Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century book cover

Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century

World Nuclear University Press

The onset of the 21st century has coincided with mounting scientific evidence of the severe environmental impact of global energy consumption. In response, governments and environmentalists on every continent have begun to re-evaluate the benefits of nuclear power as a clean, non-emitting energy resource. Today nuclear power plants operate in some 30 countries, and nuclear energy has become a safe and reliable source of one-sixth of the world’s electricity. This base has the potential to be expanded widely as part of a worldwide clean-energy revolution. Nuclear Energy in the 21st Century is an authoritative resource for educators, students, policy-makers and interested lay-people. This balanced and accessible text provides:* An inroad into nuclear science for the non-specialist* A valuable account of many aspects of nuclear technology, including industry applications* Answers to public concerns about safety, proliferation, and waste management* Up-to-date data and references This edition comes with a Foreword by Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace, which attests to today’s worldwide re-evaluation of nuclear power.The World Nuclear University (WNU) is a global partnership of industry, inter-governmental, and academic institutions committed to enhancing education in nuclear science and technology. WNU partners include the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the OECD, and the World Nuclear Association (WNA). With a secretariat staffed by government-sponsored secondees, the London-based WNU Coordinating Centre fosters a diversity of collaborative projects to strengthen nuclear education and rebuild future leadership in nuclear science and technology.

Nuclear engineersPlant designers and radiation physicistsPhysics, engineering, safety and environmental studies undergraduates


Published: September 2006

Imprint: Academic Press

ISBN: 978-0-12-373622-2


  • “Ian Hore-Lacy guides the reader expertly through the many complexities of nuclear energy. This is an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to distinguish fact from myth and to gain understanding in this crucial field.” – Hans Blix, Chancellor, World Nuclear University, and Director General-Emeritus, International Atomic Energy Agency


  • Foreword by Dr Patrick MooreIntroductionEnergy use1.1 Sources of energy1.2 Sustainability of energy1.3 Energy demand1.4 Energy supply1.5 Changes in energy demand and supply1.6 Future energy demand and supplyElectricity today and tomorrow2.1 Electricity demand2.2 Electricity supply2.3 Fuels for electricity generation today2.4 Provision for future base-load electricity2.5 Renewable energy sources2.6 Coal and uranium compared2.7 Energy inputs to nuclear electricity2.8 Economic factorsNuclear power3.1 Mass to energy in the reactor core3.2 Nuclear power reactors3.3 Uranium availability3.4 Nuclear weapons as a source of fuel3.5 Thorium as a nuclear fuel3.6 Accelerator-driven systems3.7 Physics of a nuclear reactorThe “front end” of the nuclear fuel cycle4.1 Mining and milling of uranium ore4.2 The nuclear fuel cycleBox: Uranium enrichment4.3 Advanced reactors4.4 High temperature gas-cooled reactors4.5 Fast neutron reactors4.6 Very small nuclear power plants4.7 Thorium cycleThe “back end” of the nuclear fuel cycle5.1 Nuclear “wastes”5.2 Reprocessing used fuel5.3 High-level wastes from reprocessingBox: Transporting radioactive materials21 title pages.qxp 22/06/2006 13:39 Page 235.4 Storage and disposal of used fuel as “waste”5.5 Disposal of solidified wastes5.6 Decommissioning reactorsOther nuclear energy applications6.1 Hydrogen for transport6.2 Desalination6.3 Marine propulsion6.4 Space6.5 Research reactors for radioisotopesEnvironment, health and safety issues7.1 Greenhouse gas emissions7.2 Other environmental effects7.3 Health and environmental effects7.4 Radiation7.5 Reactor safetyAvoiding weapons’ proliferation8.1 International cooperation8.2 International nuclear safeguards8.3 Fissile materials8.4 Recycling military uranium and plutonium for electricity8.5 Australian and Canadian nuclear safeguards policiesHistory of nuclear energy9.1 Exploring the nature of the atom9.2 Harnessing nuclear fission9.3 Nuclear physics in Russia9.4 Conceiving the atomic bomb9.5 Developing the concepts9.6 The Manhattan Project9.7 The Soviet bomb9.8 Revival of the “nuclear boiler”9.9 Nuclear energy goes commercial9.10 The nuclear power brown-out9.11 Nuclear renaissanceAppendices1. Ionizing radiation and how it is measured2. Some radioactive decay series3. Environmental and ethical aspects of radioactive waste management4. Some useful referencesGlossaryIndex


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