As global wealth increases, modern electricity grids must meet rising demand for reliable, flexible and clean energy. Future energy systems that include high penetrations of variable renewable energy will need complementary clean dispatchable generation. Current models project a large role for natural gas fired generation to meet this need. Flexible nuclear can substitute for natural gas—with zero emissions. Some nuclear plants already operate flexibly. Advanced reactor systems will expand this capability. Combining wind and solar with advanced nuclear generation delivers low cost, resilient and clean future energy systems.

The “Flexible Nuclear Campaign” is a campaign within the NICE Future initiative launched in Vancouver at CEM10 in May 2019. Led by three NGOs, Energy for Humanity, Energy Options Network and ClearPath Foundation, the Campaign brings together governments, research institutions, non-government organizations, and industry to focus on flexible, integrated systems that use both nuclear and renewable energy. The campaign will develop a clear understanding of how coordinated use of these technologies can reliably and affordably accelerate contributions to clean energy systems of the future.

The Flexible Nuclear Campaign is among the first efforts to include flexible advanced nuclear technologies in large-scale modelling of energy systems.

The Campaign will focus on two areas: 

  • Modelling revenue opportunities for flexible nuclear energy systems, working in tandem with renewable energy, in various parts of the world and 
  • Communicating cost and technical performance requirements back to government stakeholders and advanced reactor design teams. 

The NICE Future initiative and Flexible Nuclear Campaign participants—which includes countries with established nuclear fleets and those considering nuclear development— will evaluate, demonstrate, and communicate the economic benefits of highly-flexible advanced nuclear energy systems. This involves articulating the qualitative and quantitative benefits ($/MW and $/MWh) of these systems and their cost-competitiveness in select power markets. 

The Campaign builds on a modelling approach developed for ARPA-E, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy, to provide ground-breaking capability to interested Clean Energy Ministerial countries. Campaign findings will be communicated to all CEM members, energy system stakeholders, and policy makers and influencers.