Nuclear Technology

Nuclear Technology

436 nuclear reactors are currently operating worldwide and 39 of them are under construction. Together they have accumulated nearly 10000 operating years. They produce approximately 16 % of world electricity generated. Research and development in nuclear field is on the highest level and significant portion of knowledge gained in nuclear field is successfully applied in other fields. The issues on radioactive waste have been solved scientifically and technologically.

The problems that nuclear technology is currently facing seems to be the following:

  • no new reactors are built in Europe and in North America which can result in losing of expertise and know-how; this might be the most significant concern of today and the question is whether the current generation of young experts is able to build new nuclear power plants,
  • public acceptance of nuclear power – high level radioactive waste is of more concern than the safety issues.

The session on nuclear technology showed that various advanced designs of new reactors are being developed. To become a reality they should have the following features:

  • competitiveness especially with the gas power plants,
  • inherent safety features
  • simpler design than current NPPs safety has to be easy to demonstrate.

It is believed that this could stimulate construction of new nuclear power plants, which is necessary for keeping the current level of know-how in the industry.

Audience agreed that political and financial support is necessary for development and construction of new reactors. As the political acceptance of the industry may be driven by public opinion, better communication towards the public may be the key to the solution of the current not very promising situation.