Problem:  World will suffer from shortage of energy.
Solution:  Nuclear science and technology promise hope for humanity.


International Nuclear Societies Council


The world's needs for total energy and for electricity are estimated to increase significantly in the next 50 years in response to populati- on growth and economic development.Nuclear power will play a key role in helping to satisfy that energy demand.The scale of nuclear supply may be limited by the availability of uranium so long as thermal reac tors are the only type constructed.However,if plutonium is recycled in FBRs,nuclear power can contribute to world energy for an indefini te period.

The larger scale of nuclear power supply would
* reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned and thus reduce environmen tal pollution by carbon dioxide and other combustion products and
* imply installation of nuclear power programs in developing countri es where there will be the maximum growth of energy demand.

There apper to be no insuperable technical difficulties in realizing the plant and equipment required for nuclear power supply.Thermal neutron reactors are proven and commercialized,and they are capable of further improvement.Prototype large FBRs are operating,and de monstration plants as currently designed could supply data for the commercial introduction of fast breeders in 2030.Nevertheless,finding technical solutions for optimizing the plants needs substantial and continuing effort to improve thermal reactors and to develop fast reactors and their fuel cycle.

The issues to be addressed to enable nuclear power to play its full part are institucional.They concern safety,waste disposal,internati onal cooperation,nuclear proliferation,and public acceptance. The highest safety standards must prevail in all countries.The Cher nobyl accident served as a dramatic warning of the impact of inadequa te sefety,and the international nuclear community reacted quickly and with determination.The international Nuclear Safety Convention and related agreements provide a mechanism for defining safety standards, for requiring their implementation by all contries, and for verifying the implementation.The measures have been adopted-the challenge now is to make them fully functional.

The absence of demonstrated policies for the disposal of highlevel radioactive waste is seen by the public as a failure,or at the least a lack of decision,on the party of the nuclear power industry.In technical terms there is no urgency;current methods of engineered storage are capable of controlling the waste.But in terms of public acceptance of nuclear power,the industry must demonstrate greater activity and concern.

Without public acceptance there can be no effective programs of nuclear power or use of nuclear radiation.The public is sceptical. Efforts to correct misunderstandings and change attitudes have met with limited success.Finding the way out of these difficulties is one of the major challenges facing the industry in the coming years. In comparison with industrialized nations,developing countries find it more difficult to accumulate capital and have fewer technically qualified personnel-there is no industrial base.Countries with these limitations need help from richer and more experienced nations to introduce nuclear power.International and regional agreements already exist that attent to various needs.The experience gained from these cooperative activities can be used to devise support structures to help other countries launch nuclear programas.

The diversion of nulear technologies and materials to military appli cations has always been recognized as a danger.With the adoption of nuclear power in more and more countries,the potencial danger is grea- ter.As in other areas,international instruments are already in operation to monitor and control proliferation.The task for the future is to ensure the proper implementation of these meachanisms and the development of new and more extensive networks,as well as to achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world.

The many and great benefits are so compelling that nuclear sciense and technology promise hope for all humanitty.


<<< Back to Publications of RCGG