Technology overview for integrated nuclear/renewable energy systems

The integration and coordination of multiple clean energy generation sources offer us the opportunity to maximize use of all clean energy technologies and ensure energy systems operate more efficiently and are cost-effective.

U.S. and Canadian researchers have been reimagining how we can use nuclear and renewable technologies together to achieve increased flexibility in electricity generation while maintaining optimal economic performance by directing any excess energy that results from daily or seasonal variation in renewable generation and demand to support energy demand in the industrial sector and to support further penetration of clean energy in the transportation sector via hydrogen and biofuels. Such systems enhance not only the environmental aspects of our energy systems but also the economic value of our generation assets.

Specifically, U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories (including Idaho National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, and the Electric Power Research Institute have been conducting extensive computational analysis and related research and development activities to establish the technical and economic potential of these innovative energy systems. Researchers are working directly with industry—utilities, nuclear developers, and energy end users—to ensure these systems will be viable in the commercial sector, for either small-scale distributed energy systems or large-scale centralized systems.

This webinar provides an overview of the motivations for the integrated energy system research, the technology solutions being investigated, the modeling and simulation tools that have been developed to optimize system design and dynamic performance, analysis results and planned concept demonstrations.

The webinar presentations are followed by an interactive question and answer session with the audience.

Sherry Bernhoft
Sherry Bernhoft
Senior Program Manager
Electric Power Research Institute

Sherry Bernhoft is the Senior Program Manager for Strategic Programs and Long-Term Operations at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). In this position, she is responsible for planning and managing a portfolio of research projects that provide the technical basis for flexible nuclear plant operations, and plant life extension. This portfolio is collaborated with the U.S. Department of Energy Light Water Reactor Sustainability projects and EPRI’s international partners.

Bernhoft joined EPRI in 2012 as a Program Manager. Before joining EPRI, she worked at several nuclear power plants in the United States, most recently the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant, where she was Manager, Project Engineering. She was responsible for the design, project controls and installation of several large capital projects.

Before working for Luminant, Bernhoft worked for Mitsubishi as the Senior Project Manager for the proposed Comanche Peak Units 3 and 4 new build projects and led an international team responsible for preparing the reference COLA for the MHI US APWR design plant. She also worked for NMC as Fleet Director of Project, Management, and Progress Energy’s Crystal River Plant as Systems Engineering Manager and Licensing Manager.

Bernhoft holds a chemical engineering degree from Lafayette College, a Master’s in Business Administration from Webster University, an SRO Certification at Crystal River-3, and a STA Certification at the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant.

Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton
Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton
Manager of Systems Integration Department, Nuclear Systems Design and Analysis Division
Idaho National Laboratory (United States)

Shannon Bragg-Sitton is the Manager of the Systems Integration Department in the Nuclear Systems Design and Analysis Division at Idaho National Laboratory (INL).  

Shannon is the Lead for Nuclear-Renewable Hybrid Energy Systems (N-R HES) under the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) Crosscutting Technologies Program. N-R HES designs seek to coordinate the use of multiple clean energy generation sources (e.g., nuclear and renewables) to meet both thermal and electrical energy needs. These systems would be designed to optimize energy use for the combined electricity, industrial manufacturing and the transportation sectors.

Shannon is also the Technical Area Lead for Special Purpose Reactor Applications, which was recently established under the Advanced Reactor Technology Program in DOE-NE. This effort is focused on developing a megawatt class (<20 MWt) nuclear reactor to provide energy at remote locations for use by communities, commercial industry or defense entities. Defense interests stem from the need for uninterrupted mobile power that is not vulnerable to cyber threats and provides heat and power to enable a variety of operations at remote sites. Civilian interest is similar in nature (i.e., hybrid heat and power at remote locations and mining sites) but with particular emphasis on costs and fuel utilization.

From 2014 to 2017, Shannon served as the Deputy National Technical Director for the Advanced Fuels Campaign (AFC) in the DOE Fuel Cycle Technologies Program. AFC focuses on the development of enhanced accident tolerant fuels for light water reactors, advanced reactor fuels, and capability development to support fuel fabrication, testing and characterization.

Before joining INL, Shannon was an Assistant Professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department at Texas A&M University (2007–2010) and was a Technical Staff Member at Los Alamos National Laboratory (2004–2007), during which time she was on assignment at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In each of these capacities, her primary research area was space nuclear power and propulsion systems. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science in Nuclear Engineering from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science in Medical Physics from the University of Texas at Houston and a Masters and Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Michigan.

Mark Ruth
Mark Ruth
Project Lead and Engineer
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (United States)

Mark Ruth is a Project Lead and Engineer in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, USA. In that role, Mark led an effort to analyze optimal configurations and operation of tightly coupled nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems and is leading other analyses that are focused on identifying potential synergies between nuclear and renewable energy sources. Mark is also leading a multi-laboratory effort to analyze the potential of H2@Scale—a concept where hydrogen is an energy intermediate that complements electricity. Over Mark’s 25 years at NREL, he has an extensive history of developing methods to value opportunities in the energy sector as well as technical analyses of hydrogen and bioenergy systems.

Gina Strati
Gina Strati, Director
Director, Energy Program
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

Gina Strati is the Director of the Energy Program at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.  She is responsible for research and development activities related to supporting the safe operation of existing nuclear power generating stations, understanding nuclear fuels and fuel cycles, deploying advanced reactors including small modular reactors, developing hydrogen technologies and addressing federal research needs by developing technologies to meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets.  Gina received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from McGill University in Montreal and her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of New Orleans in Louisiana.

All NICE Future initiative webinar presentations are followed by question-and-answer sessions with webinar participants.
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