This article reviews the current status and future prospects of commercial nuclear electric power, with emphasis on issues of safety, physical security, proliferation, and economics. Discussions of these issues are presented separately for the current operating fleet, for new reactor designs similar in size to the current fleet, and for prospective new reactors of substantially smaller size. This article also discusses the issue of expansion of commercial nuclear power into new countries. The article concludes with recommendations, related both to technical issues and policy considerations. The major implications for policy are that although the level of safety and security achieved in today's operating reactor fleet worldwide is considered broadly acceptable, some advanced designs now under development potentially offer demonstrably safer performance, and may offer improved financial performance also. Management and safety culture are vital attributes for achieving adequate safety and security, as are a strong political culture that includes an absence of corruption, an independent regulatory authority, and a separation of nuclear operation from day-to-day politics. In some countries that are now considering a nuclear-power program for the first time, careful attention to these attributes will be essential for success.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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