Minimize / eliminate separated plutonium
Improve power reactors
All discharged fuel consolidated in secure, monitored storage
Consume Pu & other actinides, no separated Pu
Waste greatly reduced in volume, in Pu, other long-lived isotopes
Transition to Breeder, Fusion , Other Energy Sources
Figure 7.25 "Top-level" strategy for securing all nuclear materials and protecting the environment (Arthur et al., 1998).
policy per se to a vestigial role creates an environment that is very different from that into which nuclear energy entered over two decades ago. The electric supply industry in general is facing significant and simultaneous changes that are vectored in a number of directions:
• organizational [structures, regulations, reduced intervention via policy routes, public versus private ownership, trends in the direction local-national-regional-global (multinational)];
• technological (impacts of emphasis on short-term competitiveness, e.g., CCGTs, small-to-medium sized units versus long-term sustainability);
• environmental (global climate change and possible restrictions on fossil-fuel use, pressures to close the nuclear fuel cycle, reductions in trans-boundary pollution, greenhouse-gas containment/sequestration); and
• economic (increasing imperatives on holding the line on energy costs, public-private ownership, increased cost transparency, internalization of energy costs and a drive towards sustainability).
The central issue is whether nuclear energy can find a niche in this changing market and the different view embodied in:
• public versus private financing and operations;
• public versus private perspectives on risk, risk versus benefit, and risk aversion; and
• the balance between short-term competitiveness versus long-term sustainability.
Furthermore, this situation is being defined under conditions of shifting (increases in) energy demand (to developing countries) and constrained fossil-energy resources, and whether the world can/should/needs to retain nuclear energy options.
While other studies (IAEA, 1997; OECD, 1998b; Krakowski, 1999) are more quantitatively consistent, Beck's more heuristic and intuitive study performed from a position on nuclear non-advocacy provides valuable insights that apply to all futuristic projections of these kinds, quantitative or not. Recognizing that nuclear technology cannot be "de-invented" and that the —100000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel (and the —1000 tonnes of plutonium and —3000 tonnes of fission products contained therein, with the used fuel and plutonium inventories increasing to 300000 tonnes and 2000 tonnes, respectively, by the year 2010) (Albright et al., 1997) will not disappear, Beck (1994) suggests three (quantitatively) possible and encompassing world NE futures.
Beck's phase-out scenario (Case-1), for the reasons cited above as well as the local economic trauma that would ensue in countries that derive substantial fractions of their electrical needs from NPPs, is not considered realistic in terms of resolving on any reasonable time scale safety, waste, and proliferation issues. Maintenance of the health of the nuclear energy industry under Case-1 conditions also presents a large concern.
Beck's "muddle-along" (Case-2) is considered the most likely scenario, which assumes some countries will replace NPPs with NPPs, some countries will replace NPPs with non-NPPs, and some countries (particularly in East and South Asia) will add nuclear-energy capacity. During this no-growth period, the nuclear industry has an opportunity to address the four cardinal issues listed above and to make nuclear energy more acceptable to all stakeholders (e.g., governments, utilities and/or IPPs, and the general populace) in preparation for a period of strong growth sometime in the latter part of the 21st century. A similar late 21st-century re-invigoration of nuclear energy could be envisaged even for the Case-1 phase-out scenario, albeit the prospects for such a turnaround will depend critically on the condition/integrity/resiliency of a dwindling nuclear-energy infrastructure.
Beck's expansion scenario (Case-3, ~25 GWe/yr) is predicated on a general (large) economic expansion that includes substantial increases in renewable energy sources to limit carbon-dioxide emissions by the year 2050 to 30% of present levels. In addition to waste-management and the possible need for reprocessing of used fuel for plutonium recycle, uranium resources may present an issue for the Case-3 growth scenario (a uranium resource of ~18 Mtonne without breeder reactors).
The NEA/OECD (OECD, 1998b) futuristic study also considered three scenarios that are variations on those suggested by Beck, and are also depicted on Fig. 7.19. In addition to a continued growth scenario which is comparable to that suggested by Beck (1100 GWe in 2050 compared to 1400 Gwe), the NEA study (OECD, 1998b) considers a phase-out scenario along with a scenario that suggests a stagnation/revival. The NEA study departs from a more detailed model-based assessment performed by the IAEA (Wagner, 1997), which in turn utilizes the computational details of an earlier IIASA/WEC study (Nakicenovic, 1995). Figure 7.19 compares the IAEA high, medium, and low variants with an independent study conducted by Los Alamos (Krakowski, 1999); the high variant of the IAEA in the year 2050 is comparable with the projections of Beck (1994) and NEA (OECD, 1998b).
The goal of these kinds of long-term, multi-scenario studies is to project economic, energy (mixes, resources, etc.), and environmental (E3) interactions/connectivities; Section 7.5 uses the Los Alamos study to elaborate on the role, goals, and results of these global E3 studies, with an emphasis being placed on the role of nuclear energy in mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Section 7.5 elaborates on one of these global, long-term E3 studies (Krakowski, 1999).
7.4.4 Maintaining equilibrium and reversing the trend
The suggestions/directions summarized in Fig. 7.20 (Todreas, 1993) and elaborated in Fig. 7.25 (Arthur, and Wagner, 1996; Arthur, Cunningham, and Wagner, 1998; Takagi, Takagi, and Sekimoto, 1998), coupled with the detailed recipe for regaining/restoring public confidence in nuclear energy outlined in Section 7.3.3 (Kasperson, 1993) are all essential elements in any strategy for maintaining (in some regions, restoring) developmental/implementational equilibrium for a period of public trial that might lead to circumstances that reverse the present global tendency towards a phase out of nuclear energy. A sustained record of worldwide NPP (and supporting facilities) safety and economic performance is essential to achieve the attributes claimed decades ago for this technology. These attributes increasingly must be demonstrated to publics that are becoming more and more adverse to the kinds of de-personalized risks associated with large technologies (Hiskes, 1998) that nuclear energy has come to represent. Many of the (governmental, industrial, and regulatory) management responses suggested in Section 220.127.116.11 will have to be successfully implemented for nuclear energy in a market environment that presents a range of economic and philosophical alternatives to meeting environmentally constrained energy needs.
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