Waste Not, Want Not: Used Nuclear Fuel Waste as Fuel for a Thousand Years
32nd Annual CNS Conference - 2011 June 05-08


Presented at:
32nd Annual CNS Conference
2011 June 05-08
Location:
Niagara Falls, Canada
Session Title:
Training, Infrastructure, and Communication

Authors:
Peter Ottensmeyer (University of Toronto)
  

Abstract

Used nuclear fuel waste is a huge source of non-carbon energy, rather than a liability. Less than 0.75% of the energy content in mined uranium is extracted in thermal reactors before the fuel is considered “waste”. All of that energy in used fuel and in depleted uranium can be extracted by fast neutrons. The result is a 100,000-fold reduction in long-term radioactive burden of the “waste”, and a $ 36 trillion gain in electrical energy from currently stored used CANDU fuel. Worldwide, fast-neutron reactors could replace all carbon sources of electricity and still provide over 1000 years of electrical energy at current global levels from nuclear fuel waste alone. 

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