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Nuclear Power and Resource Efficiency—A Proposal for a Revised Primary Energy Factor

Department of Building, Energy and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, University of Gävle, Gävle SE 801 76, Sweden
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1063; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9061063
Received: 13 March 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 20 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Waste Management and Sustainability of Nuclear Systems)
Measuring resource efficiency can be achieved using different methods, of which primary energy demand is commonly used. The primary energy factor (PEF) is a figure describing how much energy from primary resources is being used per unit of energy delivered. The PEF for nuclear power is typically 3, which refers to thermal energy released from fission in relation to electricity generated. Fuel losses are not accounted for. However; nuclear waste represents an energy loss, as current plans for nuclear waste management mostly include final disposal. Based on a literature review and mathematical calculations of the power-to-fuel ratio for nuclear power, PEF values for the open nuclear fuel cycle (NFC) option of nuclear power and different power mixes are calculated. These calculations indicate that a more correct PEF for nuclear power would be 60 (range 32–88); for electricity in Sweden (41% nuclear power) PEF would change from 1.8 to 25.5, and the average PEF for electricity in the European Union (EU) would change from 2.5 to 18. The results illustrate the poor resource efficiency of nuclear power, which paves the way for the fourth generation of nuclear power and illustrates the policy implication of using PEFs which are inconsistent with current waste management plans. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuclear power; resource; primary energy; PEF; cumulative energy demand; burn-up; uranium; energy intensity; fission; Breeder reactor nuclear power; resource; primary energy; PEF; cumulative energy demand; burn-up; uranium; energy intensity; fission; Breeder reactor
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Eriksson, O. Nuclear Power and Resource Efficiency—A Proposal for a Revised Primary Energy Factor. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1063.

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