Advanced Nuclear Reactor Systems and Future Energy Market Needs

Energy markets will be significantly different in the future. The electricity generation system is becoming more diverse with the development of energy-related technologies including renewable energy sources, storage technologies and demand-side management. Beyond the electricity sector, various low-carbon energy technologies are being developed to respond to the need to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors such as heavy industry and long-distance transportation.

In this report the NEA investigates the changing needs of energy markets and the potential role of nuclear technologies as low-carbon energy sources. Focusing on the technical characteristics of advanced nuclear reactor systems, including Generation III/III+ reactors, small modular reactors and Generation IV reactors, it explores the ways these advanced nuclear technologies could address the future energy market needs. The conclusion is that advanced nuclear reactor systems, while complying with the flexibility requirements of the electricity grid and supporting system reliability, have a large potential as alternative low-carbon energy sources for residential and industrial heat supply and hydrogen production.