Nuclear Energy in Long-Term System Models: A Multi-Model Perspective: EPRI Report No. 3002023697

J. Bistline, A. Sowder, S. Bragg-Sitton, B. Dixon, Wesley Cole, Jonathan Ho, Caitlin Murphy, A. Kwon, L. Martin, C. Namovicz, E. Eschmann

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Long-term energy system models - including electric sector capacity expansion models - are widely used tools for informing planning, technology assessment, and policy analysis. Recent decarbonization goals and rapid technological change have increased the need to appropriately represent economic characteristics and technical details of energy system resources, including variable renewable energy, energy storage technologies, carbon-capture-equipped capacity, and nuclear energy. Nuclear power represents about 20% of electricity generation and 50% of carbon-free electricity in the United States as of 2021. However, there are many perspectives on the role of existing and new nuclear in the future U.S. energy system, which is reflected in the broad range of potential contributions reported in the literature. This project aims to understand how issues central to nuclear energy are represented in long-term energy models. Building on earlier collaborations that focused on variable renewable energy and energy storage, this project convenes four modeling teams that use national-scale long-term energy system models from the Electric Power Research Institute, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to share methods and data, update models, run coordinated scenarios, and identify research needs. Improving tools can provide more insightful analyses and ensure that methods are more transparent.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages136
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-6A40-81544


  • capacity expansion modeling
  • decarbonization
  • energy systems modeling
  • model intercomparison
  • nuclear energy
  • power sector economics


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