All utilities that own nuclear reactors in Japan have now applied to have inspections conducted for restarting at least one of their reactors, with Hokuriku Electric Power Company submitting an application to restart Shika Unit 2. 20 nuclear units in all now have applications in under the revised and strengthened post-Fukushima safety guidelines of the Nuclear Regulatory Authority.
Concern: Nuclear energy has to solve the problem with long-lasting radioactive waste, including plutonium.
Consider: One feature about used nuclear fuel is that 96% of it can be recycled into new fuel, including the plutonium—as some European countries, Japan, and Russia have been doing for as much as 38 years. The remaining 4% is securely stored. As an example, France recycles the used nuclear fuel from its reactor fleet generating 75% of its total electricity. After recycling, the remaining vitrified waste from 50 years of French nuclear energy is stored in a single room the size of a football field. The “waste problem” has been solved; it’s only waste if you waste it. Recycling used nuclear fuel is still just a matter of national policy.
Concern: Don’t nuclear energy disasters show how dangerous it is?
Consider: On a global scale, the commercial nuclear energy industry maintains the safest operations record of any energy source. In all its history, there have been three major accidents, and only Chernobyl directly caused regional fatalities. Learn more about each one—Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and Fukushima. At the same time, all of us in the U.S. nuclear energy industry recognize that the unmatched safe performance of the past has only so much value. We must earn the public’s trust every day by putting safety first and foremost in our daily commitment to operational excellence.
Areva cites the Forbes article by James Conca which compares the deaths from each energy source on an equal power generation basis. James Conca naturally was referring to the Nextbigfuture deaths per twh series of articles and the original source research.
Other Nextbigfuture articles in the Carnival of Nuclear Energy 222
Helion recently received $2 million in funding. Dr. David Kirtley describes his company’s plans to achieve a first commercial scale nuclear fusion system with ten times energy gain in 2019.