Reviving Spent Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing in the U.S.

Emily M. Farah

Abstract


Nuclear power generation is responsible for fifteen percent of the world’s electricity, and since the beginning of the century additional nuclear reactors have appeared on the global grid in places other than the United States and Europe. Currently, sixty one nuclear reactors are under construction, and three-quarters of those are located in four countries: China, India, South Korea, and Russia. China aims to quadruple its nuclear power capacity by 2020. The United Arab Emirates entered into a 20 billion dollar contract with a South Korean consortium to build four nuclear reactors expected to be operational in 2017. Nuclear power creates radioactive waste with a half-life that spans thousands of years. If nations could reduce the radioactivity and volume, and thus the potential harmfulness, of nuclear waste by recycling spent nuclear fuel, would they take this opportunity? In the United States, the answer is no. In France, however, the answer is yes. The purpose of this paper is not to advocate for or condemn the use of nuclear technology.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/tlp.2016.193

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