Thursday, 3 January 2013

How U.S.-European cooperation can deliver cheaper, safer nuclear energy

How U.S.-European cooperation can deliver cheaper, safer nuclear energy by Barry Brook: "As the debate over climate policy picks up again in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and President Obama’s reelection, policymakers should prioritize efforts that will accelerate the adoption of zero-carbon technologies, especially the only proven baseload source available: next generation nuclear.
Whereas traditional nuclear reactors from the 1950s were designed in secret, advanced models are being researched, designed, and financed by innovative international collaborations. Take GE-Hitachi’s PRISM, a joint American-Japanese venture to construct a power plant in the United Kingdom capable of processing plutonium. Or the recent announcement that South Korea’s national electric utility, KEPCO, had been awarded a contract to build the first nuclear plant in the United Arab Emirates, using Australian-mined uranium for fuel.
An expanding international community recognizes the importance of developing advanced nuclear reactor designs to meet energy needs and address global warming. Thirteen countries have joined the Generation IV International Forum (GIF), for instance, a cooperative endeavor to encourage governments and industry to support advanced nuclear energy concepts. Member countries, which include the United States, Japan, Russia, and China, have agreed to expand R&D funding for advanced nuclear projects that meet stringent sustainability, economic, safety and nonproliferation goals.
Yet despite international agreement on the necessity of next generation nuclear systems, there is a dearth of support at the national level. In the US, annual federal RD&D spending for advanced fission reactors has not exceeded $200 million in the last 10 years, following much larger budgets through the 1970s to mid-1990s. The majority of research and investment in advanced nuclear systems today comes from Asia, and most new nuclear is constructed in developing nations. Yet many of the countries most interested in building more nuclear are largely stuck with old Generation II designs."

No comments:

Post a Comment