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In Nuclear power plant energy is released by nuclear fission. Nuclear fission is the process in which heavy nucleus such as 23392U, 23592U,and 23994Pu when bombarded by certain particles ( protons, neutrons, X-rays), the heavy nucleus will split into two or more smaller nuclei, ejection of two or more neutrons and liberation of vast amount of energy. Therefore this split of heavy nucleus into two or more smaller nuclei is called fission process.
High energy alpha particles, protons, deuterons, X-rays as well as neutrons can be used for the fission process. However neutrons are chosen because neutrons are electrically neutral in nature and thus they do not require high kinetic energy to overcome electrical repulsion from the positively charged nuclei and can participate in fission reaction.
Not all the Uranium extracted from the ore can be used as fuel for plant for carrying out the fission reaction. Natural uranium consists of 99.3% of 23892U and only 0.7% of 23592U. Out of these isotopes, 23592U is used in fission reaction
Materials such as 23392U, 23592U,and 23994Pu are called fissile material or fissionable materials. This material is required to carry out the fission reaction.
Materials such as 23892U and 23290Th which occur in nature are called fertile materials. Fissile materials (23392U, 23994Pu ) can also be artificially be produced using fertile materials.
The half life or half life period is defined as the time required for the radio-activity of an isotope to reduce to half of its original value. Radioactive material is dangerous because of its half life periods. Half life for radio active materials such as uranium, plutonium lasts for thousands of years.When the radio activity is exposed to the environment, the element will exist in the environment for thousands of years before it decays results in making the environment ( land, water, habitation ) radioactive for thousands of decades.
It has been a public policy objective of the Government of Canada for the last several years to transfer the commercial activities from AECL, which is owned by the Government of Canada, to the private sector. On June 29, 2011, the Government of Canada announced the signing an agreement for the sale of AECL’s Commercial Operations to Candu Energy Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin. The targeted closing date for the transaction is September 30, 2011.
The Principles of Conduct reflect the special role that the IAEA occupies in the development and codification of best practices applicable to the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of nuclear power plants. Many of the conventions, norms, and standards cited the Principles originated with the IAEA.
Several of the expert advisers to the Principles have served in various capacities at the IAEA or lead IAEA committees tasked with the further advancement of best practices for nuclear power, and many of the vendors’ representatives have also interacted with the Agency in various capacities. But this is not an IAEA initiative, although it is intended to complement work done by the IAEA. In some areas it addresses issues that lie outside the IAEA competence or mandate or for which the IAEA has yet to put forward clear norms.
Much of the difference stems from the fact the IAEA is an international organization whereas the Principles are a private-sector initiative. The IAEA’s senior leadership was briefed regularly about the Principles in the course of their development, but the Principles themselves have been developed without governmental or IAEA oversight. The vendors will continue to look to the IAEA in the future as a trusted source of best practices applicable to some aspects of nuclear energy, and will discuss updating the POC in light of IAEA actions.
The market for nuclear power plants, which consists of governments, nuclear power plant vendors and customers, has undergone significant changes in recent years. New customers and new vendors are seeking to enter the market, while existing nuclear power plant vendors are losing experienced workers to retirement and hiring new highly-skilled employees to meet growing demand. This dynamism in the market for nuclear power plants may present significant opportunities, but may also pose severe risks if all players in the market are not educated about existing standards, best practices and norms.
Although the full consequences of the Fukushima nuclear accident are not yet known, it is widely expected that countries will continue to look toward nuclear energy to help face the dual challenges of energy security and climate change.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which has a keen interest in the responsible application of nuclear energy, recognized that nuclear energy could be important in meeting future global energy demands and averting climate change, provided that it is implemented responsibly and sustainably. Accordingly, Carnegie undertook an initiative in October 2008 to identify, aggregate and promulgate in a single non-legally binding document vital norms and best practices for responsible nuclear exports, and then to encourage all industry participants to internalize them.
The Principles were the result of this process, which was unprecedented for the nuclear industry in terms of the diversity of participants and the direct involvement of internationally-recognized experts.
The nuclear industry works continuously to provide the world with safe, reliable and clean energy. It strives to consistently and stringently apply lessons learned from past experiences on an industry-wide basis. The effort to develop these Principles reflects the industry’s ongoing commitment to apply high standards of practice while reaffirming the vendors’ common interest in fair and free competition anchored in responsible exporting practices.
The nuclear industry as a whole has participated in extensive discussions about nuclear trade. Previously, however, no initiative sought to bring together the world’s nuclear power plant vendors to identify best practices in exports. When the Carnegie Endowment offered to lead such an initiative, all of the industry’s key exporters of nuclear power plants responded favorably.
No. Both the Carnegie Endowment and the various vendors initiated and remained in the process voluntarily and out of their respective institutional interests with no governmental prodding or involvement. The governments of the countries in which each vendor is headquartered were generally briefed by Carnegie throughout the development of the Principles to assure these governments that the process remained consistent with the promotion of the broad public interest. The participating vendors were encouraged to keep their national governments apprised of developments in the project.
Funding was provided by private foundations: the William and Flora Hewlett and Alfred P. Sloan foundations, primarily, as well as the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Support in kind was also received from Bruce Power and the law firms of Sidley Austin LLP and Foley Hoag LLP. Participating vendors paid for all of their own expenses incurred. No government or industry funding was involved in negotiating the Principles or financing the expenses of Carnegie staff on this project, nor has Carnegie received any contribution from the nuclear industry.
The Carnegie Endowment began this initiative in early 2008 by contacting each company that it knew to be exporting nuclear power plants at the time. The list was expanded subsequently in response to market developments. If, in the future, additional companies seek to export nuclear power plants, they will be invited to subscribe to the Principles and participate in their future review and implementation.
No. All of the current and aspiring vendors exporting nuclear power plants at the time the Principles initiative began agreed to participate in the drafting process.
Carnegie began this process by convening the leading international experts on various aspects of nuclear power plant exportation as well as key exporting vendors of nuclear power plants. Drafting took place at a series of meetings occurring every 3-4 months.
These meetings brought together Carnegie staff, the participating vendor companies, and a group of international experts on the subjects addressed in each of the Principles, as well as antitrust/competition law counsel. The meetings, which were held over a three-year period, involved discussion of the substance of Principles as well as the crafting of consensus on the text of the Principles themselves.
The Principles are a truly global initiative developed by experts and vendor companies from three continents. When deciding on the title, participants had to take into account how the Principles text including the title might translate into other languages. Participants decided to call this voluntary initiative the “Principles of Conduct” rather than a “code” the term often employed in such voluntary corporate social responsibility initiatives—because when “code” was translated into some other languages, it acquired an overly legalistic meaning that might have created confusion regarding whether this was a state-based, legally mandated or voluntary initiative.
The process that produced the Principles of Conduct, as well as the Principles themselves, reflects a recent trend in the management of global challenges. Leading national and transnational industries [business sectors], such as the oil and gas, apparel and pharmaceutical industries, have come to recognize that their reputations as socially responsible actors are key to their long-term business success.
Some industries with similar codes of conduct include:
Manufacturing (The Fair Labor Association, Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production)
Extractive (Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, International Council on Mining and Metals)
Financial (Equator Principles, UN Principles for Responsible Investment)
Electronics (Electronic Industry Code of Conduct)
Preventing dangerous warming of the planet due to human emissions of greenhouse gases will require that we cut our emissions by 80 percent over the next 40 years at the same time that global energy demand is expected to double or triple. Doing so will require that we produce vast amounts of zero carbon energy. At present, the only way we know how to do that is with nuclear energy.
Most people on the planet actually need to consume more energy, not less. Energy consumption is highly correlated with better health outcomes, longer life spans, and higher living standards. High-energy societies have liberated billions of us from lives of hard agricultural labor. More than a billion people around the world still do not have access to electricity at all. Ensuring that there is abundant energy to power the planet over the coming century promises to unleash the creative potential of billions more. But the basic math of global development and global warming is unforgiving. If we are going to meet the needs of a growing global population while keeping global warming in check, we will need technologies that can produce enormous amounts of energy without emitting carbon.
Providing universal access to abundant, cheap clean energy is one of the best population growth strategies we have. Consuming more energy allows people to live wealthier, healthier, and longer lives, which translates into lower population growth. As people become wealthier and more economically secure, they have fewer children. This is why leading advocates for human development and environmental sustainability, like Bill Gates and Jeffrey Sachs,4 strongly support the development and deployment of nuclear energy.
Cheap clean energy allows us to reduce our impact on the environment. With it, we can grow more food on less land and leave more wilderness for nature. We can reprocess wastewater and desalinate seawater, rather than depleting aquifers and draining majestic rivers. We can also recycle fiber and pulp rather than cutting down ancient forests. A world with abundant clean energy allows us to protect natural resources and leave more of our ecological inheritance undisturbed.
We are vastly more energy efficient than we were just a few decades ago, much less a few centuries ago. Yet, even as we’ve become more efficient, we’ve also continued to use more energy. That’s because energy efficiency makes energy cheaper, and the result is that we find more ways to use it. Just a few years ago, nobody had heard of the cloud, and two decades ago nobody had heard of the Internet. Today, more of us than ever are able fly around the world. We fill our homes with 50-inch televisions and all manner of networked devices. We transform billboards and skyscrapers into gigantic LED video screens. Efficiency is good and we should strive for more, but it won’t eliminate the need to develop enormous quantities of cheap and zero carbon energy to meet the demands of the growing global economy.
We’ve made a lot of progress with renewables, but they are still costly, intermittent, and difficult to scale. Without utility scale energy storage technologies, which remain unviable, you simply can’t run a modern society on wind and solar alone. Some places, like Germany and Denmark, have achieved higher levels of wind and solar, but they have done so through heavy, historically unprecedented deployment subsidies, that can’t be sustained. Furthermore, these societies remain overwhelmingly dependent upon fossil energy: Germany got 70 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels in 201212 versus 5 percent from solar and 7 percent from wind.
It’s easy to achieve high rates of growth when you start from a tiny amount of installed wind and solar. But the fact remains that solar generated just 0.18 percent of electricity in the United States, and wind 3.5 percent, in 2012.13 This was after more than $50 billion in renewable electricity subsidies over the past three decades. Even Germany, which since 2000 has committed over $130 billion to solar photovoltaics (PV) in the form of above-market-price 20-year feed-in tariff contracts,14 only gets 5 percent of its annual electricity from solar.
Installed nuclear generation in the United States is among the cheapest sources of electricity we have—cheaper even than coal.16 France, which generates over 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear energy, has some of the cheapest electricity prices in Western Europe.17 Nuclear plants cost a lot of money to build up front, but they operate for 60 to 80 years, producing massive amounts of energy with virtually no fuel costs. Over the long term, this makes them a bargain.
The Olkiluoto-3 nuclear power plant in Finland—the poster child of expensive nuclear—is $6.5 billion over budget and six years behind schedule. Even still, recent analysis shows that this beleaguered plant will produce electricity at almost one-fourth the cost of Germany’s solar program. These are good technologies to compare, as the Finnish plant is a first-of-a-kind design—an Areva EPR—which is significantly safer, more reliable, and more efficient than existing nuclear power plants. Successive builds, such as the second EPR under construction in France, are expected to be cheaper. But even this extreme case isn’t unreasonably expensive when compared to another innovative carbon-free electricity source like solar PV.
In order to meet our climate goals, nuclear will need to get cheaper. A new generation of advanced nuclear designs is presently under development. They will be simpler, safer, and can be constructed modularly and shipped to the site. All of these features give them potential to be significantly cheaper. Nevertheless, these powerful and complicated machines will require federal help to develop and commercialize.
Many nuclear plants are being built, they’re just not being built in the United States. China, India, and other developing countries, which need to keep up with massive growth in energy demand as they develop, are building nuclear plants as fast as they can. The high up-front costs of building nuclear plants and the uncertainty about how fast energy demand would grow in rich countries populated with high-energy consumers resulted in the United States and other developed countries turning away from nuclear. However, President Obama recently approved loan guarantees for two new reactors in Georgia and South Carolina and development funding for new reactor designs that are smaller and cheaper to build.
Cheap gas is making coal, nuclear, renewables, and virtually all other energy technologies less competitive. But that didn’t happen by accident. The shale gas revolution, which dramatically lowered the price of gas in the United States, was made possible thanks to three decades of public investment in better drilling technologies. This is why investing in next generation nuclear technologies right now is so important. so that we have a new generation of cheap nuclear technologies that can replace fossil energy in the coming decades.
Nuclear is among many activities and circumstances for which we have established liability limits. Others include plane crashes, oil spills, product liability, and medical malpractice. The largest renewable energy project, hydroelectric dams, has limited liability too. Societies frequently cap or socialize liabilities for events when costs are difficult to predict, quantify, or bound, and where responsibility is difficult to apportion. These are highly uncertain, infrequent, and high consequence events. Even so, nuclear operators still have to buy an enormous amount of liability insurance. That risk is pooled, with current pooled insurance for the US nuclear industry amounting to $12.6 billion.
China, India, the United States, and several Middle Eastern countries paused their new nuclear programs for a safety review after Fukushima, but all have gone forward with planned nuclear plant construction. Even Japan, which shut down all of its 54 nuclear power plants immediately after the earthquake, has begun to restart its reactors.
Germany did accelerate its nuclear phaseout after Fukushima, but this had been under way since 2000. Not a single country cancelled a new nuclear power plant in response to Fukushima. Several countries, like the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Jordan, are currently moving forward with plans to build their first commercial nuclear power plants.
Many new reactor designs feature fuels that stop reacting when temperatures rise too high, fuel cladding that cannot melt, and coolants that can cool the reactor with no human or mechanical intervention even if there is a total loss of power. These features make meltdown and serious accidents virtually impossible.
Nuclear plants are not good targets for terrorists. The plants have high security, extensive perimeters, and are built to withstand the impact of a plane crash or large explosion. Were terrorists somehow able to infiltrate a plant and escape undetected with fuel or waste—a highly improbable scenario—they would still need costly, difficult to obtain equipment and highly sophisticated technical knowledge to turn the material into a weapon. It has taken decades and billions of dollars for nations like India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran to build a single bomb. The prospect of non-state actors marshaling the technical and financial resources to do the same is highly unlikely.
There is no relationship between the global expansion of nuclear energy and nuclear proliferation.35 No nation has ever developed a weapon by first developing nuclear energy. To the degree that there has been a progression from one to the other, it has always been the opposite, with nations first developing weapons and then energy.
Some nations claimed to be developing nuclear energy capabilities when they were in fact attempting to develop a weapon,36 but these claims were transparently false to virtually all observers. By international law, nuclear energy facilities must be open to international inspections. The International Atomic Energy Agency has an extensive monitoring and inspection network, and it is not difficult to distinguish a weapons program from an energy program.
In fission reaction during every stage two or more daughter nuclei is released, two or more neutrons and vast energy is released. Each neuron produced further participate in fission reaction and results in release of more neutrons, this reaction continues results in nuclear explosion. However in nuclear reactor the excess neutrons produced will be absorbed using moderator and control rods allowing only one neutron per fission to carryout further chain reaction.
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