On a long term strategy for the success of nuclear power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  • External authors:
  • Bruno Merk
  • Dzianis Litskevich
  • Karl R. Whittle
  • Mark Bankhead
  • Dan Mathers


The current generation of nuclear reactors are evolutionary in design, mostly based on the technology originally designed to power submarines, and dominated by light water reactors. The aims of the Generation IV consortium are driven by sustainability, safety and reliability, economics, and proliferation resistance. The aims are extended here to encompass the ultimate and universal vision for strategic development of energy production, the "perpetuum mobile"-at least as close as possible. We propose to rethink nuclear reactor design with the mission to develop an innovative system which uses no fresh resources and produces no fresh waste during operation as well as generates power safe and reliably in economic way. The results of the innovative simulations presented here demonstrate that, from a theoretical perspective, it is feasible to fulfil the mission through the direct reuse of spent nuclear fuel from currently operating reactors as the fuel for a proposed new reactor. The produced waste is less burdensome than current spent nuclear fuel which is used as feed to the system. However, safety, reliability and operational economics will need to be demonstrated to create the basis for the long term success of nuclear reactors as a major carbon free, sustainable, and applied highly reliable energy source.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Article number867
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2017