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Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1623; doi:10.3390/su9091623

Comparison and Screening of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options in View of Sustainable Performance and Waste Management

1
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1, 76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
2
National Research Nuclear University MEPhI (Moscow Engineering Physics Institute), Kashirskoe Shosse 31, 115409 Moscow, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 7 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Waste Management and Sustainability of Nuclear Systems)

Abstract

Is it true that a nuclear technology approach to generate electric energy offers a clean, safe, reliable and affordable, i.e., sustainable option? In principle yes, however a technology impact on the environment strongly depends on the actual implementation bearing residual risks due to technical failures, human factors, or natural catastrophes. A full response is thus difficult and can be given first when the wicked multi-disciplinary issues get well formulated and “resolved”. These problems are lying at the interface between: the necessary R&D effort, the industrial deployment and the technology impact in view of the environmental sustainability including the management of produced hazardous waste. As such, this problem is clearly of multi-dimensional nature. This enormous complexity indicates that just a description of the problem might cause a dilemma. The paper proposes a novel holistic approach applying Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to assess the potential of nuclear energy systems with respect to a sustainable performance. It shows how to establish a multi-level criteria structure tree and examines the trading-off techniques for scoring and ranking of options. The presented framework allows multi-criteria and multi-group treatment. The methodology can be applied to support any pre-decisional process launched in a country to find the best nuclear and/or non-nuclear option according to national preferences and priorities. The approach addresses major aspects of the environmental footprint of nuclear energy systems. As a case study, advanced nuclear fuel cycles are analyzed, which were previously investigated by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA/OECD) expert group WASTEMAN. Sustainability facets of waste management, resource utilization and economics are in focus. View Full-Text
Keywords: advanced nuclear fuel cycles; waste management; resource utilisation; economics; performance comparison, multi-criteria decision analysis; sensitivity/uncertainty analysis, environmental footprint advanced nuclear fuel cycles; waste management; resource utilisation; economics; performance comparison, multi-criteria decision analysis; sensitivity/uncertainty analysis, environmental footprint
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Schwenk-Ferrero, A.; Andrianov, A. Comparison and Screening of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Options in View of Sustainable Performance and Waste Management. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1623.

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