Small Modular Reactor (SMR)

We analysed both the impact of the availability of SMR as well as the impact of the investment cost.

Key takeaways
  • Similar to the main analysis, we see the new generation of nuclear Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) operational as of 2050, if allowed. Only with 40 GW of offshore wind capacity or with an investment cost of SMR above 10800 euro per KW, we see no deployment.
  • Allowing access to SMR in scenarios increases the electricity demand, 5-9% higher (9-17 TWh) and lowers electricity imports. These changes are caused by lower electricity prices and are also observed with increasing access to additional zones for offshore wind power. Adding more SMR than in the Electrification scenario does not increase the electricity demand any longer. There is no additional electrification and electrification of demand sectors is largely independent from the electricity mix.
  • Starting from the Central scenario without additional offshore wind zones, SMR reduces the electricity import by 70%. Starting from the 'Central scenario + 16 GW', SMR reduces electricity import by a third.
  • The capacity factor of nuclear is above 75% in all scenarios except the in the sensitivity with a lower investment cost (4500 euro per kWe) where it reaches 64%.
  • SMR, begin dispatchable, reduces the need to import molecules (H2) for generating electricity during the evening and during some periods with low wind availability in the winter.
  • A 600 euro per kW investment cost reduction/increase -around 8% of our estimated investment cost in the Electrification scenario- leads to an increase/decrease of the SMR capacity by 1 GWe.
  • For a cost comparison, see the graph in our “Key conclusions”.

 

The SMR capacity increases by 1 GW for each

600 €/kW

reduction of the investment cost

Impact of SMRs in the situation
without additional offshore wind zones

In the situation without additional offshore wind zones, SMR provides roughly half of the total electricity generation. In absolute terms, this is more than the current total electricity generation.

The capacity of nuclear power plants reaches 14 GW.

Impact of SMRs in the situation
with access to 16 GW additional offshore wind power

Nuclear power plants mostly reduce the electricity generation from PV.

Nuclear power plants mostly reduce the capacity of PV and hyrogen-based electricity generation.

Impact of SMR investment cost

The lower the cost of the SMR, the more it is producing power and reducing the need to import molecules (H2) for generating electricity during the evening and during some periods with low wind availability in the winter.

Increasing the overnight capital cost from 7500 to 10500 euro per K€/kWe reduces the nuclear capacity from 6 GW to 1.5 GW. Lowering the overnight capital cost from 7500 to 4500 euro per €/KkWe increases the nuclear capacity from 6 GW to 11 GW.

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