The development of advanced nuclear energy systems in the U.S. will depend greatly on the continued success of currently operating light water nuclear power plants and the ordering of new installations in the short term. DOE needs to give those immediate objectives the highest priority and any additional support they require to assure their success.
DOE is pursuing two initiatives to encourage a greater use of nuclear energy systems. The initiatives have been reviewed by NERAC Subcommittee on Generation IV Technology Planning (GRNS) and they are:
• A Near Term Development (NTD) Roadmap which is in the process of being implemented and which was approved by NERAC. NTD identifies six nuclear plant designs with the potential for commercial deployment in the U.S. by 2010. All will operate on the existing once-through fuel cycle. DOE, through its “Nuclear Power 2010 Initiative” has taken action to implement the NTD Roadmap, in cooperation with U.S. industry.
• A Technology Roadmap for Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems which is described in a report distributed to NERAC and which is to serve as the framework to start to negotiate joint Research and Development (R&D) programs among the ten countries which have come together to form the Generation IV International Forum (GIF). The objective for Generation IV advanced nuclear energy systems is to have them available for international deployment before the year 2030.
DOE is getting ready to launch an Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to develop highly effective and economical means to deal with nuclear waste management. GRNS did not participate in its formulation.
All three initiatives above need to be integrated to avoid overlaps and to define and modify their technological interrelationships as a function of time and progress.
Due to the significance of the Generation IV Technological Roadmap plans, a concerted effort needs to be made to communicate with other stakeholders including in the U.S.: the Congress, Administration, NRC, ACRS, environmental groups, anti-nuclear groups and the general public about the nature, basis and substance behind the Roadmap recommendations to solicit support for the agreed upon R&D effort. The process should provide for a process that allows for changes in the Roadmap based on this dialogue.
DOE is to be commended for its efforts to reach an international consensus on the formulation of a GEN IV Roadmap. The bringing together of a diverse group of over 100 international experts with different backgrounds and experience from ten different countries is particularly noteworthy.
October 3, 2002