Report: RD&D to Enhance the Role of Nuclear Energy in Meeting Climate and Energy Challenges

The future role of nuclear energy is a key factor in determining a long-term energy strategy to cope with the challenges ahead: quenching the energy thirst of a growing planet; providing universal access to modern sources of energy; assuring energy security and availability at reasonable costs; facing the threat of climate change, which calls for a drastic shift from current energy generation technologies; and the myriad other local, regional, and global environmental impacts of energy use and production.

To play a major role in meeting these intertwined energy challenges, nuclear energy would have to grow dramatically, requiring strong support from governments, utilities, and publics around the world. Achieving that support is likely to require improved economics and major progress toward resolving issues of nuclear safety, nuclear security, proliferation-resistance, and nuclear waste management. Sustaining a much larger nuclear enterprise for many decades may also raise the question of uranium availability and options for extending fuel resources.

This report summarizes the main results of an expert elicitation survey that was conducted both in the United States and in the European Union during the summer/fall of 2010 to sixty worldwide known experts. In April 2011 in Venice, a workshop followed the elicitation survey gathering a subset of the experts in order to discuss the main findings of the survey.

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