Craig Morris: Can reactors react? Is a decarbonized electricity system with a mix of fluctuating renewables and nuclear reasonable? This paper points out that: the technical capability of nuclear plants to ramp is generally assumed but rarely questioned and has never been demonstrated beyond around a third of a fleet’s rated capacity; the economic impact of ramping on nuclear reactors is often omitted, and storage & curtailment (S&C), which drive up the cost of power supply, increases when baseload nuclear is combined with fluctuating wind and solar. In other words, the “balanced mix” of nuclear, wind and solar will be the most expensive option – unless future nuclear reactors can ramp like current open-cycle gas turbines.
IASS (accessed) 6th March 2018 read more »