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Published on 15 December 2023

Objective: Determine what role SMR/AMR reactors could play on the electricity and non-electricity markets with time horizons of 2035 and 2050.​

Other reactor sizes (SMRs, or small modular reactors) and technologies (AMRs, or advanced modular reactors) could be deployed alongside high-power reactors to enable new services beyond low-carbon power generation. 

For example, nuclear reactors could be used to produce heat. SMRs (are ideal for local applications that require tens to hundreds of MWth per unit, such as domestic heat, industrial process heat, cogeneration, electrolysis for hydrogen production, chemical synthesis processes, and desalinating water, for example.  On grids with high renewable-energy penetration, these reactors could help counter stability and inertia issues. 

Aside from these potential non-electricity uses for nuclear reactors, liberalized markets could present opportunities for smaller-capacity generation assets that are less costly to build.


The CEA, through its energy division's program on "SMRs and hybrid systems", is actively involved in initiatives to develop new SMR concepts, either alongside French nuclear-industry stakeholders or other partners. These include:

  • The NUWARDTM electricity-generating SMR project with EDF, TechnicAtome, and Naval Group, and
  • ​The IDNES (Innovative Decarbonized Nuclear Energy Systems) project, part of the EU TANDEM project, to develop new use cases for nuclear, either as a tool in the deployment of hydrogen, for instance, or to provide flexibility as the penetration of intermittent renewable energies increases.


The goal is to determine what role SMR/AMR reactors could play on the electricity and non-electricity markets with time horizons of 2035 and 2050, and to explore the associated business models and value chains. 

At I-Tésé, we will be focusing on the following through 2024:


1. Identify and estimate the size of SMR markets in 2040-2050. 

2. Create and maintain a database of planned and operating SMRs worldwide, with data on the chosen technologies, project status, and any available economic and financial data. 

3. Analyze support mechanisms for the development of SMRs and the market conditions that would be necessary for SMR uptake. 

4. Assess how SMR manufacturing could be standardized/industrialized, by:

  •  ​Conducting a study of SMR project consortia.
  • Analyzing the aeronautics and naval shipbuilding industries to determine what the prerequisites for a mass SMR production line would be.

5. Study the impact of SMR deployment in addition to or instead of high-power reactors on global uranium resource economics

 Contact : David Proult