Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power

Past, Present and Future

David Elliott
ISBN: 9781681745046 | PDF ISBN: 9781681745053
Copyright © 2017 | 80 Pages | Publication Date: May, 2017

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This book looks at the early history of nuclear power, at what happened next, and at its longer-term prospects. The main question is: can nuclear power overcome the problems that have emerged? It was once touted as the ultimate energy source, freeing mankind from reliance on dirty, expensive fossil energy. Sixty years on, nuclear only supplies around 11.5% of global energy and is being challenged by cheaper energy options. While the costs of renewable sources, like wind and solar, are falling rapidly, nuclear costs have remained stubbornly high. Its development has also been slowed by a range of other problems, including a spate of major accidents, security concerns and the as yet unresolved issue of what to do with the wastes that it produces. In response, a new generation of nuclear reactors is being developed, many of them actually revised versions of the ideas first looked at in the earlier phase. Will this new generation of reactors bring nuclear energy to the forefront of energy production in the future?

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: the nuclear vision
1.1 Nuclear energy: uranium in a bucket
1.2 Atoms for peace
1.3 The rise and fall of nuclear
1.4 On to Generation IV?

2. Nuclear innovation: the early days
2.1 Early US experiments
2.2 Thorium reactors and fast breeders
2.3 Generation IV design parameters and constraints

3. New brooms
3.1 Back to Breeders- and thorium
3.2 Small is beautiful
3.3 Reactor choices and progress

4. Nuclear power revisited
4.1 A review of the prospects for new nuclear
4.2 What long term future for nuclear?
4.3 Conclusions: the way ahead

Afterword: insider views
Appendix: Nuclear and Renewables compared

About the Author(s)

David Elliott, The Open University
David Elliott worked initially with the UK Atomic Energy Authority at Harwell and the Central Electricity Generating Board, before moving to The Open University, where he is now an Emeritus Professor. While at The Open University, he was the co-director of the Energy and Environment Research Unit and Professor of Technology Policy in the Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology. During his time at The Open University he created several courses in design and innovation, with special emphasis on how the innovation development process can be directed towards sustainable technologies. Prof. Elliott has published numerous books, reports and papers, especially in the area of the development of sustainable and renewable energy technologies and systems. Still very active in research and policy, he also writes the popular blog 'Renew Your Energy' on

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