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  • Game Changers from Outside the Nuclear Field - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    the United States have created growing markets for low emission technologies and demand for inexpensive clean energy is increasing abroad Although attempts to recast climate legislation in terms of economic competitiveness or green jobs have met with mixed results the bipartisan effort to defeat California s Proposition 23 an attempt to repeal a statewide cap and trade system successfully framed climate action as necessary to innovation and may mark a turning point Outside the United States China is aggressively developing renewable technology in conjunction with ambitious fossil fuel and nuclear efforts and European countries particularly Germany are poised to be major players in solar and wind energy A desire to anticipate and compete in a future low carbon world may lead more governments to incentivize clean technology research and development and would provide an economic impetus for emissions control legislation Also unclear is whether binding international agreements among major emitters that would require domestic action to cut greenhouse gas emissions will come into force Negotiations continue but have thus far been unsuccessful with developing countries concerned about questions of fairness and the United States in particular reluctant or unable to commit to reduction targets In several major countries the priority given to climate change actions has dropped significantly in the past three years 41 These developments coupled with the relative weakness of international institutions make it difficult to imagine a viable and binding international agreement coming into force anytime soon However combinations of sustained grassroots pressure political leadership support from the business community and economic incentives have resulted in a patchwork of different policies at national and subnational levels The question for nuclear power is how dependent is nuclear power on the likelihood and form of government action about climate change at the local national and international levels What Form Could Climate Action Take It is unclear how and if local policies will constitute a global emissions control regime or what best practices may be adopted widely still it is instructive to examine common forms of regulation in order to determine the consequences for nuclear power We can divide these policies into three rough categories The simplest method involves taxing greenhouse gas emissions directly A carbon tax has the advantage of addressing emissions while encouraging market based development of new technology and is a policy favored by many economists Directly pricing carbon is likely in the short term to favor proven low carbon base load power technologies of which nuclear is the primary example Because of the long lifetimes of power plants the consequences of these short term decisions are likely to be favorable for nuclear power in the long term In fact a carbon tax could at least in the United States finally lead to the vaunted nuclear renaissance predicted by many experts Because of the prevalence of fossil fuels a direct carbon tax is likely to increase electricity rates in the short term provoking popular resistance Even revenue neutral taxes may leave their architects vulnerable to the attacks of political opponents As a result legislation in Europe and the United States often follows a cap and trade model whereby the government issues a finite amount of permits to emit a certain substance These permits can then be traded or sold creating a market for emissions Such policies have the advantage of determining a specific limit for emissions while a tax on carbon may have to be adjusted several times to attain an emissions target On the other hand cap and trade regulations have proven difficult to design and even more so to implement If the cap is set too high then permits lose value if too low the price of energy can rise unacceptably Allowing participants to purchase offsets for example through the clean development mechanism provided for in the Kyoto Protocol and practiced by some countries in the European Union may lead to little or no net reduction in emissions from developed countries and to reduced incentives to curb emissions in developing countries The consequences for nuclear power in a cap and trade regime would therefore likely be similar to its growth under a carbon tax but would depend strongly on the price and volatility of these carbon permits The third category of policies involves direct subsidies of low emission technology These subsidies come in several forms Feed in tariffs require utilities to purchase a set amount of electricity from renewable sources by guaranteeing a price for renewable energy over a specific time period while renewable portfolio standards require utilities to supply a given percentage of total demand from designated renewable sources While these approaches may facilitate the rapid introduction of otherwise prohibitively expensive technology they do not necessarily encourage the development of new and more cost competitive technologies Additionally policies of this type vary in the technologies they choose to subsidize because the definition of renewable or low emission is open to interpretation Is large scale hydroelectric power with its attendant environmental concerns a renewable source of energy Are biofuels some of which promise to reduce emissions relative to gasoline but require vast land and water resources and also have poorly understood environmental effects worthy of subsidy Nuclear energy in particular falls into a gray area Consider for instance that of the more than thirty U S states that have adopted renewable portfolio standards only Ohio classifies nuclear technology as renewable The consequences of these forms of subsidy for nuclear power will therefore depend on its classification and whether it is perceived as a clean technology What will be the Consequences of Government Climate Action for Nuclear Power Such regulations have the potential to transform the entire energy sector of which nuclear power is only a part Game changers for other energy sources may thus be game changers for nuclear power by proxy Changes in the electricity sector specifically will have the most direct impact on nuclear power Game changers for petroleum such as price shocks drilling restrictions or advances in refining technology are unlikely to

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1074 (2016-02-13)
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  • Strategies for Game Changers - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    changer for nuclear power agreement on such limits has no place in a strategy to deal with game changers in nuclear power But that argument is seldom explicitly made and is perhaps shortsighted The spread of enrichment or reprocessing nuclear facilities could lead to more latent nuclear armed states states that could fairly quickly acquire nuclear weapons perhaps on a timescale as short as months That development coupled with the entry of new exporters into the market could make for a very different marketplace Optimistically it could lead to new and more broadly accepted agreements on safeguarding nuclear power pessimistically it could lead to fragmentation of the market along political lines or worse to a marketplace in which effective steps are no longer taken to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons Safer More Secure Reactors Among states using nuclear power there is general agreement about the desirability of safe and secure nuclear facilities The implementing tools for example the World Association of Nuclear Operators standards setting the adoption of standards concerning safe design and siting by the U S Nuclear Regulatory Commission and other such regulators and to different degrees the various IAEA national agreements can be viewed as adding up to a strategy albeit an evolving one necessarily subject to national variations Beyond these steps technological developments that render nuclear facilities safer and more proliferation resistant or that reduce waste are in everyone s interest Strategies to deal with technological game changers consist mainly of R D by private entities with government support at paces ranging from accelerated to somnolent The disparity in national R D strategies could in time lead to major new actors in the nuclear market with China and India particularly active Historically new technologies have taken decades to penetrate the electricity generation and transmission markets R D investments are made largely by the state in China India and Russia while in France R D is shared between the public and private sectors In the United States and some other Western countries investing in such developments as small modular reactors laser enrichment and other innovations is mainly the province of industries and utilities In addition two major changes in the nuclear fuel cycle are currently being studied by governments the thorium based fuel cycle in India and the final disposal site for spent fuel or parts of it in the United States and elsewhere If it can be economically implemented the thorium based fuel cycle could make India s nuclear program independent of external uranium suppliers and could also broaden the appeal of its exports The U S program to find a new disposal site stems from a domestic political standoff and re ects the lack of a generally understood and supported strategy for nuclear power in the United States Preventing or Mitigating Climate Change The reaction of state governments to climate change is variable and generally quite slow Most industrialized states are reconsidering their domestic energy mix in light of climate change with differing results

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1075 (2016-02-13)
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  • Research Directions - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    market one with new buyers new sellers and new sales arrangements What can the United States and its allies do to prepare for the demand for sensitive facilities possibly much less expensive ones in different countries As they multiply their use of nuclear power by large factors what can developing countries do to prepare for the near certainty of a normal accident Such analyses combining economic technical and political factors would materially assist the national planning processes An analysis can be carried out at a general theoretical level assessing what planning techniques are available for the different varieties of what we have called game changers or more specialized analyses can be carried out on any of the problems listed above and similar ones What International Agreements to Deal with the Possible Spread of Sensitive Nuclear Facilities Could Receive General International Support In addition to the nuclear weapons states and some major nuclear power users states as varied as Brazil South Korea and Iran have sought or are seeking to build enrichment and or reprocessing facilities Far more so than nuclear reactors those facilities are dual purpose suited equally to make fuel for reactors and for nuclear weapons Several proposals have been made to prevent the spread of these facilities and the associated risks of nuclear weapon proliferation actual or latent Those proposals range from restricting the number of states with such facilities to the present ones restricting the facilities to internationally owned and managed ones and having the IAEA or another international organization own and manage a stockpile of enriched uranium for reactors among others Those proposals have not received the near universal international support that is needed to make them successful Clearly states that want to acquire nuclear weapons or be in a position to build them quickly are unlikely to agree willingly to restrictions on any of the key facilities Thus no proposal aimed at guaranteeing that sensitive facilities are used only for civilian purposes would have had the support of North Korea for example in the past decades But an international agreement that has the support of the near entirety of parties to the NPT that do not want nuclear weapons would strengthen that treaty and with it the norm against nuclear weapons proliferation To secure that support an agreement would have to satisfy both the economic and the political criteria of importance to NPT states parties Among others these criteria are likely to include the preservation of a competitive market in enrichment services and the development of a competitive market in reprocessing services should the demand warrant it access to those markets that does not depend on the relations of a state with a major power and continued freedom to innovate on the part of private as well as government organizations To our knowledge there has been no systematic study of how effective existing safeguards and other possible safeguards for sensitive facilities would be from the combined economic and political standpoint that we suggest What will

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1076 (2016-02-13)
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  • Conclusions - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    or disastrous Some potential consequences however could be severe and could have ramifications far beyond the area of nuclear power After all nuclear power is unique in the problems it poses worst case scenarios involving the theft of weapons grade material or a severe accident at a nuclear plant would arguably be among the most catastrophic to arise anywhere in the energy sector It is therefore imperative to devise effective strategies for thinking about game changers How might this be accomplished and what is missing from current plans First an overemphasis on rare black swans has prevented planners from appreciating the full range of game changers Even plans that explicitly account for sudden surprises suffer from an incomplete understanding of what it means for an event or development to change the game As we have shown game changers are not simply unanticipated low probability events but can also be ongoing evolutionary changes or high probability normal accidents Undoubtedly the ascendancy of China in the nuclear industry the emergence of new nuclear markets and large scale action on climate change may have serious and unanticipated consequences for nuclear power These evolutionary changes may prove to change the game in far more unexpected and radical ways than sudden surprising shocks Second as we have shown game changers are possible in almost all aspects of the nuclear power field from technological innovations in the fuel cycle to regulation of greenhouse gases to changes in politics among and within the great powers It is a fruitless exercise to predict the exact events or innovations that will shape the future of the field Instead it is useful to identify the outstanding problems that future innovations might address Advances in reactor technology for example are difficult to predict but in order to represent an improvement on

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1077 (2016-02-13)
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  • Contributors - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    Bulletin Magazine of the Academy Books Research Papers Monographs and Project Publications Meetings Overview Induction 2015 Upcoming Meetings and Events Friday Forum 2015 2016 Schedule Past Meetings and Events Fellowships Overview Visiting Scholars Program Hellman Fellowship in Science and Technology Policy Policy Fellowship in the Humanities Education and the Arts Policy Fellowship in Global Security and International Affairs The Exploratory Fund Member Login User Name Password Forgot your password Home Game Changers for Nuclear E Contributors Game Changers for Nuclear Energy Contributors Kate Marvel is the William J Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University She received a Ph D in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge Michael May is Professor Emeritus Research in the School of Engineering at Stanford University where he is also a Senior Fellow with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies He is former Codirector of Stanford University s Center for International Security and Cooperation and is Director Emeritus of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory He has held a number of government advisory positions was a member of the U S delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks and is a Fellow of the American

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1078 (2016-02-13)
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  • Participants - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    Policy Fellowship in Global Security and International Affairs The Exploratory Fund Member Login User Name Password Forgot your password Home Game Changers for Nuclear E Participants Game Changers for Nuclear Energy Participants A workshop cosponsored by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Center for International Security and Cooperation CISAC in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University held August 26 27 2010 at Stanford University Alex Alben TerraPower Intellectual Ventures Leslie C Berlowitz American Academy of Arts Sciences Edward Blandford Department of Nuclear Engineering University of California Berkeley now at Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Chaim Braun Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Louis W Cabot Cabot Wellington LLC American Academy of Arts Sciences Martha Crenshaw Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Phillip Duffy Climate Central Kimberly Durniak American Academy of Arts Sciences Steve Fetter Office of Science and Technology Policy The White House Kenneth Fowler Department of Nuclear Engineering University of California Berkeley Megan Garcia The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Alexander Glaser Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Princeton University Stephen Goldberg Argonne National Laboratory Alan Hanson AREVA Siegfried Hecker Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Thomas Isaacs Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Gordon Jarvinen Los Alamos National Laboratory Ronald Lehman Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Michael Levi Program on Energy Security and Climate Change Council on Foreign Relations Ning Li TerraPower Intellectual Ventures Berkeley Nuclear Research Center University of California Berkeley School of Energy Research Xiamen University Kate Marvel Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Michael May Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University Richard Meserve Carnegie Institution for Science Marvin Miller Center for

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1079 (2016-02-13)
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  • Preface - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    Technology Policy Policy Fellowship in the Humanities Education and the Arts Policy Fellowship in Global Security and International Affairs The Exploratory Fund Member Login User Name Password Forgot your password Home Nuclear Reactors Generatio Preface Nuclear Reactors Generation to Generation Preface The devastating earthquake tsunami and consequent multi reactor damage in Japan will have a significant impact on the future use of nuclear energy the nuclear industry and the global nuclear order The full impact will not be known for some time Data about the incident unfolding at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors were still being compiled when this paper went to press To make wise choices about the future of nuclear power we need improved knowledge of the safety safeguards and security features of both existing and new nuclear energy plants Understanding the potential advantages and disadvantages of nuclear energy is critical for those stakeholders and decision makers facing national energy challenges This publication provides an overview of the evolution of nuclear reactor technology and discusses six important factors in the development and deployment of new reactors For over five decades the American Academy of Arts and Sciences has played an integral role in nonproliferation studies beginning with a special issue of Daedalus on Arms Control published in 1960 and continuing with studies conducted by the Academy s Committee on International Security Studies CISS More recently the Academy s Global Nuclear Future GNF Initiative under the guidance of CISS is examining the safety security and nonproliferation implications of the global spread of nuclear energy The GNF Initiative is promoting innovative scholarship fostering creative behind the scenes interactions with international leaders and stakeholders examining issues critical to a safer and more secure nuclear future and developing pragmatic recommendations for managing the emerging nuclear order The GNF Initiative is supported

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1034 (2016-02-13)
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  • Acknowledgments - American Academy of Arts & Sciences
    Induction 2015 Upcoming Meetings and Events Friday Forum 2015 2016 Schedule Past Meetings and Events Fellowships Overview Visiting Scholars Program Hellman Fellowship in Science and Technology Policy Policy Fellowship in the Humanities Education and the Arts Policy Fellowship in Global Security and International Affairs The Exploratory Fund Member Login User Name Password Forgot your password Home Nuclear Reactors Generatio Acknowledgments Nuclear Reactors Generation to Generation Acknowledgments We would like to

    Original URL path: https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/pubContent.aspx?d=1035 (2016-02-13)
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