Works constituting the genesis of the DEsire project cited in the DOE report

In mid-September 2022, a U.S. Department of Energy report was published, thematically related to the DEsire project (press release, report). The authors of the report pointed out that out of 157 decommissioned coal-fired power plants and 237 power plants still in operation, a total of 215 power plants have the potential to carry out modernization – of varying complexity – towards the construction of nuclear generation systems using the existing infrastructure of coal-fired units. This gives a total of over 260 GW of installed electricity capacity. As part of the report, three variants of the implementation of the Coal-to-Nuclear technology were proposed, related to the construction of a nuclear power plant in the place of the decommissioned coal-fired power plant, and one variant, which included the location in the vicinity and with the use of e.g. experienced engineering staff.

The presented results of the analyzes concerned such areas as the selection of technology and capacity of new energy systems, reduction of investment outlays related to the project implementation for various technological variants and the impact on the labor market and the natural environment. Example benefits from the modernization of a coal power plant with a capacity of approx. 900 MWel through the development of a nuclear power plant using part of the infrastructure have been estimated for the analyzed region at approx. USD 275 million and 650 new jobs. The presented results are certainly encouraging in the perspective of the analyzes and studies carried out as part of the DEsire project.

The works of the DEsire project team (Bartela, Gładysz) were cited by the report authors as examples of previous works in this area for Polish conditions. The authors of the report also pointed out the high consistency of own predictions in terms of savings resulting from this type of investment, in relation to the work of the Polish team. The publications cited in the report concerned a broad view of the options for decarbonisation of domestic generation assets (link to the publication) and detailed techno-economic analyzes in the field of modernization of the 460 MWel coal-fired unit (link to the publication). Recently, another position of the Polish research team in this area was published, which dealt with the subject of energy storage in molten salts in order to improve the flexibility of the systems modernized in accordance with the idea of Coal-to-Nuclear technology (link to the publication).

The presented conclusions from the research work being the genesis of the DEsire project, as well as the latest report of the US Department of Energy, indicate a wide range of possibilities for using the existing infrastructure of coal-fired power plants in the process of decarbonization using nuclear reactors. These benefits are visible both in the financial and social spheres, which is crucial for the just transition of industrialized and coal regions.

Politechnika Śląska
ul. Akademicka 2A
44-100 Gliwice, Polska

Ministerstwo Klimatu i Środowiska
ul. Wawelska 52/54,
00-922 Warszawa, Polska

Energoprojekt-Katowice SA
ul. Jesionowa 15
40-159 Katowice, Polska

Instytut Chemii i Techniki Jądrowej
ul.Dorodna 16
03-195 Warszawa, Polska

Instytut Sobieskiego
Lipowa 1a/20
00-316 Warszawa, Polska


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