Nuclear Power

Calming Our Nuclear Jitters

John Mueller

An exaggerated fear of nuclear weapons has led to many wrongheaded policy decisions. A more sober assessment is needed. The fearsome destructive power of nuclear weapons provokes understandable dread, but in crafting public policy we must move beyond this initial reaction to soberly assess the risks and consider appropriate ac tions. Out of awe over […]

This article is in Better U.S. Health Care at Lower Cost, Winter 2010

Perspective: A Vision for U.S.-Russian Cooperation on Nuclear Security

Linton F. Brooks

The United States and Russia have reached a new stage in their relationship, and the time is right to consider how the world’s two most powerful nuclear powers can work together to enhance global security. Cold war polarization ended more than 15 years ago. During the 1990s, attention shifted to the threat posed by the […]

This article is in The Road to a New Energy System, Fall 2009

Reducing Proliferation Risk

Burton Richter

The coming expansion of nuclear power can be a security as well as an environmental blessing, but only if it comes without a great increase in the risk of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The use of nuclear energy to produce electricity is expanding worldwide, and as it does the danger that nuclear weapons will […]

This article is in Questions That Blur Political Party Lines, Fall 2008

Strengthening Nuclear Safeguards

Charles D. Ferguson

Urgent action is needed to shore up the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency to detect nuclear weapons programs and safeguard peaceful nuclear programs. As events in Iran and elsewhere illustrate, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is confronting a crisis in its ability to detect nuclear weapons programs and to safeguard peaceful nuclear […]

This article is in Health Care Touchstones: Cost and Quality, Spring 2008

Energy Conundrums: New Nukes

Richard K. Lester

For the next 5 to 10 years, emphasis should be on fundamental research and laboratory-scale experiments. This should be supported by strong systems analysis and extensive modeling and simulation, and should explore a broad range of reactors, fuel types, and fuel cycles. The Bush administration is pushing for early selection of particular fuel cycle technologies […]

This article is in Energy Conundrums, Summer 2006

Energy Conundrums: Nuclear Waste and the Distant Future

Per F. Peterson, William E. Kastenberg, Michael Corradini

Regulation of nuclear hazards must be consistent with rules governing other hazardous materials and must balance its risks against those linked to other energy sources. Although most of the radioactive material generated by nuclear energy decays away over short times ranging from minutes to several decades, a small fraction remains radioactive for far longer time […]

This article is in Energy Conundrums, Summer 2006

Learning from Fukushima

Sebastian M. Pfotenhauer, Christopher F. Jones, Krishanu Saha, Sheila Jasanoff

Efforts to explain what went wrong in Japan’s nuclear disaster are doomed to fail if they seek to separate the social from the technological. Recognizing that all aspects of sociotechnical systems are intertwined is essential to developing wiser technology policies. Disasters prompt us to seek lessons. After the tragic trifecta of earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear […]

This article is in Making Sense of the Adolescent Brain, Spring 2012

A Second Look at Nuclear Power

Paul Lorenzini

By overlooking nuclear power in the quest for clean energy, we are condemning ourselves to a future of increased fossil fuel use. For more than three decades, energy policies in the United States and much of the Western world have been held in the ideological grip of a flawed concept: the notion that we can […]

This article is in Population Health: The Big Picture, Spring 2005

Improving Spent-Fuel Storage at Nuclear Reactors

Robert Alvarez

Improving pool safety is certainly important. For decades, nuclear safety research has consistently pointed out that severe accidents could occur at spent-fuel pools that would result in catastrophic consequences. A severe pool fire could render about 188 square miles around the nuclear reactor uninhabitable, cause as many as 28,000 cancer fatalities, and cause $59 billion […]

This article is in Economic Stimulus, Winter 2012

Preventing a Nuclear 9/11

Matthew Bunn

Ultimately, gaining the needed Russian commitment to this effort and the buy-in of Russian experts crucial to long-term sustainability will require a genuinely partnership-based approach in which Russian experts play key roles, working with foreign partners in the conception, design, and implementation of the entire effort. As part of that partnership, the two countries should […]

This article is in Computing Solutions to Airline Safety and Other Policy Dilemmas, Winter 2005

The Little Reactor That Could?

Ross Carper, Sonja Schmid

As the United States and other nations consider their next steps in nuclear energy, a new movement to support small modular reactors is coming to the forefront. But how are we to envision these technologies and their role in a post-Fukushima era? A week before Halloween 2009, John R. Deal, an entrepreneur who goes almost […]

This article is in Affordable National Security, Summer 2011

Strengthening Global Nuclear Governance

Justin Alger, Trevor Findlay

Interest in nuclear energy by developing countries without nuclear experience could pose major challenges to the global rules now in place to ensure the safe, secure, and peaceful use of nuclear power. Motivated in large part by climate change and the need for carbon-free energy sources, governments and companies around the world are pushing to […]

This article is in The Need for Geoengineering Research, Fall 2010

Nuclear Waste Disposal: Showdown at Yucca Mountain

Luther J. Carter, Lake H. Barrett, Kenneth C. Rogers

The administration’s decision to withdraw the application for a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, lacks scientific justification and could hamper the nation’s effort to use nuclear energy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. If the nation is to seriously confront a growing inventory of highly radioactive waste, a key step is to determine […]

This article is in The Need for Geoengineering Research, Fall 2010