Load following with Small Modular Reactors: a real option analysis

Locatelli, Giorgio and Boarin, Sara and Pellegrino, Francesco and Ricotti, Marco E. (2015) Load following with Small Modular Reactors: a real option analysis. Energy, 80 . pp. 41-54. ISSN 0360-5442

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Abstract

Load following is the potential for a power plant to adjust its power output as demand and price for electricity
fluctuates throughout the day. In nuclear power plants, this is done by inserting control rods into the reactor
pressure vessel. This operation is very inefficient as nuclear power generation is composed almost entirely of
fixed and sunk costs; therefore, lowering the power output doesn’t significantly reduce generating costs and the
plant is thermo-mechanical stressed. A more efficient solution is to maintain the primary circuit at full power
and to use the excess power for cogeneration. This paper assesses the technical-economic feasibility of this
approach when applied to Small Modular Reactors (SMR) with two cogeneration technologies: algae-biofuel and
desalinisation. Multiple SMR are of particular interest due to the fractional nature of their power output. The
result shows that the power required by an algae-biofuel plant is not sufficient to justify the load following
approach, whereas it is in the case of desalination. The successive economic analysis, based on the real options
approach, demonstrates the economic viability of the desalination in several scenarios. In conclusion, the
coupling of SMR with a desalination plant is a realistic solution to perform efficient load following.

Keywords:Load following, Cogeneration, Biofuel, Desalinisation, Real options, JCNotOpen
Subjects:H Engineering > H821 Nuclear Engineering
L Social studies > L100 Economics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Engineering
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ID Code:16273
Deposited On:12 Dec 2014 14:03

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