Nuclear Issues

12 Items

Discussion Paper - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Energy Technology Expert Elicitations for Policy: Workshops, Modeling, and Meta-analysis

| October 2014

Characterizing the future performance of energy technologies can improve the development of energy policies that have net benefits under a broad set of future conditions. In particular, decisions about public investments in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) that promote technological change can benefit from (1) an explicit consideration of the uncertainty inherent in the innovation process and (2) a systematic evaluation of the tradeoffs in investment allocations across different technologies. To shed light on these questions, over the past five years several groups in the United States and Europe have conducted expert elicitations and modeled the resulting societal benefits. In this paper, the authors discuss the lessons learned from the design and implementation of these initiatives.

Nuclear Fuel Rod Assembly


Journal Article - Environmental Science and Technology

Expert Judgments about RD&D and the Future of Nuclear Energy

| 2012

Probabilistic estimates of the cost and performance of future nuclear energy systems under different scenarios of government research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) spending were obtained from 30 U.S. and 30 European nuclear technology experts. The majority expected that such RD&D would have only a modest effect on cost, but would improve performance in other areas, such as safety, waste management, and uranium resource utilization. The U.S. and E.U. experts were in relative agreement regarding how government RD&D funds should be allocated, placing particular focus on very high temperature reactors, sodium-cooled fast reactors, fuels and materials, and fuel cycle technologies.


International Workshop on Research, Development, and Demonstration to Enhance the Role of Nuclear Energy in Meeting Climate and Energy Challenges

| April 2011

Dramatic growth in nuclear energy would be required for nuclear power to provide a significant part of the carbon-free energy the world is likely to need in the 21st century, or a major part in meeting other energy challenges. This would require increased support from governments, utilities, and publics around the world. Achieving that support is likely to require improved economics and major progress toward resolving issues of nuclear safety, proliferation-resistance, and nuclear waste management. This is likely to require both research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) of improved technologies and new policy approaches.

President Barack Obama shares the podium with MIT's Susan Hockfield and Paul Holland of Serious Materials during the President's remarks on investments in clean energy and new technology, March 23, 2009, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

White House Photo

Journal Article - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Trends in Investments in Global Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration

| May/June 2011

Recent national trends in investments in global energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) are inconsistent around the world. Public RD&D investments in energy are the metric most commonly used in international comparative assessments of energy-technology innovation, and the metric employed in this article. Overall, the data indicate that International Energy Agency (IEA) member country government investments have been volatile: they peaked in the late 1970s, declined during the subsequent two decades, bottomed out in 1997, and then began to gradually grow again during the 2000s.

The world's first grid-scale, flywheel-based energy storage plant is being built in Stephentown, N.Y. The plant is being built by Beacon Power Corporation (NASDAQ: BCON) & is supported by a $43 million loan guarantee from DOE.

Beacon Power Corp. Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Transforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies

"The focus of the workshop was on the demonstration stage of the technology innovation cycle. Current policies do not adequately address the private sector’s inability to overcome the demonstration "valley of death" for new energy technologies. Investors and financiers fear that the technology and operational risks at this stage of the cycle remain too high to justify the level of investment to build a commercial-sized facility."

Conceptual drawing of a single B&W mPower™ nuclear reactor module inside its own independent, underground containment.

Babcock & Wilcox Photo

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

Tranforming the Energy Economy: Options for Accelerating the Commercialization of Advanced Energy Technologies—Framing Statement

"There is broad political consensus that the current energy system in the United States is unable to meet the nation's future energy needs, from the security, environment, and economic perspectives. New energy technologies are required to increase the availability of domestic energy supplies, to reduce the negative environmental impacts of our energy system, to improve the reliability of current energy infrastructure (e.g., smart grid, energy storage), and to increase energy efficiency throughout the economy."

Report - Energy Technology Innovation Policy Project, Belfer Center

DOE FY 2010 Budget Request and Recovery Act Funding for Energy Research, Development, Demonstration, and Deployment: Analysis and Recommendations

A new analysis of energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment (ERD3) funding in the Obama administration's FY2010 budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 finds that the total available for energy research development and demonstration alone and ERD3 in FY2010 would double and increase by two-thirds, respectively, compared to FY2009 (based on certain assumptions). These substantial funding increases—coupled with a range of institutional innovations the administration is implementing and movement toward putting a price on carbon emissions—will help accelerate innovation for a broad range of energy technologies. This report analyzes DOE's budget request for ERD3 and the Recovery Act and makes recommendations for further action by Congress and the administration.

Journal Article - Science

Science and Technology for Sustainable Well-Being

| January 25, 2008

"I would urge every scientist and engineer with an interest in the intersection of S&T with sustainable 'tithe' 10% of your professional time and effort to working in these and other ways to increase the benefits of S&T for the human condition and to decrease the liabilities. If so much as a substantial fraction of the world's scientists and engineers resolved to do this much, the acceleration of progress toward sustainable well-being for all of Earth's inhabitants would surprise us all."