The Alvin Weinberg Foundation is a charity promoting safe, secure and sustainable advanced nuclear energy.

Posted by Katherine Chapman

Chancellor George Osborne should announce in this week’s Comprehensive Spending Review that the government will fund prototype demonstrations of advanced nuclear reactors. Existing nuclear reactors are already safe and low-carbon, so some more should be built. Future reactors could be even safer and even lower carbon, so prototypes should be constructed.

The advantages of next-generation nuclear power are outlined in a new report; Why nuclear innovation is needed, from Weinberg Next Nuclear, the UK charity promoting nuclear power. These advantages include:

  • They can use liquid fuel, so the core cannot melt down;
  • They can re-use the spent fuel – which still contains over 90% of the energy that was in the original uranium;
  • Advanced reactors could reduce the amount of nuclear waste which has to be managed by future generations (and which already exists so cannot be wished away) by around 95%;
  • They can use plutonium as fuel. The UK has the largest stockpile of plutonium in the world;
  • They can be built as small modules and then assembled on site to reach the scale desired. So they can be installed where the heat could be used as well as the power.

Safety is inherent to the design of next-generation reactors, rather than being a costly add-on. ‘Small Modular Reactors’ can be built on a production line, reducing construction costs. So advanced reactors are likely to be cheaper to build than existing ones – though this will not be known for certain until one has been built and operated.

Energy and Climate Secretary Amber Rudd said in her ‘reset’ speech last week: Let’s be honest with ourselves, we don’t have all the answers to decarbonisation today. We must develop technologies that are both cheap and green. This means unleashing innovation.” She is right. Innovation is needed in renewable energy and carbon capture and storage, but also in nuclear energy.

George Osborne has a great opportunity on Wednesday to begin the delivery of the Government’s reset energy and climate plan. He can show that the UK is a world leader, not only in phasing out coal but also in developing clean alternatives. We led the industrial revolution; now we must lead the post-industrial revolution.

Stephen Tindale, Director, Weinberg Next Nuclear, 07941 433780

Posted by Suzanna Hinson

1Weinberg Next Nuclear are excited to again publish a guest blog by John Laurie of Energie du thorium. Have a look at their website for more information and a french perspective on nuclear.——————————————————————————————————————————————— Watch out! Trick question: Who invented the steam engine?Give up?They all made major contributions. Such is the nature of technological development – each inventor stands on the shoulders of the giants that have preceded them.The history of human development is closely linked to the cost of energy. Prehistoric hunter-gatherers needed a large land area per person to survive. A much larger population of humans was possible with the invention of agriculture, and then by replacing human mechanical energy with that of animals. But at the end of the middle ages, Europe was faced with the ecological catastrophe of deforestation. People started to obtain thermal energy from coal, but the reserves available close to the surface were soon used up.In 1712, Thomas Newcomen combined the ideas of Denis Papin and Thomas Savery to invent the first commercial steam engine for pumping water out of mines, allowing deeper mining… [read more]

Endorsements:

I strongly support the Alvin Weinberg Foundation’s vital work to raise awareness of the urgent need for next-generation nuclear power to combat climate change and to provide clean energy for the future.

— Professor James Hansen

@aw_nextnuclear

#HinkleyPoint may be delayed but #nuclear power could and should still thrive in the UK. See our latest update https://t.co/Bqzwcl7PlC
- Thursday Jan 28 - 6:52pm

Great to start 2016 with progress in #nuclearenergy - see our latest blog on the USA progress. https://t.co/ol3q0m7hl8
- Friday Jan 22 - 3:01pm


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