This is iENERGY digital platform beta version.

More info...
Nuclear energy and security of supply

Nuclear energy and security of supply

With their reliable supply of low-carbon electricity, nuclear power plants are increasingly important in today's power systems marked by the growing share of variable, distributed renewable energy.

Nuclear power plants are very reliable generation sources.

Nuclear power plants are large, reliable generation sources that can operate continuously to ensure the stability of the power system.

Nuclear power plants ensure the security of supply in all weathers, day and night.

Unlike other technologies, they generate energy from a very small amount of fuel. New fuel has to be added only every 18 or even 24 months (depending on the characteristics of the plant and operational and fuel cycle plans). New fuel for nuclear power plants can easily be stored for up to several years.

Potential for flexibility and ancillary services

Nuclear power plants generally supply baseload power. This is mainly:

  • to maximise output: nuclear power has a very low electricity production cost,
  • to maximise security of supply: nuclear power plants are a very reliable generation source,
  • possible if the power system requires no supply-side response from nuclear to daily fluctuations (i.e. to meet peak load demand).

As the share of variable renewable energy in the generation mix grows, giving rise to advanced grid solutions, nuclear power plants are increasingly faced with the flexible operation challenge.

In some power systems, nuclear power plants are expected to provide additional ancillary services such as frequency control by adjusting their output to respond to variations in demand.

In France and Germany, for example, most nuclear power plants contribute substantially to the provision of ancillary services by operating flexibly and meeting peak load demand. The existing 2nd generation nuclear reactors are technically capable of implementing flexible operation modes.

Meanwhile, the design of 3rd generation nuclear reactors is even better suited to flexible load following and frequency control, allowing for very quick changes in output with ramp rates of 5% of full power per minute. For a 1000 MW power plant, this means as much as 50 MW per minute. This development makes nuclear power one of the sources that can deliver a relatively quick response in providing ancillary services.

The subsection Supply: Nuclear energy and security of supply was created in collaboration with:
Matjaž Žvar
Matjaž Žvar
Head of Training, Krško nuclear power plant NEK, Krško nuclear power plant NEK

Matjaž Žvar works at the Krško nuclear power plant as the head of training and shift engineer in the control room, where he previously served as a reactor operator and senior reactor operator.

Žvar is a member of the Technical Working Group on Managing Human Resources at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). His participation in the technical support missions conducted by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) confirms that the expertise and experience of the staff at NEK are valued internationally. Žvar is the Slovenian representative in the Utility Simulator Users Group (USUG). As perfect copies of control rooms, simulators are an indispensable part of nuclear training programmes.

For iEnergy he provided input on Nuclear energy and security of supply.

We are adding new content regularly. Stay up to date on the new features by subscribing to our newsletter.