CORDIS - EU research results

Research and Development in support of the GEMINI Initiative

Project description

Promoting deployment of industrial nuclear cogeneration

Heat generated for industrial use derives primarily from fossil fuels, accounting for nearly 40 % of carbon emissions. Nuclear technology, on the other hand, could provide carbon-free heat, which is more conducive to European net-zero emissions objectives. The Euratom-funded GEMINI Plus project aims to conceptually design a high-temperature nuclear cogeneration (combined heat and power) system to supply process steam for industry. The system will operate with a modular high-temperature, gas-cooled reactor that can replace fossil fuel-based systems without requiring modifications to steam distribution networks or to industrial applications. The project will assess market potential and propose innovative solutions for the demonstration of performance and safety. The licensing framework and a plan for a full-scale demonstration have been proposed.


GEMINI+ project proposal will be submitted to the European Commission addressing the 2016 Euratom call for proposals (deadline October 5th, 2016).
GEMINI+ project will provide a conceptual design for a high temperature nuclear cogeneration system for supply of process steam to industry, a framework for the licensing of such system and a business plan for a full scale demonstration .
It will rely on modular High Temperature Gas cooled Reactor (HTGR) technology, which is a mature technology with several industrial prototypes that have been constructed and operated in the world. Therefore the time scale for the industrial deployment of such nuclear cogeneration systems is the decade. With available materials and technology, such a system can provide steam to industrial steam distribution networks presently operating on industrial sites up to 550˚C, simply substituting to fossil fuel fired cogeneration plants, without any need for adaptation of the steam distribution infrastructure or of the industrial applications. In the longer term, HTGR technology can be further developed to provide higher temperature process heat.
Based on its huge thermal inertia, its refractory fuel and core structural materials, on the use of helium, which is chemically inert, as coolant, and of a specific design limited to a few hundred Megawatts, modular HTGRs have a unique intrinsic safety concept preventing in any circumstances significant degradation of the nuclear fuel and consecutive radioactive releases, with no need of any human intervention.
Beyond industrial cogeneration, the flexibility, robustness and simple design of modular HTGR will allow extending application of the system developed by GEMINI+ to small isolated electric grids, to electric grids with increasing proportion of intermittent renewables, to new nuclear countries, etc.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 222 647,86
Total cost
€ 222 647,86

Participants (26)