Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Nuclear fuel cycles: to close or not to close?

Nuclear fuel cycles: to close or not to close? "Right now there is no easy answer to the question of whether the next generation of nuclear power plants should use closed or open fuel systems.
What should you do with spent nuclear fuel: bury it forever, recycle the plutonium or invent a way of using virtually all of it? As nations worldwide plan for a new generation of reactors, and ponder what to do with the waste from existing ones, this is an increasingly important question.
For example, predicts US energy policy adviser Mark Lewis: “In the next six months the Feds at the US Department of Energy are going to say more money is needed to deal with the nuclear waste stream.”
If this is the case then it would help to have clarity of thinking over what exactly should happen with that waste stream. The problem is that even the finest minds in the nuclear industry are not sure.
Dr Charles Forsberg, executive director for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has looked into this issue as part of the team that put together a 296-page report called The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle.
“The conclusion we came to is that we do not know today whether a closed fuel cycle is a good idea or a bad idea,” he says."
This is a direct link to the The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle MIR report:

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