Repowering Coal

Affiliate Publications

How small modular nuclear reactors can help decarbonize power grids

Nuclear's new role

US climate change not-for-profit Terra Praxis has proposed repowering 5,000 to 7,000 coal plants globally with SMRs between 2030 and 2050. Whether replacing coal in power plants or supplying industrial processes, SMR reactors have the potential to be installed in a packaged fashion based on standardized designs and processes. This should mean they can be deployed more quickly and with greater certainty over the like of outcomes, costs and regulatory approvals than nuclear power has to date.

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Why coal-fired power plants should get nuclear-ready

The need to decarbonize the energy sector will leave infrastructure and workers of retired coal-fired power plants behind. From an environmental point of view coal-fired power plants should neither be built nor operated. If these plants are built/operated though, they should be designed in a way that they can be swiftly transformed to provide low-carbon energy. They should be designed to be nuclear-ready.

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Can Advanced Nuclear Repower Coal Country?

With nearly a quarter of the U.S. coal-fired fleet scheduled to retire by 2029, replacing retiring coal power plants with advanced nuclear, specifically small modular reactors (SMR), has been put forth as a strategy to maintain local employment and economic opportunities for existing energy workers and communities, while simultaneously pursuing national climate goals.

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Repowering a Coal Power Plant Steam Cycle Using Modular Light-Water Reactor Technology

This article presents the results of a techno-economic analysis of repowering a coal-fired power plant’s steam turbine system to instead accept heat produced by a pressurized water reactor-type small modular nuclear system (PWR SMR). This type of repowering presents a challenge due to the significantly lower steam pressure and temperature produced by the nuclear system.

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How Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Can Help Decarbonize Power Grids: Nuclear's new role

US climate change not-for-profit Terra Praxis has proposed repowering 5,000 to 7,000 coal plants globally with SMRs between 2030 and 2050. Whether replacing coal in power plants or supplying industrial processes, SMR reactors have the potential to be installed in a packaged fashion based on standardized designs and processes. This should mean they can be deployed more quickly and with greater certainty over the likes of outcomes, costs and regulatory approvals than nuclear power has to date.

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Repowering a Coal Power Unit with Small Modular Reactors and Thermal Energy Storage

Repowering coal plant infrastructure with clean heat sources such as nuclear and geothermal energy is crucial if we want to reach the Paris Goals of Net Zero by 2050. Luckily, several colleagues and organzations are now doing very through analysis to turn this into a reality. This article, written by our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) proposes and analyzes a solution that will enable the flexibility of electricity production of new nuclear energy while avoiding the stranding of existing fossil fuel assets and local job losses.

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Coal Repowering White Paper Series: Repowering Coal-Fired Power Plants for Advanced Nuclear Generation

This white paper by EPRI sheds light on the benefits to repowering coal plants into clean energy generators. Repowering offers many advantages, including the potential to reuse existing site infrastructure, operating and environmental permits, equipment, facilities, and water usage for future clean power generation and energy storage facilities. It can also provide social and economic benefits to the surrounding community through retention of jobs and tax base.

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Small Modular Reactors: A new nuclear energy paradigm

Read this if you want to get a quick and realistic understanding of how SMRs could be a game-changer. This new report from the IAEA, available as a pre-print, is the secretariats' view on SMRs. It talks about three major areas (1) Understanding SMRs (2) What will it take to make SMRs a success and (3) What's next for SMRs. The last chapter provides a comprehensive list of IAEA activities to support the SMR deployment.

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Investigating Benefits and Challenges of Converting Retiring Coal Plants into Nuclear Plants: Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Supply Chain

This DOE study estimates potential savings for coal plant owners, and benefits for regions: “To replace a large coal plant, nuclear overnight costs of capital could decrease by 15%-35% when compared to greenfield construction, through the reuse of infrastructure. This aligns with Terra Praxis estimates: “Converting plants to run on AMRs will deliver capital cost saving of 28%-35% (compared with new nuclear plant) and 9%-28% reduction in levelized cost of energy.” (WNN, 2022a). This is also consistent with analysis based on Kairos Power SMR design (Bartela et al., 2021), and C2N#3 approach.

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Repowering Coal Power in China by Nuclear Energy – Implementation Strategy and Potential

This article discusses a sustainable low-carbon development strategy that uses nuclear heat sources to replace coal boilers at existing coal power plants in China, to help support a resource and cost-effective low-carbon development. Based on the local situation in China, a three-stage strategy to explore the potential of repowering coal power by nuclear energy is proposed. The main focus of this study is to conduct a more detailed exploration of the 1st stage of this strategy, which includes coal plants located on the coast in regions that already have nuclear power installations.

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Techno-Economic Assessment of Coal-Fired Power Unit Decarbonization Retrofit with KP-FHR Small Modular Reactors

Policymakers of many countries, even those that have taken a more passive approach toward decarbonization, have started to define the dates by which their countries will completely abandon coal as an energy source. On 25 September 2020 Poland decided that it will close its coal plants by 2049, exploring viable techno-economic solutions that meet this policy objective is key to achieving its goals and mission. This paper by our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) studied the retrofit decarbonization of coal units using a low-carbon heat source to an existing brownfield coal site.

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Retrofit Decarbonization of Coal Power Plants—A Case Study for Poland

Power sector emissions represent the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions globally, and coal-fired power stations are the biggest source of emissions within this sector. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, rapid decarbonization of coal heavy economies is essential. In this study our colleagues from QuantifiedCarbon (QCL) assess the potential of these strategies as options in a broader general strategy, which we call “retrofit decarbonization” of coal power units.

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Platforms: Bridging the gap between construction + manufacturing

This publication describes an evidence-based design process and manufacture-led construction approach using standardized and repeatable components that could be replicated as an approach across a range of horizontal infrastructure projects in the transport and utilities sectors. Terra Praxis is partnering with Bryden Wood to design a standardized design for repowering coal plants.

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