Thursday, 6 December 2012

Let's cut to the Nitty-Gritty

A White Paper, joint authored by Tom Blees and Barry Brook, presented at WORLD ENERGY FORUM 2012

Cutting to the Nitty-Gritty means looking at 'The Way Forward' 

6. The Way Forward
There is a pressing need to: 
(a) displace our heavy dependence on fossil fuels with sustainable, low-carbon alternative energy sources over the coming decades to mitigate the environmental damage of energy production and underpin global energy security and 
(b) demonstrate a credible and acceptable way to safely deal with used nuclear fuel in order to clear a socially acceptable pathway for nuclear fission to be a major low-carbon energy source for this century. 

"....we are faced with the necessity of a nearly complete transformation of the world’s energy systems. Objective analyses of the inherent constraints on wind, solar, and other less-mature renewable energy technologies inevitably show that they will fall short of meeting future low-emissions demands. A ‘go slow, do little’ approach to energy policy is not defensible given the urgency of the problems society must address, and the time required for an orderly transition of energy systems at a global scale...."
What is needed now is a two-pronged approach, for completion by 2020 or earlier, that involves: 
(i) demonstration of the pyroprocessing of LWR spent oxide fuel, and 
(ii) construction of a PRISM fast reactor as a prototype demonstration plant, to establish the basis for licensing and the cost and schedule for subsequent fully commercial IFR plants. 
Once demonstrated, this commercial IFR will be expected to show very significant advances in nuclear safety, reliability, nuclear fuel sustainability, management of long-term waste, proliferation resistance, and economics. 
The time has come to capitalize on this exceptional energy technology, with the benefits of this development extending throughout the global energy economy in the 21st century.

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