Technical Evaluation and Optimization of Nuclear-Renewable Hybrid Energy Systems

Open for proposals

Project Type

Coordinated Research Project

Project Code

I32012

CRP

2290

Approved Date

24 March 2021

Status

2 - New - Collecting or Evaluating proposals

Description

Nuclear and renewables are the two principal options for low emission energy generation. However, synergies among these resources have yet to be fully exploited, and advantages of directly integrating these generation options are only now being explored for both the grid and to provide energy for other commodity products. Nuclear - renewable hybrid energy systems (HES) consider opportunities to couple these resources to leverage the benefits of each technology and their mode of operation on the system to provide reliable, sustainable, and affordable electricity to the grid and to provide low emission energy to other energy use sectors. This CRP therefore aims to advance technical development for coordinated use of these system that may be used to evaluate the potential benefits of nuclear - renewable HES in support of future sustainable energy systems but with reduced environmental impacts.
Nuclear technologies may include water cooled or advanced, water and non water cooled reactor technologies and application of those technologies for a range of energy needs. Renewable options may include but are not limited to electricity generation via wind, solar, hydro, water, and geothermal; direct use of heat from concentrating solar or geothermal; and other renewable energy commodities (e.g., biomass). The key energy system figures-of-merit will be defined, and the review analysis methodologies and available data to assess the technical potential for using nuclear energy, alongside renewables will be reviewed to flexibly support grid demand (centralized or distributed grids) and other energy applications, including but not limited to district/space heating, industrial process heat supporting chemical processes, and hydrogen production. The insights gained may identify technology solutions or modes of system operation for both established and developing nations, including those new to nuclear energy systems.
The CRP is aimed at further advancing the state-of-knowledge pertaining to modeling, simulation, and analysis approaches for design and optimization of nuclear - renewable HES and is intended to support development of data and analysis with the goal to advance these systems toward commercial deployment. The newly developed knowledge will be shared with Member States through various activities, such as but not limited to support of graduate students, participation in training workshops, and participation in case studies.

Objectives

The objective is to technically evaluate and optimize the options for coordinated use of nuclear and renewable energy and their integration into tightly coupled hybrid energy systems in meeting a range of current and future national and regional energy needs, and with this to foster national excellence and promote international collaboration among the IAEA Member States.

The CRP will be implemented as a programmatic activity of the IAEA Project 1.1.5.1 “Technology development for water cooled reactors” in cooperation with the IAEA Project 1.1.1.1 “Engineering support for operating nuclear power plants” starting with the IAEA Programme and Budget Cycle 2022-2023. Main objectives of the IAEA Project 1.1.5.1 are to increase cooperation by Member States on technology development for advanced reactors, improve economics and safety through information exchange, cooperative research, collaborative assessments and sharing of expertise, as well as to provide technology training materials for the next generation of nuclear professionals. The main objective of the IAEA Project 1.1.1.1 is to support Member States for the safe, secure, efficient, and reliable long-term operation of nuclear power plants. Plant modes of operation are and will continue to change to remain fully integrated with evolving energy systems. Given its overall objective, the CRP clearly responds to the objectives of the IAEA Project 1.1.5.1. and 1.1.1.1.

Specific objectives

Review methodologies and data available for technical analysis of nuclear - renewable HES configurations to evaluate the role(s) and potential opportunities of these novel systems in future energy sectors —both grid and non-grid energy demands and carbon emission targets;

Identify gaps and applicability of available methodologies, tools and data to assess technical aspects of nuclear - renewable HES alongside traditional generators;

Develop case study/ies to analyse and assess the impacts of integrating renewables with nuclear power plants, on both, the current fleet of large unit reactors and on the design of advanced and innovative reactor concepts; included grid requirements / constraints in the scope of these assessments. The aim being to identify knowledge or technical gaps for future improvement.

Define high level recommendations and outline the best practices in order to establish guidance for technical analysis and optimisation of nuclear - renewable HES;

Train early-career engineers and scientists and establish opportunities for MS/PhD research; develop and conduct workshops and training courses on nuclear - renewable HES.

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