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Aff & Neg Nukes

Aff & Neg Nukes

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Published by: AffNeg.Com on Jan 08, 2009
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05/24/2012

Technological innovation won’t bring down the costs of reprocessing
Lester, 6
– Richard, professor of nuclear science and engineering and director of the Industrial Performance Center of MIT
(Richard K., “New Nukes”, Issues in Science and Technology, Summer 2006, Vol. 22, Iss. 4; pg. 39, Proquest)/AK

Could technological advances reduce the cost of full actinide recycle below the conventional MOX cycle cost? This cannot
be ruled out, but common sense suggests that it is unlikely. FuU actinide recycle is inherently more demanding than the
current version of the closed fuel cycle, which seeks only to recover and reuse plutonium in the spent fuel. The GNEP
vision entails a complex large-scale extension of the existing nuclear power industry, with scores of burner reactors and
associated reprocessing and fuel fabrication facilities and major additional stocks and flows of nuclear materials. Reducing
the costs of all this should be an important R&D objective. But the only sensible assumption today is that this add-on will
not be economically viable on its own, which means that it would require a much more active government role in the
nuclear industry than at present. It is difficult to reconcile this vision with the goal of maximizing the economic viability of
nuclear power in an increasingly competitive electric power industry. Small wonder that the nuclear industry has greeted
the GNEP initiative politely, but coolly.

Michigan 7 weeks

71

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