Holtec unveils hybrid nuclear-solar power plant design

9 February 2024

Holtec International has announced the development of a new power plant design that will integrate the use of nuclear and solar energy.

The Combined Nuclear/Solar Plant (CNSP) will combine Holtec's SMR-300 small modular reactor (SMR) design with its HI-THERM HSP solar thermal system and Green Boiler technology to provide base load or on-demand power to address the intermittency challenges associated with solar plants.

Dr. Kris Singh, President & CEO of Holtec, emphasised the CNSP as a “compelling solution for nations to move past fossil fuels.”

The most immediate application of the CNSP technology is to repower existing coal-fired plants, which typically have sufficient land to house the CNSP, and utilise the coal plant's existing power block to minimise transition costs. The steam production portion of the coal plant would be decommissioned, freeing up most of the land where the solar plant would reside.

Holtec plans to offer the CNSP technology principally in those regions of the world where solar radiation level is adequate to be harvestable.

Solar energy will contribute to the CNSP through the HI-THERM HSP hybrid solar plant, offering enhanced efficiency, and yielding up to 8 MWH of solar heat per acre in equatorial and subtropical regions. The Green Boiler integrates the nuclear reactor's steam supply system and heat from the solar thermal plant, functioning as a multi-purpose device to produce steam at the desired pressure and superheat, effectively powering the coal plant's existing turbogenerator.

The CNSP will eliminate the need for batteries, addressing a common challenge in the renewable energy sector, and is designed with robust materials, ensuring a service life in excess of 60 years.

Image: Artist's impression of Holtec’s SMR-300 small modular nuclear plant (courtesy of Holtec)

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