Keywords: fuel cycle, policy, emerging nuclear powers, nuclear power, nuclear energy
Nuclear power and the fuel cycle
Due to rising energy costs and climate concerns, nuclear power is once again being seriously considered as an energy source by several countries. This revival of nuclear power is closely linked with the choice of fuel cycles available, and the intentions of countries pursuing nuclear power are likely to be, correctly or incorrectly, judged by the choice of fuel cycle they make. The needs and constraints of the emerging nuclear powers may, however, be different from the expectations of a segment of the world community. If this potential growth in nuclear power is not to be stifled, it is imperative that a climate of mutual trust is developed respecting every country's right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear power without leading to an atmosphere of mistrust regarding the 'intentions' behind the pursuit of peaceful nuclear power. While it will be a near impossibility to completely decouple the peaceful uses of nuclear power from its more destructive applications, it is important that aspiring countries develop a clear and transparent process. Technology-supplier countries also need to develop and follow clear and consistent treaties and national policies, avoiding ad hoc country-specific arrangements. We review here the state of interest in nuclear power and current policies and discuss fuel cycle options that may pave the way for the future growth of nuclear power.