Source: International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA
To improve the understanding of the complex interactions at play in decarbonized electricity systems, the IAEA is developing an integrated power system modelling capability, FRAmework for the Modelling of Energy Systems (FRAMES), to quantify the value that nuclear brings to low-carbon systems, like nuclear-renewable hybrid systems. “The power system is evolving towards a larger, more complex and integrated system, more tightly coupled with transport and broader energy systems, which impacts the reliability and operation of power systems, the competitiveness of nuclear plants and the tools used for power system planning and analysis,” said Marco Cometto, Energy Economist at the IAEA.
FRAMES is still under development while being used for internal analyses of integrated energy systems.
FRAMES provides quantitative analyses on nuclear power’s potential benefits to present and future electricity systems, which is of particular interest for countries pursuing or considering nuclear power as part of their solution to meet net zero goals. “This could be a powerful tool, not only to simulate energy systems but to show the synergy of nuclear and renewable technologies, which is particularly valuable for embarking countries in their efforts towards clean and affordable energy,” said Vladimir Artisyuk, Adviser to the Director General of ROSATOM. The model evaluates short and long term impacts on overall carbon emissions, structure of the generation mix and cost of electricity provision, which helps to inform the economic impacts of achieving various CO2 emission targets. Additionally, FRAMES can support technical analyses involving the optimal grid integration of advanced nuclear technologies, such as small modular reactors, microreactors, fast reactors etc., as well as non-electric application of nuclear energy.
“FRAMES represents a new and innovative model, which could provide unique analytical capability in the future to support the efforts of countries considering nuclear energy as a clean and sustainable option or for the larger community evaluating nuclear, fossil and renewable energy resources as part of a national energy portfolio,” said Sean Tyson of the US Department of Energy.
The model features different power generation and storage units, from variable renewables to hydro resources and thermal generation units, as well as different operational constraints, system requirements and policy measures. “The model calculates unit commitment, which is the optimal dispatch of existing generating units subject to all relevant constraints. Simultaneously, FRAMES can determine the best investments in new generating technologies, known as capacity expansion,” said Francesco Ganda, Nuclear Engineering Expert at the IAEA.
It can perform several types of analyses. For example, at a side event earlier this week on nuclear hydrogen for a clean energy transition, Ganda presented hydrogen modelling in FRAMES, analysing the relative competitiveness of four hydrogen production processes under different assumptions, such as CO2 emission limits and costs of the various technologies.