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FOREWORD OF THE REPORT
2. A Vision of the Next Fifty Years 2.1 Wealth, Energy, and the Quality of Life 2.2 Energy Availability 2.3 Electricity and Nuclear Power in the Future 2.4 Other Applications of Nuclear Science and Technology 2.4.1 Energy Applications 2.4.2 Applications Other Than Energy 2.5 The Vision 3. Strategies for the Next Fifty Years 3.1 Present Status of Nuclear Power 3.1.1 Accomplishments in Nuclear Power Generation 3.1.2 Responding to Issues Safety Waste Nonproliferation Public Acceptance 3.2 The Role of Nuclear Power in the Future 3.2.1 Forecasts of World Long-Term Energy Needs 3.2.2 Energy Supply and the Nuclear Share 3.2.3 Availability of Nuclear Fuel 3.2.4 Effects on the World Economy and Environment 3.2.5 Radiation Effects 3.3 Reactor and Fuel Cycle Strategies 3.3.1 Direction of Advanced Reactor Development 3.3.2 Commercializing Fast Breeder Reactors Status of Fast Reactor Fuel Cycle Development 3.3.3 Radioactive Waste 3.4 Institutional, Social, and International Issues 3.4.1 Preventing Nuclear Weapons Proliferation 3.4.2 Ensuring Safety Institutional Measures Technical Measures 3.4.3 The Credibility of Nuclear Power 3.4.4 Measures for the Global Use of Nuclear Power Financial Issues Human Resource Issues Framework of Cooperation Multilateral Joint Ventures 3.5 Nuclear Power for Nonelectric Purposes 3.5.1 Useful Heat from Nuclear Energy 3.5.2 Hydrogen Production 3.6 Requisites for Using Nuclear Energy Globally 3.7 Other Applications of Nuclear Science 4. Concluding Remarks Member of the INSC Fifty-Years Committee Reviewers Contributors Glossary
The report presents a professional, global, and unrestricted view of the development and utilization of nuclear power and related research around the world:
In this study, the forecast made by the World Energy Council was extrapolated to estimate worldwide requirements of energy supply and demand in the first half of the next century. The report considers the decrease in the use of energy sources that have an adverse environmental impact; the economy of the use of fossil fuels, which may be depleted within the time scale of the study; and an estimation of renewable energies under the hopeful perspective that their development might produce more than expected. Only the balance of energy needs was allocated to nuclear power, or more specifically to nuclear fission.
In order to achieve the expected share of nuclear power to satisfy these needs, about 100 units of the thousand-megawatt-electric class might have to be constructed every year around the world by the middle of the next century. Could these amounts be achieved if, indeed, they are necessary? Moreover, most of them will be needed in developing countries. Do adequate sites exist? If the 1000 MW(electric) class were to be too large, and even if smaller units would be acceptable, places that meet adequate site conditions are still difficult to find.In addition, investments of the order of more than half the current Japanese national budget must come out in some way to finance these units. Could any power plant be built with a good economic outlook by using loans to be repaid through the utilities' income after a construction period of about 10 years?
If the utilization of thermal reactors should continue as at present, a shortage of uranium might be experienced by the middle of the next century. The idea of economically extracting uranium from sea water has some scientific support, but it is generally accepted that only land-based uranium ore is a dependable resource. As nuclear fuel cycles with fast breeder reactors increase the efficiency of uranium use by a factor of the order of 60 to 70, commercial operation of fast breeder reactors around the year 2030 may become indispensable; otherwise, uranium resources might be fully depleted before the end of the next century.
The use of plutonium for fast breeder reactors will require the conclusion of international agreements, as a protocol to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, to safeguard plutonium use exclusively for peaceful purposes.
There are no insuperable technical difficulties in designing and constructing a nuclear plant. The practical difficulties are related to public concerns regarding safety, waste disposal, and nuclear proliferation. Without public acceptance, no nuclear power or nuclear radiation utilization program can be effectively built up. Finding the way out of such difficulties is one of the major challenges the energy supply sector will encounter.
You may think that this report is not too different from similar reports that come out from time to time. Please do not jump to such a conclusion, and take the time to read the report. You may find some unexpected assessments and challenging answers.
Chairman, International Nuclear Societies Council
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A joint meeting of the American Nuclear Society, the European Nuclear Society, and the U.S. Council on Energy Awareness was held in Chicago, Illinois, in November 1992 on the 50th anniversary of the first man-made, controlled nuclear chain reaction. This occasion provided an opportunity to take stock of the development of nuclear energy and to contemplate the prospects for the next 50 years. The International Nuclear Societies Council (INSC), considering the needs of the world in the coming decades, anticipated that an even more important contribution will be demanded of nuclear technology, and in June 1993, it set up a committee to prepare "A Vision for the Second Fifty Years of Nuclear Energy," based on the views of its member nuclear societies from all over the world.
The members of the nuclear societies, some 50 000 professionals working in the nuclear field, come from schools, colleges, and universities; from government departments and regulatory bodies; from research and development laboratories; from hospitals and cancer treatment facilities; from utility and reactor operating staffs; from consulting and architect-engineers; and from equipment and services suppliers and industrial users of radiation. Taking into account the geographical expanse and the professional diversity of its membership, it was natural for INSC to produce a politically and commercially independent report.
The experience of the last 50 years is used to indicate the directions and issues to be faced in the next 50 years, taking into account the best available estimates of the future and the scientific and technological knowledge on hand and reasonably foreseeable.
The emphasis of the report is on the utilization of nuclear energy technologies and radiation applications on a worldwide scale, based on practical considerations rather than on the exploration of lines of research and development.
The report makes a distinction between the use of nuclear science and technology for the production of large quantities of energy - nuclear power - and other applications of nuclear energy that now encompass a wide range of applications, including medicine, industry, and general consumables. The latter use is expected to further increase as more applications of radiation are developed and the trend toward wide-ranging utilization continues.
The scope of the study covers the following aspects: