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1 Scenarios for a Worldwide Deployment of Nuclear Energy Production

By E. Merle-lucotte, D. Heuer, C. Le Brun and J-m. Loiseaux


Intensive worldwide deployment of nuclear power could prove necessary to mitigate global warming and fossil fuel shortages while still satisfying a growing demand for energy. We present scenarios for such deployment and bring to light the constraints, such as the availability of fissile matter and the build up of Plutonium stockpiles according to the reactor types considered. Pending the availability of reactors able to breed their fuel, a fleet of 2nd ant 3rd generation light water reactors will have to be built. These can ensure a growth of nuclear power for the coming 20 to 25 years and the transition to sustainable 4th generation nuclear reactors. We show that at least one comprehensive and balanced solution can be found, which reconciles fuel cycle closing, non-depletion of natural resources, reduced long lived waste production, and the option to stop or restart nuclear power rapidly. It rests on the combination of light water reactors and converter reactors needed to incinerate Plutonium and produce Uranium-233, leading to a reactor fleet widely based on the Thorium-Uranium-233 fuel cycle. The flexibility of this solution and its naturally reduced long lived waste production makes it appear optimal in view of sustainable, intensive nuclear power generation

Year: 2014
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