Directly coupling an advanced nuclear power plant to a retired coal power plant’s steam-cycle components is the most complex transition project, according to the Department of Energy’s Investigating Benefits and Challenges of Converting Retiring Coal Plants into Nuclear Plants report.

For more information about how an advanced nuclear technology could directly couple with the steam-cycle equipment from a coal plant, contact Christine King, GAIN Director, at [email protected] or 650-283-4235.


In a traditional power plant, a fuel source — like coal, natural gas or the nuclear fission process — produces heat that turns water into steam. That steam moves through steam-cycle equipment and then into a turbine to generate electricity. In this case, all the components are designed, built and used to produce electricity based on the initial fuel source.

The process is the same for direct coupling projects, except a nuclear reactor is generating and transferring heat to steam-cycle equipment used in a retired coal power plant. A high-temperature reactor is a technology that operators could apply for such a project.

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