Some Thoughts on the Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry

Abstract

Recent assessments of the strategic prospects of the nuclear energy industry tend to show a somewhat condescending attitude towards fusion, which, regretfully, has grounds given the current state of affairs in nuclear science. However, the analysis of the problems and the potentialities of the fusion of light nuclei and fission of heavy nuclei suggests that a full-scale development of each of the two nuclear technologies inevitably involves the need to overcome some formidable technological, materials science, environmental, and economic problems, some of which may put the feasibility of pursuing these nuclear energy programs at question. At the same time, the physical features of the fission and fusion processes objectively suggest that it may be reasonable to combine the two nuclear technologies within a joint nuclear energy system to enable a greater synergetic effect. This apparently would markedly lessen the problems attendant upon the application of each of the discussed technologies in the course of the full-scale development of nuclear energy.

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Correspondence to V. F. Tsibulskiy.

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Translated by O. Lotova

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Velikhov, E.P., Davidenko, V.D. & Tsibulskiy, V.F. Some Thoughts on the Future of the Nuclear Energy Industry. Phys. Atom. Nuclei 83, 1021–1028 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1134/S106377882007011X

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Keywords:

  • nuclear power engineering
  • thermonuclear fusion
  • nuclear fuel
  • radiation safety
  • energy security for mankind