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International treaties (Kyoto and Paris), EU and national legislation have created a growing demand for a larger share, and overall larger amount of concentrated de-carbonized electricity. With such high stakes, to rely on wind and solar as the only feasible solutions is a strategic error. To address the existential need for more and more energy of our growing and wealthier societies across the world, we argue for keeping the nuclear option open, supported by future revolutionary safe and clean nuclear technologies, which would be acceptable to an otherwise presently mostly nuclear-averse society. This proposal is further supported when one acknowledges the real problem of stewardship of already existing high-grade nuclear waste over time scales eclipsing that of stable societies. To realize this vision, substantial ongoing national and international R&D programs exist, although funding is at historically low levels, and the sufficiency of current policies and activities to meet expected energy demand at an acceptable level of emissions has been questioned. Moreover, in the nuclear industry, there is the risk of stagnation of essential human-capital and know-how. The promising concepts and designs presented in Chap. 6 provide the impulse to get us over the existing hurdles, but the scope is ambitious, and time delay from R&D to commercial deployment in general is too long, stemming in part from regulatory inertia. Therefore, we call for an urgent increase in government and international R&D funding by two orders of magnitude—i.e., of the order of hundreds of billions of USD per year, for an international civilian “super-Apollo” program. We emphasize that such a large-scale public program is not unprecedented in size, and experience indicates that such investments in fundamental technology are not only of immense public benefit but also enable revolutionary innovations to be spun out that would not otherwise ever have been attained.
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- Potentials and Vision for the Future of Nuclear Energy
- Chapter 7
Systemische Notwendigkeit zur Weiterentwicklung von Hybridnetzen