Fuel Cycle Challenges

Fuel Cycle Challenges

In this last session of the congress there was a wide diversity of topics presented for discussion. Together with the limitations on time, this meant that the audience had very little time to respond to the majority of the presentations. The audience expressed an interest in the use of new fuel types and the new possibilities for recycling in the future. The most significant topic discussed was that of waste management, particularly, did the hesitancy on the part of the decision makers to identify and permit a permanent disposal site for High Level Waste affect the public perception of the nuclear fuel cycle? The viewpoint was that public perception and clear communication with them was, as with many nuclear issues, the key to possible success.

The discussion of the Y-Notes group focused on the fact that waste management has improved as technology has developed. This has enabled the nuclear industry to enhance its waste management strategy and to minimize waste volumes and discharges. It was felt that perhaps as the industry is now able to deal with waste in a more comprehensive manner then this progress should be reported more fully to the public in order to gain their understanding that this is an issue that is constantly evolving.

There was broad agreement that the issue required resolution as soon as possible in order to encourage confidence in the industry as a whole. The public remains to be convinced that permanent disposal of high level waste is safe and the conclusions of the Young Generation during this Y Notes session were that:

  • We have an important role to play in improving the communication between the nuclear industry and the general public
  • We need to encourage policy decision makers by utilizing our enthusiasm and drive within and for the industry to accelerate the decisions associated with the placing of high level waste stores to demonstrate to the public that we have an effective and safe solution available for the long term storage of high level waste
  • It should also be communicated that as young people in the industry, we will see the results of our efforts as we work towards resolving peoples concerns regarding nuclear waste, this demonstrates to the public that we have a real motivation in ensuring a brighter future.

These conclusions can be seen to be key to the resolution of the whole waste management issue.