R&D Quick Hits


Facts, Figures, and Findings from EPRI Research, Reports, and Other Sources

EPRI is investigating a promising technology to evaluate the condition of low-voltage cables in nuclear plants—an historically difficult task. Low-voltage cables serve important roles in nuclear plant operations, powering components, control systems, and communications. Many low-voltage cables were manufactured in the 1970s and 1980s, when most U.S. nuclear plants were built. As plant operators consider extending licenses beyond 30, 40, or 60 years, it is important to assess cables’ remaining useful life and to determine necessary repairs and replacements. Today, technicians primarily use visual inspection and nonelectrical techniques. These require cable samples or direct access to cables, which ...
Read More
Power delivery components may soon have a new shield against ice and dirt accumulation. In laboratory tests, and coatings performed well on insulators and conductors, pointing to their potential to enhance grid reliability and reduce maintenance costs. EPRI evaluated 12 manufacturers’ coatings, selecting the four that performed best for laboratory and field testing. In the laboratory, the coatings were applied to glass and aluminum samples, sections of new and aged aluminum/steel conductors, and porcelain insulators. They were subjected to high humidity, temperature cycling, ultraviolet light, salt fog, and electrical and mechanical stresses. All coatings effectively reduced dirt contamination ...
Read More
According to an EPRI modeling study, a combination of reduced capital costs, additional revenue streams, and stringent climate policies could enable significant deployment of advanced nuclear power technologies. Low natural gas prices have challenged the profitability of nuclear power in the United States, stalling new deployment. Yet many power industry stakeholders see an important future role for nuclear plants with zero-carbon emissions, given their long operating life and reliable production during weather extremes. Using EPRI’s U.S. Regional Economy, Greenhouse Gas, and Energy (US-REGEN) model, researchers investigated how natural gas prices, various policies, technology innovation, and other variables ...
Read More
Which is more cost-effective for a house—an electric heat pump water heater (HPWH) or a natural gas water heater? It depends on factors such as climate, system and installation quality, and local energy prices. An EPRI demonstration of electric HPWHs showed about 50% energy savings relative to traditional . Savings vary based on operating conditions. Efficiency of HPWHs increases in warm, humid surroundings and decreases when water use necessitates electric resistance backup heat. Relative to natural gas water heaters, HPWHs may or may not be a better deal over the unit’s lifetime. One key consideration is the ...
Read More
Modeling Study: U.S. Could Save Hundreds of Billions of Dollars with a Full Generation Portfolio Given a potential stringent carbon policy, the U.S. power sector could reduce compliance costs by about half by deploying broad technological portfolios, according to an EPRI modeling study. Using EPRI’s United States Regional Economy, Greenhouse Gas, and Energy (US-REGEN) model, researchers evaluated a range of portfolios and advanced technology R&D with respect to generation mix, emissions, and power industry costs, for 2016–2050. The analysis considered a hypothetical federal mandate for the power sector to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050 to 95% below 2005 ...
Read More