IAEA launches study of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems

21 May 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is launching a new Coordinated Research Project (CRP) aimed at increasing understanding of the role, performance, and impact of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems in meeting current and future energy demand. The three-year project is intended to support the development of data and analysis, with the goal to advance these systems toward commercial deployment.

Under the new CRP, the IAEA will foster wide-ranging graduate training programmes on the technical aspects of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems, implemented for students from countries embarking on nuclear power (Image: H ur Rehman / IAEA)

"Two main options for low-emission energy are nuclear and renewables. However, synergies between these energy generation options still need to be fully characterised and utilised, and the advantages and challenges of integrating these generation options are only now being explored," the IAEA says in the call for research proposals. "Nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems intend to exploit the opportunity to couple these energy resources to take advantage of benefits offered by each technology to supply reliable and sustainable electricity to the grid while also providing low-emission energy to other energy sectors."

The IAEA noted a full set of technical constraints and representative energy system figure-of-merit (FOM) have yet to be established for nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems.

"Appropriately defined FOM and constraints are necessary to assess and evaluate the role of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems, operating alongside independent generators, in current and future energy systems," it said. "Significant improvements in methodologies and simulation tools are necessary to allow inclusion of multi-input and multi-output systems, applications, and products in the analysis while keeping the analysis tractable."

Specifically, the CRP will look at the following: advancements in the analyses of how coupling nuclear and renewable systems impacts the current fleet of operating reactors; the anticipated impact on, or from, advanced and innovative reactor designs, and consideration, as appropriate, of other relevant technologies such as energy storage and carbon capture, use and storage, in different regions as well as developed and developing countries.

The new CRP - expected to start in January 2022 - is aimed at bringing together the current state-of-knowledge on simulation, analysis, optimisation and potential deployment of nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems that has been already accumulated by experienced researchers, analysts and industry.

The IAEA said the newly-developed knowledge will be shared with Member States through various activities, such as, but not limited to, support of graduate students, participation in training workshops and participation in case studies.

The IAEA encourages and assists research on, and development and practical use of, atomic energy and its applications for peaceful purposes throughout the world. It brings together research institutions from its developing and developed Member States to collaborate on research projects of common interest, the CRPs.

Research, technical and doctoral contracts and research agreements are awarded to institutes in Member States for their completion of research work under these CRPs. Each established CRP consists of a network of ten to 15 research institutes that work in coordination for three to five years to acquire and disseminate new knowledge. CRP results are available, free of charge, to scientists, engineers and other users from all Member States.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News