Innovative and mundane

UK report highlights potential of nuclear cogeneration

Nuclear energy has the potential to help the UK to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, not only through the generation of low-carbon electricity but by more fully using the heat generated by a reactor, the Royal Society has said in a policy briefing.

The briefing considers how the use of nuclear energy could be expanded to make the most of the energy produced by nuclear plants and also to have the flexibility to complement an energy system with a growing input of intermittent renewable energy.

Nuclear “cogeneration” is where the heat generated by a nuclear station is used not only to generate electricity, but to address some of the “difficult to decarbonise” energy demands such as domestic heating and hydrogen production. It also enables a nuclear plant to be used more flexibly, by switching between electricity generation and cogeneration applications.