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A Geospatial Sensitivity Analysis of Environmental and Social Constraints on the Siting Feasibility of Various Nuclear Power Technologies in the United States

Presentation Date
Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 2:10pm - Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 6:30pm
MC - Poster Hall A-C - South



Due to its dispatchability and zero greenhouse gas emissions, nuclear power has the potential to play a large role in the effort to decarbonize the United States (US) electric grid. But several factors may combine to limit this. For example, a dozen US states have moratoria on new nuclear power plants, recent attempts to build new nuclear in other states have incurred delays and escalating costs, existing nuclear power plants have had operations curtailed due to lack of cooling water, and concerns regarding the long-term disposal of nuclear plant waste persist. Emerging nuclear technologies, however, such as small modular reactors (SMR), may face fewer issues due to smaller land and water footprints. Utilizing a diverse set of 1km2 resolution raster data representing different potential environmental, social, and regulatory siting constraints and high-performance computing, our study performs a geospatial sensitivity analysis to identify key siting drivers for existing and emerging nuclear technology types across the entire US. This comprehensive, high-resolution landscape-scale analysis provides valuable insights into the most critical factors that may shape the viability of future nuclear power plant siting.

Funding Program Area(s)