  2. Final environmental and design studies followed by the licensing process, spanning several years, where the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reviews the proposed facility’s design and interveners raise objections. There are two possible paths through the NRC process, a one-step path and a two-step path, and the model allows the user to evaluate both of these options. Following the license review the model simulates whether or not a license is granted, and a second go/no-go decision is made by the utility’s management.
  3. Finally, a multi-stage construction process is simulated, which addresses all of the contingencies that might arise during this stage.


The model uses realistic inputs to represent all of the uncertainties and random variables that can impact such a project, allowing an owner to understand their overall risk profile and to uncover key risk drivers—be they technical, financial, or political.


Making Better Decisions In An Uncertain World