Towards nuclear energy

Energy market studies more positive towards nuclear energy

23 August 2021

Our nuclear innovation conference to be held in March next year will focus on what innovations are needed for nuclear energy progression. The relevance of this topic is once again demonstrated by the recent publication of IPCC and by the publication of the Market Consultation report (ordered by the Dutch government) for the development of new nuclear power to meet CO2 reduction targets.

This report, drafted by KPMG, is primarily based on interviews with Provinces, international nuclear industry (i.e. contractors, vendors, utilities)  and potential financing parties. A positive stance towards nuclear power is presented, starting with ‘proven GENIII technology’ and parallel investment in Small Modular Reactors (SMR) / GENIV reactor applications for the longer term.

Long Term Operation of Borssele NPP is advised for low cost low carbon energy production and last but not least an important instrument to maintain operational experience. A similar approach was presented in the Nuclear Innovation Roadmap.

Joost van den Broek
Director Consultancy and Services at NRG

Gen III or Small Modular Reactors?

There is consensus among the consulted parties that new build projects of proven and mature Gen III reactor designs are not likely to have the FOAK (First of a Kind) problems (e.g. delays, cost overruns). Reducing FOAK risks and serial construction have cost saving potential.

Although SMRs do not have the economy of scale advantages of large reactors, their expected Levelised Costs of Electricity (LCOE) are expected to be in the same range (about EUR 40-90 MWh vs 35-84 EUR/MWh for GigaWatt scale reactors). So there is potential for SMRs as well.

Because of their smaller size they have a wider window of application in the energy infrastructure, technically as well as financially. Nevertheless commercial availability will take another 5-10 years and also their vulnerability for FOAK issues is subject to further investigation.

The active role of governments

A key conclusion is the importance of the active role of Governments. On the one hand to create an adequate investment climate with sufficient guarantees for investors, and to provide a transparent and harmonized licensing framework on the other hand. The latter is exactly the topic of our next webinar; licensing challenges.

This webinar we will be focused on the challenges in Advanced Reactor licensing from Terrestrial Energy’s  Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) and Kairos Power’s Fluoride salt cooled High temperature Reactor (KP-FHR).

Speakers with ‘hands-on’ experience will address technical topics around fuel licensing but also the more general licensing approach. A live Q&A session will be facilitated through the chat function of the webinar platform and moderated by our host Sannah van Balen.