Level of Education

Graduate

Keywords

Nuclear technology, SMR, modular, energy, nuclear policy, waste management, innovation, nuclear energy, nuclear engineering

Description

The energy policy debate in the United States has revolved around the diversification of energy sources while promoting advantageous economic profits. One drive for this has been the discussion of anthropogenic, environmental endangerment concerns (Vlassopoulous 2011, 104). However, despite the environmental concerns, the U.S. has for some time only relied on one type of energy source—fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are categorized as natural gas, coal, petroleum, and other gases responsible (U.S. Energy Administration 2019). Natural gas is responsible for 38.4%, coal for 23.4%, petroleum for 0.4%, and other gases for 0.3% of the U.S.’s electrical generation (U.S. Energy Administration 2019). Although, many solutions specifically those proposing renewable energy have been proposed, an energy source that has remained stagnant in technological development is nuclear energy (Vegel and Quinn 2017, 395). Nuclear energy currently accounts for 19.6% of the electrical generation in the US, and efforts of decarbonization and diversification would be greatly aided by nuclear energy development (Lester 2016, 45). Nuclear energy is the only source of energy that does not emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere: Averages of carbon dioxide emissions for oil, coal and gas during their total life cycle are 778, 960, and 443 gCO2e/kWh respectively (Sovacool 2008, 2956-2960). A nuclear power plant emits 66 gCO2e/kWh on average during its life cycle, mainly because its reliant on fossil fuels for different stages of plant construction and processes like the mining and enrichment of uranium (Sovacool 2008, 2956-2960).

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Diversifying Nuclear Technology: A Technical Analysis on Small Modular Reactors and Its Impact on Nuclear Energy Policy

The energy policy debate in the United States has revolved around the diversification of energy sources while promoting advantageous economic profits. One drive for this has been the discussion of anthropogenic, environmental endangerment concerns (Vlassopoulous 2011, 104). However, despite the environmental concerns, the U.S. has for some time only relied on one type of energy source—fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are categorized as natural gas, coal, petroleum, and other gases responsible (U.S. Energy Administration 2019). Natural gas is responsible for 38.4%, coal for 23.4%, petroleum for 0.4%, and other gases for 0.3% of the U.S.’s electrical generation (U.S. Energy Administration 2019). Although, many solutions specifically those proposing renewable energy have been proposed, an energy source that has remained stagnant in technological development is nuclear energy (Vegel and Quinn 2017, 395). Nuclear energy currently accounts for 19.6% of the electrical generation in the US, and efforts of decarbonization and diversification would be greatly aided by nuclear energy development (Lester 2016, 45). Nuclear energy is the only source of energy that does not emit carbon dioxide to the atmosphere: Averages of carbon dioxide emissions for oil, coal and gas during their total life cycle are 778, 960, and 443 gCO2e/kWh respectively (Sovacool 2008, 2956-2960). A nuclear power plant emits 66 gCO2e/kWh on average during its life cycle, mainly because its reliant on fossil fuels for different stages of plant construction and processes like the mining and enrichment of uranium (Sovacool 2008, 2956-2960).