Mit-Nuclear Energy-2009 Essay

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Update of the mit 2003

Future of nuclear power
PROFESSOR JOHN M. DEUTCH
Institute Professor Department of Chemistry

DR. CHARLES W. FORSBERG
Executive Director, MIT Nuclear Fuel Cycle Study Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

PROFESSOR ANDREW C. KADAK
Professor of the Practice Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering

PROFESSOR MUJID S. KAZIMI
TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Director, Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems

PROFESSOR ERNEST J. MONIZ
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems Director, MIT Energy Initiative

DR. JOHN E. PARSONS
Executive Director, MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research Sloan School of Management Student Research Assistants:

DU, YANGBO and LARA PIERPOINT

Copyright © 2009 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. All rights reserved.

Update of the MIT 2003 Future of Nuclear Power Study
In 2003 a group of MIT faculty issued a study on The Future of Nuclear Power.1 The study was motivated by growing concern about global warming and the urgency of developing and deploying electricity generating technologies that do not emit CO2 or other greenhouse gases (GHG). The study addressed the steps needed in the near term in order to enable nuclear power to be a viable marketplace option at a time and at a scale that could materially mitigate climate change risks. In this context, the study explicitly assessed the challenges of a scenario in which nuclear power capacity expands from approximately 100 GWe in the United States in 2000 to 300 GWe at mid-century (from 340 to 1000 GWe globally), thereby enabling an increase in nuclear power’s approximately 20% share of U.S. electricity generation to about 30% (from 16% to 20% globally). The important challenges examined were (1) cost, (2) safety, (3) waste management, and (4) proliferation risk. In addition, the report examined technology opportunities and needs, and offered recommendations for research, development, and demonstration. The 2003 MIT study on The Future of Nuclear Power, supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, has had a significant impact on the public debate both in the United States and abroad and the study has influenced both legislation by the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) nuclear energy R&D program.
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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Future of Nuclear Power: an Interdisciplinary Study (2003). Available at: http://web.mit.edu/ nuclearpower/

This report presents an update on the 2003 study. Almost six years have passed since the report was issued, a new administration in Washington is formulating its energy policy, and, most importantly, concern about the energy future remains high. We review what has changed from 2003 to today with respect to the challenges facing nuclear power mentioned above. A second purpose of this Update is to provide context for a new MIT study, currently underway, on The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, which will examine the pros and cons of alternative fuel cycle strategies, the readiness of the technologies needed for them, and the implications for near-term policies.

Update of the MIT 2003 Future of Nuclear Power Study

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Summary finding of changeS Since the 2003 report Concern with avoiding the adverse consequences of climate change has increased significantly in the past five years2. The United States has not adopted a comprehensive climate change policy, although President Obama is pledged to do so. Nor has an agreement been reached with the emerging rapidly-growing economies such as China, India, Indonesia, and Mexico, about when and how they will adopt greenhouse gas emission constraints. With global greenhouse gas emissions projected to continue to increase, there is added urgency both to achieve greater energy efficiency and to pursue all measures to develop and deploy carbon free energy sources.

“The sober warning is that if…