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Nuclear power is a non-renewable energy resource with zero carbon dioxide emissions. The energy density of nuclear fuels is orders of magnitude greater than chemical fuels. Similarly, the tonnage of waste produced by nuclear power plants is orders of magnitude smaller than that of non-nuclear plants. However, the waste generated by nuclear power is significantly more dangerous than other energy-related wastes.
Current nuclear power plants use fission of Uranium-235 to generate electricity. Nuclear power accounts for about 18% of world electricity production, but it faces significant political and social opposition. Concerns raised by nuclear power include operational safety, waste management, and weapons proliferation.
Alternative fission pathways are known but need further research and development to become viable. Advanced nuclear technologies could reduce the quantity, weapons-suitability, and hazard level of waste products while improving the safety of power plants.
Though even further on the technological horizon, nuclear fusion systems promise dramatically reduced waste and virtually eliminate weapons proliferation concerns. Much fundamental research is needed before fusion could begin to contribute to a future energy system.Past Event
GCEP Fusion Energy Workshop
May 1-2, 2006
> Selected Presentations
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