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Nuclear power, while a promising low-carbon energy source, currently has high capital costs and low operating costs so it is designed to operate at a full capacity that matches only base-load electricity Hybrid energy systems can enable us to use nuclear energy while meeting variable electricity demand and significantly improving nuclear plant revenues. The Nuclear Air-Brayton Combined Cycle (NACC) couples the heat output from a Fluoride-salt-cooled High-temperature Reactor (FHR) operating at base-load with a natural gas powered 'topping' cycle operating at intermediate and peak modes, achieving efficiency far above the best modern stand-alone natural gas cycles.
I am modelling the thermodynamic and economic performance of the NACC in order to compare its fuel efficiency and revenue potential under various operating scenarios with alternate methods of low-carbon, on-demand electricity generation.
Whether you are a nuclear energy skeptic, enthusiast, or undecided, I hope this talk will offer insight into the prospects and challenges associated with increasing our reliance on nuclear power over the next decades.
Alisha was a Churchill Scholar at Churchill College during 2014/15 reading an MPhil in Energy Technologies.