Status of International Advanced Reactor Technology Development 

Dr. Alexander Stanculescu
Nuclear Science and Engineering Division
Idaho National Laboratory

Arguably, the world faces challenges with regard to meeting its energy needs in a sustainable manner.    The total demand for energy in the world is currently increasing at a rate of about 30% every decade, driven mainly by the demographic and economic growth of some developing countries. However, most of this increased demand is being met by fossil fuel power plants. As a result, the contribution from nuclear power to electricity generation at present has steadily dropped from more than 17% at the turn of the century to slightly less than 14%1, and will continue to decrease. The rapid increase in demand for energy causes a strain on the world’s energy resources that is likely to inhibit further growth of the economies of developing countries and undermine the sustainability of global prosperity and stability.  The increased use of fossil fuel, on the other hand, will further damage the environment.

 Nowadays, nuclear energy is one of the most effective options among energy mix to meet these challenges, especially with respect to electricity production. Further installation of new nuclear energy systems and their non electric applications like process heat and hydrogen production, offers considerable advantages in terms of reduction of CO2 emissions and security of supply. Therefore, the deployment of nuclear energy systems in the upcoming decades on a scale that will allow the potential benefits of nuclear energy to fully emerge, demands innovative designs adapted to various needs and applications.

 The talk will present the drivers for, and current status of worldwide nuclear energy development efforts, as well as review some advanced reactor concepts and applications of nuclear energy.

[1] According to the INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Power Reactors Information, as of August 2011, there were 439 nuclear power plants operating in the world with a total net installed electrical capacity of 374 GW, and 66 nuclear power plants of 64 GW electrical capacity under construction