This insight report summarises the learning from the ETI’s Nuclear Cost Drivers (NCD) project which was commissioned through open competitive procurement, delivered by the organisation now known as Lucid-Catalyst, and reported in April 2018. It also reports the learning from applying the nuclear cost drivers data and associated learning through sensitivity testing in the ESME whole system modelling tool now operated by the Energy System Catapult.
This report is intended to be an update to the first ETI nuclear insight report released in October 2015, entitled Nuclear – the role for nuclear within a low carbon energy system, and for completeness also summarises developments in the UK nuclear context since 2015.
This research shows contemporary giga-watt scale reactors remain the only designs ready to be deployed in the UK in meaningful numbers between 2025 and 2035. Conservative and pessimistic application of learner effects from a potential UK programmatic approach, using data derived from the ETI NCD project and applied in limited ESME scenario sensitivity testing, indicates that deployment of such reactors continues to be a central part of a UK lowest cost low carbon energy solution.
Innovations in the nuclear heat supply system (Gen IV advanced reactors and fusion) are yet to be proven technically and commercially, although some First of a Kind (FOAK) commercial plants could be operating in limited numbers from 2035. Such commercial plants could offer transformational reductions in cost and consequential growth in economic opportunity