Corresponding author: Aleksandr F. Egorov ( afegorov@ippe.ru ) Academic editor: Georgy Tikhomirov
© 2020 Anatoly V. Zrodnikov, Valery V. Korobeynikov, Andrey L. Moseev, Aleksandr F. Egorov.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Citation:
Zrodnikov AV, Korobeynikov VV, Moseev AL, Egorov AF (2020) Multicriteria analysis of the efficiency of scenarios for the development of the Russian nuclear industry in view of the uncertain prospects for the future. Nuclear Energy and Technology 6(4): 299305. https://doi.org/10.3897/nucet.6.60557

Multicriteria analysis is used in many areas of research where it is required to compare several alternatives according to a selected set of criteria. Of particular interest is the application of this method for a comparative assessment of the efficiency of scenarios for the development of innovative nuclear systems.
The article proposes an approach to the computational substantiation of the stepbystep transfer of the Russian nuclear industry to a twocomponent nuclear energy system (NES) with a centralized closed nuclear fuel cycle (NFC) based on the multicriteria analysis method. At the same time, consideration is given to options for the development of the domestic nuclear industry in view of the uncertain prospects for the future. Taking into account various trends in the nuclear energy development, the authors identify the following three groups of possible scenarios. The first group includes ‘growing’ scenarios in which the number of units and their total installed capacity grow over time. The second group assumes that after a certain time of growth of the installed capacities, the stationary level will be reached, in which there will be no timedependent capacity changes. The third group simulates a decrease in the installed nuclear energy capacities in the country after some growth.
To select the most preferable ways of technological development and assess the efficiency of a nuclear energy system, a limited set of selection criteria and performance indicators are used, covering the economy, export potential, competitiveness, efficient SNF and RW management, natural uranium consumption, and innovative development potential. An important part of this work was a detailed analysis of the uncertainties in the weights and input data used to derive the criteria.
Thermal reactors, fast reactors, closed nuclear fuel cycle, MOX fuel, uncertainty, efficient SNF and RW management, export potential, competitiveness
The development of a nuclear energy system is a long and multistage process. The complexity of this process is determined by the need to consider not only the factors that are significant today or in the near future but also the uncertainty about the future conditions for developing the general energy system and the timeframe for adopting reactor and NFC technologies (
The task facing the nuclear industry in adopting fast reactor and closed fuel cycle technologies is extremely difficult and has more than sixty years of history, which has not always been successful. The results of studies (
Creating a twocomponent nuclear energy system (NES) based on VVER and fast reactors is defined as a key direction in the adopted Strategy for the development of nuclear energy in Russia up to 2050 and prospects for the period up to 2100.
The purpose of this work is to conduct a comparative multicriteria assessment of the efficiency of twocomponent nuclear energy systems with thermal and fast neutron reactors (BN1200) with a closed NFC and reference systems of thermal reactors with an open NFC in view of the uncertain prospects for the future. To achieve this goal, a set of key criteria is used, covering the economy, export potential, safe SNF/RW management, natural uranium consumption and technology (innovative potential for development). In addition, the alternatives imply combinations of options: the development of a nuclear energy system with an increase in nuclear capacities, a stationary level and a decrease, over time, the capacities of nuclear power systems.
Nobody knows exactly how the domestic nuclear industry will develop, but it is expected to be a longterm process that will make it possible to solve the problem of power supply for a long period of time. Such an energy system must be safe, economically viable, minimizing nuclear waste and excess plutonium as well as facilitating the export of Russian technologies to world markets. The system should provide for the possibility of its improvement (innovative potential). Besides that, the system must ‘digest’ what has been done in the past in the nuclear industry and, in particular, solve the accumulated (pending) problems, etc. To take into account the above requirements, it is currently assumed that a twocomponent system is most suitable for these purposes. In addition, the system must be resistant to ‘fluctuations’ in needs. This means that it must cope with the diversity in its pace of development, i.e., be manageable (flexible and sustainable).
Over the past decades, the requirements for the nuclear industry have been formulated repeatedly and are coinciding in many respects. Prospects for the development of nuclear energy often turn out to be overglowing, which can be explained by the optimism of its developers. The requirements for nuclear energy are formulated as follows:
1. the consumer appeal:
2. the production scale in the electricity market:
3. the energy production structure:
4. the raw material base in the Russian territory:
5. the waste management:
The paper analyzes not only the optimistic directions for the development of the nuclear industry in Russia but also rather pessimistic ones. This consideration is caused by the need to substantiate what to do ‘tomorrow’ and to be ready to ensure the solution of any problems that arise ‘the day after tomorrow’. This, in our opinion, is very important in terms of strategically reasonable allocation of resources in such a slowly developing and financially costly area as the nuclear industry.
Therefore, the main features of tasks of this type include their systemic and ‘dynamic’ nature. To solve them, it is necessary to consider the entire NES (with more or less detail) and, moreover, for a certain long (calculated) period of time.
At present, due to the large number of facts, both objective and subjective, it is impossible to predict with any certainty and confidence the direction for the future development of the Russian nuclear industry over a long period of time, but we can at least assume probable development trends. Under these conditions, it seems useful to perform a study comparing a number of model scenarios for the development of the Russian nuclear industry, representing a wide range of possible trends. Three groups of scenarios can be conventionally distinguished. The scenarios were built using the CYCLE code (
The first group includes ‘growing’ scenarios in which the number of units and their total installed capacity grow over time. At present, there is no way to predict the rate at which the capacity will grow and whether the derivative of the change in capacity over time will remain positive for the entire period under consideration. However, for simplicity, we will assume that it will be positive. Let us consider and compare the reference scenario with thermal reactors in an open fuel cycle with twocomponent scenarios with different start times for a series of fast neutron reactors. In the first case, the twocomponent scenario will simulate the option of ‘timely’ commissioning of fast reactors while, in the second case, a ‘delay’ in the time of commissioning of fast reactors will be implemented. The scenario of the timely commissioning of fast reactors will be further referred to as ‘base’. Thus, the group of scenarios for the growth of Russian nuclear industry will include the following three scenarios: reference (Ref), twocomponent with fast and thermal reactors (Base), and twocomponent with a delay in the commissioning of fast reactors for 35 years (Delay). The scenarios in this group will be further referred to as ‘growing’.
The second group assumes that after a certain time of growth of the capacities, the stationary level will be reached, in which there will be no timedependent changes in the total installed capacity of the system. Within this group, there will also be three scenarios with the same change in installed capacities. The first scenario is a reference one with thermal neutron reactors. The other two are twocomponent, by analogy with the previous group with the timely and delayed commissioning of fast reactors. The notations used in the graphs and tables: RefS, BaseS and DelayS, respectively. The scenarios in this group will be further referred to as ‘stationary’.
The third group of scenarios simulates a decrease in the installed nuclear energy capacity within the country after 2025. It is assumed that this group will also have three scenarios with the same logic as in the previous two groups. The scenarios in this group will be further referred to as ‘lowering’. The notations used in the graphs and tables: RefL, BaseL and DelayL, respectively.
Fig.
Each line in the figure shows the installed capacities achieved by a nuclear energy system for a particular group of scenarios using a set of appropriate reactor technologies, fuel production, processing and storage facilities.
The scenarios considered in this study were constructed according to the following conditions:
For the multicriteria analysis (MCA), a set of key criteria was used, shown in Table
No.  Criterion  Uncertainty 

1  Economic (LCOE)  High 
2  SNF and RW management  Low 
3  Natural uranium consumption  Low 
4  Plutonium production  Low 
5  Export potential  Moderate 
At the first stage of the MCA, it was assumed that all the five criteria were of the same importance, i.e., all the criteria had the same weight of 20%. The impact of ‘violating’ this assumption on the MCA results will be assessed in the next section.
Multicriteria analysis was carried out for three periods: up to 2050, 2070 and 2100. For these periods, Tables
Hereinafter, ‘plutonium accumulated in the system’ means plutonium produced by all reactors and contained both in spent nuclear fuel and separated plutonium in the system.
Figs
The results of the multicriteria analysis for all the groups and time intervals showed a significantly higher rating for the twocomponent system with the timely commissioning of fast reactors. The option with the delayed commissioning of fast reactors had a lower rating among the twocomponent nuclear energy systems but a higher one in comparison with the reference system.
In the previous subsection (Comparative multicriteria analysis for the different groups of scenarios), we showed a significant advantage of the twocomponent system compared to the reference one when the equal importance of all the five criteria is taken into account. All the criteria had the same weight of 20%. At the same time, Table
The results show the advantage of the twocomponent scenario with the timely commissioning of fast reactors over the reference one until the weight of the economic criterion is about 0.65. Note that the total weight of the other four criteria becomes 0.35. At the same time, the value of the economic criterion for the twocomponent system ‘worsened’ by 30% in comparison with the reference scenario. The scenario with the delayed commissioning has an advantage over the reference one only if the weights of the economic criterion are sufficiently low. The advantage of the twocomponent scenario turned out to be quite stable in the group of lowering scenarios as well.
Fig.
It follows from the results shown in Fig.
SNF volumes, natural uranium consumed and plutonium accumulated in the system for the group of growing scenarios.
Scenario  By 2050.  By 2070.  By 2100.  

^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  
Ref  211 387  546  47 413  384 709  966  68 545  636 451  1 451  99 997 
Base  188 332  507  36 331  296 092  730  34 603  394 102  970  326 
Delay  211 387  458  46 352  379 545  695  62 185  547 837  1 264  47 233 
SNF volumes, natural uranium consumed and plutonium accumulated in the system for the group of stationary scenarios.
Scenario  By 2050.  By 2070.  By 2100.  

^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  
RefS  195 618  791  46 300  310 450  1 355  61 334  476 396  1 867  81 853 
BaseS  181 883  441  34 369  264 038  481  28 668  327 888  210  0 
DelayS  194 507  679  45 210  304 232  1 102  52 423  410 434  1 790  14 197 
SNF volumes, natural uranium consumed and plutonium accumulated in the system for the group of lowering scenarios.
Scenario  By 2050.  By 2070.  By 2100.  

^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  ^{nat}U, т  Accum Pu, т  SNF volume, т  
RefL  145 615  495  41 619  202 819  661  50 230  248 328  934  56 930 
BaseL  132 819  312  24 317  162 368  347  17 414  165 609  371  1 412 
DelayL  145 615  455  39 069  200 446  571  44 154  236 878  742  35 465 
Sensitivity of the ratings to changes in the LCOE criterion depending on weight. The notations used: 2kLC are the dependences of the rating of a twocomponent system at different values of the economic criterion LCOE (1, 0.9, 0.7, 0.5, 0.3, 0.1); 1kLC = 1 is the dependence of the rating of the reference system with the value of the economic criterion LCOE = 1; SC is the dependence of the sensitivity coefficient on the weight of the economic criterion.
Due to the large number of facts, both objective and subjective, it is impossible to predict with any certainty and confidence the direction for the future development of Russian nuclear industry over a long period of time, but we can consider probable development trends.
In order to take into account various development trends in the nuclear industry, three groups of development scenarios were identified. The first group includes ‘growing’ scenarios in which the number of units and their total installed capacity grow over time. The second group assumes that after a certain time of growth of the installed capacities, the stationary level will be reached, in which there will be no timedependent changes in power. The third group simulates a decrease in the installed nuclear power capacities in the country after some growth. It was assumed that each group would include three types of scenarios with the same capacity changes. The first scenario was a reference one with thermal neutron reactors. The other two were twocomponent: with the ‘timely’ commissioning of fast reactors (base scenarios) and the ‘delayed’ commissioning of fast reactors.
The results of the multicriteria analysis for all the scenario groups revealed the greatest potential in the twocomponent system. The option with the delayed commissioning of fast reactors had a lower rating among the twocomponent nuclear energy systems but a higher one in comparison with the reference singlecomponent system. The inclusion of fast reactors in the nuclear energy system for all the considered development options will make it possible to solve its systemic problems, including the most important ones, such as reducing RW amounts from traditional nuclear power plants, saving natural resources, etc.
An important part of this work was a detailed analysis of the uncertainties in the input data used to derive the criteria and their weights.
The research results showed the stability of the ratings of twocomponent systems in different groups of scenarios to sufficiently significant changes (deterioration) in the values of the economic criterion and its weight.
The results of the analysis of the twocomponent scenario with the timely commissioning of fast reactors showed the highest rating in comparison with the reference scenario and the scenario with the delayed commissioning of fast reactors for all the groups of scenarios, including (it should be specially emphasized) the group of lowering scenarios. This means that the best way to solve the accumulated problems of nuclear power, namely to reduce the amounts of spent nuclear fuel, save natural uranium, improve the export potential, and reduce the amounts of accumulated plutonium, is to switch to a twocomponent system with fast and thermal reactors. At the same time, the timely commissioning of fast reactors shows the best results in all the groups of scenarios.