Nuclear Science


Site Screening and Energy Planning Tools

Small Modular Reactor map

SMR Composite Map Detailing Siting Challenges

Nuclear Science research supports DOE in evaluating siting options for the deployment of various types of electrical generation plants, in particular for nuclear power plants both large central station plants and the emerging class of small modular reactors. ORNL has developed a tool, OR-SAGE (Oak Ridge Siting Analysis for power Generation Expansion), that is essentially a dynamic visualization database employing both geographic information systems (GIS) data and spatial modeling techniques used at ORNL to examine potential siting options for different types of electrical generation plants including renewables, nuclear, clean coal, hydropower, etc. OR-SAGE assists in evaluating the feasibility of deploying new generation capacity in terms of availability of suitable sites, where power will be needed for the future, economic analyses, proximity to available and planned infrastructure (electrical grid capacity, rail lines, cooling water, etc.) and key geographical formations (saline aquifers) for sequestering carbon dioxide. OR-SAGE uses industry-accepted parameters for developing search criteria combined with the vast array of GIS data sources and modeling capability at ORNL to conduct these types of analyses. The OR-SAGE tool can be accessed at the following URL using either Safari or Chrome browsers

ORNL has further extended OR-SAGE to develop and integrate the requisite models, data, and visualization resources into an interactive decision-support tool, EnViSion (Energy Visualization and Simulation), available at ORNL to assist in informing national-level energy policy-makers about the implications of possible decisions and legislative actions, which may impact the nation’s capacity to meet future electrical generation needs. This capability would support optimized approaches for the deployment of new generating capacity.

Analysis Evaluates New Generating Capacity to Meet Clean Energy Standard

EnViSion will also provide national and regional insights about identifying options for deploying new electrical generation plants (nuclear, clean coal, renewables, etc.) based upon electrical demand projections; plant retirements; energy policy decisions (e.g., carbon taxes, no nuclear plant construction in certain states); siting options for each technology including identification of competition for suitable sites and natural resources (water and land); regulatory considerations (EPA non-attainment zones, emergency planning zones for nuclear plants, etc.); proximity to currently available or future electrical grid capacity, etc.

For More Information, Contact:

Group Leader, Advanced Reactor Systems and Safety
Gary Mays

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