Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste
Fast-neutron reactors could extract much more energy
from recycled nuclear fuel, minimize the risks of weapons proliferation and markedly reduce
the time nuclear waste
must be isolated
It is not too soon for the U.S. to complete the basic development of the fastreactor/pyroprocessing system for metallic fuel. For the foreseeable future, the hard truth is this: only nuclear power can satisfy humanity’s long-term energy needs while preserving the environment. For large-scale, sustainable nuclear energy production to continue, the supply of nuclear fuel must last a long time. That means that the nuclear power cycle must have the characteristics of the ALMR and pyroprocessing. The time seems right to take this new course toward sensible energy development.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
WILLIAM H. HANNUM, GERALD E. MARSH and GEORGE S. STANFORD are physicists who worked on fast-reactor development before retiring from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Hannum served as head of nuclear physics development and reactor safety research at the DOE. He was also deputy director general of the Nuclear Energy Agency of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris. Marsh, a fellow of the American Physical Society, worked as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Defense on strategic nuclear technology and policy in the Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations and is co-author of The Phantom Defense: America’s Pursuit of the Star Wars Illusion (Praeger Press). Stanford, whose research focused on experimental nuclear physics, reactor physics and fast-reactor safety, is co-author of Nuclear Shadowboxing: Contemporary Threats from Cold War Weaponry (Fidlar Doubleday).