Such a system would also foster cogeneration for seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating, cooling and other industrial applications, the IAEA said. But it added that further research and development, the introduction of appropriate policies and market incentives are important next steps.
The IAEA said the two main options for low-carbon energy are nuclear energy and renewables, including wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal and marine technologies. Many countries have these energy sources in their national energy mix, but few have explored the possible synergies between them.
Nuclear-renewable hybrid energy systems are integrated facilities comprised of nuclear reactors, renewable energy generation and industrial processes that can simultaneously address the need for grid flexibility, greenhouse gas emission reductions and optimal use of investment capital.
Nuclear power can provide flexible operation based on energy demand, while renewables such as wind and solar are intermittent. By performing a balancing act through such flexible operation, also known as load following, nuclear power can enhance the efficiency of renewables.