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New book – does nuclear power have a future?

Dave Elliott: Nuclear power’s development has been both exciting and
difficult, as well as controversial. In this new book, an updated and much
expanded second edition of the 2017 text that I wrote for the Institute of
Physics (IoP), I look first at the early history of nuclear innovation in
the 1950s, when, growing out of the weapons programme, a wide range of
ideas for uranium fission reactors were tested, mainly in the USA and UK.

As it attempts to show, many of the pilot projects were unsuccessful,
indeed some proved dangerous, but some viable lines of power plant
development were identified, mostly water-cooled reactors.

The book then moves on to the present, when, with economic problems facing the current
generation of water-cooled nuclear plants, some of the other older ideas
are being revisited. The book looks critically at progress on these ideas
so far and asks will any of them be successful, or will nuclear fission
prove to be a dead end as an energy option?

It also looks at the state of
play with nuclear fusion, a parallel development often seen as providing
the ultimate energy source for the long term, and it asks whether that is
likely to be viable in time to respond to climate change. Overall, it
adopts a critical approach.

With renewable expanding rapidly around the
world as their costs fall, the case for nuclear is, arguably, much
weakened. It is still possible that it will revive, with new cheaper
technology, but that case has to be made, not just assumed. Nuclear power
is often promoted as a viable energy option for major expansion in the
future, perhaps alongside renewables, but it clearly has significant

By looking back to the past, and also at current progress with
new nuclear technology based on earlier ideas, this book aims to identify
whether nuclear has a future.
Renew Extra 21st May 2022

May 23, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, media

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