U.S. study finds advanced reactors can be cost effective

July 17, 2020, 11:28AMAround the Web

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.

Key insights:

  • 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.

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