Nuclear energy is on the verge of a possible nuclear renaissance, driven by the simultaneous growing global demand for energy and a growing awareness of the need to combat climate change by lowering atmospheric carbon emissions. Widespread deployment of advanced nuclear technologies will require nuclear energy to be competitive in the energy market. Given the long lead-time and high cost of building capital-intensive nuclear facilities, it is important to perform analyses up-front to gain insight into what combinations of economic, environmental, technical and policy conditions will be required for nuclear to play a significant future role. This paper describes an analytical approach that can be used to define those conditions where nuclear energy could contribute. The methodology, using the MARKAL model, is both rich in technical detail and yet conceptually transparent. It is flexible, easy to modify for the needs of a particular analysis and can vary parameters of interest to address uncertainties in data and in future conditions. It can also examine the impacts of present or potential future government policies on the ultimate deployment of nuclear technologies over time. The example results provided in the paper illustrate some issues of interest to the nuclear and energy communities that can be addressed using MARKAL.

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