GLOBAL WARMING AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY SUPPLY
WITH CANDU NUCLEAR POWER SYSTEMS
P. BOCZAR, A. DASTUR, K. DORMUTH, A. LEE, D. MENELEY
and D. PENDERGAST
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2285 Speakman Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, L5K
Ontario Hydro, 700 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario
(Presented to the Global Environmental & Nuclear Energy Systems Conference
- 2 in Tsuruga by Duane Pendergast. Published in the Proceedings of the
Second International Symposium GENES - 2, 29 October - 1 November 1996, Tsuruga,
Japan, Pergamon, 1997.)
(Copyright assigned to Elsevier
The United Nation’s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) review of global warming issues
suggests man’s activities have resulted in a discernible influence on global
climate. The panel identifies options which could be employed to ameliorate the
climate influencing greenhouse effect which is attributed primarily to
carbon dioxide and
emissions from fossil fuel energy sources. One option
nuclear power, as an alternative energy source
which would reduce these emissions. The panel
although nuclear power is a relatively greenhouse gas free energy source, there
are a number of issues related to it’s use which are slowing it’s deployment.
This paper enumerates the issues raised by the IPCC and addresses each in turn
in the context of CANDU reactors and sustainable development.
It is concluded that
are not fundamental barriers to expanded installation of
nuclear fission energy
systems. Nuclear reactors, and CANDU reactors in particular,
can meet the energy needs of current
generations while enhancing the technological base which will allow future
generations to meet their energy
essential requirements of a sustainable system are thus met.
The United Nation’s
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
concludes that human activities are increasing levels of greenhouse gases in
earth’s atmosphere. Their review of evidence suggests there is now a discernible
human influence on global climate. They identify options which could be employed
to ameliorate these effects.
Working Group III of the
IPCC focused on review of the socioeconomic aspect of impacts, adaptation and
mitigation of global climate change over the short and long term. Their summary
for policy makers (IPCC)
includes a position on the possible role
of nuclear power as an alternative energy source with reduced carbon dioxide
emissions. They conclude that:
energy is a technology that has been deployed for several decades in many
countries. However, a number of factors have slowed the expansion of nuclear
power, including: (a) wary public perceptions resulting from nuclear accidents,
(b) not yet fully resolved issues concerning reactor safety, proliferation of
fissile material, power plant decommissioning, and long-term disposal of nuclear
waste, as well as, in some instances, lower-than-anticipated levels of demand
for electricity. Regulatory and siting difficulties have increased construction
lead times, leading to higher capital costs for this option in some countries.
If these issues, including inter alia the social, political, and environmental
aspects mentioned above, can be resolved, nuclear energy has the potential to
increase its present share in worldwide energy production.”
This paper begins by examining the role
nuclear energy can play in providing sustainable global energy from the
perspective of a potential need to significantly limit carbon dioxide releases
to avoid harmful global climate change. AECL is taking necessary action to
ensure the long term development of the CANDU system as a sustainable energy
source while providing a viable electrical energy option to meet current needs.
The ultimate goal of Canadian nuclear programs is to ensure understanding of
socioeconomic, environmental and technological
aspects of nuclear energy so that this energy supply option is utilized to its
full capability to support sustainable global energy development.
Each of the issues identified by the IPCC
as slowing the expansion of nuclear energy is reviewed. Programs are underway in
Canada which will provide additional information and knowledge to resolve
these issues. Foremost among these is the current public review of the Canadian
concept for the disposal of nuclear fuel waste
Reactor safety has always been a top-priority issue in Canadian reactor
programs; Canada’s safety record is excellent, and CANDU reactors offer
unparalleled safety characteristics for large scale installation around the
world. With regard to public perception, ‘time will tell’, and we can fully
expect public understanding and acceptance to improve as the excellent safety
record of this technology unfolds in the future. Canada also is engaged in
programs related to decommissioning of nuclear plants
preventing the uncontrolled spread of weapons-usable material.
continues to establish
research programs to further develop the CANDU energy system and resolve
technical aspects of postulated nuclear accidents.
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE AND SUSTAINABLE
The concept of “sustainable development”
has been established over the last several years. Gradual realization of
mankind’s disproportionate influence on the global environment has revealed a
requirement to consider human needs in the context of sustainability of the
global ecosystems that support life. The World Commission on Environment and
“In essence, sustainable development is
a process of change in which the exploitation of resources, the direction of
investments, the orientation of technological development, and institutional
change are all in harmony and enhance both current and future potential to meet
human needs and aspirations”
Canada’s Parliament provides
a variation on that definition:
““Sustainable development” means
development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the
ability of future generations to meet their own needs”
The IPCC is concerned with the potential
for human generated carbon dioxide to endanger the ability of the global
atmosphere to support life. Does the development of nuclear energy conform to
these definitions of sustainability in the context of the global warming issue
addressed by the IPCC? We think so.
is capable of supplying bounteous
of energy. We expect
that continuing comparative evaluation of the environmental impacts of
alternative energy systems (IAEA)
will ultimately demonstrate
minimal impact to earth’s life support systems from the
nuclear energy option.
There is a great deal of scope for present and future development of nuclear
fuel cycles to make much more efficient use of basic fission fuel sources.
Current nuclear energy systems and fission fuel supplies can be developed to
supply a substantially greater fraction of world energy needs continuing over
the very long time period needed to establish sustainability with respect to the
global warming issue. These systems can satisfy the energy needs of many
generations of humans while avoiding the carbon dioxide release to the
atmosphere characteristic of present energy systems. The basic requirement for
sustainable energy development is thus met. Future generations will utilize
different systems to extract fission energy. We have established a strong base
of nuclear technology in the past fifty years. That information allows for
confident predictions that many future generations will be able to utilize it
for energy needs.
CANDU heavy water reactors, by virtue of
their use of heavy water as a moderator, have the potential for particularly
efficient conversion of fissile material into energy. Although fission fuel
supplies are ample at present rates of consumption for many decades, this fuel
of CANDU reactors will play a role in ensuring energy is available for future
generations. AECL’s research facilities are developing information on variations
of CANDU fuel cycles which are intended to take advantage of the CANDU reactor’s
“neutron economy” to make the best possible use of fissile and fertile fuel
CANDU FUEL CYCLE INNOVATION AND
Sustainable energy development must take
into account global energy needs in the context of economic and environmental
sustainability. The adaptability of the CANDU nuclear power system to use
available and future fissile and fertile fuel supplies is important to it’s
ability to supply increasing amounts of energy now and for many future
generations. Relatively simple current CANDU technology can be adopted now where
economically feasible. There is ample scope for the development of more
sophisticated variations of the basic fuel cycle as economic and environmental
conditions evolve with the use of energy resources by present and future
The original requirement for CANDU to use
natural-uranium fuel has resulted in it being the most neutron-efficient
commercial reactor. This was primarily achieved through the use of heavy water
for both coolant and moderator and the use of low-neutron absorbing structural
materials in the fuel and core. High neutron economy in CANDU reactors provides
a flexibility in fuel use that is not available in other reactors and, in
particular, the ability to utilize low-grade (e.g., low fissile content) nuclear
fuels. On-power refuelling is a second feature of CANDU reactors that
contributes to their ability to use different fuel types. On-power refuelling
provides a great deal of flexibility in accommodating new fuels. The
fuel-management scheme can be chosen to shape the power distribution in the
core: both axially, along each channel, and radially from channel to channel
across the core. The number, type, and location of bundles added at each visit
of the fuelling machine to a channel can be varied, as well as the fuelling
frequency. Fuelling schemes can be modified to optimize the power distribution
in terms of safe operation and fuel utilization.
AECL is currently studying
1996) several options to increase the
efficiency of fuel use, including adaptation of CANDU to synergistic deployment
with other reactor types.
The easiest first step in CANDU fuel-cycle
evolution may be the use of slightly enriched uranium, including recovered
uranium from reprocessed light water reactor spent fuel. Relatively low
enrichment (up to 1.2%) will result in a two- to three-fold reduction in the
quantity of CANDU spent fuel per unit energy production and greater flexibility
in the design of new reactors.
A country that has both CANDU and LIGHT
WATER reactors can exploit a natural synergism between these two reactor types
to minimize overall waste production, and maximize energy derived from the
fuel. This synergism can be exploited through several different fuel cycle
processes. This makes CANDU reactors particularly relevant to LWR owners that
intend to reprocess the spent light water reactor fuel as part of their fuel
CANDU fuel can be designed to utilize
chemically reprocessed plutonium from light water reactor fuel. A promising
recycle option involving direct use of spent light water reactor fuel CANDU has
a higher degree of proliferation resistance than does conventional chemical
reprocessing. It uses a dry process for converting the spent fuel into CANDU
fuel, without separating the plutonium which remains mixed with fission
products. Good progress is being made by a current development program
supported by Korea, Canada and the United
In the longer term, CANDU reactors also
offer synergistic fuel cycles with fast breeder reactors. Long-term energy
security would be provided by a system in which fast breeder reactors would be
operated as “fuel factories” providing the fissile material to power a number of
lower-cost, high-efficiency CANDU reactors.
AECL has also undertaken assessment of
fertile thorium fuel cycles. Development continues today, with reactor physics
assessments of various once-through thorium cycles, fuel fabrication
development, and irradiation testing of thorium based fuel in the National
Research Universal (NRU) reactor. A variety of thorium cycles exists, all
utilizing in one way or another the U-233 that is produced.
example of the flexibility of CANDU involves a proposed application of the
CANDU system to eliminate plutonium and other long-lived fission products.
1994) have indicated that plutonium and associated actinides could be used as a
fuel in CANDU without the presence of uranium which is the source of these used
fuel components. This eliminates the source of further actinides while
annihilating existing waste actinides and by using them as
fuel. A CANDU reactor of current design is
projected to be capable of consuming the actinide production from 3 to 4 light
water reactors. It is possible the actinide fuel can be replaced with
conventional CANDU fuel without repercussions on reactor operation
allowing continued energy production without dependence on actinide fuel.
In the very long term, spanning a few or
many future generations, many other potential CANDU and other fission based
energy development options are possible. Some have been the subject of
scientific and engineering studies. Others will be identified, studied and
implemented as practical by future generations as fossil and nuclear fuel
resource usage and consequent economic conditions, change to support further
exploration of energy opportunities.
One such scheme studied
at Atomic Energy of Canada indicates that
a rearrangement of the geometry of the fuel and moderator by alternating close
and far spaced fuel assemblies in the core has the potential to triple
the utilization of natural uranium in CANDU reactors without recycling. If
proven practical this would be even more effective than using the synergistic
relationship between the LWR and the CANDU to conserve uranium supplies. Since
it uses natural uranium as fuel the energy intensive uranium enrichment process
would also be bypassed.
A study of an accelerator breeder in
conjunction with the CANDU reactor system was undertaken in 1980(Fraser).
The system studied works by accelerating and impacting protons into
uranium-plutonium or thorium-uranium fuel assemblies and was sized to serve as
the fissile fuel supplier for CANDU reactors of 12,000 MWe capacity.
In summary, the CANDU reactor’s simple
fuel design, high neutron economy, and on-line fuelling provide flexibility to
respond to changing fuel-cycle requirements in the short term and in the
indefinite future. There is great potential for developing supplementary
processes by coming generations which will extract from earth’s nuclear fuel
supplies the large quantities of energy which humans
able to usefully exploit for the preservation of a sustainable environment.
Ample opportunity is available to future generations to secure energy to serve
their needs while avoiding the major impact to the environment which is feared
from current depleting energy sources.
CANADA’S NUCLEAR FUEL WASTE DISPOSAL
The IPCC noted public concern with respect
to methodology for the long term disposal of nuclear waste. Methodology to
sequester used fuel and nuclear fuel waste is well established in Canada.
In Canada, at
used fuel discharged from nuclear power
reactors is stored at the generating stations. This storage, either in water
filled pools or in dry storage facilities, is a proven safe method of managing
the waste for many decades at least. Storage facilities, however, need
continued care and attention by people, and Canada, like other countries with
large nuclear power programs, is seeking a disposal method that does not require
human intervention to maintain safety.
Used nuclear fuel can be reprocessed to
separate fissionable materials to be recycled. Although reprocessing is carried
out in some countries, notably France, Japan and the United Kingdom, Canada does
not currently reprocess used fuel. If Canadian used fuel is reprocessed in the
future, the high level radioactive waste from the reprocessing operation would
be incorporated in a solid matrix such as a glass. This is done at a commercial
scale with light water reactor fuel in both France and the United Kingdom.
Either the used fuel or the solidified reprocessing waste could proceed to
Because of the value of the electricity
produced by a small amount of nuclear fuel, very elaborate measures can be taken
to assure the safe disposal of the nuclear fuel waste. The estimated cost for
disposal of nuclear fuel waste is about one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour of
electricity generated. This is about 2% of the cost of electricity to the
consumer. Therefore, it is quite practical for the cost burden of waste
disposal to be placed on the consumers of the electricity, thus providing
sustainable energy production. The nuclear power generating utilities in Canada
currently include the projected cost of disposal in the rates charged to their
The most practical method of disposing of
nuclear fuel waste is in a stable geological formation. Atomic Energy of Canada
Limited, in partnership with Ontario Hydro, has developed and evaluated the
concept of disposing of nuclear fuel waste 500 to 1000 meters below the surface
in rock of the Canadian Shield. The used fuel or solidified reprocessing waste
would be sealed in long-lasting containers, which would be placed underground,
surrounded by sealing materials. Eventually all excavated openings in the rock
would be backfilled and sealed to provide permanent, passively safe containment
for the waste. The stable waste form, long-lasting container, sealing materials
and rock would provide multiple barriers to the release and movement of
After more than fifteen years of research
on the disposal concept, AECL has concluded that a disposal facility would
protect human health and the natural environment far into the future without the
need for future generations to look after the waste.
The evidence (AECL)
for this conclusion has been put forward for public review under the Federal
Environmental Assessment and Review Process which takes into account broad
social, political and environmental aspects of the concept. This process is
expected to result in a recommendation to government, sometime in 1997,
regarding the next steps to be taken for long-term management of Canada’s
nuclear fuel waste.
CANDU reactors have had an exemplary
safety record throughout the 25 years they have been in large scale commercial
operation. Although some incidents have occurred at CANDU sites around the
world, safety systems have responded as intended. The incidents have not
resulted in large discharges of radioactive materials from the core into the
containment safety system. There has thus been no detectable impact to the
environment from any of these incidents. A more important observation, in the
context of public concerns with reactor safety, can be made with respect to the
inherent resistance of the CANDU design to the kind of accidents which occurred
at the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl plants. Those accidents both resulted in
substantial overheating of the radioactive core materials, and in the case of
Chernobyl much of this was released to the environment. This release was due to
the lack of a containment structure around the part of the reactor system which
was failed by overpressure resulting from overheating fuel. The accident at
Three Mile Island (TMI) was essentially terminated from the point of view of
environmental impact by the reactors robust containment system.
CANDU reactors, by virtue of their
separate low pressure moderator system
adjacent to the reactor fuel
a shield water cooling system, are inherently fitted with additional sources of
cooled water which can act to cool the reactor should other safety systems fail
to perform as designed. In particular, analytic and experimental studies have
shown that these systems provide effective heat sinks in the event of a loss of
coolant accident accompanied by failure of the emergency core cooling system
which contributed to the severity of the damage to the TMI reactor fuel. Early
indicated the extra CANDU cooling systems could serve as independent “core
catchers “ as long as cooling to them was maintained. Subsequent studies
have provided additional confirmation of
the capability of this safety feature. Full cognizance and appreciation of this
safety advantage has resulted in modest design changes to current generation
CANDU designs to enhance this inherent heat sink and severe accident prevention
The TMI and Chernobyl accidents
reinforced public doubt about the safety of nuclear reactors. That mistrust
can only be allayed by continuing safe operation of nuclear plants. The CANDU
system provides an extra measure of resistance to such accidents which will help
to alleviate the public’s wariness of nuclear energy incited by those major
accidents which should never have happened.
CANDU's ROLE IN GLOBAL
The flexibility which allows CANDU to be
adapted to a wide variety of fuel cycles can also play a role in preventing the
diversion of existing weapons grade material to nefarious purposes. Plutonium
from existing weapons can be used as a fissile component in the fuel of existing
CANDU reactors to generate energy. Any plutonium remaining in the fuel bundle is
thus mixed with the highly radioactive products generated by the fission process
rendering it very difficult to handle and process. The plutonium from weapons is
thus rendered ineffective as a material for the production of additional nuclear
Under the first and second Strategic Arms
Reduction Treaties (START I and START II) AND unilateral pledges by the United
States of America and Russia significant quantities of plutonium
are expected to be declared surplus to
national defence needs (NAS).
The dispositioning of this excess weapons grade
plutonium has been the subject of
intensive study in both countries for a number of years. The United States of
America and Russia have undertaken joint programs of study and evaluation of
options for management of excess weapons materials, in particular relating to
safe and secure near term storage of surplus weapons material and options for
utilisation in power reactors.
The primary goal of disposition is to
render weapons-useable fissile materials inaccessible and unattractive for
weapons use while protecting human health and the environment. In the United
States of America five reactor-based plutonium disposition alternatives
involving utilisation of mixed oxide fuel (MOX), two borehole alternatives for
deep burial, and four immobilisation alternatives were selected as reasonable
alternatives for further evaluation in the process of conducting a Programmatic
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Long-Term Storage and Disposition of
Weapons-Useable Fissile Materials
The five reactor alternatives selected for further evaluation are existing Light
Water Reactors (LWRs), including Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs) and Boiling
Water Reactors (BWRs), the Canadian CANDU reactors, partially complete LWRs,
evolutionary LWRs, and an option termed EuroMOX. These alternatives, based on
meeting the "spent fuel standard", are intended to make the excess weapons
material as inaccessible as plutonium that normally exists in discharged
irradiated fuel, and which is considered self-protecting because of the high
radiation fields associated with power reactor spent fuel.
The Canadian CANDU reactor alternative
involve conversion of weapons components into PuO2
powder and fabrication into MOX fuel at a facility or facilities located in the
United States, followed by subsequent utilisation of the MOX fuel in Ontario
Hydro's Bruce A reactors and subsequent emplacement of irradiated fuel in high
level waste repository in Canada.
A detailed study of this option was
performed in 1994 under US Department of Energy (DOE) funding. This study
concluded that CANDU was a low cost option which could utilize a full-core of
MOX fuel with essentially no major modifications to the reactor and minor
modifications to the Bruce A station which involved the new fuel and discharged
fuel handling systems
Further study in 1996, also under US DOE funding established the feasibility of
further optimizing the CANDU MOX fuel design such that the content of
weapons-derived plutonium could be increased, thereby reducing the time required
to complete the dispositioning mission.
Russia considers excess weapons fissile
material as a valuable energy resource. Management of this material is the
responsibility of the Ministry for Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation (MINATOM)
and evaluation of options for utilisation of surplus weapons plutonium are being
conducted by the Ministry
One such initiative involves evaluating the feasibility of fabricating MOX fuel
at a facility in Russia for irradiation in Ontario Hydro's Bruce A reactors.
The feasibility of this option has recently been jointly studied by Russia and
Canada under Canadian funding and has focused on both the MOX fuel fabrication
facility needs and transportation, safeguards and security issues relating to
MOX fuel movement from the Russian fabrication site to the Bruce reactors in
The results of these studies have clearly
demonstrated the ability of CANDU nuclear power reactors to contribute
positively to the process of global disarmament and to supporting international
non-proliferation initiatives by utilizing both US and Russian excess weapons
plutonium as MOX nuclear fuel in a parallel process of drawing down the
material, thereby rendering this material both inaccessible and unusable in the
future. This is also a significant and important potential application of CANDU
nuclear power reactors to the further promotion of a sustainable energy regime.
SUPPORTING RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT
The foregoing discussion indicates the
present performance and future potential of the CANDU energy system. Additional
research and development is needed to refine existing systems and to bring them
to long term realization. The CANDU program has been well supported by research
facilities that are nearing the end of their useful life. Two research reactors
(National Research Experimental and Whiteshell Research - 1) have been
permanently shut down. A third, (NRU - National Research Universal) is 37 years
old. It is Canada's only operating high-flux research reactor for power reactor
fuel and materials research and for basic materials research using neutrons.
This aging reactor is unlikely to operate much beyond the year 2000.
Requirements for future irradiation facilities have been reviewed by Canada’s
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council which has recommended that
Canada give priority to funding and building a new Canadian neutron beam
facility for materials research. In response, AECL is developing the concept for
a national dual-purpose irradiation research facility.
One goal is to provide continuing access
to irradiation facilities to develop and evolve the CANDU reactor system. (e.g.,
more passive safety systems, improved operation and maintenance, increased
reliability, increased load factors, extended plant lifetime, and advanced fuel
cycles) This requires suitable experimental facilities to test new concepts
under CANDU reactor representative conditions. The detailed experimental
requirements for the research facility were defined by consultation
with CANDU designers, researchers and
The second goal is to provide a source of
neutrons to materials scientists who use neutron scattering techniques.
Neutrons provided by NRX and NRU have facilitated world-class materials research
(e.g., the awarding of the 1994 Nobel Prize in physics to B.N. Brockhouse for
his work on determining the excitation properties in materials, and developing
inelastic scattering techniques and instrumentation (i.e., triple-axis
spectrometer)). The neutron beam facility requirements are described by members
of the Canadian Institute of Neutron Scattering and Committee on Materials
Research Facilities (Bacon).
The research reactor concept, known as the
Irradiation Research Facility (IRF) which has been defined on the basis of these
requirements is described in considerable detail in recent publications
In the meantime development of fuel cycle
enhancements is taking place in existing facilities.
For example, CANDU fuel fabrication trials
have been conducted using simulated light water reactor spent fuel (i.e.,
in which fission product surrogates have been added), as well as small
quantities of actual spent fuel. An oxidation - reduction
process has been developed which reduces the spent fuel to a powder suitable
for fabrication of CANDU fuel pellets. Pellets have been fabricated and will be
assembled into fuel elements which
will then be irradiated in Korea’s HANARO
and Canada’s NRU research reactors.
AECL is also performing the reactor
physics assessments of actinide annihilation systems. Non-fertile materials
suitable as the material used in a CANDU like fuel bundle as the inert carrier
material are under investigation
AECL’s research program is thus geared to
developing processes which can be developed economically in the short term,
while making long term provisions for anticipated future needs through the
development of replacement irradiation facilities.
DECOMMISSIONING NUCLEAR FACILITIES
Experience with decommissioning is still
limited as most of the world’s nuclear plants are still in operation. However
some early prototypes have been put out of service and some experience with the
first stages of decommissioning has provided partial confirmation, and a basis
for projecting costs, of subsequent stages of the process.
A recent independent review of the
economics of environmental aspects of nuclear energy has been completed
in Ontario, Canada by Professor Dewees of
the University of Toronto Department of Economics. Professor DeWees examines
cost estimates of decommissioning reactors in Ontario and elsewhere. This
information is compared with estimates of costs based on actual costs incurred
with the partial decommissioning of a nuclear plant, Gentilly 1, in the province
of Quebec. He finds that there may be a degree of inconsistency in cost
estimates and then compares the costs of decommissioning with the cost of
electricity production. He notes that the estimated costs of decommissioning
amount to “a fraction of 1% of the cost of electricity, so that even a fivefold
increase in the estimated cost would not greatly affect the current operating
economics of the reactors.”
Current regulatory standards in Canada
require planning for future decommissioning. Applications for licenses require
that this plan be submitted at the time of application. This planning exercise
in conjunction with licensing and environmental assessment of the overall
project ensures that the environmental and economic impact of decommissioning is
accounted for early in the process. Measures are taken in the design of the
plant to facilitate the decommissioning process and ensure a well planned route
to economic decommissioning is available and accounted for in the licensing and
We started with the observation of the
IPCC that nuclear energy has the potential to provide an essentially carbon
dioxide free energy source. We have reviewed several issues identified by the
IPCC as reasons for the slow development of nuclear power and find them to be
overemphasized, particularly with respect to the CANDU nuclear energy system.
Wastes from this energy source will have little effect on earth’s life support
systems as waste products are small in volume and can be shown to be readily
sequestered from the environment. Reactors may be designed and operated safely
to avoid accidents which affect the environment. CANDU reactors can even be
readily adapted to transform the materials from dismantled nuclear weapons into
a form which is difficult to use in major acts of terrorism.
Most importantly the discovery and
development of nuclear fission energy provides a path to great amounts of energy
for this and many future generations. Nuclear energy has been developed in a few
decades to the point that energy can be provided now at a cost that is generally
competitive with alternatives such as the fossil fuels. Nuclear energy
essentially avoids environmental issues such as the potential for global
warming which may interfere with sustained exploitation of fossil fuel energy
sources. There is great and proven potential for future generations to continue
refining the system to retrieve energy from fissile and fertile energy supplies
on a sustainable basis. The CANDU nuclear energy system provides a particularly
attractive means to exploit this resource in view of it’s simplicity and ability
to adapt to future energy needs. We conclude that CANDU derived nuclear fission
energy can meets the energy needs of current generations while enhancing the
technological base which will allow future generations to meet their needs and
that the essential requirements of a sustainable system are thus met.
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