The MOX myth. Risks and dangers of the use of Mixed Oxide Fuel
|Auteur||WISE, D.Bannink, J.Boer, L.Pam|
|Classificatie||6.01.2.56/06 (PLUTONIUM - MOX & HERGEBRUIK KERNWAPEN-PU)|
Uit de publicatie:
The MOX Myth Risks and dangers of the use of Mixed Oxide Fuel Written by: Loeke Pam, Joop Boer and Dirk Bannink Editor: Dirk Bannink WISE News Communique 469/470: April 11, 1997 Introduction After US President Eisenhower's famous "Atoms for Peace" speech to the United Nations in December 1953, nuclear power and knowledge were no longer a military playground solely. Nuclear energy became available for civil purposes. The expectations were enormous: nuclear electricity would be so cheap and abundant, it's use wouldn't be worth metering. The ultimate goal would not be a nuclear chain with remaining wastes but a closed fuel cycle with everlasting energy. During the first decade of commercial utilization of nuclear energy, in the 60s, it was thought that uranium would soon become scarce. The belief was that in about 20-30 years plutonium had to be used instead of uranium. Reprocessing and Fast Breeder Reactors were seen as the basis for the future of nuclear energy. This future should be reached in three stadia: 1- The first generation of nuclear power plants, mainly Light Water Reactors (LWRs) would produce plutonium. 2- The fust Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) would be fueled with reprocessed plutonium from the spent fuel of these LWRs. 3- After a transition period, during which both LWRs and FBRs would operate together, FBRs would be the only nuclear reactors. They would "breed" more plutonium than they consumed. The newly bred plutonium inside the FBR spent fuel would be separated in special reprocessing plants, fabricated into plutonium fuel and fed into new FBRs. This would mean an infinite energy source. The functioning of FBRs "kept the company waiting" and plutonium stocks issued from reprocessing were piling up. Reprocessing contracts that were already existing would only increase the plutonium pile in the future. The aim of that infinite energy source has not been reached; the hope for a successful FBR program collapsed. It is even planned to rebuild some of the FBRs from breeders to burners of plutonium. Commercial utilization of FBRs is being pushed to the far future, between 2030 and 2050, if ever. But without the prospect of fast breeders and therefore of an infinite energy source, nuclear energy lost another of its promises.