DOE Responds to Questions About Near-term Reliability and Resilience Modeling Prospectus

DOE has received questions regarding the Near-term Reliability and Resilience Modeling Prospectus call. DOE responses to the questions can be found below, and additional questions and responses will be posted as they’re received.

1. Since the call refers to only proven/commercially available technologies, I assume that this means ONLY large-scale Light-Water Reactors (LWRs) can be considered in the analysis. The near-term (10-year) evaluation window further reinforces that assumption.

DOE Response: This could be addressed in the scenario and sensitivity analysis depending on the regions of study and partners, since utilities in some regions have taken significant steps toward Small Modular Reactor (SMR) deployment within the next 10 years. Other types of advanced technologies with similar levels of readiness should be given the same consideration for that/those scenarios/sensitivities.

2. Near-term scenarios going out only 10 years could miss key reliability and resilience issues -- e.g., if the evaluation only considers 10 years when many LWRs are still operating and simultaneously omits build of advanced reactors, then we may be in a world of hurt when we drop off the cliff with regard to nuclear -- when current fleet plant licenses end and no new advanced reactors are built. Thoughts?

DOE Response: The retirements of LWRs could represent a significant reliability and resilience challenge in the longer term to some regions, but this effort is focused on a detailed analysis of near-term challenges and opportunities. Regarding the lack of building advanced reactors: like any modeling analysis, the output won’t be “correct” but will provide insights based on the scenarios and sensitivities assessed, and as stated in the previous response, analysis could include an advanced reactor option.

3. The scenarios refer to nuclear plant retirements but do not explicitly state anything about potential lifetime extensions. This could be critical to reliability assessments, in my opinion. Can lifetime extensions be considered capacity expansions of a sort in scenario planning?

DOE Response: Nuclear power plant license extensions should be included in the scenario and sensitivity analysis.

4. What are the evaluation criteria for judging the proposals?

DOE Response:

Criterion 1: Technical Merit (40%)

  • Clarity of the description of how the project supports the SOW
  • Potential future impact of the project on grid planning including near-term and long-term benefits
  • Clarity of the technical discussion of how the project is distinct from previous and concurrent efforts underway within DOE and from other relevant organizations
  • Sufficiency of technical detail in the proposal to assess whether the proposed work is scientifically meritorious, including relevant data sources and methodologies
  • Extent to which the project helps the national laboratory complex build appropriate, coordinated core expertise and capabilities for the future

Criterion 2: Technical Approach (45%)

Approach and Work Plan

  • Degree to which the proposal adheres to the requirements of the Scope of Work
  • Extent to which the project includes verification, validation, and uncertainty quantification of proposed approaches and tools
  • Degree to which the approach, schedule, and critical path have been clearly described and thoughtfully considered
  • Degree to which the task descriptions are clear, detailed, timely, and reasonable, resulting in a high likelihood that the proposed Work Plan will succeed in meeting the project goals

Identification of Risks

  • Clarity of the discussion and demonstrated understanding of the key technical and institutional risk areas involved in the proposed work, and the quality of the mitigation strategies to address them

Baseline, Metrics, and Deliverables

  • Degree of clarity in the definition of the baseline, metrics, and milestones; and
  • The strength of the quantifiable metrics, milestones, and mid-point deliverables defined in the proposal, such that meaningful interim progress will be made.

Criterion 3: Team and Resources (15%)

  • Clarity of the description of the Principal Investigator(s) (PIs) and the proposed team to successfully address all aspects of the proposed work
  • Appropriateness of qualifications, relevant expertise, and time commitment of the individuals on the team
  • Sufficiency of resources to support the proposed work
  • Reasonableness of budget and spend plan for proposed project and objectives
  • Reasonableness of proposed cost-share

5. Is there a page limit for the proposals?

DOE Response: There is not a page limit.

6. What flexibility is there with meeting cost share?  Some labs continue to express concern with finding partners able to meet cost share given the current pandemic. 

DOE Response: This has been addressed. Please see the response to question 11 of the initial question set.

7. For the near-term reliability study, are federal power administrations like TVA or Bonneville available as cost share partners?  If not, in what capacity can they be used?

DOE Response: The Federal Power Administrations can be considered as cost share partners for this work. While DOE stipulated in the first round of the Lab Call that cost share be strictly non-Federal, circumstances have changed. It is much more important to have the industry engagement whatever form it takes.

8. Are there restrictions on staff participation based upon citizenship?  In other words, is there guidance regarding the ability of Foreign Nationals to participate in the project?

DOE Response: For NTRR, GMI does not have any specific requirement which would constrain FN participation. We do note that some information required in NTRR modeling might be subject to FN access restrictions.

9. A related question is whether the analysis is limited to U.S. territory only, or can some of the use cases and analytics include, for example, Canada, given their role in the North American grid and their key role in coordinated reliability management and provision of power and ancillary services as part of daily U.S. reliability efforts?

DOE Response: Canada is to be included only where it is necessary to model the US power system.