Nuclear Engineering International reported this week on a new study for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) program. The 90-page study, “Cost and Performance Requirements for Flexible Advanced Nuclear Plants in Future US Power Markets,” finds that advanced reactors that cost less than $3,000/kW will create the most value for plant owners. The work was funded by ARPA-E’s Modeling-Enhanced Innovations Trailblazing Nuclear Energy Reinvigoration (MEITNER) program.
- Advanced reactors that cost less than $3,000/kW will be attractive investments for owners.
- There will be large markets for advanced reactors that cost less than $3,000/kW.
- Flexible advanced reactors complement wind and solar in markets with high penetrations of renewables.
- Flexible advanced reactors can enable high penetrations of variable renewables in future energy systems.
- Together, renewables plus advanced nuclear (with thermal energy storage) lower overall system costs, reduce emissions, and improve performance in future U.S. electricity grids.
- In all of the markets modeled, adding advanced reactors lowered overall system cost.
- Stakeholders should investigate the role that these products could play in grids of the future and support advanced reactor commercialization.