Elaboration of approach to nuclear energy systems assessment by criterion of sustainable development
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate an approach to the assessment of nuclear energy systems based on the integral indicator of sustainability and the comparative evaluation of various nuclear energy systems with a different set of nuclear reactors and fuel cycle facilities. The proposed approach to the assessment of nuclear energy systems is based on the methodology developed within the IAEA INPRO project.
Advance of the nuclear energy systems to sustainability is characterized by the achievement of certain key developments in six subject areas of the assessment: economy, safety, resources, waste management, non-proliferation and public support. Achieving of certain key developments is considered as a measure to achieving the goals of sustainable development at several time intervals until the end of century.
It is shown that the nuclear energy systems based on a once-trough nuclear fuel cycle with thermal reactors and uranium-oxide fuel does not reach the highest ratings by integral indicator of sustainable development, even in the case of isolation of spent nuclear fuel in the geological formations. The gradual replacement of a part of thermal reactors by fast reactors and the closure of the nuclear fuel cycle leads to a more complete comply with requirements of sustainable development in many areas of the assessment and accordingly to the radical enhancement of sustainability of a two component nuclear energy system. Also, the nuclear energy system with thermal reactors and once-through nuclear fuel cycle can reach high ratings in case of closely cooperates on the front-end and back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle with the countries, which developing fast reactors and closed nuclear fuel cycle.
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