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Title: The Back End of the Fuel Cycle Moves Front and Center

Abstract

For many years, the commercial nuclear business has remained relatively stable in many ways. The introduction of new plants, the spread to new countries, and the development of key elements of the fuel cycle such as enrichment, reprocessing and waste disposal have been quite modest. That is unlikely to be the case in the coming years. A number of events and trends are becoming increasingly apparent and are cause for both opportunity and caution: (1) New nuclear power plant orders are likely to grow and spread, particularly in the developing world, e.g. China and India. (2) The growing recognition that the developing world will be a major competitor for limited energy resources is raising awareness in the developed world regarding concerns for future energy security. (3) Clearer evidence of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on global warming, largely from the burning of fossil fuels, is creating more attention on the environmental benefits of nuclear power. (4) The last decade has shown unequivocal evidence of countries lying, cheating on their NPT obligation, and covertly carrying out nuclear weapons-related activities. Some have suggested their presumed need for a domestic nuclear fuel cycle as a rationale to pursue enrichment and/or reprocessing capabilities,more » which would move them to the doorstep of being nuclear weapons capable. The DPRK even took the action to abrogate the NPT to hold on to its nuclear weapons program. (5) 9/11 and other evidence have made it undeniable that terrorist groups would like to obtain weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and would use them if they could. A number of initiatives have been proposed recently to allow for the growth and spread of nuclear power while limiting the justifications for additional countries to pursue the acquisition of enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. Most of these initiatives have fresh fuel assurance as a central component. The rationale is simple; if a country can have assurance that it will receive all the fresh fuel it needs for the lifetime of its nuclear power plants, there should be no reason for it to pursue the difficult and costly capability to enrich the fuel itself or to reprocess its spent fuel to recover the produced plutonium for recycle as a fuel in its reactors. However, such offers are unlikely to be fully persuasive if they are not connected to complementary offers for management of the spent nuclear fuel that is created during power production. In this paper, we discuss the complexity of the linkage to spent fuel take-back and the challenges and opportunities this present to nations repository programs.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
894764
Report Number(s):
UCRL-CONF-219172
TRN: US0700297
DOE Contract Number:  
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: Presented at: 2006 International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference, Las Vegas, NV, United States, Apr 30 - May 04, 2006
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES, AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; 45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; FOSSIL FUELS; FUEL CYCLE; GREENHOUSE EFFECT; HIGH-LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTES; LIFETIME; MANAGEMENT; NUCLEAR FUELS; NUCLEAR POWER; NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; PLUTONIUM; POWER GENERATION; REPROCESSING; SECURITY; SPENT FUELS; WASTE DISPOSAL; WEAPONS

Citation Formats

Isaacs, T, and Choi, J. The Back End of the Fuel Cycle Moves Front and Center. United States: N. p., 2006. Web.
Isaacs, T, & Choi, J. The Back End of the Fuel Cycle Moves Front and Center. United States.
Isaacs, T, and Choi, J. Thu . "The Back End of the Fuel Cycle Moves Front and Center". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/894764.
@article{osti_894764,
title = {The Back End of the Fuel Cycle Moves Front and Center},
author = {Isaacs, T and Choi, J},
abstractNote = {For many years, the commercial nuclear business has remained relatively stable in many ways. The introduction of new plants, the spread to new countries, and the development of key elements of the fuel cycle such as enrichment, reprocessing and waste disposal have been quite modest. That is unlikely to be the case in the coming years. A number of events and trends are becoming increasingly apparent and are cause for both opportunity and caution: (1) New nuclear power plant orders are likely to grow and spread, particularly in the developing world, e.g. China and India. (2) The growing recognition that the developing world will be a major competitor for limited energy resources is raising awareness in the developed world regarding concerns for future energy security. (3) Clearer evidence of the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on global warming, largely from the burning of fossil fuels, is creating more attention on the environmental benefits of nuclear power. (4) The last decade has shown unequivocal evidence of countries lying, cheating on their NPT obligation, and covertly carrying out nuclear weapons-related activities. Some have suggested their presumed need for a domestic nuclear fuel cycle as a rationale to pursue enrichment and/or reprocessing capabilities, which would move them to the doorstep of being nuclear weapons capable. The DPRK even took the action to abrogate the NPT to hold on to its nuclear weapons program. (5) 9/11 and other evidence have made it undeniable that terrorist groups would like to obtain weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, and would use them if they could. A number of initiatives have been proposed recently to allow for the growth and spread of nuclear power while limiting the justifications for additional countries to pursue the acquisition of enrichment or reprocessing capabilities. Most of these initiatives have fresh fuel assurance as a central component. The rationale is simple; if a country can have assurance that it will receive all the fresh fuel it needs for the lifetime of its nuclear power plants, there should be no reason for it to pursue the difficult and costly capability to enrich the fuel itself or to reprocess its spent fuel to recover the produced plutonium for recycle as a fuel in its reactors. However, such offers are unlikely to be fully persuasive if they are not connected to complementary offers for management of the spent nuclear fuel that is created during power production. In this paper, we discuss the complexity of the linkage to spent fuel take-back and the challenges and opportunities this present to nations repository programs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Feb 16 00:00:00 EST 2006},
month = {Thu Feb 16 00:00:00 EST 2006}
}

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