Thursday, February 2, 2012

Monbiot on Wasting Fuel:

The integral fast reactor (IFR) continues to be touted as a solution to both closing the nuclear fuel cycle, and producing electricity.  George Monbiot addresses the issue is a post today.
Duncan Clark's article in the Guardian today should cause even the most determined anti-nuclear campaigner to think long and hard about the choices that confront us. He reveals that Prof David MacKay, chief scientific adviser to the UK government's energy department and author ofSustainable Energy: Without the Hot Air, has endorsed a remarkable estimate. The UK's stockpile of nuclear waste could be used to generate enough low-carbon energy to run this country for 500 years.
If the material we have seen until now as waste is instead seen as fuel, it has the potential to solve three problems at once: the UK's contribution to climate change, possible future energy shortfalls and a significant component of the massive bill - and massive headache - associated with cleaning up the current nuclear mess.

 The Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) hosted an 'Equinox Summit" in 2011, the concluding communique stated the need for closing the nuclear waste cycle:

  • Nuclear energy has proven capacity to deliver, on a large scale, low-carbon baseload power, but there are still concerns regarding safety and radioactive waste.
  • Accelerating the development of forms of nuclear power that close the nuclear fuel cycle, including an effective solution for managing long-lived nuclear waste, and a widely available fuel supply, would be transformative.
  • To achieve significant and timely uptake of these technologies, we propose international collaborations to develop the first commercial demonstration of the integral fast reactor with a fully closed fuel cycle (full recycling of uranium and plutonium), and experimental demonstration of novel accelerator-driven thorium-based systems.
It is time nuclear long-term waste treatment funds (>$10 billion in Ontario alone) stop wasting away in Ponzi markets and holding bonds, of questionable value; those funds should be put to work on nuclear engineers doing what engineers should be doing - solving the issues of waste, power generation, and emissions.

No comments:

Post a Comment