Climate Change, Nuclear Power and Nuclear Proliferation: Magnitude Matters

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Integrated energy, environment and economics modeling suggests that worldwide electrical energy use will increase from 2.4 TWe today to ~12 TWe in 2100. It will be challenging to provide 40% of this electrical power from combustion with carbon sequestration, as it will be challenging to provide 30% from renewable energy sources derived from natural energy flows. Thus nuclear power may be needed to provide ~30%, 3600 GWe, by 2100. Calculations of the associated stocks and flows of uranium, plutonium and minor actinides indicate that the proliferation risks at mid-century, using current light-water reactor technology, are daunting. There are institutional arrangements ... continued below

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Goldston, Robert J. April 28, 2011.

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Integrated energy, environment and economics modeling suggests that worldwide electrical energy use will increase from 2.4 TWe today to ~12 TWe in 2100. It will be challenging to provide 40% of this electrical power from combustion with carbon sequestration, as it will be challenging to provide 30% from renewable energy sources derived from natural energy flows. Thus nuclear power may be needed to provide ~30%, 3600 GWe, by 2100. Calculations of the associated stocks and flows of uranium, plutonium and minor actinides indicate that the proliferation risks at mid-century, using current light-water reactor technology, are daunting. There are institutional arrangements that may be able to provide an acceptable level of risk mitigation, but they will be difficult to implement. If a transition is begun to fast-spectrum reactors at mid-century, without a dramatic change in the proliferation risks of such systems, at the end of the century global nuclear proliferation risks are much greater, and more resistant to mitigation. Fusion energy, if successfully demonstrated to be economically competitive, would provide a source of nuclear power with much lower proliferation risks than fission.

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  • Science and Global Security (March 2011)

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  • Report No.: PPPL-4617
  • Grant Number: DE-ACO2-09CH11466
  • DOI: 10.2172/1013075 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1013075
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846191

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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Creation Date

  • April 28, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • Aug. 3, 2016, 2:58 p.m.

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Goldston, Robert J. Climate Change, Nuclear Power and Nuclear Proliferation: Magnitude Matters, report, April 28, 2011; Princeton, New Jersey. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846191/: accessed October 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.