The topic of this lecture is Nuclear Energy; the idea is not to go into the details of nuclear physics or engineering but to try to understand the potential of nuclear energy against the anticipated demand lying between 22 and 35 TWyr/yr by the year 2030, as compared with 8 TWyr/yr in 1975. The main attraction of nuclear energy is of course the factor of 3 × 106 which expresses the ratio of the energy released through fission of one gram of fissionable material to the energy released through combustion of one gram of fossil fuel. I must emphasize here that this huge factor of 3 × 106 cannot simply be understood as a quantitative change; such a factor also catalyses qualitative changes and brings to the fore new opportunities as well as new problems. As for the latter, it has been pointed out repeatedly that a nuclear war would be disastrous if not the end for civilization on this globe. It has been pointed out that waste disposal and radiating isotopes pose dangers that are qualitatively different from the past. So the negative side of the nuclear energy option has been elaborated, I would say, over and over again, and, for the moment, I am not taking issue with these claims. What I would like to do is to put it into perspective by looking at the positive implications of the factor of 3 × 106.
KeywordsInternational Atomic Energy Agency Fuel Cycle Natural Uranium Light Water Reactor Fast Breeder Reactor
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