Special Issue "Nuclear Integration and Thermal Energy Storage"

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "Thermal Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 August 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Lead, Integrated Energy Systems, Nuclear Science & Technology Directorate, Idaho National Laboratory, 2525 Fremont Ave, Idaho Falls, ID 83415-3860.
Interests: nuclear energy; zero emission energy systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many private companies, municipalities, and nation states have established energy standards to dramatically reduce environmental emissions. Clean and sustainable energy supporting various energy use sectors can be a reality through application of diverse generation resources, with key contributors being nuclear, renewables (wind, solar, hydro), and fossil fuels with carbon capture. However, as the generation mix evolves, new approaches are necessary to manage the variable nature of both electricity demand and renewable generation to ensure grid stability. Nuclear energy is a key contributor to a zero-emission energy economy, and its role in a diverse, clean energy economy can be further amplified by moving beyond traditional baseload generation. This can be accomplished through operational flexibility (varying power output as needed to meet grid demand) or product flexibility (inclusion of energy storage, or production of alternative products to dynamically vary electricity production as needed).

We welcome authors to contribute to this Special Issue focused on the role of energy storage in conjunction with nuclear energy systems to support current and future energy demands. Contributions should address the motivation for and role of non-electrical energy storage, including both thermal and chemical storage means, in supporting the increasing role of nuclear energy across all energy use sectors, including electricity, industry, and transportation.

Dr. Shannon M. Bragg-Sitton
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Thermal energy storage
  • Nuclear flexibility
  • Integrated energy systems
  • Net-zero emissions
  • Nuclear hydrogen production and storage

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Modeling the Idaho National Laboratory Thermal-Energy Distribution System (TEDS) in the Modelica Ecosystem
Energies 2020, 13(23), 6353; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13236353 - 01 Dec 2020
Viewed by 513
Integrated energy systems (IES)—including the intimate coupling between thermal generators, the grid, ancillary processes, and energy storage—are becoming increasingly pertinent to the energy grid. To facilitate a better understanding of IES, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed the experimental Thermal Energy Distribution System [...] Read more.
Integrated energy systems (IES)—including the intimate coupling between thermal generators, the grid, ancillary processes, and energy storage—are becoming increasingly pertinent to the energy grid. To facilitate a better understanding of IES, Idaho National Laboratory (INL) has developed the experimental Thermal Energy Distribution System (TEDS) to test the interoperability of nuclear reactors, energy storage, and ancillary processes in a real-world setting. This paper provides an overview of the development of TEDS within INL’s Modelica dynamic process modeling ecosystem as part of the IES initiative. The model will bridge the gap between lab-scale experimental results and desired grid-scale energy solutions. Two simulation sets were run. The first was a 5-h test simulating a facility shakedown test, putting the facility through five potential operating modes and showcasing the ability of the valving, control sensors, and component controllers to meet system demands. The second case imposed a typical summer day demand on the system from a region with mixed commercial and residential electrical needs. In this case, the generator alone could not meet peak demand but instead required the thermal-storage unit to act as a peaking unit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Integration and Thermal Energy Storage)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Design and feasibility analysis on combination of high-temperature gas-cooled reactor and dual fluidized bed for biomass gasification
Authors: Zhengwei Gu1, Yujie Dong1, Yangping Zhou1*, Feng Chen1, Fangzhou Xu1, Zuoyi Zhang1
Affiliation: 1Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Key Laboratory of Advanced Reactor Engineering and Safety of Ministry of Education, Tsinghua University Beijing 100084, China.
Abstract: Due to the environmental problems caused by fossil fuels, ambitions to create a renewable energy system necessitate more sustainable use of the biomass resources. Biomass gasification technology can break down the lignocellulose into hydrogen, carbon monoxide and methane for producing hydrogen and/or synthetic natural gas, which has been considered as a core process in the renewable energy system. There have been some typical cases of biomass gasification research worldwide, e.g. the GoBiGas project in Gothenburg, Sweden. The biomass gasification technology using dual fluidized bed can separate the burnable raw gas (GoBiGas project, 35-45 vol% H2, 20-30 vol% CO and

Title: A potential role of Small Modular Reactors to achieve climate targets in Europe
Authors: C. Fazio; M. Fütterer; K. Tuček
Affiliation: European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Directorate G - Nuclear Safety and Security
Abstract: Nuclear energy in Europe accounts for about 25% of electricity and for 50% of low carbon electricity generation. It also produces 1000 GWh of low-temperature heat, mainly for district heating. The European operating nuclear power plants are mainly LWR (with some exceptions as for example CANDU operating in Romania) of the PWR and BWR type. Since the inception of the Sustainable Energy Technology Plan (SET-Plan) adopted by the European Union in 2008 and even before, the European Commission has supported the development and deployment of low-carbon energy technologies in order to reach the decarbonisation targets and to enhance security of supply. In the European Union, renewable and nuclear energy systems as well as fossil power plants are already coexisting. Their integration in electricity grids is causing challenges, among others requiring more flexible power plants and maintenance of existing as well as development of new storage facilities. However, the recent call for climate neutrality through the European Green Deal and its implementation might put significant additional pressure on the capabilities of energy systems and their integration expanding beyond electricity production. In this framework, the energy scenarios study “A Clean Planet for all. A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy” conducted by the European Commission has shown that nuclear energy has a role to play for all scenarios considered. When considering nuclear energy a relevant technology for achieving declared climate targets, new and advanced reactor systems of the small modular type become of interest for electricity production and for providing process heat. A driving force for the development of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is the envisaged lower capital cost and their predicted high safety performance. However, there is the need to demonstrate these characteristics. The present contribution will give an overview of key initiatives launched by the European Commission for the decarbonisation of the energy sector and the associated role of nuclear energy, in particular of SMRs and the needs for their development and implementation in Europe.

Title: Storage-coupled Nuclear Combined Cycle
Authors: William M. Conlon
Affiliation: Pintail Power LLC
Abstract: The increasing penetration of variable renewable energy resources with low marginal costs requires a new design paradigm for nuclear power plants. The situation is reflected in a cost-duration curve with four distinct economic opportunities: a) a hundred or so hours of high value peaking power; b) about four to five thousand hours of moderate electric prices; d) about two thousand hours per year of zero marginal cost, when renewables set the marginal price; and c) about a thousand hours of flexible ramping between the b and d regions. Instead of base load electric generation with high capacity factor, new power systems will be required to store generation when the cost of production is above the marginal cost of supply, to quickly deliver flexible capacity when the sun sets or the wind calms, to efficiently and cost-effectively deliver bulk power, and to provide peaking power. A low-carbon and cost-effective approach will be to integrate nuclear power with Liquid Salt Combined Cycle (LSCC) technology, which integrates thermal energy storage and gas turbines in a patented system using stored heat for evaporation and sensible heat from exhaust gas for sensible heating of feedwater and steam. When variable renewable energy is abundant, the nuclear power plant can charge the molten salt storage thermally and electrically, while also producing Hydrogen to be stored for use as fuel by the gas turbine. When electric prices are moderate, the nuclear power heat is used for power generation in a conventional steam cycle. And when electric prices are high, the stored energy and fuel is dispatched for peaking. The LSCC system is also used to provide flexible capacity to reduce ramp rates on the nuclear power plant.

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