Flexible Nuclear Energy for Clean Energy Systems

Jordan Cox, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, John Gorman, Gordon Burton, Megan Moore, Ali Siddiqui, Takeshi Nagasawa, Hideki Kamide, Taiju Shibata, Shiro Arai, Kamal Araj, Edwin Chesire, Tim Stone, Philip Rogers, Gareth Peel, Hideki Kamide, Michel Berthelemy, Henri Paillere, Peter Fraser, Brent WannerClaudia Pavarini, Michel Berthelemy, Sama Bilbao-Y-Leon, Agneta Rising, Stéphane Feutry, Antoine Herzog, David Throne, Maria Korsnick, Konor Frick, Maxwell Brown, Caroline Hughes, Akira Omoto, Charles Forsberg

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


As part of the Nuclear Innovation: Clean Energy Future initiative, this report describes flexibility in nuclear systems, the value it can bring, and international experiences surrounding flexible nuclear energy. Flexible nuclear energy for this report is defined as “The ability of nuclear energy generation to economically provide energy services at the time and location they are needed by end-users. These energy services can include both electric and non-electric applications utilizing both traditional nuclear power plants and advanced integrated systems.” Flexibility in nuclear systems is enabled by three main mechanisms: core ramping, integrated energy systems with multiple byproducts, and thermal storage. The value of this flexibility on a $/MW and a $/MWh basis can be estimated through a combination of physics and economics modeling. International agencies describe their experiences in operating flexible nuclear systems and describe their plans for increasing nuclear flexibility in a clean energy system, likely with a high penetration of variable renewable energy.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages154
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A50-77088


  • clean energy ministerial
  • electric
  • hybrid
  • integrated
  • NICE Future
  • nlexibility
  • nuclear
  • Nuclear Innovation Clean Energy Future
  • thermal


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