Nuclear-Renewable Systems

This thesis explores the role of nuclear power plants as load followers in a hybrid renewable energy system using thermal energy storage. In this case, the author describes a prismatic-core advanced high temperature reactor operating at constant power with molten salt storage supplying power to a secondary energy conversion system. The discussion includes a description of the model and its safety features.

These conference proceedings present a review of nuclear power developments in the past, present and future, including pressurized water reactors (PWR), small modular reactors (SMR), and advanced reactor designs. The authors position the evolution of nuclear technology in the context of the search for a clean energy system with resilience.
This report describes the U.S. ecosystem of clean energy innovation from the perspectives of technological potential, investment patterns, institutional roles and public policy. It identifies critical strengths and weaknesses of the ecosystem and offers recommendations for making it more effective. The authors examine the different technology readiness stages through which innovation passes and the importance of feedback among those stages. They also discuss the opportunities to accelerate the pace of clean energy innovation, including the development of advanced nuclear reactors.

This work presented in this journal articles uses the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model to analyze the impacts of four nuclear retirement scenarios of the U.S. electricity sector, from nuclear plant lifetimes of 50 to 80 years. According to the analysis, longer nuclear lifetimes resulted in lower cumulative and annual carbon emissions, lower transmission builds, and higher energy curtailment and water usage.

This journal article addresses the application of nuclear in a hybrid renewable energy system. A challenge of balancing variable renewables with nuclear is that operating nuclear power plants in load-following modes decreases the plants' annual energy output and increases the levelized cost of energy, decreasing economic competitiveness. One possible solution is to couple thermal energy storage to nuclear power plants.

This journal article presents two hybrid energy system (HES) models. One, termed traditional, produces electricity only and consists of a primary heat generator, a steam turbine generator, a wind farm and a battery storage. The other, termed advanced, includes the components present in the traditional model but also a chemical plant complex to repurpose excess energy for non-electricity services, such as for producing chemical goods.

This paper considers a generic thermal energy storage (TES) system as a retrofit to an existing nuclear power plant in the United States (Texas). The authors use a validated PLEXOS model of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas electric grid to simulate electricity market clearing in 2030. They use three scenarios of natural gas price forecasts with a coupled capacity expansion model to simulate the deployment of competing technologies.