Nuclear perspectives at exhausting trends of traditional energy resources
UDC: 621.039, 553.495 (063, 470
For the first time analytical relationships have been obtained between the production of energy at nuclear power plants in the world and their supply with natural uranium in conditions of the exhaustion of traditional resources until the end of the current century. The article represents the results of forecasting the dynamics of a possible shortage of traditional energy resources – hydrocarbons (coal, oil, natural gas) and natural uranium, increasing over time due to the growth of energy requirements (at a rate of 1-2% per year), on the one hand, and exhaustion non-renewable resources, on the other hand. The forecast is based on modern geological data on recoverable hydrocarbon and uranium reserves, as well as on a mathematical model of dynamics of non-renewable resource extraction, developed by the authors. All variants of calculations show that within the framework of the current paradigm of dealing with the traditional sources of energy, their reserves will be largely exhausted before the end of this century, and peaks of their production are expected until the middle of the century. The dynamics of the installed capacity of modern nuclear power plants will repeat the dynamics of the exhaustion of natural uranium, and the contribution of nuclear power plants to the energy provision of humankind will decrease, increasing the total deficit of traditional energy sources. Nevertheless, by 2100 year, the contribution of nuclear energy (on thermal neutrons) to primary sources can increase to 10%, because hydrocarbons will run out even faster than uranium. However, this amount of nuclear energy will be negligible compared to the demand for primary energy after the 1940s, even at the lowest growth rate of demand (at a rate of 1% per year). The growing difference between the increasing energy needs and the declining supply of exhaustible traditional energy resources makes it necessary to develop nuclear breeding – the expanded reproduction of artificial nuclear fuel (239Pu from 238U and, possibly, 233U from 232Th) no later than the 30s of the current century.
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