Strategic and Policy Issues Raised by the Transition from Thermal to Fast Nuclear Systems

image of Strategic and Policy Issues Raised by the Transition from Thermal to Fast Nuclear Systems

The renewed interest in nuclear energy triggered by concerns about global climate change and security of supply could lead to substantial growth in nuclear electricity generation and expanded interest in fast neutron reactors with closed fuel cycles. Moving from the current fleet of thermal neutron reactors to fast neutron systems will require many decades and extensive RD&D efforts. This book identifies and analyses key strategic and policy issues raised by such a transition, and provides guidance to decision makers on the best approaches for implementing transition scenarios.

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Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations

Nuclear Energy Agency

Nuclear power provides a significant share (around 15%) of the world electricity supply today and will remain an important energy source for decades, irrespective of individual country decisions to phase out nuclear programmes or to increase the role of nuclear energy in their national policies. The fleet of nuclear units in operation at present is reliable and globally has very good safety and economic performance. Most plants built in the 1980s and 1990s are expected to have lifetimes exceeding 50 years. Simultaneously, new, advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles – most of which are based on fast neutron reactors operated in closed fuel cycles – are being developed with the objective of enhancing the safety, economics, sustainability, and proliferation resistance and physical protection of future nuclear systems. 

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