nuclear power

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{{redirect|Atomic power|the film|Atomic Power (film)}}{{pp-semi-protected|small=yes}}File:2011-05-10 18-57-46 Switzerland - Wil.jpg|thumb|The 1200 MWe Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant in Switzerland. The boiling water reactor (BWR), located inside the dome capped cylindrical structure, is dwarfed in size by its cooling tower. The station produces a yearly average of 25 million kilowatt-hours per day, sufficient to power a city the size of (Boston]].WEB,weblink Nuclear Energy: Statistics, Dr. Elizabeth Ervin, )File:PaloVerdeNuclearGeneratingStation.jpg|thumb|The Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, the largest in the United States with 3 pressurized water reactors (PWRs), is situated in the Arizona desert. It uses sewage from cities as its cooling water in 9 squat mechanical draft cooling towers.JOURNAL, 2013-06-25, An oasis filled with grey water,weblink NEI Magazine, WEB,weblink Topical issues of infrastructure development IAEA 2012, Its total spent fuel inventory, produced since 1986, is contained in dry cask storage cylinders located between the artificial body of water and the electrical switchyardelectrical switchyardFile:USS Enterprise (CVAN-65), USS Long Beach (CGN-9) and USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) underway in the Mediterranean Sea during Operation Sea Orbit, in 1964.jpg|thumb|U.S. nuclear powered ships: (top to bottom) cruisers {{USS|Bainbridge|CGN-25|6}}, {{USS|Long Beach|CGN-9|6}}, and {{USS|Enterprise|CVN-65|6}}, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Picture taken in 1964 during a record setting voyage of {{convert|26,540|nmi|km|abbr=on|0}} around the world in 65 days without refueling. Crew members are spelling out Einstein's mass-energy equivalence formula E = mc2 on the flight deckflight deckFile:World electricity generation by source pie chart.svg|thumb|right|Global civilian electricity generation by source. Some 23,816 TWhTWhNuclear power is the use of nuclear reactions that release nuclear energy to generate heat, which most frequently is then used in steam turbines to produce electricity in a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power can be obtained from nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion reactions.Presently, the vast majority of electricity from nuclear power is produced by nuclear fission of uranium and plutonium.Nuclear decay processes are used in niche applications such as radioisotope thermoelectric generators.Generating electricity from fusion power remains at the focus of international research.This article mostly deals with nuclear fission power for electricity generation.Civilian nuclear power supplied 2,488 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2017, equivalent to about 10% of global electricity generation, and was the second largest low-carbon power source after hydroelectricity.WEB,weblink PRIS – Home,, 2013-06-14, WEB,weblink May: Steep decline in nuclear power would threaten energy security and climate goals,, 2019-07-08, As of April 2018, there are 449 civilian fission reactors in the world, with a combined electrical capacity of 394 gigawatt (GW).There are also 58 nuclear power reactors under construction and 154 reactors planned, with a combined capacity of 63 GW and 157 GW, respectively. As of January 2019, 337 more reactors were proposed.WEB, World Nuclear Power Reactors {{!, Uranium Requirements {{!}} Future Nuclear Power |publisher= World Nuclear Association|url=||accessdate=8 May 2018}}Most reactors under construction are generation III reactors in Asia.Nuclear power has one of the lowest levels of fatalities per unit of energy generated compared to other energy sources. Coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydroelectricity each have caused a greater number of fatalities per unit of energy, due to air pollution and accidents.Since its commercialization in the 1970s, nuclear power has prevented about 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and the emission of about 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent that would have otherwise resulted from the burning of fossil fuels.JOURNAL, Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power – global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning, 10.1021/es3051197, 23495839, harv, 2013EnST...47.4889K, 47, 9, Environmental Science, 4889–4895, 2013, Kharecha Pushker A, Accidents in nuclear power plants include the Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet Union in 1986, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan in 2011, and the more contained Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.There have also been some nuclear submarine accidents.There is a debate about nuclear power.Proponents, such as the World Nuclear Association and Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy, contend that nuclear power is a safe, sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions.Nuclear power opponents, such as Greenpeace and NIRS, contend that nuclear power poses many threats to people and the environment.Collaboration on research and development towards greater efficiency, safety and recycling of spent fuel in future generation IV reactors presently includes Euratom and the co-operation of more than 10 permanent member countries globally.



File:Binding energy curve - common isotopes.svg|thumb|The Nuclear binding energy of all natural elements in the periodic table. Higher values translate into more tightly bound nuclei and greater nuclear stability. Iron (Fe) is the end product of nucleosynthesis within the core of hydrogen fusing stars. The elements surrounding iron are the fission products of the fissionable actinides (e.g. uranium). Except for iron, all other elemental nuclei have in theory the potential to be nuclear fuel, and the greater distance from iron the greater nuclear potential energynuclear potential energy{{See also|Nuclear fission#History|Atomic Age}}In 1932 physicist Ernest Rutherford discovered that when lithium atoms were "split" by protons from a proton accelerator, immense amounts of energy were released in accordance with the principle of mass–energy equivalence. However, he and other nuclear physics pioneers Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein believed harnessing the power of the atom for practical purposes anytime in the near future was unlikely.BOOK, Rhodes, Making of the Atomic Bomb, 228, The same year, his doctoral student James Chadwick discovered the neutron,NEWS, 80 years since discovery of the neutron,weblink, June 15, 2012, which was immediately recognized as a potential tool for nuclear experimentation because of its lack of an electric charge. Experiments bombarding materials with neutrons led Frédéric and Irène Joliot-Curie to discover induced radioactivity in 1934, which allowed the creation of radium-like elements.CONFERENCE, Predicting Induced Radioactivity at High Energy Accelerators, Alberto, Fassò, Marco, Silari, Luisa, Ulrici, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, October 1999,weblink SLAC-PUB-8215, Ninth International Conference on Radiation Shielding, Tsukuba, Japan, October 17–22, 1999, December 10, 2018, Further work by Enrico Fermi in the 1930s focused on using slow neutrons to increase the effectiveness of induced radioactivity. Experiments bombarding uranium with neutrons led Fermi to believe he had created a new, transuranic element, which was dubbed hesperium.WEB,weblink Neptunium,, 2013-06-22, In 1938, German chemists Otto HahnWEB,weblink Otto Hahn, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1944, 2007-11-01,, and Fritz Strassmann, along with Austrian physicist Lise MeitnerWEB,weblink Otto Hahn, Fritz Strassmann, and Lise Meitner, March 20, 2018, Science History Institute, June 2016, and Meitner's nephew, Otto Robert Frisch,WEB,weblink Otto Robert Frisch, 2007-11-01,,weblink" title="">weblink 2017-05-25, yes, conducted experiments with the products of neutron-bombarded uranium, as a means of further investigating Fermi's claims.They determined that the relatively tiny neutron split the nucleus of the massive uranium atoms into two roughly equal pieces, contradicting Fermi.This was an extremely surprising result: all other forms of nuclear decay involved only small changes to the mass of the nucleus, whereas this process—dubbed "fission" as a reference to biology—involved a complete rupture of the nucleus.Numerous scientists, including Leó Szilárd, who was one of the first, recognized that if fission reactions released additional neutrons, a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction could result.weblink" title="">weblinkInside the Atomic Patent Office. Bulletin of Atomic Scientists {{doi|10.2968/064002008}} Once this was experimentally confirmed and announced by Frédéric Joliot-Curie in 1939, scientists in many countries (including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the Soviet Union) petitioned their governments for support of nuclear fission research, just on the cusp of World War II, for the development of a nuclear weapon.WEB,weblink The Einstein Letter,, 2013-06-22,

First nuclear reactor

In the United States, where Fermi and Szilárd had both emigrated, the discovery of the nuclear chain reaction led to the creation of the first man-made reactor, the research reactor known as Chicago Pile-1, which achieved self-sustaining power/criticality on December 2, 1942. The reactor's development was part of the Manhattan Project, the Allied effort to create atomic bombs during World War II. It led to the building of larger single-purpose production reactors, such as the X-10 Pile, for the production of weapons-grade plutonium for use in the first nuclear weapons. The United States tested the first nuclear weapon in July 1945, the Trinity test, with the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki taking place one month later.File:First four nuclear lit bulbs.jpeg|thumb|left|The first light bulbs ever lit by electricity generated by nuclear power at EBR-1 at Argonne National Laboratory-West, December 20, 1951.Argonne's Nuclear Science and Technology Legacy, Reactors: Modern-Day Alchemy As the first liquid metal cooled fast reactor, it demonstrated Fermi's Experimental fuel Breeding Reactor principle, to maximize the usable energy obtainable from the, initially considered, scarce (natural uranium]].Fast Reactor Technology. EBR-I (Experimental Breeder Reactor-I))In August 1945, the first widely distributed account of nuclear energy, in the form of the pocketbook The Atomic Age, discussed the peaceful future uses of nuclear energy and depicted a future where fossil fuels would go unused.Nobel laureate Glenn Seaborg, who later chaired the Atomic Energy Commission, is quoted as saying "there will be nuclear powered earth-to-moon shuttles, nuclear powered artificial hearts, plutonium heated swimming pools for SCUBA divers, and much more".BOOK, Wendt, Gerald, Geddes, Donald Porter, The Atomic Age Opens, 1945, Pocket Books, New York,weblink In the same month, with the end of the war, Seaborg and others would file hundreds of initially classified patents, most notably Eugene Wigner and Alvin Weinberg's Patent #2,736,696, on a conceptual light water reactor (LWR) that would later become the United States' primary reactor for naval propulsion and later take up the greatest share of the commercial fission-electric landscape.WEB, The USS Seawolf Sodium Cooled Reactor Submarine,weblink May 17, 2012, Lecture by Eric P. Loewen, Ph.D. President American Nuclear SocietyThe United Kingdom, Canada,BOOK, Bain, Alastair S., Canada enters the nuclear age: a technical history of Atomic Energy of Canada, 1997, Magill-Queen's University Press, 978-0-7735-1601-4, ix, etal, and the USSR proceeded to research and develop nuclear energy over the course of the late 1940s and early 1950s.Electricity was generated for the first time by a nuclear reactor on December 20, 1951, at the EBR-I experimental station near Arco, Idaho, which initially produced about 100 kW.WEB,weblink Reactors Designed by Argonne National Laboratory: Fast Reactor Technology, U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, 2012, 2012-07-25, "Reactor Makes Electricity." Popular Mechanics, March 1952, p. 105.In 1953, American President Dwight Eisenhower gave his "Atoms for Peace" speech at the United Nations, emphasizing the need to develop "peaceful" uses of nuclear power quickly. This was followed by the 1954 Amendments to the Atomic Energy Act which allowed rapid declassification of U.S. reactor technology and encouraged development by the private sector.

Early years

File:Nautiluscore.jpg|200px|thumb| The launching ceremony of the {{USS|Nautilus|SSN-571|6}} January 1954. In 1958 it would become the first vessel to reach the North PoleNorth PoleThe first organization to develop nuclear power was the U.S. Navy, with the S1W reactor for the purpose of propelling submarines and aircraft carriers. The first nuclear-powered submarine, {{USS|Nautilus|SSN-571|6}}, was put to sea in January 1954.WEB,weblink STR (Submarine Thermal Reactor) in "Reactors Designed by Argonne National Laboratory: Light Water Reactor Technology Development", U.S. Department of Energy, Argonne National Laboratory, 2012, 2012-07-25, The trajectory of civil reactor design was heavily influenced by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who with Weinberg as a close advisor, selected the PWR/Pressurized Water Reactor design, in the form of a 10 MW reactor for the Nautilus, a decision that would result in the PWR receiving a government commitment to develop, an engineering lead that would result in a lasting impact on the civilian electricity market in the years to come.BOOK, Rockwell, Theodore, The Rickover Effect, Naval Institute Press, 1992, 162, 978-1-55750-702-0, The United States Navy Nuclear Propulsion design and operation community, under Rickover's style of attentive management retains a continuing record of zero reactor accidents (defined as the uncontrolled release of fission products to the environment resulting from damage to a reactor core).WEB, Statement of Admiral F.L. "Skip" Bowman, 2003-10-29, 2009-03-08,weblink NEWS, Sieff, Martin, BMD Focus: O'Reilly moves up â€“ Part 1, UPI Energy, 2007-10-04, with the U.S. Navy fleet of nuclear-powered ships, standing at some 80 vessels as of 2018.WEB, About the U.S. Navy,weblink US Navy, On June 27, 1954, the USSR's Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant, based on what would become the prototype of the RBMK reactor design, became the world's first nuclear power plant to generate electricity for a power grid, producing around 5 megawatts of electric power.WEB,weblink From Obninsk Beyond: Nuclear Power Conference Looks to Future, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2006-06-27, 2004-06-23, File:Gen II nuclear reactor vessels sizes.svg|thumb|Generation II reactor vessels size comparison, a design classification of commercial reactors built until the end of the 1990s. The CANDU vessel is longer than it is tall. The PWR is the most compact and has the highest power densitypower densityOn July 17, 1955 the BORAX III reactor, the prototype to later Boiling Water Reactors, became the first to generate electricity for an entire community, the town of Arco, Idaho.BORAX-III (Boiling Water Reactor Experiment No. 3) "...became the first nuclear power plant in the world to generate electricity for an entire city". A motion picture record of the demonstration, of supplying some 2 megawatts(2 MW) of electricity, was presented to the United Nations,Light Water Reactors Technology Development AEC Press release for BORAX-III lighting Arco, Idaho Where at the "First Geneva Conference", the world's largest gathering of scientists and engineers, met to explore the technology in that year. In 1957 EURATOM was launched alongside the European Economic Community (the latter is now the European Union). The same year also saw the launch of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).File:HD.15.019 (11823864155).jpg|thumb|left|The Calder Hall nuclear power station in the United Kingdom was the world's first commercial nuclear power station. It was connected to the national power grid on 27 August 1956 and officially revealed in a ceremony by Queen Elizabeth II on 17 October 1956. In common with a number of other Generation I nuclear reactors, the plant had the dual purpose of producing electrical power and plutonium-239, the latter for the (Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom|nascent nuclear weapons program in Britain]].C.N. Hill, "An Atomic Empire: A Technical History of the Rise and Fall of the British Atomic Energy Programme" (World Scientific, 2013).)File:Shippingport Reactor.jpg|thumb|The 60 MWe Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, opened in 1957 and originating from a cancelled nuclear-powered aircraft carrier contractNuclear Reactions: Science and Trans-Science, American Institute of Physics 1992. Weinberg the Pressurized water reactor design became the first commercial reactor in the United States and the first devoted exclusively to peacetime uses.W. Beaver, Nuclear Power Goes On-Line: A History of Shippingport (Praeger, 1990) Its (Early adopter|early adoption]], a case of technological lock-in,Out of options A surprising culprit in the nuclear crisis and familiarity amongst retired naval personnel, established the PWR as the predominant civilian reactor design, that it still retains today in the US.)The world's first "commercial nuclear power station", Calder Hall at Windscale, England, was opened in 1956 with an initial capacity of 50 MW per reactor (200 MW total),BOOK, Kragh, Helge, Quantum Generations: A History of Physics in the Twentieth Century, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1999, 286, 978-0-691-09552-3, NEWS,weblink On This Day: October 17, 2006-11-09, BBC News, 1956-10-17, it was the first of a fleet of dual-purpose MAGNOX reactors, though officially code-named PIPPA(Pressurized Pile Producing Power and Plutonium) by the UKAEA to denote the plant's dual commercial and military role.The Early Years of Nuclear Energy in Britain Aarush Selvan. Standford course work 2018. C. N. Hill, An Atomic Empire: A Technical History of the Rise and Fall of the British Atomic Energy Programme, Fred Roberts, 60 Years of Nuclear History, Britain's Hidden AgendaThe U.S. Army, nuclear power program, formally commenced in 1954. Under its management, the 2 megawatt SM-1, at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, was the first in the United States to supply electricity in an industrial capacity to the commercial grid (VEPCO), in April 1957.WEB,weblink SM-1 Nuclear Power Plant, VA, 2015-02-01, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2018-11-17, The first commercial nuclear station to become operational in the United States was the 60 MW Shippingport Reactor (Pennsylvania, in December 1957.WEB,weblink History of Emergency Preparedness, 2018-06-12, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2018-11-17, The 3 MW SL-1 was a U.S. Army experimental nuclear power reactor at the National Reactor Testing Station in eastern Idaho, derived from the Borax Boiling water reactor(BWR) design, it first achieved operational criticality/connection to the grid in 1958. For reasons unknown, in 1961 a technician removed a control rod about 22 inches farther than the prescribed 4 inches. This resulted in a steam explosion which killed the three crew members and caused a meltdown.IDO-19313: Additional Analysis of the SL-1 Excursion {{webarchive|url= |date=2011-09-27 }} Final Report of Progress July through October 1962, November 21, 1962, Flight Propulsion Laboratory Department, General Electric Company, Idaho Falls, Idaho, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Division of Technical Information.BOOK, McKeown, William, Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident, 978-1-55022-562-4, 2003, ECW Press, Toronto, The event was eventually rated at 4 on the seven-level INES scale.In service from 1963 and operated as the experimental testbed for the later Alfa-class submarine fleet, one of the two liquid metal cooled reactors onboard the {{ship|Soviet submarine|K-27}}, underwent a Fuel element failure accident in 1968, with the emission of gaseous fission products into the surrounding air, producing 9 crew fatalities and 83 injuries.WEB,weblink Deadliest radiation accidents and other events causing radiation casualties, Johnston, Robert, 2007-09-23, Database of Radiological Incidents and Related Events,

Development and early opposition to nuclear power

(File:Nuclear power history.svg|thumb|right|Number of generating and under construction civilian fission-electric reactors, over the period 1960 to 2015.){{see also|Generation II reactor|United States Atomic Energy Commission#Public opinion and abolishment of the AEC}}{{image frame|width=215
Pressurized Water Reactors, 80 Boiling Water Reactors, 15 Gas Cooled Reactors, 49 Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (CANDU reactor>CANDU), 15 LWGR (RBMK), and 2 Fast Breeder Reactors.NUCLEAR POWER REACTORS IN THE WORLD – 2015 EDITION>URL=HTTP://WWW-PUB.IAEA.ORG/MTCD/PUBLICATIONS/PDF/RDS2-35WEB-85937611.PDFACCESSDATE=26 OCTOBER 2017, |content={hide}#invoke:Chart|pie chart| radius = 100| slices =
( 277 : PWR : : Pressurized Water Reactor)
( 80 : BWR : : Boiling Water Reactor )
( 15 : GCR : : Gas Cooled Reactor )
( 49 : PHWR : : Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor )
( 15 : LWGR : : LWGR )
( 2 : FBR : : Fast Breeder Reactor )| units suffix =| percent = true
{edih}}}The total global installed nuclear capacity initially rose relatively quickly, rising from less than 1 gigawatt (GW) in 1960 to 100 GW in the late 1970s, and 300 GW in the late 1980s. Since the late 1980s worldwide capacity has risen much more slowly, reaching 366 GW in 2005. Between around 1970 and 1990, more than 50 GW of capacity was under construction (peaking at over 150 GW in the late 1970s and early 1980s)—in 2005, around 25 GW of new capacity was planned. More than two-thirds of all nuclear plants ordered after January 1970 were eventually cancelled.WEB,weblink 50 Years of Nuclear Energy, 2006-11-09, International Atomic Energy Agency, A total of 63 nuclear units were canceled in the United States between 1975 and 1980.The Changing Structure of the Electric Power Industry p. 110.In 1972 Alvin Weinberg, co-inventor of the light water reactor design (the most common nuclear reactors today) was fired from his job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by the Nixon administration, "at least in part" over his raising of concerns about the safety and wisdom of ever larger scaling-up of his design, especially above a power rating of ~500 MWe, as in a loss of coolant accident scenario, the decay heat generated from such large compact solid-fuel cores was thought to be beyond the capabilities of passive/natural convection cooling to prevent a rapid fuel rod melt-down and resulting in then, potential far reaching fission product pluming. While considering the LWR, well suited at sea for the submarine and naval fleet, Weinberg did not show complete support for its use by utilities on land at the power output that they were interested in for supply scale reasons, and would request for a greater share of AEC research funding to evolve his team's demonstrated,Video: Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Produced in 1969 by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the United States Atomic Energy Commission Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment, a design with greater inherent safety in this scenario and with that an envisioned greater economic growth potential in the market of large-scale civilian electricity generation.weblink" title="">The Do-able Molten Salt Reactor a time for courageous impatienceJOURNAL, Why did the US abandon a lead in reactor design?, Physics Today, 2015, 10.1063/PT.5.2029, JOURNAL, Siemer, Darryl D., Why the molten salt fast reactor (MSFR) is the 'best' Gen IV reactor, Energy Science & Engineering, March 2015, 3, 2, 83–97, 10.1002/ese3.59, Similar to the earlier BORAX reactor safety experiments, conducted by Argonne National Laboratory,Argonne’s Nuclear Science and Technology Legacy Multimedia Resources, Borax – Safety experiment on a boiling water reactor in 1976 Idaho National Laboratory began a test program focused on LWR reactors under various accident scenarios, with the aim of understanding the event progression and mitigating steps necessary to respond to a failure of one or more of the disparate systems, with much of the redundant back-up safety equipment and nuclear regulations drawing from these series of destructive testing investigations.JOURNAL, Tong, L.S., Water reactor safety research, Progress in Nuclear Energy, January 1979, 4, 1, 51–95, 10.1016/0149-1970(79)90009-X, During the 1970s and 1980s rising economic costs (related to extended construction times largely due to regulatory changes and pressure-group litigation)BOOK, Bernard L. Cohen, 1990, The Nuclear Energy Option: An Alternative for the 90s,weblink New York, Plenum Press, 978-0-306-43567-6, and falling fossil fuel prices made nuclear power plants then under construction less attractive. In the 1980s in the U.S. and 1990s in Europe, the flat electric grid growth and electricity liberalization also made the addition of large new baseload energy generators economically unattractive.File:Electricity in France.svg|thumb|left|Electricity production in France, previously dominated by fossil fuels, has been dominated by nuclear powerdominated by nuclear powerThe 1973 oil crisis had a significant effect on countries, such as France and Japan, which had relied more heavily on oil for electric generation (39%WEB,weblink Evolution of Electricity Generation by Fuel, 2007-04-21,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-06-14, yes,  {{small|(39.4 KB)}} and 73% respectively) to invest in nuclear power.Sharon Beder, 'The Japanese Situation', English version of conclusion of Sharon Beder, "Power Play: The Fight to Control the World's Electricity", Soshisha, Japan, 2006.The French plan, known as the Messmer plan, was for the complete independence from oil, with an envisaged construction of 80 reactors by 1985 and 170 by 2000.Les physiciens dans le mouvement antinucléaire : entre science, expertise et politique Cahiers d'histoire, published 2007, accessed 2011-04-11France would construct 25 fission-electric stations, installing 56 mostly PWR design reactors over the next 15 years, though foregoing the 100 reactors initially charted in 1973, for the 1990s.NEWS, Palfreman, Jon, Why the French Like Nuclear Energy
Frontline (U.S. TV series)>Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service, 25 August 2007, 1997,weblink WEB, Rene de Preneuf, Nuclear Power in France â€“ Why does it Work?, 25 August 2007,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink >archivedate = 13 August 2007, In 2017, 72% of French electricity was generated by 58 reactors, the highest percentage by any nation in the world.Some local opposition to nuclear power emerged in the U.S. in the early 1960s, beginning with the proposed Bodega Bay station in California, in 1958, which produced conflict with local citizens and by 1964 the concept was ultimately abandoned.JOURNAL, Garb Paula, Review of Critical Masses : Opposition to Nuclear Power in California, 1958-1978,weblink Journal of Political Ecology, 6, 1999, In the late 1960s some members of the scientific community began to express pointed concerns. These anti-nuclear concerns related to nuclear accidents, nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism and radioactive waste disposal.Brian Martin. Opposing nuclear power: past and present, Social Alternatives, Vol. 26, No. 2, Second Quarter 2007, pp. 43–47. In the early 1970s, there were large protests about a proposed nuclear power plant in Wyhl, Germany. The project was cancelled in 1975 the anti-nuclear success at Wyhl inspired opposition to nuclear power in other parts of Europe and North America.Stephen Mills and Roger Williams (1986). Public Acceptance of New Technologies Routledge, pp. 375–376.Robert Gottlieb (2005). Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement, Revised Edition, Island Press, p. 237. By the mid-1970s anti-nuclear activism gained a wider appeal and influence, and nuclear power began to become an issue of major public protest.BOOK, Falk, Jim, 1982, Global Fission: The Battle Over Nuclear Power, Melbourne, Oxford University Press, 95–96, 978-0-19-554315-5, Walker, J. Samuel (2004). Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective (Berkeley: University of California Press), pp. 10–11. In some countries, the nuclear power conflict "reached an intensity unprecedented in the history of technology controversies".JOURNAL, Herbert P. Kitschelt, 1986, Political Opportunity and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies,weblink British Journal of Political Science, 16, 1, 57, 10.1017/s000712340000380x, JOURNAL, Herbert P. Kitschelt, 1986, Political Opportunity and Political Protest: Anti-Nuclear Movements in Four Democracies,weblink British Journal of Political Science, 16, 1, 71, 10.1017/s000712340000380x, In May 1979, an estimated 70,000 people, including then governor of California Jerry Brown, attended a march against nuclear power in Washington, D.C.BOOK, Social protest and policy change : ecology, antinuclear, and peace movements in comparative perspective, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-0-7425-1826-1, 45,weblink 2004, Anti-nuclear power groups emerged in every country that had a nuclear power programme.Globally during the 1980s one new nuclear reactor started up every 17 days on average.BOOK, Thorpe, M.S., Gary S., AP Environmental Science, 6th ed., 2015, Barrons Educational Series, 978-1-4380-6728-5, {{ISBN|1-4380-6728-3}}

Regulations, pricing and accidents

File:Chernobyl-LWR-comparison.PNG|thumb|A simplified diagram of the major differences between light water reactors (LWR) and the RBMK design used in Chernobyl. The LWR uses water as moderator, and this category includes the two most common types of nuclear reactors today, the pressurized water reactor and the boiling water reactor. 1. In "red", the use of a graphite moderator in a water cooled reactor. 2. A positive steam void coefficient that made the power excursion possible, which blew the reactor vessel. 3. The control rods were very slow, taking 18–20 seconds to be deployed. With the control rods having graphite tips that moderated and therefore increased the fission rate in the beginning of the rod insertion. 4. No reinforced (containment building]].WEB,weblink INSAG-7: The Chernobyl Accident: Updating of INSAG-1, 1992, IAEA, 8 November 2018, WEB,weblink Chernobyl: Assessment of Radiological and Health Impact, 2002 update; Chapter II – The release, dispersion and deposition of radionuclides, 2002, OECD-NEA, 3 June 2015, WEB,weblink Chernobyl Accident (Case details), Masayuki, Nakao, Association for the Study of Failure, 8 November 2018, )Starting in the early 1970s in the U.S. and occurring within a atmosphere of increased public hostility, involving the public opposition to the AEC and the eventual founding of its replacement, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, both had attempted to respond to public opinion by lengthening the license procurement process, tightening engineering regulations and increasing the requirements for safety equipment in what is considered the beginning of the regulatory-ratcheting phase of commercial development.Costs of Nuclear Power Plants – What Went Wrong?nuclear energy may soon be free from its tangled regulatory web. Washington Examiner Together with relatively minor percentage increases in the total quantity of steel, piping, cabling and concrete per unit of installed nameplate capacity, the more notable changes to the regulatory open public hearing-response cycle for the granting of construction licenses, had the effect of what was once an initial 16 months for project initiation to the pouring of first concrete in 1967, escalating to 32 months in 1972 and finally 54 months in 1980, which ultimately, quadrupled the price of power reactors.Costs of Nuclear Power Plants – What went Wrong?Per Peterson Metal And Concrete Inputs For Several Nuclear Power Plants.Utility proposals in the U.S for nuclear generating stations, peaked at 52 in 1974, fell to 12 in 1976 and have never recovered,World's Atom Energy Lags In Meeting Needs for Power, NYtimes 1979 in large part due to the pressure-group litigation strategy, of launching lawsuits against each proposed U.S construction proposal, keeping private utilities tied up in court for years, one of which having reached the supreme court in 1978.JOURNAL, Breyer, Stephen, Stephen Breyer, 1978, Vermont Yankee and the Courts' Role in the Nuclear Energy Controversy, Harvard Law Review, 91, 8, 1833–1845, 10.2307/1340411, 1340411, With permission to build a nuclear station in the U.S. eventually taking longer than in any other industrial country, the spectre facing utilities of having to pay interest on large construction loans while the anti-nuclear movement used the legal system to produce delays, increasingly made the viablity of financing construction, less certain. By the close of the 1970s it became clear that nuclear power would not grow nearly as dramatically as once believed.Over 120 reactor proposals in the United States were ultimately cancelledNuclear Power: Outlook for New U.S. Reactors p. 3. and the construction of new reactors ground to a halt. A cover story in the February 11, 1985, issue of Forbes magazine commented on the overall failure of the U.S. nuclear power program, saying it "ranks as the largest managerial disaster in business history".JOURNAL, 1985-02-11, Nuclear Follies, Forbes Magazine, Cook, James, According to some commentators, the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island (TMI) played a major part in the reduction in the number of new plant constructions in many other countries.BOOK, Wolfgang, Rüdig, Anti-nuclear Movements: A World Survey of Opposition to Nuclear Energy,weblink 1990, Longman Current Affairs, Detroit, MI, 978-0-8103-9000-3, 1, According to the NRC, TMI was the most serious accident in "U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history, even though it led to no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of the nearby community."WEB, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Federal Government of the United States, Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island Accident, 2010-07-17, 2009-08-11,weblink U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, The regulatory uncertainty and delays eventually resulted in an escalation of construction related debt that led to the bankruptcy of Seabrook's major utility owner, Public Service Company of New Hampshire.Daniels, Lee A. (January 29, 1988). "Bankruptcy Filed by Leading Utility in Seabrook Plant". The New York Times. Retrieved February 5, 2018. At the time, the fourth largest bankruptcy in United States corporate history.COURT, In re Public Service Company of New Hampshire, Debtor, 88, page=521, Bankruptcy Reporter, Docket 88-00043, US Bankruptcy Court, D. New Hampshire, June 22nd, 1988,weblink Amongst US engineers, the cost increases from implementing the regulatory changes that resulted from the TMI accident were, when eventually finalized, only a few percent of total construction costs for new reactors, primarily relating to the prevention of safety systems from being turned off. With the most significant engineering result of the TMI accident, the recognition that better operator training was needed and that the existing emergency core cooling system of PWRs worked better in a real-world emergency than members of the anti-nuclear movement had routinely claimed.JOURNAL, Cohen, Bernard L., Three Mile Island: A Nuclear Crisis in Historical Perspective (Review), Physics Today, 58, 2, 63–4, February 2005,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 2006-02-17, 10.1063/1.1897526, File:Центр города Припять на фоне 4 энергоблокаа ЧАЭС.jpg|thumb|The abandoned town of Pripyat since 1986, with the Chernobyl plant and the Chernobyl New Safe ConfinementChernobyl New Safe ConfinementThe already slowing rate of new construction along with the shutdown in the 1980s of two existing demonstration nuclear power stations in the Tennessee Valley, US, when they couldn’t economically meet the NRC's new tightened standards, shifted electricity generation to coal-fired power plants.Smithsonianmag. Switch from nuclear to coal-fired power. Nature Energy, 2017. DOI: 10.1038/nenergy.2017.51 In 1977, following the first oil shock, U.S. President Jimmy Carter made a speech calling the energy crisis the "moral equivalent of war" and prominently supporting nuclear power. However, nuclear power could not compete with cheap oil and gas, particularly after public opposition and regulatory hurdles made new nuclear prohibitively expensive.Coming Full Circle in Energy, to Nuclear, Eduardo Porter, The New York Times, August 20, 2013.In 2006 The Brookings Institution, a public policy organization, stated that new nuclear units had not been built in the United States because of soft demand for electricity, the potential cost overruns on nuclear reactors due to regulatory issues and resulting construction delays.WEB,weblink The Political Economy of Nuclear Energy in the United States, 2006-11-09, The Brookings Institution, 2004, Social Policy, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-11-03, In 1982, amongst a backdrop of ongoing protests directed at the construction of the first commercial scale breeder reactor in France, a later member of the Swiss Green Party fired five RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenades at the still under construction containment building of the Superphenix reactor. Two grenades hit and caused minor damage to the reinforced concrete outer shell. It was the first time protests reached such heights. After examination of the superficial damage, the prototype fast breeder reactor started and operated for over a decadeweblink{{subscription required}}According to some commentators, the 1986 Chernobyl disaster played a major part in the reduction in the number of new plant constructions in many other countries:Unlike the Three Mile Island accident the much more serious Chernobyl accident did not increase regulations or engineering changes affecting Western reactors; because the RBMK design, which lacks safety features such as "robust" containment buildings, was only used in the Soviet Union.WEB,weblink Backgrounder on Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Accident, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2006-06-28, Over 10 RBMK reactors are still in use today. However, changes were made in both the RBMK reactors themselves (use of a safer enrichment of uranium) and in the control system (preventing safety systems being disabled), amongst other things, to reduce the possibility of a similar accident.WEB,weblink RBMK Reactors | reactor bolshoy moshchnosty kanalny | Positive void coefficient,, 2009-09-07, 2013-06-14, Russia now largely relies upon, builds and exports a variant of the PWR, the VVER, with over 20 in use today.An international organization to promote safety awareness and the professional development of operators in nuclear facilities, the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), was created as a direct outcome of the 1986 Chernobyl accident. The organization was created with the intent to share and grow the adoption of nuclear safety culture, technology and community, where before there was an atmosphere of cold war secrecy.Numerous countries, including Austria (1978), Sweden (1980) and Italy (1987) (influenced by Chernobyl) have voted in referendums to oppose or phase out nuclear power.

Nuclear renaissance

File:OL3.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Olkiluoto 3 under construction in 2009. It was the first EPR, a modernized PWR design, to start construction. Problems with workmanship and supervision have created costly delays. The reactor is estimated to cost three times the initial estimate and will be delivered over 10 years behind schedule.NEWS, Areva's Finland reactor to start in 2019 after another delay,weblink 3 August 2019, Reuters, 9 October 2017, en, ]]{hide}Image frame
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WEBSITE=WWW.IAEA.ORG, 22 July 2018, }}In the early 2000s, the nuclear industry was expecting a nuclear renaissance, an increase in the construction of new reactors, due to concerns about carbon dioxide emissions. However, in 2009, Petteri Tiippana, the director of STUK's nuclear power plant division, told the BBC that it was difficult to deliver a Generation III reactor project on schedule because builders were not used to working to the exacting standards required on nuclear construction sites, since so few new reactors had been built in recent years.NEWS,weblink New UK nuclear stations unlikely to be ready on time, 25 November 2009, BBC, Jones, Meirion, 10 December 2018, In 2018 the MIT Energy Initiative study on the future of nuclear energy concluded that, together with the strong suggestion that government should financially support development and demonstration of new Generation IV nuclear technologies, for a worldwide renaissance to commence, a global standardization of regulations needs to take place, with a move towards serial manufacturing of standardized units akin to the other complex engineering field of aircraft and aviation. At present it is common for each country to demand bespoke changes to the design to satisfy varying national regulatory bodies, often to the benefit of domestic engineering supply firms. The report goes on to note that the most cost-effective projects have been built with multiple (up to six) reactors per site using a standardized design, with the same component suppliers and construction crews working on each unit, in a continuous work flow.Mapping what it would take for a renaissance for nuclear energy

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

{{See also|Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant}}Following the Tōhoku earthquake on 11 March 2011, one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, and a subsequent tsunami off the coast of Japan, the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered three core meltdowns due to failure of the emergency cooling system for lack of electricity supply. This resulted in the most serious nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster.The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident prompted a re-examination of nuclear safety and nuclear energy policy in many countries and raised questions among some commentators over the future of the renaissance.Nuclear Renaissance Threatened as Japan’s Reactor Struggles Bloomberg, published March 2011, accessed 2011-03-14Analysis: Nuclear renaissance could fizzle after Japan quake Reuters, published 2011-03-14, accessed 2011-03-14Germany approved plans to close all its reactors by 2022. Italian nuclear energy plansWEB, Italy rejoins the nuclear family, World Nuclear News, 2009-07-10,weblink 2009-07-17, ended when Italy banned the generation, but not consumption of, nuclear electricity in a June 2011 referendum.NEWS,weblink BBC News, Italy nuclear: Berlusconi accepts referendum blow, 2011-06-14, JOURNAL, Sylvia Westall, Fredrik Dahl, yes, 2011-06-24, IAEA Head Sees Wide Support for Stricter Nuclear Plant Safety,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 2011-06-25, Scientific American, China, Switzerland, Israel, Malaysia, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the Philippines reviewed their nuclear power programs.NEWS, Jo Chandler, 2011-03-19, Is this the end of the nuclear revival?,weblink The Sydney Morning Herald, Jo Chandler, NEWS, Aubrey Belford, 2011-03-17, Indonesia to Continue Plans for Nuclear Power,weblink The New York Times, Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu: Japan situation has "caused me to reconsider" nuclear power Piers Morgan on CNN, published 2011-03-17, accessed 2011-03-17Israeli PM cancels plan to build nuclear plant, published 2011-03-18, accessed 2011-03-17In 2011 the International Energy Agency halved its prior estimate of new generating capacity to be built by 2035.NEWS, 2011-04-28, Gauging the pressure,weblink The Economist, WEB,weblink Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation: Full Report, European Environment Agency, 2013-01-23, 476, Nuclear power generation had the biggest ever fall year-on-year in 2012, with nuclear power plants globally producing 2,346 TWh of electricity, a drop of 7% from 2011.This was caused primarily by the majority of Japanese reactors remaining offline that year and the permanent closure of eight reactors in Germany.WEB,weblink Nuclear power down in 2012, WNA, 2013-06-20, World Nuclear News,


{{See also|Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster#Equipment, facility, and operational changes}}The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident sparked controversy about the importance of the accident and its effect on nuclear's future.The crisis prompted countries with nuclear power to review the safety of their reactor fleet and reconsider the speed and scale of planned nuclear expansions.WEB,weblink News Analysis: Japan crisis puts global nuclear expansion in doubt, 2011-03-21, Platts, In 2011, The Economist opined that nuclear power "looks dangerous, unpopular, expensive and risky", and suggested a nuclear phase-out.NEWS, 2011-03-24, Nuclear power: When the steam clears,weblink The Economist, Jeffrey Sachs, Earth Institute Director, disagreed claiming combating climate change would require an expansion of nuclear power.WEB,weblink Nuclear power is only solution to climate change, says Jeffrey Sachs, Fiona, Harvey, 3 May 2012, the Guardian, Investment banks were also critical of nuclear soon after the accident.NEWS, Paton J, 2011-04-04, Fukushima crisis worse for atomic power than Chernobyl, USB says,weblink, 2014-08-17, WEB,weblink The 2011 Inflection Point for Energy Markets: Health, Safety, Security and the Environment, 2011-05-02, DB Climate Change Advisors, Deutsche Bank Group, In 2011 German engineering giant Siemens said it would withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry in response to the Fukushima accident.NEWS, 2011-09-18, Siemens to quit nuclear industry,weblink BBC News, NEWS, John Broder, 2011-10-10, The Year of Peril and Promise in Energy Production,weblink The New York Times, In 2017, Siemens set the "milestone" of supplying the first additive manufacturing part to a nuclear power station, at the Krško Nuclear Power Plant in Slovenia, which it regards as an "industry breakthrough".Siemens sets milestone with first 3D-printed part operating in nuclear power plantThe Associated Press and Reuters reported in 2011 the suggestion that the safety and survival of the younger Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, the closest reactor facility to the epicenter and on the coast, demonstrate that it is possible for nuclear facilities to withstand the greatest natural disasters. The Onagawa plant was also said to show that nuclear power can retain public trust, with the surviving residents of the town of Onagawa taking refuge in the gymnasium of the nuclear facility following the destruction of their town.NEWS, Onagawa: Japanese tsunami town where nuclear plant is the safest place,weblink Associated Press, 30 March 2011, NEWS,weblink Reuters, Japanese nuclear plant survived tsunami, offers clues, October 20, 2011, Following an IAEA inspection in 2012, the agency stated that "The structural elements of the [Onagawa] NPS (nuclear power station) were remarkably undamaged given the magnitude of ground motion experienced and the duration and size of this great earthquake,”.WEB,weblink Japanese nuclear plant 'remarkably undamaged' in earthquake – UN atomic agency, United Nations News Service, Section, August 10, 2012, February 7, 2017, WEB,weblink IAEA Expert Team Concludes Mission to Onagawa NPP, August 10, 2012, February 7, 2017, In February 2012, the U.S. NRC approved the construction of 2 reactors at the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, the first approval in 30 years.NEWS, Hsu, Jeremy, 2012-02-09, First Next-Gen US Reactor Designed to Avoid Fukushima Repeat,weblink Live Science (hosted on Yahoo!), 2012-02-09, NEWS, Blau, Max,weblink First new US nuclear reactor in 20 years goes live,, Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., 2016-10-20, 2016-10-20, In August 2015, following 4 years of near zero fission-electricity generation, Japan began restarting its nuclear reactors, after safety upgrades were completed, beginning with Sendai Nuclear Power Plant.WEB,weblink Startup of Sendai Nuclear Power Unit No.1, 2015-08-11, Kyushu Electric Power Company Inc., By 2015, the IAEA's outlook for nuclear energy had become more promising."Nuclear power is a critical element in limiting greenhouse gas emissions," the agency noted, and "the prospects for nuclear energy remain positive in the medium to long term despite a negative impact in some countries in the aftermath of the [Fukushima-Daiichi] is still the second-largest source worldwide of low-carbon electricity.And the 72 reactors under construction at the start of last year were the most in 25 years."WEB,weblink January: Taking a fresh look at the future of nuclear power,, As of 2015 the global trend was for new nuclear power stations coming online to be balanced by the number of old plants being retired.World Nuclear Association, "Plans for New Reactors Worldwide", October 2015. Eight new grid connections were completed by China in 2015.NEWS, World doubles new build reactor capacity in 2015,weblink 7 March 2016, World Nuclear News, 4 January 2016, London, WEB,weblink Grid Connection for Fuqing-2 in China 7 August 2015,, 2015-08-12, 2015-08-07,


{{See also|Nuclear energy policy|Mitigation of global warming}}File:Ulchin (now Hanul) 04790182 (8506930230).jpg|thumb|The Hanul Nuclear Power Plant in South Korea, as of 2019 the second highest generating output in the worldweblink by means of operating six power reactors with two additional indigenously-designed APR-1400 generation-III reactors under construction. South Korea exported the APR design to the United Arab Emirates, where four of these reactors are under construction at Barakah nuclear power plantBarakah nuclear power plantAs of 2018, there are over 150 nuclear reactors planned including 50 under construction.WEB,weblink Plans for New Nuclear Reactors Worldwide, World Nuclear Association,, 2018-09-29, However, while investment on upgrades of existing plant and life-time extensions continues,NEWS,weblink Investment in new nuclear declines to five-year low, World Nuclear News, 17 July 2018, 20 July 2018, investment in new nuclear is declining, reaching a 5-year-low in 2017.In 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected for its “base case” that world nuclear power generation would increase from 2,344 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2012 to 4,500 TWh in 2040.Most of the predicted increase was expected to be in Asia.International Energy outlook 2016, US Energy Information Administration, accessed 17 Aug. 2016.The future of nuclear power varies greatly between countries, depending on government policies.Some countries, most notably, Germany, have adopted policies of nuclear power phase-out.At the same time, some Asian countries, such as ChinaMAGAZINE, Can China become a scientific superpower? - The great experiment,weblink The Economist, 12 January 2019, 25 January 2019, and India,"Nuclear power plant builders see new opportunities in India", Nikkei, 16 June 2016. have committed to rapid expansion of nuclear power.Many other countries, such as the United Kingdom"The problem with Britain's (planned) nuclear power station", The Economist, 7 Aug. 2016. and the United States, have policies in between.Japan generated about 30% of its electricity from nuclear power before the Fukushima accident.In 2015 the Japanese government committed to the aim of restarting its fleet of 40 reactors by 2030 after safety upgrades, and to finish the construction of the Generation III Ōma Nuclear Power Plant.WEB,weblink Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction of nuclear plant, 2018-03-19, This would mean that approximately 20% of electricity would come from nuclear power by 2030.As of 2018, some reactors have restarted commercial operation following inspections and upgrades with new regulations.WEB,weblink Nuclear Power in Japan, 2016, World Nuclear Association, 20 October 2016, While South Korea has a large nuclear power industry, the new government in 2017, influenced by a vocal anti-nuclear movement,South Korea cuts target for nuclear power committed to halting nuclear development after the completion of the facilities presently under construction.NEWS,weblink Nuclear new build – where does it stand today?, Kidd, Steve, Nuclear Engineering International, 30 January 2018, 12 February 2018, NEWS,weblink Korea's nuclear phase-out policy takes shape, World Nuclear News, 19 June 2017, 12 February 2018, File:GenIVRoadmap-en.svg|thumb|433px|The Generation IVGeneration IVThe nuclear power industry in some western nations have a history of construction delays, cost overruns, plant cancellations, and nuclear safety issues, despite significant government subsidies and support.NEWS, James Kanter, 2009-05-28, In Finland, Nuclear Renaissance Runs Into Trouble,weblink The New York Times, WEB,weblink Is the Nuclear Renaissance Fizzling?, James Kanter, 2009-05-29, Green, NEWS, Rob Broomby, 2009-07-08, Nuclear dawn delayed in Finland,weblink BBC News, These problems are related to very strict safety requirements, uncertain regulatory environment, slow rate of construction, and large stretches of time with no nuclear construction and consequent loss of know-how.Commentators therefore argue that new nuclear is impractical in western countries because of popular opposition, regulatory uncertainty, soft demand for multiple reactor units and high costs.NEWS, John Quiggin, 2013-11-08, Reviving nuclear power debates is a distraction. We need to use less energy,weblink The Guardian, NEWS, Hannah Northey, 2011-03-18, Former NRC Member Says Renaissance is Dead, for Now,weblink The New York Times, NEWS, Ian Lowe, 2011-03-20, No nukes now, or ever,weblink The Age, Melbourne, The bankruptcy of Westinghouse in March 2017 due to US$9 billion of losses from the halting of construction at Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station, in the U.S. is considered an advantage for eastern companies, for the future export and design of nuclear fuel and reactors.NEWS,weblink Westinghouse files for bankruptcy, Nuclear Engineering International, 29 March 2017, 4 April 2017, NEWS,weblink U.S. Nuclear Setback Is a Boon to Russia, China, Leonid, Bershidsky, Bloomberg, 30 March 2017, 21 April 2017, In 2016, Greenpeace and the wind industry company Ecotricity criticized the high cost of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station and threatened to take action in British or French courts or lodge a complaint with the European Commission, in order to trigger an investigation, which they said could last as long as a year.More delays and threat of legal action beset UK’s new nuclear plant, Global Construction Review, 26 April 2016.The greatest new build activity is occurring in Asian countries like South Korea, India and China.In January 2019, China had 45 reactors in operation, 13 under construction, and plans to build 43 more, which would make it the world's largest generator of nuclear electricity.File:Advanced Test Reactor.jpg|thumb|200px|left|Blue light from Cherenkov radiation being produced near the core of the Fission powered Advanced Test Reactor. A facility taking part in the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, to transmute certain actinides into fuel, that would be able to be used in commercial light water reactors, reducing a number of the security hazards of, what is all presently considered "(radioactive waste|waste]]".WEB,weblink Reactor Utilization for the Advanced Test Reactor, Idaho National Laboratory, Robert C. Howard, 2008-04-03, National Academy of Sciences Feasibility of Transmutation of Radioactive Elements)In 2016 the BN-800 sodium cooled fast reactor in Russia, began commercial electricity generation, while plans for a BN-1200 were initially conceived the future of the fast reactor program in Russia awaits the results from MBIR, an under construction multi-loop Generation IV research facility for testing the chemically more inert lead, lead-bismuth and gas coolants, it will similarly run on recycled MOX (mixed uranium and plutonium oxide) fuel. An on-site pyrochemical processing, closed fuel-cycle facility, is planned, to recycle the spent fuel/"waste" and reduce the necessity for a growth in uranium mining and exploration. In 2017 the manufacture program for the reactor commenced with the facility open to collaboration under the "International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycle", it has a construction schedule, that includes an operational start in 2020. As planned, it will be the world's most-powerful research reactor.NEWS,weblink Russia starts to build MBIR vessel,

Extending plant lifetimes

{{As of|2019}} the cost of extending plant lifetimes is competitive with other electricity generation technologies, including new solar and wind projects. In the United States, licenses of almost half of the operating nuclear reactors have been extended to 60 years.WEB,weblink Nuclear 'Renaissance' Is Short on Largess, Matthew L. Wald, 2010-12-07, The New York Times, The U.S. NRC and the U.S. Department of Energy have initiated research into Light water reactor sustainability which is hoped will lead to allowing extensions of reactor licenses beyond 60 years, provided that safety can be maintained, to increase energy security and preserve low-carbon generation sources. Research into nuclear reactors that can last 100 years, known as Centurion Reactors, is being conducted.Sherrell R. Greene, "Centurion Reactors – Achieving Commercial Power Reactors With 100+ Year Operating Lifetimes'", Oak Ridge National Laboratory, published in transactions of Winter 2009 American Nuclear Society National Meeting, November 2009, Washington, DC.

Nuclear power station

File:PWR nuclear power plant animation.webm|thumb|thumbtime=2|An animation of a Pressurized water reactorPressurized water reactor{{See also|List of nuclear reactors}}Just as many conventional thermal power stations generate electricity by harnessing the thermal energy released from burning fossil fuels, nuclear power plants convert the energy released from the nucleus of an atom via nuclear fission that takes place in a nuclear reactor. When a neutron hits the nucleus of a uranium-235 or plutonium atom, it can split the nucleus into two smaller nuclei. The reaction is called nuclear fission. The fission reaction releases energy and neutrons. The released neutrons can hit other uranium or plutonium nuclei, causing new fission reactions, which release more energy and more neutrons. This is called a chain reaction. The reaction rate is controlled by control rods that absorb excess neutrons. The controllability of nuclear reactors depends on the fact that a small fraction of neutrons resulting from fission are delayed. The time delay between the fission and the release of the neutrons slows down changes in reaction rates and gives time for moving the control rods to adjust the reaction rate.WEB, How does a nuclear reactor make electricity?, World Nuclear Association,weblink, 24 August 2018, NEWS,weblink Atomic age began 75 years ago with the first controlled nuclear chain reaction, Spyrou, Artemis, 2017-12-03, Scientific American, 2018-11-18, Mittig, Wolfgang, A fission nuclear power plant is generally composed of a nuclear reactor, in which the nuclear reactions generating heat take place; a cooling system, which removes the heat from inside the reactor; a steam turbine, which transforms the heat in mechanical energy; an electric generator, which transform the mechanical energy into electrical energy.

Life cycle of nuclear fuel

File:Nuclear Fuel Cycle.png|thumb|The nuclear fuel cycle begins when uranium is mined, enriched, and manufactured into nuclear fuel, (1) which is delivered to a nuclear power plant. After usage in the power plant, the spent fuel is delivered to a reprocessing plant (2) or to a final repository (3) for geological disposition. In reprocessing 95% of spent fuel can potentially be recycled to be returned to usage in a power plant (4).]]The life cycle of nuclear fuel starts with Uranium mining, which can be underground, open-pit, or in-situ leach mines. The uranium ore is then typically converted into a stable and compact uranium ore concentrate form known as "yellowcake", more suited for transport. Next, the yellowcake is typically converted to a gas uranium hexafluoride, suitable for enrichment, although some reactor designs can also use natural uranium without enrichment. Uranium is typically enriched to 3-5% uranium-235, and then generally converted back to the ceramic uranium oxide(UOx) form and shaped into rods of the proper composition and geometry for the particular reactor that the fuel is destined for.In modern light-water reactors the fuel rods will typically spend 3 operational cycles (about 6 years) inside the reactor, generally until about 3% of the uranium has been fissioned. Afterwards, they will be moved to a spent fuel pool which provides cooling for the thermal heat and shielding for ionizing radiation. Dpending largely upon burnup efficiency, after about 5 years in a spent fuel pool the spent fuel is radioactively and thermally cool enough to handle, and can be moved to dry storage casks or reprocessed.

Conventional fuel resources

File:Uranium enrichment proportions.svg|left|upright=0.9|thumb|Proportions of the isotopes uranium-238 (blue) and uranium-235 (red) found in natural uranium and in enriched uranium for different applications. Light water reactors use 3-5% enriched uranium, while CANDUCANDUUranium is a fairly common element in the Earth's crust: it is approximately as common as tin or germanium, and is about 40 times more common than silver.ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink uranium Facts, information, pictures | articles about uranium,, 2001-09-11, 2013-06-14, Uranium is present in trace concentrations in most rocks, dirt, and ocean water, but is generally economically extracted only where it is present in high concentrations.As of 2011 the world's known resources of uranium, economically recoverable at the arbitrary price ceiling of US$130/kg, were enough to last for between 70 and 100 years.WEB,weblink Second Thoughts About Nuclear Power, A Policy Brief – Challenges Facing Asia, January 2011, yes,weblink" title="">weblink January 16, 2013, WEB,weblink Uranium resources sufficient to meet projected nuclear energy requirements long into the future, 2008-06-03, Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), 2008-06-16, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2008-12-05, BOOK, 2008, Uranium 2007 – Resources, Production and Demand,weblink Nuclear Energy Agency, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 978-92-64-04766-2, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-01-30, The OECD's red book of 2011 said that conventional uranium resources had grown by 12.5% since 2008 due to increased exploration, with this increase translating into greater than a century of uranium available if the rate of use were to continue at the 2011 level.WEB,weblink Press release: Global Uranium Supply Ensured For Long Term, New Report Shows,, 2012-07-26, 2013-06-14, BOOK, Uranium 2011, 2012, OECD Publishing, 978-92-64-17803-8, {{page needed|date=October 2018}} In 2007, the OECD estimated 670 years of economically recoverable uranium in total conventional resources and phosphate ores assuming the then-current use rate.WEB,weblink Energy Supply, 271,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-12-15, and table 4.10.Light water reactors make relatively inefficient use of nuclear fuel, mostly fissioning only the very rare uranium-235 isotope.WEB,weblink Waste Management in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, 2006-11-09, World Nuclear Association, 2006, Information and Issue Briefs, Nuclear reprocessing can make this waste reusable. Newer generation III reactors also achieve a more efficient use of the available resources than the generation II reactors which make up the vast majority of reactors worldwide. With a pure fast reactor fuel cycle with a burn up of all the Uranium and actinides (which presently make up the most hazardous substances in nuclear waste), there is an estimated 160,000 years worth of Uranium in total conventional resources and phosphate ore at the price of 60–100 US$/kg.WEB,weblink Energy Supply, 271,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-12-15, and figure 4.10.

Unconventional fuel resources

Unconventional uranium resources also exist.Uranium is naturally present in seawater at a concentration of about 3 micrograms per liter,BOOK,weblink 399, Isotopes of the Earth's Hydrosphere, 978-94-007-2856-1, Ferronsky, V.I., Polyakov, V.A., 2012, WEB,weblink Toxicological profile for thorium, 1990, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 76, world average concentration in seawater is 0.05 μg/L (Harmsen and De Haan 1980), JOURNAL, 10.1021/ac00288a030, Determination of thorium concentration in seawater by neutron activation analysis, Analytical Chemistry, 57, 11, 2138–2142, 2002, Huh, C.A., Bacon, M.P., WEB,weblink The Periodic Table with Seawater Additions, with 4.5 billion tons of uranium considered present in seawater at any time.In 2012 it was estimated that this fuel source could be extracted at 10 times the current price of uranium.WEB,weblink Uranium Extraction from Seawater, citing B. Chan, "Amidoxime Uranium Extraction From Seawater," Physics 241, Stanford University, Winter 2011.,, In 2014, with the advances made in the efficiency of seawater uranium extraction, it was suggested that it would be economically competitive to produce fuel for light water reactors from seawater if the process was implemented at large scale.JOURNAL, 10.3390/jmse2010081, Development of a Kelp-Type Structure Module in a Coastal Ocean Model to Assess the Hydrodynamic Impact of Seawater Uranium Extraction Technology, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 2, 81–92, 2014, Wang, Taiping, Khangaonkar, Tarang, Long, Wen, Gill, Gary,weblink Uranium extracted on an industrial scale from seawater would constantly be replenished by both river erosion of rocks and the natural process of uranium dissolved from the surface area of the ocean floor, both of which maintain the solubility equilibria of seawater concentration at a stable level.WEB,weblink The current state of promising research into extraction of uranium from seawater – Utilization of Japan's plentiful seas, Some commentators have argued that this strengthens the case for Nuclear power to be considered a renewable energyApril 20, 2016 Volume 55, Issue 15 Pages 4101-4362 In this issue:Uranium in Seawater


File:Nuclear-Fuel.jpg|thumb|right|Nuclear fuel assemblies being inspected before entering a pressurized water reactorpressurized water reactorAs opposed to light water reactors which use uranium-235 (0.7% of all natural uranium), fast breeder reactors use uranium-238 (99.3% of all natural uranium) or thorium. A number of fuel cycles and breeder reactor combinations are considered to be sustainable and/or renewable sources of energy.JOURNAL, Future Scenarios for Fission Based Reactors, Nuclear Physics A, 751, 429–441, 2005NuPhA.751..429D, David, S., 2005, 10.1016/j.nuclphysa.2005.02.014, WEB, Chapter 7: Energy: Choices for Environment and Development,weblink Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, Gro Harlem, Brundtland, Oslo, 20 March 1987, 27 March 2013, Today's primary sources of energy are mainly non-renewable: natural gas, oil, coal, peat, and conventional nuclear power. There are also renewable sources, including wood, plants, dung, falling water, geothermal sources, solar, tidal, wind, and wave energy, as well as human and animal muscle-power. Nuclear reactors that produce their own fuel ('breeders') and eventually fusion reactors are also in this category, In 2006 it was estimated that with seawater extraction, there was likely some five billion years' worth of uranium-238 for use in breeder reactors.WEB,weblink Facts From Cohen and Others, 2006-11-09, Stanford, 2006, John McCarthy, John McCarthy (computer scientist), Progress and its Sustainability, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2007-04-10, Citing: JOURNAL, Cohen, Bernard L., Breeder reactors: A renewable energy source, American Journal of Physics, January 1983, 51, 1, 75–76, 10.1119/1.13440, Breeder technology has been used in several reactors, but the high cost of reprocessing fuel safely, at 2006 technological levels, requires uranium prices of more than US$200/kg before becoming justified economically.WEB,weblink Advanced Nuclear Power Reactors, 2006-11-09, World Nuclear Association, 2006, Information and Issue Briefs, Breeder reactors are however being pursued as they have the potential to burn up all of the actinides in the present inventory of nuclear waste while also producing power and creating additional quantities of fuel for more reactors via the breeding process.WEB,weblink Synergy between Fast Reactors and Thermal Breeders for Safe, Clean, and Sustainable Nuclear Power, World Energy Council,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-01-10, WEB,weblink Are Fast-Breeder Reactors A Nuclear Power Panacea? by Fred Pearce: Yale Environment 360, Rebecca Kessler,, 2013-06-14, As of 2017, there are two breeders producing commercial power, BN-600 reactor and the BN-800 reactor, both in Russia.WEB, Fast Neutron Reactors {{!, FBR – World Nuclear Association |url= | |accessdate=7 October 2018}}The BN-600, with a capacity of 600 MW, was built in 1980 in Beloyarsk and is planned to produce power until 2025. The BN-800 is an updated version of the BN-600, and started operation in 2014. The Phénix breeder reactor in France was powered down in 2009 after 36 years of operation.Both China and India are building breeder reactors.The Indian 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor is in the commissioning phase,NEWS, Prototype fast breeder reactor to be commissioned in two months: IGCAR director,weblink 28 August 2018, The Times of India, with plans to build more.NEWS,weblink India's breeder reactor to be commissioned in 2013, Hindustan Times, 2013-06-14, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-04-26, Another alternative to fast breeders is thermal breeder reactors that use uranium-233 bred from thorium as fission fuel in the thorium fuel cycle. Thorium is about 3.5 times more common than uranium in the Earth's crust, and has different geographic characteristics. This would extend the total practical fissionable resource base by 450%.WEB,weblink Thorium, 2006-11-09, World Nuclear Association, 2006, Information and Issue Briefs, India's three-stage nuclear power programme features the use of a thorium fuel cycle in the third stage, as it has abundant thorium reserves but little uranium.

Nuclear waste

{{See also|Sievert#Dose rate examples}}File:Spent Fuel Storage (25865854820).png|thumb|left| The lifecycle of fuel in the present US system. If put in one place the total inventory of spent nuclear fuel generated by the commercial fleet of power stations in the United States, would stand 25 feet tall and be 300 feet on a side, approximately the footprint of one (American football#Field and equipment|football field]].Generation AtomicNPR Nuclear Waste May Get A Second Life)The most important waste stream from nuclear power reactors is spent nuclear fuel. From LWRs, it is typically composed of 95% uranium, 4% fission products from the energy generating nuclear fission reactions, as well as about 1% transuranic actinides (mostly reactor grade plutonium, neptunium and americium)Minor Actinides Neptunium, americium and curium from unavoidable neutron capture events. The plutonium and other transuranics are responsible for the bulk of the long-term radioactivity, whereas the fission products are responsible for the bulk of the short-term radioactivity.M.I. Ojovan, W.E. Lee. An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation, Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Amsterdam, 315 pp. (2005).

High-level radioactive waste

{{See also|Reactor-grade plutonium#Reuse in reactors|List of nuclear waste treatment technologies}}File:Nuclear fuel composition.svg|right|thumb|Typical composition of UOx before and after approximately 3 years of fission service in the once-thru fuel cycle of a LWR.weblink" title="">Current Optionns for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle JAIF, Finck, Philip Thermal neutron-spectrum-reactors, which presently constitute the majority of the world fleet, cannot burn up the reactor grade plutonium that is generated efficiently, limiting the effective useful fuel life to a few years at most. Reactors in Europe and Asia are permitted to burn later refined MOX fuel, though the burnupburnupFile:Spent nuclear fuel decay sievert.jpg|right|thumb|In the years outside a reactor, the activity of spent UOx fuel, in comparison to the activity of Uraninite|natural uranium ore]weblink The various plutonium isotopes that are generated and minor actinides constitute the primary hazard following the relatively rapid decay of the (fission products]] after approximately 300 years. The long lived fission products, Tc-99 and I-129, though less radioactive than the natural uranium ore they derived from,Frequently Asked Questions About Nuclear Energy by John McCarthy "after 500 years, the fission products will be less radioactive than the uranium ore they are originally derived from" are the focus of much thought on containing, or transmutating and producing products with more socially acceptable storage projectionsweblink)File:Nuclear dry storage.jpg|left|thumb|Following interim storage in a spent fuel pool, the bundles of used fuel rod assemblies of a typical nuclear power station are often stored on site in the likes of the eight dry cask storage vessels pictured above.WEB,weblink NRC: Dry Cask Storage,, 2013-03-26, 2013-06-22, At Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station, which generated 44 billion kilowatt hours of electricity when in service, its complete spent fuel inventory is contained within sixteen casks.WEB,weblink Yankee Nuclear Power Plant,, 2013-06-22, It is commonly estimated that to produce a per capita lifetime supply of energy at a western standard of living, approximately 3 GWh, would require on the order of the volume of a soda can of (Low enriched uranium]] per person and thus result in a similar volume of spent fuel generated.Hyperphysics Energy Consumption of the United States)The high-level radioactive waste/spent fuel that is generated from power production, requires treatment, management and isolation from the environment. The technical issues in accomplishing this are considerable, due to the extremely long periods some particularly sublimation prone, mildly radioactive wastes, remain potentially hazardous to living organisms, namely the long-lived fission products, Technetium-99 (half-life 220,000 years) and Iodine-129 (half-life 15.7 million years),WEB,weblink Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program, Idaho National Laboratory,weblink" title="">weblink 2008-11-21, 2009-01-05, yes, which dominate the waste stream in radioactivity after the more intensely radioactive short-lived fission products(SLFPs) have decayed into stable elements, which takes approximately 300 years. To successfully isolate the LLFP waste from the biosphere, either separation and transmutation,NAP, Summary of International Separations and Transmutation Activities or some variation of a synroc treatment and deep geological storage, is commonly suggested.BOOK, Ojovan, M.I., Lee, W.E., An Introduction to Nuclear Waste Immobilisation, Elsevier Science Publishers, Amsterdam, 315, 2005, 978-0-08-044462-8, BOOK, Technical Bases for Yucca Mountain Standards, National Research Council, 1995, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 978-0-309-05289-4,weblink 91, WEB,weblink The Status of Nuclear Waste Disposal, January 2006, The American Physical Society, 2008-06-06, WEB,weblink Public Health and Environmental Radiation Protection Standards for Yucca Mountain, Nevada; Proposed Rule, 2005-08-22, United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2008-06-06, While in the US, spent fuel is presently in its entirety, federally classified as a nuclear waste and is treated similarly,CRS Report for Congress. Radioactive Waste Streams: Waste Classification for Disposal The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) defined irradiated fuel as spent nuclear fuel, and the byproducts as high-level waste. in other countries it is largely reprocessed to produce a partially recycled fuel, known as mixed oxide fuel or MOX. For spent fuel that does not undergo reprocessing, the most concerning isotopes are the medium-lived transuranic elements, which are led by reactor grade plutonium (half-life 24,000 years).{{harvnb|Vandenbosch|2007|p=21.|Ref=none}}Some proposed reactor designs, such as the American Integral Fast Reactor and the Molten salt reactor can more completely use or burnup the spent reactor grade plutonium fuel and other minor actinides, generated from light water reactors, as under the designed fast fission spectrum, these elements are more likely to fission and produce the aforementioned fission products in their place. This offers a potentially more attractive alternative to deep geological disposal.NEWS, Duncan Clark,weblink Nuclear waste-burning reactor moves a step closer to reality | Environment |, Guardian, 2012-07-09, 2013-06-14, London, WEB,weblink George Monbiot, A Waste of Waste,, 2013-06-14, WEB,weblink Energy From Thorium: A Nuclear Waste Burning Liquid Salt Thorium Reactor, YouTube, 2009-07-23, 2013-06-14, The thorium fuel cycle results in similar fission products, though builds up much less transuranic elements from neutron capture events within a reactor and therefore spent thorium fuel, breeding the true fuel of fissile U-233, is somewhat less concerning from a radiotoxic and security standpoint.NWT magazine, October 2012

Low-level radioactive waste

{{See also|Low-level waste}}The nuclear industry also produces a large volume of low-level radioactive waste in the form of contaminated items like clothing, hand tools, water purifier resins, and (upon decommissioning) the materials of which the reactor itself is built. Low-level waste can be stored on-site until radiation levels are low enough to be disposed as ordinary waste, or it can be sent to a low-level waste disposal site.WEB, NRC: Low-Level Waste,weblink, 28 August 2018, en,

Waste relative to other types

{{See also|Radioactive waste#Naturally occurring radioactive material}}In countries with nuclear power, radioactive wastes account for less than 1% of total industrial toxic wastes, much of which remains hazardous for long periods. Overall, nuclear power produces far less waste material by volume than fossil-fuel based power plants.WEB,weblink The Challenges of Nuclear Power, Coal-burning plants are particularly noted for producing large amounts of toxic and mildly radioactive ash due to concentrating naturally occurring metals and mildly radioactive material in coal.JOURNAL, 2007-12-13, Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste,weblink Scientific American, A 2008 report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory concluded that coal power actually results in more radioactivity being released into the environment than nuclear power operation, and that the population effective dose equivalent, or dose to the public from radiation from coal plants is 100 times as much as from the operation of nuclear plants.WEB,weblink Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger, Alex Gabbard, 2008-02-05, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 2008-01-31, yes,weblink" title="">weblink February 5, 2007, Although coal ash is much less radioactive than spent nuclear fuel on a weight per weight basis, coal ash is produced in much higher quantities per unit of energy generated, and this is released directly into the environment as fly ash, whereas nuclear plants use shielding to protect the environment from radioactive materials, for example, in dry cask storage vessels.JOURNAL, 2008-12-31, Coal ash is not more radioactive than nuclear waste,weblink CE Journal,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-08-27, yes,

Waste disposal

File:WIPP-04.jpeg|Storage of radioactive waste at WIPP|thumb| The placement of Nuclear waste flasks, generated during US cold war activities, underground at the WIPP facility. The facility is seen as a potential demonstration, for later civilian generated spent fuel, or constituents of it.]]Disposal of nuclear waste is often considered the most politically divisive aspect in the lifecycle of a nuclear power facility.Montgomery, Scott L. (2010). The Powers That Be, University of Chicago Press, p. 137.Presently, waste is mainly stored at individual reactor sites and there are over 430 locations around the world where radioactive material continues to accumulate.Some experts suggest that centralized underground repositories which are well-managed, guarded, and monitored, would be a vast improvement.There is an "international consensus on the advisability of storing nuclear waste in deep geological repositories", with the lack of movement of nuclear waste in the 2 billion year old natural nuclear fission reactors in Oklo, Gabon being cited as "a source of essential information today."WEB,weblink international Journal of Environmental Studies, The Solutions for Nuclear waste, December 2005, 2013-06-22, WEB,weblink Oklo: Natural Nuclear Reactors, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, Yucca Mountain Project, DOE/YMP-0010
, November 2004, 2009-09-15,weblink" title="">weblink 2009-08-25, yes,
File:Alpha-Gamma Hot Cell Facility 001.jpg|thumb|Most waste packaging, small-scale experimental fuel recycling chemistry and radiopharmaceutical refinement is conducted within remote-handled Hot cellHot cellThere are no commercial scale purpose built underground high-level waste repositories in operation.BOOK, Gore, Al, 2009, Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, Rodale, Emmaus, PA, 165–166, 978-1-59486-734-7, MAGAZINE,weblinkweblink yes, 2017-05-25, A Nuclear Power Renaissance?, 2008-04-28, Scientific American, 2008-05-15, MAGAZINE,weblink Nuclear Fuel Recycling: More Trouble Than It's Worth
first= Frank N. date= April 2008 accessdate= 2008-05-15, However, in Finland the Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository is under construction as of 2015.HTTP://WWW.WORLD-NUCLEAR-NEWS.ORG/WR-LICENCE-GRANTED-FOR-FINNISH-USED-FUEL-REPOSITORY-1211155.HTML>TITLE=LICENCE GRANTED FOR FINNISH USED FUEL REPOSITORYWEBSITE=WORLD NUCLEAR NEWS, 2018-11-18, The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico has been taking nuclear waste since 1999 from production reactors, but as the name suggests is a research and development facility.In 2014 a radiation leak caused by violations in the use of chemically reactive packagingJOURNAL, Vincent, Ialenti, 2018, Waste Makes Haste: How a Campaign to Speed Up Nuclear Waste Shipments Shut Down the WIPP Long-Term Repository, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, en, 74, 4, 262–275, 3203978, 2018BuAtS..74d.262I, 10.1080/00963402.2018.1486616, brought renewed attention to the need for quality control management, along with some initial calls for more R&D into the alternative methods of disposal for radioactive waste and spent fuel.JOURNAL, US seeks waste-research revival: Radioactive leak brings nuclear repositories into the spotlight, 7490, 15–6, Jeff Tollefson, 4 March 2014, Nature (journal), Nature, 507, 10.1038/507015a, 24598616, In 2017, the facility was formally reopened after three years of investigation and cleanup, with the resumption of new storage taking place later that year.Conca, James (January 10, 2017). "WIPP Nuclear Waste Repository Reopens For Business". Retrieved January 26, 2017.The U.S Nuclear Waste Policy Act, a fund which previously received $750 million in fee revenues each year from the nation's combined nuclear electric utilities, had an unspent balance of $44.5 billion as of the end of FY2017, when a court ordered the federal government to cease withdrawing the fund, until it provides a destination for the utilities commercial spent fuelweblink


{{details|Nuclear reprocessing}}{{see also|Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement}}File:Plutonium and uranium extraction from nuclear fuel-eng.svg|thumb|upright=1.1|Reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel by the PUREX method, first developed in the 1940s to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons,Greenwood, pp. 1255, 1261 was demonstrated commercially in Belgium to partially re-fuel a LWR in the 1960s.WEB
, Reprocessing plants, world-wide
, European Nuclear Society
, 29 July 2008
, This aqueous chemical process continues to be used commercially to separate (reactor grade plutonium]] (RGPu) for reuse as MOX fuel. It remains controversial, as plutonium can be used to make nuclear weapons.An Evaluation of the Proliferation Resistant Characteristics of Light Water Reactor Fuel with the Potential for Recycle in the United StatesIs U.S. Reprocessing Worth The Risk?, Steve Fetter and Frank N. von Hippel, Arms Control Today, September 1, 2005.)File:Ifr concept.jpg|thumb|upright=1.3|The most developed, though commercially unfielded, alternative reprocessing method, is Pyroprocessing,JOURNAL, L.C. Walters, September 18, 1998, Thirty years of fuels and materials information from EBR-II, Journal of Nuclear Materials, 270, 1, 39–48, 10.1016/S0022-3115(98)00760-0, 1999JNuM..270...39W,weblink suggested as part of the depicted metallic-fueled, Integral fast reactor (IFR) a sodium fast reactor concept of the 1990s. After the spent fuel is dissolved in molten salt, all of the recyclable actinides, consisting largely of plutonium and uranium though with important minor constituents, are extracted using electrorefining/electrowinning. The resulting mixture keeps the plutonium at all times in an unseparated (MOX fuel#Americium content|gamma and alpha emitting actinide]] form, that is also mildly self-protecting in theft scenarios.weblink PUREX and PYRO are not the same, Hannum, Marsh, Stanford.)Most thermal reactors run on a once-through fuel cycle, mainly due to the low price of fresh uranium, though many reactors are also fueled with recycled fissionable materials that remain in spent nuclear fuel. The most common fissionable material that is recycled is the reactor-grade plutonium (RGPu) that is extracted from spent fuel, it is mixed with uranium oxide and fabricated into mixed-oxide or MOX fuel. The first LWR designs certified to operate on a full core of MOX fuel, the ABWR and the System 80, began to appear in the 1990s.weblinkweblink The potential for recycling the spent fuel a second time is limited by undesirable neutron economy issues using second-generation MOX fuel in thermal-reactors. These issues do not affect fast reactors, which are therefore preferred in order to achieve the full energy potential of the original uranium.NEWS, Fairley, Peter, Nuclear Wasteland,weblink IEEE Spectrum, February 2007, The only commercial demonstration of triple burnup to date occurred in the Phénix fast reactor.JOURNAL, Reprocessing of spent fast reactor nuclear fuels, Natarajan, 10.1016/B978-1-78242-212-9.00009-5, Because thermal LWRs remain the most common reactor worldwide, the most typical form of commercial spent fuel recycling is to recycle the plutonium a single time as MOX fuel, as is done in France, where it is considered to increase the sustainability of the nuclear fuel cycle, reduce the attractiveness of spent fuel to theft and lower the volume of high level nuclear waste.JOURNAL, 10.1016/, Assessment of the environmental footprint of nuclear energy systems. Comparison between closed and open fuel cycles, Energy, 69, 199–211, May 2014, Poinssot, Ch., Bourg, S., Ouvrier, N., Combernoux, N., Rostaing, C., Vargas-Gonzalez, M., Bruno, J., Reprocessing of civilian fuel from power reactors is also currently done in the United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, and India.The main constituent of spent fuel from the most common light water reactor, is uranium that is slightly more enriched than natural uranium, which can be recycled, though there is a lower incentive to do so. Most of this "recovered uranium",CANDU Fuel Cycle Flexibility or at times referred to as reprocessed uranium, remains in storage. It can however be used in a fast reactor, used directly as fuel in CANDU reactors, or re-enriched for another cycle through an LWR. The direct use of recovered uranium to fuel a CANDU reactor was first demonstrated at Quishan, China.Use of CANDU fuel from spent light water reactor fuel at Qinshan nuclear power plant The first re-enriched uranium reload to fuel a commercial LWR, occurred in 1994 at the Cruas unit 4, France.Framatome to supply EDF with reprocessed uranium fuelEDF plans to restart use of reprocessed uranium in some of its reactors Re-enriching of reprocessed uranium is common in France and Russia.WEB,weblink Processing of Used Nuclear Fuel, 2018, World Nuclear Association, 2018-12-26, When reprocessed uranium, namely Uranium-236, is part of the fuel of LWRs, it generates a spent fuel and plutonium isotope stream with greater inherent self-protection, than the once-thru fuel cycle.Proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel cycles. [Spiking of plutonium with /sup 238/Pu]JOURNAL, Formation of proliferation-resistant nuclear fuel supplies based on reprocessed uranium for Russian nuclear technologies recipient countries, Nuclear Energy and Technology, 1, 2, 111–116, 10.1016/j.nucet.2015.11.023, 2015, Fedorov, M.I., Dyachenko, A.I., Balagurov, N.A., Artisyuk, V.V., JOURNAL, Proliferation resistant plutonium: An updated analysis, Nuclear Engineering and Design, 330, 297–302, 10.1016/j.nucengdes.2018.02.012, 2018, Lloyd, Cody, Goddard, Braden, While reprocessing offers the potential recovery of up to 95% of the remaining uranium and plutonium fuel, in spent nuclear fuel and a reduction in long term radioactivity within the remaining waste. Reprocessing has been politically controversial because of the potential to contribute to nuclear proliferation and varied perceptions of increasing the vulnerability to nuclear terrorism and because of its higher fuel cost, compared to the once-through fuel cycle.R. Stephen Berry and George S. Tolley, Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing, The University of Chicago, 2013.WEB,weblink Managing nuclear spent fuel: Policy lessons from a 10-country study, Harold Feiveson, 2011, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, etal, Similarly, while reprocessing reduces the volume of high-level waste, it does not reduce the fission products that are the primary residual heat generating and radioactive substances for the first few centuries outside the reactor, thus still requiring an almost identical container-spacing for the initial first few hundred years, within proposed geological waste isolation facilities. However much of the opposition to the Yucca Mountain project and those similar to it, primarily center not around fission products but the "plutonium mine" concern that placed in the underground, un-reprocessed spent fuel, will eventually becomeweblink the United States, spent nuclear fuel is currently not reprocessed. A major recommendation of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future was that "the United States should or more permanent deep geological facilities for the safe disposal of spent fuel and high-level nuclear waste".WEB, Disposal Subcommittee Report to the Full Commission, Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future,weblink 1 January 2016, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 1 June 2012, The French La Hague reprocessing facility has operated commercially since 1976 and is responsible for half the world's reprocessing as of 2010.BOOK, Kok, Kenneth D., Nuclear Engineering Handbook, 2010, CRC Press, 332, 978-1-4200-5391-3,weblink Having produced MOX fuel from spent fuel derived from France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, with the non-recyclable part of the spent fuel eventually sent back to the user nation. More than 32,000 tonnes of spent fuel had been reprocessed as of 2015, with the majority from France, 17% from Germany, and 9% from Japan.NEWS,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 23 July 2015, Crisis for Areva's plant as clients shun nuclear, Emmanuel Jarry, Moneyweb, Reuters, 6 May 2015, 6 May 2015, Once a source of criticism from Greenpeace, more recently the organization have ceased attempting to criticize the facility on technical grounds, having succeeded at performing the process without serious incidents that have been frequent at other such facilities around the world. In the past, the antinuclear movement argued that reprocessing would not be technically or economically feasible.WEB, Fairley, Peter, IEEE Spectrum: Nuclear Wasteland, 2007-08-26, February 2007,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink yes, 2007-02-16, A PUREX related facility, frequently considered to be the proprietary COEXweblink designed by Areva, is a major long term commitment of the PRC with the intention to supply by 2030, Chinese reactors with economically separated and indigenous recycled fuelweblink

Nuclear decommissioning

The financial costs of every nuclear power plant continues for some time after the facility has finished generating its last useful electricity. Once no longer economically viable, nuclear reactors and uranium enrichment facilities are generally decommissioned, returning the facility and its parts to a safe enough level to be entrusted for other uses, such as greenfield status.After a cooling-off period that may last decades, reactor core materials are dismantled and cut into small pieces to be packed in containers for interim storage or transmutation experiments.In the United States a Nuclear Waste Policy Act and Nuclear Decommissioning Trust Fund is legally required, with utilities banking 0.1 to 0.2 cents/kWh during operations to fund future decommissioning. They must report regularly to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the status of their decommissioning funds. About 70% of the total estimated cost of decommissioning all U.S. nuclear power reactors has already been collected (on the basis of the average cost of $320 million per reactor-steam turbine unit).WEB,weblink Backgrounder on Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants. NRC, In the United States in 2011, there are 13 reactors that had permanently shut down and are in some phase of decommissioning.BOOK, Sovacool, Benjamin, Benjamin K. Sovacool, 2011, Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power: A Critical Global Assessment of Atomic Energy, World Scientific, Hackensack, NJ, 118–119, 978-981-4322-75-1, Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power, With Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant and Yankee Rowe Nuclear Power Station having completed the process in 2006–2007, after ceasing commercial electricity production circa 1992.The majority of the 15 years, was used to allow the station to naturally cool-down on its own, which makes the manual disassembly process both safer and cheaper.Decommissioning at nuclear sites which have experienced a serious accident are the most expensive and time-consuming.

Installed capacity and electricity production

{{Further|Nuclear power by country|List of nuclear reactors}}(File:Nuclear power percentage.svg|thumb|Share of electricity produced by nuclear power in the world)(File:Nuclear power station.svg|thumb|The status of nuclear power globally (click image for legend)){{multiple image
|direction = vertical
|align = right
|width = 220
|image1=Annual electricity net generation in the world.svg
|image3=Nuclear power history.svg
|image5=Top 5 Nuclear Energy Producing Countries.png
|caption1=Net electrical generation by source and growth from 1980 to 2010. (Brown) – fossil fuels. (Red) – Fission. (Green) – "all renewables". In terms of energy generated between 1980 and 2010, the contribution from fission grew the fastest.
|caption2=Worldwide civilian fission-electric power, installed nameplate capacity (in blue) in units of GW and actual electrical generation (in red) in units of TWh. 1980 to 2010 (EIA)
|caption3=The rate of new construction builds for civilian fission-electric reactors essentially halted in the late 1980s, with the effects of accidents having a chilling effect. Increased capacity factor realizations in existing reactors was primarily responsible for the continuing increase in electrical energy produced during this period. The halting of new builds c. 1985, resulted in greater fossil fuel generation, see above graph.
|caption5=Electricity generation trends in the top five fission-energy producing countries (US EIA data)
}}Nuclear fission power stations, excluding the contribution from naval nuclear fission reactors, provided 11% of the world's electricity in 2012,JOURNAL,weblink Key World Energy Statistics 2012, 2012-12-16, International Energy Agency, 2012, harv, somewhat less than that generated by hydro-electric stations at 16%.Since electricity accounts for about 25% of humanity's energy usage with the majority of the rest coming from fossil fuel reliant sectors such as transport, manufacture and home heating, nuclear fission's contribution to the global final energy consumption was about 2.5%.Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani, Towards an electricity-powered world. In: Energy and Environmental Science 4, (2011), 3193–3222, p. 3200, {{doi|10.1039/c1ee01249e}}.This is a little more than the combined global electricity production from wind, solar, biomass and geothermal power, which together provided 2% of global final energy consumption in 2014.WEB,weblink REN 21. Renewables 2014 Global Status Report, In addition, there were approximately 140 naval vessels using nuclear propulsion in operation, powered by about 180 reactors.WEB,weblink What is Nuclear Power Plant – How Nuclear Power Plants work | What is Nuclear Power Reactor – Types of Nuclear Power Reactors, EngineersGarage, 2013-06-14, WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2015-06-04, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2015-02-26, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, Magdi Ragheb. As of 2001, about 235 naval reactors had been builtNuclear power's share of global electricity production has fallen from 16.5% in 1997 to about 10% in 2017, in large part because the economics of nuclear power have become more difficult.NEWS,weblink The challenge for nuclear is to recover its competitive edge, Butler, Nick, Financial Times, 3 September 2018, 9 September 2018, Regional differences in the use of nuclear power are large.The United States produces the most nuclear energy in the world, with nuclear power providing 20% of the electricity it consumes, while France produces the highest percentage of its electrical energy from nuclear reactors—72% as of 2017.WEB,weblink Nuclear Share of Electricity Generation in 2017, Power Reactor Information System, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2019-01-06, In the European Union as a whole nuclear power provides 30% of the electricity.WEB,weblink Gross electricity generation, by fuel used in power-stations, 2007-02-03, Eurostat, 2006, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2006-10-17, Nuclear power is the single largest low-carbon electricity source in the United States,Issues in Science & Technology Online; "Promoting Low-Carbon Electricity Production" {{webarchive|url= |date=2013-09-27 }} and accounts for two-thirds of the European Union's low-carbon electricity.The European Strategic Energy Technology Plan SET-Plan Towards a low-carbon future 2010. Nuclear power provides "2/3 of the EU's low carbon energy" p. 6. {{webarchive|url= |date=2014-02-11 }}Nuclear energy policy differs among European Union countries, and some, such as Austria, Estonia, Ireland and Italy, have no active nuclear power stations.Many military and some civilian (such as some icebreakers) ships use nuclear marine propulsion.NEWS,weblink Nuclear Icebreaker Lenin, Bellona, 2003-06-20, 2007-11-01, yes,weblink" title="">weblink October 15, 2007, A few space vehicles have been launched using nuclear reactors: 33 reactors belong to the Soviet RORSAT series and one was the American SNAP-10A.International research is continuing into additional uses of process heat such as hydrogen production (in support of a hydrogen economy), for desalinating sea water, and for use in district heating systems.BOOK, Non-electric Applications of Nuclear Power: Seawater Desalination, Hydrogen Production and other Industrial Applications, 2007, International Atomic Energy Agency, 978-92-0-108808-6,weblink 21 August 2018,

Use in space

File:MMRTG hot cell fueling (6348365583).jpg|thumb|left|The loading of the Plutonium-238 based MMRTG into the Mars Curiosity rover. Assembled in a Hot cell at Idaho National LaboratoryIdaho National LaboratoryFile:Msl-MMRTG.jpg|thumb|left|The Multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG), used in several space missions such as the Curiosity Mars rover ]]Both fission and fusion appear promising for space propulsion applications, generating higher mission velocities with less reaction mass. This is due to the much higher energy density of nuclear reactions: some 7 orders of magnitude (10,000,000 times) more energetic than the chemical reactions which power the current generation of rockets.Radioactive decay has been used on a relatively small scale (few kW), mostly to power space missions and experiments by using radioisotope thermoelectric generators such as those developed at Idaho National Laboratory.


File:Ikata Nuclear Powerplant.JPG|thumb|The Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, a pressurized water reactor that cools by utilizing a secondary coolant heat exchanger with a large body of water, an alternative cooling approach to large cooling towerscooling towersThe economics of new nuclear power plants is a controversial subject, since there are diverging views on this topic, and multibillion-dollar investments depend on the choice of an energy source.Nuclear power plants typically have high capital costs for building the plant, but low fuel costs.Comparison with other power generation methods is strongly dependent on assumptions about construction timescales and capital financing for nuclear plants as well as the future costs of fossil fuels and renewables as well as for energy storage solutions for intermittent power sources.On the other hand, measures to mitigate global warming, such as a carbon tax or carbon emissions trading, may favor the economics of nuclear power.BOOK, Update of the MIT 2003 Future of Nuclear Power, 2009, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,weblink 21 August 2018, NEWS, Splitting the cost,weblink 21 August 2018, The Economist, 12 November 2009, en, Analysis of the economics of nuclear power must also take into account who bears the risks of future uncertainties.To date all operating nuclear power plants have been developed by state-owned or regulated electric utility monopoliesNEWS, Ed Crooks, 2010-09-12, Nuclear: New dawn now seems limited to the east,weblink Financial Times, 2010-09-12, Many countries have now liberalized the electricity market where these risks, and the risk of cheaper competitors emerging before capital costs are recovered, are borne by plant suppliers and operators rather than consumers, which leads to a significantly different evaluation of the economics of new nuclear power plants.BOOK,weblink The Future of Nuclear Power, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2003, 978-0-615-12420-9, 2006-11-10, Nuclear power plants, though capable of some grid-load following, are typically run as much as possible to keep the cost of the generated electrical energy as low as possible, supplying mostly base-load electricity.Load-following with nuclear power plants by A. LokhovPeer reviewed analyses of the available cost trends of nuclear power, since its inception,show large disparity by nation, design, build rate and the establishment of familiarity in expertise. The two nations of which data were available, which have produced reactors at a lower cost trend than prior facilities in the 2000s were India and S.Korea.JOURNAL, 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.01.011, Historical construction costs of global nuclear power reactors, Energy Policy, 91, 371–382, 2016, Lovering, Jessica R., Yip, Arthur, Nordhaus, Ted, In the history of civilian reactor power, certain designs lended considerable early positive economics, over competitors, such as the CANDU which alongside, at one time, much higher realized capacity factor/reliability when compared to Gen II LWRs up to about the 1990s,WEB,weblink The Canadian Nuclear FAQ - Section A: CANDU Technology, at a time when LWRs in the U.S began to utilize improved enrichment, permitting longer operation times without stoppages, the CANDU design had allowed Canada to also forego uranium enrichment facilities and due to the on-line refueling reactor design, the larger set of PHWRs of which the CANDU design is a part, continue to hold many world record positions for longest continual electricity generation, without stoppage, routinely close to and over 800 days, before maintenance checks.WEB,weblink Indian reactor breaks operating record - World Nuclear News, The specific record as of 2019 is held by a PHWR at Kaiga Atomic Power Station, generating electricity at the nameplate rating continuously for 962 days.WEB, Indian-Designed Nuclear Reactor Breaks Record for Continuous Operation,weblink POWER Magazine, 28 March 2019, 1 February 2019, The PHWR fleet of India, in analysis by M.V. Ramana, were constructed, fuelled and continue to operate, close to the price of Indian coal power stationsweblink As of 2015, only the indigenously financed and constructed S.Korean OPR-1000 fleet, were completedat a similar price.The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is expected to increase the costs of operating and new LWR power stations, due to increased requirements for on-site spent fuel management and elevated design basis threats.BOOK, The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, 2011, 978-0-9828008-4-3,weblink xv, WEB,weblink Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2018,

Accidents, attacks and safety

{{See also|Nuclear safety and security|Nuclear reactor safety system}}File:Decay heat illustration2.PNG|thumb|Reactor decay heat as a fraction of full power after the reactor shutdown, using two different correlations. To remove the decay heat, reactors need cooling after the shutdown of the fission reactions. A loss of the ability to remove decay heat caused the Fukushima accidentFukushima accidentNuclear reactors have three unique characteristics that affect their safety, as compared to other power plants.Firstly, intensely radioactive materials are present in a nuclear reactor. Their release to the environment could be hazardous.Secondly, the fission products, which make up most of the intensely radioactive substances in the reactor, continue to generate a significant amount of decay heat even after the fission chain reaction has stopped. If the heat cannot be removed from the reactor, the fuel rods may overheat and release radioactive materials.Thirdly, a rapid increase of the reactor power is possible if the chain reaction cannot be controlled in certain reactor designs.These three characteristics have to be taken into account when designing nuclear reactors.WEB,weblink Basic principles of nuclear safety, Deitrich, L.W., International Atomic Energy Agency, 2018-11-18, Reactors are designed so that an uncontrolled increase of the reactor power is prevented by natural feedback mechanisms: if the temperature or the amount of steam in the reactor increases, the fission rate inherently decreases by designing in a negative void coefficent of reactivity. The chain reaction can also be manually stopped by inserting control rods into the reactor core. Emergency core cooling systems (ECCS) can remove the decay heat from the reactor if normal cooling systems fail.WEB,weblink Emergency core cooling systems (ECCS), 2018-07-06, United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 2018-12-10, In the event that the ECCS fails, multiple physical barriers limit the release of radioactive materials to the environment even in the case of an accident. The last physical barrier is the large containment building. Approximately 120 reactors,NRC pdf on generations of FCVSs such as all those in Switzerland prior to and all reactors in Japan after the Fukushima accident, incorporate Filtered Containment Venting System]s, onto the containment structure, which are designed to relieve the containment pressure during an accident by releasing gases to the environment while retaining most of the fission products in the filter structures.WEB,weblink Severe accident mitigation through improvements in filtered containment vent systems and containment cooling strategies for water cooled reactors, International Atomic Energy Agency, 2017, 2019-08-03,


File:Fukushima I by Digital Globe crop.jpg|thumb|Following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident since 1986, 50,000 households were displaced after radiationradiation{{See also|Energy accidents|Nuclear and radiation accidents|Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents}}Some serious nuclear and radiation accidents have occurred.The severity of nuclear accidents is generally classified using the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) introduced by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).The scale ranks anomalous events or accidents on a scale from 0 (a deviation from normal operation that poses no safety risk) to 7 (a major accident with widespread effects).There have been 3 accidents of level 5 or higher in the civilian nuclear power industry, two of which, the Chernobyl accident and the Fukushima accident, are ranked at level 7.The Chernobyl accident in 1986 caused approximately 50 deaths from direct and indirect effects, and some temporary serious injuries.WEB, 23 April 2011, Chernobyl at 25th anniversary – Frequently Asked Questions, World Health Organisation, 14 April 2012,weblink The future predicted mortality from cancer increases, is usually estimated at some 4000 in the decades to come.WEB,weblink Assessing the Chernobyl Consequences, International Atomic Energy Agency, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 30 August 2013, dmy-all, WEB,weblink UNSCEAR 2008 Report to the General Assembly, Annex D, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2008, WEB,weblink UNSCEAR 2008 Report to the General Assembly, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2008, A higher number of the routinely treatable Thyroid cancer, set to be the only type of causal cancer, will likely be seen in future large studies.JOURNAL, 10.1002/ijc.22037, 16628547, Estimates of the cancer burden in Europe from radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl accident, International Journal of Cancer, 119, 6, 1224–35, 2006, Cardis, Elisabeth, Krewski, Daniel, Boniol, Mathieu, Drozdovitch, Vladimir, Darby, Sarah C., Gilbert, Ethel S., Ethel Gilbert, Akiba, Suminori, Benichou, Jacques, Ferlay, Jacques, Gandini, Sara, Hill, Catherine, Howe, Geoffrey, Kesminiene, Ausrele, Moser, Mirjana, Sanchez, Marie, Storm, Hans, Voisin, Laurent, Boyle, Peter, The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident was caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.The accident has not caused any radiation related deaths, but resulted in radioactive contamination of surrounding areas.The difficult Fukushima disaster cleanup will take 40 or more years, and is expected to cost tens of billions of dollars.NEWS, Richard Schiffman, 2013-03-12, Two years on, America hasn't learned lessons of Fukushima nuclear disaster,weblink The Guardian, London, NEWS, Martin Fackler, 2011-06-01, Report Finds Japan Underestimated Tsunami Danger,weblink The New York Times, The Three Mile Island accident in 1979 was a smaller scale accident, rated at INES level 5.There were no direct or indirect deaths caused by the accident.NEWS,weblink The Worst Nuclear Disasters, 2009-03-25, 2013-06-22,, According to Benjamin K. Sovacool, fission energy accidents ranked first among energy sources in terms of their total economic cost, accounting for 41 percent of all property damage attributed to energy accidents.JOURNAL, Sovacool, B.K., The costs of failure: A preliminary assessment of major energy accidents, 1907–2007, 10.1016/j.enpol.2008.01.040, Energy Policy, 36, 5, 1802–1820, 2008, Another analysis presented in the international journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment found that coal, oil, Liquid petroleum gas and hydroelectric accidents (primarily due to the Banqiao dam burst) have resulted in greater economic impacts than nuclear power accidents.JOURNAL, Burgherr, Peter, Hirschberg, Stefan, A Comparative Analysis of Accident Risks in Fossil, Hydro, and Nuclear Energy Chains, Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 10 October 2008, 14, 5, 947–973, 10.1080/10807030802387556, Comparing Nuclear's latent cancer deaths, such as cancer with other energy sources immediate deaths per unit of energy generated(GWeyr). This study does not include Fossil fuel related cancer and other indirect deaths created by the use of fossil fuel consumption in its "severe accident", an accident with more than 5 fatalities, classification.Nuclear power works under an insurance framework that limits or structures accident liabilities in accordance with the Paris convention on nuclear third-party liability, the Brussels supplementary convention, the Vienna convention on civil liability for nuclear damagePublications: Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. International Atomic Energy Agency. and the Price-Anderson Act in the United States.It is often argued that this potential shortfall in liability represents an external cost not included in the cost of nuclear electricity; but the cost is small, amounting to about 0.1% of the levelized cost of electricity, according to a CBO study.Nuclear Power's Role in Generating Electricity Congressional Budget Office, May 2008.These beyond-regular-insurance costs for worst-case scenarios are not unique to nuclear power, as hydroelectric power plants are similarly not fully insured against a catastrophic event such as the Banqiao Dam disaster, where 11 million people lost their homes and from 30,000 to 200,000 people died, or large dam failures in general. As private insurers base dam insurance premiums on limited scenarios, major disaster insurance in this sector is likewise provided by the state.Availability of Dam Insurance {{webarchive|url=|date=2016-01-08}} 1999


In terms of lives lost per unit of energy generated, nuclear power has caused fewer accidental deaths per unit of energy generated than all other major sources of energy generation.Energy produced by coal, petroleum, natural gas and hydropower has caused more deaths per unit of energy generated due to air pollution and energy accidents.This is found when comparing the immediate deaths from other energy sources to both the immediate nuclear related deaths from accidentsWEB,weblink Dr. MacKay Sustainable Energy without the hot air, Data from studies by the Paul Scherrer Institute including non EU data, 168, 2012-09-15, and also including the latent, or predicted, indirect cancer deaths from nuclear energy accidents.NEWS,weblink Nuclear power 'cheaper, safer' than coal and gas, Brendan Nicholson, 2006-06-05, The Age, 2008-01-18, Melbourne, When the combined immediate and indirect fatalities from nuclear power and all fossil fuels are compared, including fatalities resulting from the mining of the necessary natural resources to power generation and to air pollution,JOURNAL, 10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61253-7, Markandya, A., Wilkinson, P., Electricity generation and health, Lancet, 370, 9591, 979–990, 2007, 17876910, Nuclear power has lower electricity related health risks than Coal, Oil, & gas. ...the health burdens are appreciably smaller for generation from natural gas, and lower still for nuclear power.'' This study includes the latent or indirect fatalities, for example those caused by the inhalation of fossil fuel created particulate matter, smog induced cardiopulmonary events, black lung etc. in its comparison., the use of nuclear power has been calculated to have prevented about 1.8 million deaths between 1971 and 2009, by reducing the proportion of energy that would otherwise have been generated by fossil fuels, and is projected to continue to do so.WEB,weblink Nuclear Power Prevents More Deaths Than It Causes | Chemical & Engineering News,, 2014-01-24, JOURNAL, Kharecha, P.A., Hansen, J.E., 10.1021/es3051197, Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power, Environmental Science & Technology, 47, 9, 4889–4895, 2013, 23495839, 2013EnST...47.4889K, Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, it has been estimated that if Japan had never adopted nuclear power, accidents and pollution from coal or gas plants would have caused more lost years of life.JOURNAL, Dennis Normile, 2012-07-27, Is Nuclear Power Good for You?,weblink Science, 395, 337, 6093, 10.1126/science.337.6093.395-b, harv, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-03-01, Forced evacuation from a nuclear accident may lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression, psychosomatic medical problems, reckless behavior, even suicide.Such was the outcome of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.A comprehensive 2005 study concluded that "the mental health impact of Chernobyl is the largest public health problem unleashed by the accident to date".NEWS, Andrew C. Revkin, Andrew C. Revkin, 2012-03-10, Nuclear Risk and Fear, from Hiroshima to Fukushima,weblink The New York Times, Frank N. von Hippel, an American scientist, commented on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, saying that a disproportionate radiophobia, or "fear of ionizing radiation could have long-term psychological effects on a large portion of the population in the contaminated areas".JOURNAL,weblink The radiological and psychological consequences of the Fukushima Daiichi accident, Frank N. von Hippel, September–October 2011, 67, 5, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, 27–36, 10.1177/0096340211421588, harv, 2011BuAtS..67e..27V, A 2015 report in Lancet explained that serious impacts of nuclear accidents were often not directly attributable to radiation exposure, but rather social and psychological effects.Evacuation and long-term displacement of affected populations created problems for many people, especially the elderly and hospital patients.JOURNAL, Hasegawa, Arifumi, Tanigawa, Koichi, Ohtsuru, Akira, Yabe, Hirooki, Maeda, Masaharu, Shigemura, Jun, Ohira, Tetsuya, Tominaga, Takako, Akashi, Makoto, Hirohashi, Nobuyuki, Ishikawa, Tetsuo, Kamiya, Kenji, Shibuya, Kenji, Yamashita, Shunichi, Chhem, Rethy K, Health effects of radiation and other health problems in the aftermath of nuclear accidents, with an emphasis on Fukushima, The Lancet, August 2015, 386, 9992, 479–488, 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)61106-0, In January 2015, the number of Fukushima evacuees was around 119,000, compared with a peak of around 164,000 in June 2012.WEB,weblink The Fukushima Daiichi accident. Report by the Director General, 2015, International Atomic Energy Agency, 158, 2018-11-18,

Attacks and sabotage

Terrorists could target nuclear power plants in an attempt to release radioactive contamination into the community. The United States 9/11 Commission has said that nuclear power plants were potential targets originally considered for the September 11, 2001 attacks. An attack on a reactor's spent fuel pool could also be serious, as these pools are less protected than the reactor core. The release of radioactivity could lead to thousands of near-term deaths and greater numbers of long-term fatalities.WEB,weblink The Future of Nuclear Power in the United States, Charles D. Ferguson, Frank A. Settle, yes, 2012, Federation of American Scientists, In the United States, the NRC carries out "Force on Force" (FOF) exercises at all nuclear power plant sites at least once every three years.In the United States, plants are surrounded by a double row of tall fences which are electronically monitored.The plant grounds are patrolled by a sizeable force of armed guards.U.S. NRC: "Nuclear Security – Five Years After 9/11". Accessed 23 July 2007Insider sabotage is also a threat because insiders can observe and work around security measures.Successful insider crimes depended on the perpetrators' observation and knowledge of security vulnerabilities.WEB,weblink A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes, Matthew Bunn, Matthew Bunn, Scott Sagan, Scott Sagan, yes, 2014, The American Academy of Arts & Sciences, A fire caused 5–10 million dollars worth of damage to New York's Indian Point Energy Center in 1971.{{citation needed|date=December 2018}}The arsonist turned out to be a plant maintenance worker.{{citation needed|date=December 2018}} Some reactors overseas have also reported varying levels of sabotage by workers.BOOK,weblink Brittle Power, Amory Lovins, Amory Lovins, 2001, 145–146, 2016-07-07,weblink" title="">weblink 2016-04-02, yes, {{reliable|date=August 2019}}

Nuclear proliferation

{{further|Nuclear proliferation}}{{see also|Plutonium Management and Disposition Agreement}}File:US and USSR nuclear stockpiles.svg|thumb|United States and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2006. The Megatons to Megawatts Program was the main driving force behind the sharp reduction in the quantity of nuclear weapons worldwide since the cold war ended.WEB,weblink home,, 2013-05-24, 2013-06-14, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-06-21, However, without an increase in nuclear reactors and greater demand for fissilefissileMany technologies and materials associated with the creation of a nuclear power program have a dual-use capability, in that they can be used to make nuclear weapons if a country chooses to do so. When this happens a nuclear power program can become a route leading to a nuclear weapon or a public annex to a "secret" weapons program. The concern over Iran's nuclear activities is a case in point.JOURNAL, Nuclear power without nuclear proliferation?, Steven E. Miller, Scott D. Sagan, yes, Fall 2009, Dædalus, 10.1162/daed.2009.138.4.7, 138, 4, 7, harv, As of April 2012 there were thirty one countries that have civil nuclear power plants,WEB,weblink Nuclear Power in the World Today,, 2013-06-22, of which nine have nuclear weapons, with the vast majority of these nuclear weapons states having first produced weapons, before commercial fission electricity stations.Moreover, the re-purposing of civilian nuclear industries for military purposes would be a breach of the Non-proliferation treaty, to which 190 countries adhere.A fundamental goal for global security is to minimize the nuclear proliferation risks associated with the expansion of nuclear power.The Global Nuclear Energy Partnership was an international effort to create a distribution network in which developing countries in need of energy would receive nuclear fuel at a discounted rate, in exchange for that nation agreeing to forgo their own indigenous develop of a uranium enrichment program.The France-based Eurodif/European Gaseous Diffusion Uranium Enrichment Consortium is a program that successfully implemented this concept, with Spain and other countries without enrichment facilities buying a share of the fuel produced at the French controlled enrichment facility, but without a transfer of technology.WEB,weblink Uranium Enrichment, World Nuclear Association,, Iran was an early participant from 1974, and remains a shareholder of Eurodif via Sofidif.A 2009 United Nations report said that:the revival of interest in nuclear power could result in the worldwide dissemination of uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing technologies, which present obvious risks of proliferation as these technologies can produce fissile materials that are directly usable in nuclear weapons.BOOK, Sovacool, Benjamin, Benjamin K. Sovacool, 2011, Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power: A Critical Global Assessment of Atomic Energy, World Scientific, Hackensack, NJ, 190, 978-981-4322-75-1, Contesting the Future of Nuclear Power, On the other hand, power reactors can also reduce nuclear weapons arsenals when military grade nuclear materials are reprocessed to be used as fuel in nuclear power plants.The Megatons to Megawatts Program, the brainchild of Thomas Neff of MIT,WEB,weblink Against Long Odds, MIT's Thomas Neff Hatched a Plan to Turn Russian Warheads into American Electricity, Anne-Marie Corley, SM, ’09, NEWS,weblink From Warheads to Cheap Energy, The New York Times, 2014-01-27, Broad, William J., is the single most successful non-proliferation program to date.WEB,weblink The Bulletin of atomic scientists support the megatons to megawatts program, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-07-08, 2012-09-15, 2008-10-23, Up to 2005, the Megatons to Megawatts Program had processed $8 billion of high enriched, weapons grade uranium into low enriched uranium suitable as nuclear fuel for commercial fission reactors by diluting it with natural uranium.This corresponds to the elimination of 10,000 nuclear weapons.WEB,weblink Megatons to Megawatts Eliminates Equivalent of 10,000 Nuclear Warheads,, 2005-09-21, 2013-06-22, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-04-26, For approximately two decades, this material generated nearly 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States (about half of all U.S. nuclear electricity generated) with a total of around 7 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity produced.JOURNAL, Dawn Stover, 2014-02-21, More megatons to megawatts,weblink The Bulletin, Enough energy to energize the entire United States electric grid for about two years. In total it is estimated to have cost $17 billion, a "bargain for US ratepayers", with Russia profiting $12 billion from the deal. Much needed profit for the Russian nuclear oversight industry, which after the collapse of the Soviet economy, had difficulties paying for the maintenance and security of the Russian Federations highly enriched uranium and warheads.The Megatons to Megawatts Program was hailed as a major success by anti-nuclear weapon advocates as it has largely been the driving force behind the sharp reduction in the quantity of nuclear weapons worldwide since the cold war ended.However without an increase in nuclear reactors and greater demand for fissile fuel, the cost of dismantling and down blending has dissuaded Russia from continuing their disarmament.As of 2013 Russia appears to not be interested in extending the program.NEWS, 2009-12-05, Future Unclear For 'Megatons To Megawatts' Program,weblink All Things Considered, NPR, 2013-06-22,

Environmental impact{{anchor|Environmental_issues}}

Carbon emissions

{{See also|Life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions of energy sources}}File:CO2 Emissions from Electricity Production IPCC.png|thumb|Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of electricity supply technologies, median values calculated by IPCCIPCCNuclear power is one of the leading low carbon power generation methods of producing electricity, and in terms of total life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy generated, has emission values comparable to or lower than renewable energy.WEB,weblink Nuclear Power Results – Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization, Collectively, life cycle assessment literature shows that nuclear power is similar to other renewable and much lower than fossil fuel in total life cycle GHG emissions.,, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), 2013-01-24, 2013-06-22, yes,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-07-02, Life Cycle Assessment Harmonization Results and Findings.Figure 1 {{webarchive|url= |date=2017-05-06 }}A 2014 analysis of the carbon footprint literature by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the embodied total life-cycle emission intensity of fission electricity has a median value of 12 g {{CO2}}eq/kWh, which is the lowest out of all commercial baseload energy sources.WEB,weblink IPCC Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change, Annex III: Technology–specific cost and performance parameters, 2014, IPCC, table A.III.2, 2019-01-19, WEB,weblink IPCC Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change, Annex II Metrics & Methodology., 2014, IPCC, section A.II.9.3, 2019-01-19, This is contrasted with coal and natural gas at 820 and 490 g {{CO2}} eq/kWh.From the beginning of its commercialization in the 1970s, nuclear power has prevented the emission of about 64 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent that would have otherwise resulted from the burning of fossil fuels in thermal power stations.


{{See also|Linear no threshold model}}The variation in a person's absorbed natural background radiation, averages 2.4 mSv/a globally but frequently varies between 1 mSv/a and 13 mSv/a depending in most part on the geology a person resides upon. According to the United Nations (UNSCEAR), regular NPP/nuclear power plant operations including the nuclear fuel cycle, increases this amount to 0.0002 millisieverts (mSv) per year of public exposure as a global average.WEB,weblink UNSCEAR 2008 Report to the General Assembly, United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, 2008, The average dose from operating NPPs to the local populations around them is less than 0.0001 mSv/a. The average dose to those living within 50 miles of a coal power plant is over three times this dose, 0.0003 mSv/a.WEB,weblink National Safety Council,, 18 June 2013, no,weblink" title="">weblink 12 October 2009, As of a 2008 report, Chernobyl resulted in the most affected surrounding populations and male recovery personnel receiving an average initial 50 to 100 mSv over a few hours to weeks, while the remaining global legacy of the worst nuclear power plant accident in average exposure is 0.002 mSv/a and is continually dropping at the decaying rate, from the initial high of 0.04 mSv per person averaged over the entire populace of the Northern Hemisphere in the year of the accident in 1986.

Renewable energy and nuclear power

{{POV section|date=January 2019|talk=Section titled Renewable energy vs nuclear power}}{{See also|Renewable energy debate|Environmental impact of wind power#Pollution & effects on the grid|Hydroelectricity#Comparison and interactions with other methods of power generation}}Slowing global warming requires a transition to a low-carbon economy, mainly by burning far less fossil fuel. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C is technically possible if no new fossil fuel power plants are built from 2019.JOURNAL, Smith, etal, 15 January 2019, Current fossil fuel infrastructure does not yet commit us to 1.5 °C warming, Nature, 10, 1, 101, 2019NatCo..10..101S, 10.1038/s41467-018-07999-w, 30647408, 6333788, This has generated considerable interest and dispute in determining the best path forward to rapidly replace fossil-based fuels in the global energy mix,[ What It Would Really Take to Reverse Climate Change, RE

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