Modeling Nuclear Energy's Future Role in Decarbonized Energy Systems

John Bistline, Shannon Bragg-Sitton, Wesley Cole, Brent Dixon, Erich Eschmann, Jonathan Ho, Augustine Kwon, Laura Martin, Caitlin Murphy, Christopher Namovicz, Andrew Sowder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus Citations


Increased attention has been focused on the potential role of nuclear energy in future electricity markets and energy systems as stakeholders target rapid and deep decarbonization and reductions in fossil fuel use. This paper examines models of electric sector planning and broader energy systems optimization to understand the prospective roles of nuclear energy and other technologies. In this perspective, we survey modeling challenges in this environment, illustrate opportunities to propagate best practices, and highlight insights from the deep decarbonization literature on the range of visions for nuclear energy's role. Nuclear energy deployment is highest with combinations of stringent emissions policies, nuclear cost reductions, and constraints on the deployment of other technologies, which underscores model dimensions related to these areas. New modeling capabilities are needed to adequately address emerging issues, including representing characteristics and applications of nuclear energy in systems models, and to ensure the relevance of models for policy and planning as deeper decarbonization is explored.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 105952
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 17 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s)

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A40-84548


  • capacity expansion
  • nuclear
  • power sector decarbonization
  • scenario analysis


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