Since 2012, the context around the long-term operation (LTO) of nuclear power plants has significantly evolved. Several early closures have been observed for both political reasons (mainly in Europe) and increasing market pressures in the United States. At the same time the world’s nuclear fleet will face LTO decisions in the coming years. If these authorisations are not granted, the world’s nuclear capacity may drop substantially by 2040 putting at risk CO2 emissions trajectory, at a moment in which many countries are undertaking major efforts to decarbonise their economies. Such a capacity gap could also have implications on the overall system costs and security of supply margins in the light of increasing shares of variable renewables and coal phase out.
The NEA Ad hoc Expert Group on Maintaining Low-Carbon Generation Capacity through LTO of Nuclear Power Plants: Economic, Technical and Policy Aspects (EGLTO) was established in 2018 with the purpose to assess the key factors from a policy, technical, operational, regulatory and economic perspective necessary to enable LTO decisions. The group conducted a study that provides guidelines for the evaluation of LTO investments and updated costs figures. Particular attention was paid to increasing concerns such as supply chain obsolescence and human aspects.
The goal of the Committee for Technical and Economic Studies on Nuclear Energy Development and the Fuel Cycle is to provide authoritative, reliable information on nuclear technologies, economics, strategies and resources to governments for use in policy analyses and decision-making.