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VII Nuclear Fuel Cycle Policy and Technologies: National Policy, Current Status, Future Prospects and Public Acceptance of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Including Geological Disposal

Expectation for Nuclear Transmutation

Abstract It is my great honor and pleasure to speak to you this morning on the occasion of the International Symposium on Nuclear Back-end Issues and the Role of Nuclear Transmutation Technology after the accident of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Stations. I would like to thank the organizers, especially Professor Hirotake Moriyama and Professor Hajimu Yamana, for inviting me to this Symposium.

I believe that this Symposium is very important and well timed to solve urgent

problems concerning nuclear back-end issues and to develop nuclear transmutation technology. I myself am a nuclear theoretical physicist and am ignorant of nuclear technology. However, I believe that nuclear energy is indispensable for the future of human beings and that nuclear engineering must be further developed.

My talk consists of the following four subjects:

1. Demand for primary energy and electricity is increasing year by year.

2. Global warming is becoming a more serious problem.

3. Development of renewable energy must be promoted. However, it will require sufficient resources of time and budget.

4. Human beings cannot avoid depending on nuclear energy as well as other energy resources that do not emit CO2.

5. Nuclear technology must be developed.

(a) The safety technology of nuclear energy has to be developed for the future.

(b) The technology for the back-end of the nuclear fuel cycle has to be enhanced. The site for final disposal of nuclear wastes has to be determined as soon as possible in Japan, which is a responsibility of the Central Government.

(c) The research and development of innovative technologies, such as accelerator-driven systems, must be promoted to encourage the progress of final disposal.

(d) Research and development of nuclear technologies for reactor decommissioning, safety technology, back-end, etc., must be promoted intensively through international cooperation.

Keywords Accelerator-driven system • Decommissioning • Final disposal

• Nuclear back-end • Nuclear energy • Nuclear transmutation

Demand for Primary Energy and Electricity Is Increasing Year by Year

Figure 23.1 shows a prediction of the world population together with its past history. This figure shows that the world population had already reached 7 billion in 2011 and will be 9.2 billion in 2050. Another prediction indicates that the population of the world would be 11 billion by the end of this century.

It is not easy to predict the future demand for primary energy. Let me estimate it taking an extremely naive way. Figure 23.2 shows how much primary energy per capital is consumed annually in each country in terms of tons of oil equivalent. In 2009, the average of consumption of primary energy was 1.8 t/year and the world population was 7 billion. It is a reasonable assumption that everybody in the world hopes to enjoy the American life using 7 t/year, or at least the average of OECD countries by using 4 t/year. Let us assume that in the near future the average will become 4 t/year and the world population will be 10 billion in 2100. Then, simple arithmetic tells us that the total demand for primary energy will be 3.2 times [¼(10 x 4)/(7 x 1.8)] more than the present consumption.

More realistically, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted the future demand for primary energy. The demand in countries other than OECD in 2035 will be 1.8 times more than in 2010. The demand for primary energy in the world in 2035 will be 1.35 times more than in 2010. We should be careful because this increase of 35 % will occur only 25 years from now. If this increase continues linearly for the next 100 years, we find a 140 % increase, that is, altogether 2.4 times more than the present consumption. According to IEA, the demand for electricity in the world in 2035 will be 1.73 times more than in 2011, which is an increase 2 times as fast as that for primary energy.

 
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