Volume 1: Energy Innovations: Accelerated Deployment, New Concepts, and Emerging Technologies

Nuclear Energy Futures for a Low-Carbon World with Wind and Solar: Nuclear Cogeneration with Heat Storage to Buy-Sell Electricity and Assure Peak Power Charles Forsberg, Karen Dawson, Nestor Sepulveda



The characteristics of fossil fuels (low-cost storage, economic variable output enabled by low-capitalcost high-operating-cost power systems, etc.) have resulted in an energy system where fossil fuels separately supply energy to the electricity, industrial (heat) and transport (liquid fuels) sectors. World systems are undergoing a profound change driven by (1) large-scale addition of wind and solar and (2) the goal of a low-carbon electricity grid. Nuclear, wind and solar have high capital costs and low operating costs where the cost of energy increases rapidly if operate at part load. We examined integrating the electricity and industrial sectors by (1) nuclear co-generation with production of heat for industry and electricity and (2) addition of heat storage to increase reactor capacity factors. This system design substantially reduces total energy costs by three separate mechanisms. Modeling of electricity and industrial energy systems shows nuclear cogeneration reduces energy costs by changing the hourly energy demand curves to better match production from low-carbon energy sources resulting in higher power-plant utilization. Cogeneration enables optimizing the electricity and industrial sector by varying industrial production to minimize total costs with added electricity sales at times of high prices. Heat storage increases plant capacity factors and thus lowers total energy costs.

Keywords Nuclear co-generation, Heat storage, Assured peak electricity generation

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