Aluminum vs Copper Wire for Buried Main Power Line

I need to run a 250 foot buried line to bring power to a small cabin. For this application, is there any reason to be concerned about using aluminimum wire instead of copper? Copper will cost me twice as much and, for this distance, aluminum provides very significant savings. The electrician reports the main hazard as corrosion if the conduits are not well sealed and/or if the integrity of the insulation is compromised.
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Aluminum doesn't conduct electricity as well as copper, so you'll need a larger wire size (i.e. 4/0 for 200 amps, instead of 3/0 copper). But, the cost for aluminum is much lower overall.
The main problem with aluminum is surface oxidation when it is exposed to the air. This won't be an issue along the length of the cable, but it can increase resistance at the connections, building up heat, and potentially start a fire.
For that reason, aluminum is rarely used for indoor wiring anymore, but around here at least, aluminum is just about the ONLY way cable is run underground these days. The cables are generally made for direct burial. You shouldn't need the conduit, unless you can't get the required depth for some reason (rock or something).
When you connect the aluminum cable to your breaker panel, you must apply a special anti-oxidant paste to the cable and connection to prevent the oxidation problems. Once that's done, it's as trouble free as copper.
Anthony
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No.
I'd be willing to bet that the main service line installed by the power company from the transformer to the meter is aluminum for 99% of the houses.
I'm burying aluminum wire to get power to my new shop next week. Direct burial, no conduit except at each end to get into the buildings.
Steve.
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