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"Expert Judgments about RD&D and the Future of Nuclear Energy"

Nuclear Fuel Rod Assembly

"Expert Judgments about RD&D and the Future of Nuclear Energy"

Journal Article, Environmental Science and Technology, volume 46, issue 12, page 11497–11504


Authors: Laura Diaz Anadon, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Valentina Bosetti, Matthew Bunn, Professor of Practice; Co-Principal Investigator, Project on Managing the Atom, Michela Catenacci, Audrey Lee, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2011

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Energy Technology Innovation Policy; Environment and Natural Resources; Managing the Atom; Science, Technology, and Public Policy



Probabilistic estimates of the cost and performance of future nuclear energy systems under different scenarios of government research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) spending were obtained from 30 U.S. and 30 European nuclear technology experts. We used a novel elicitation approach which combined individual and group elicitation. With no change from current RD&D funding levels, experts on average expected current (Gen. III/III+) designs to be somewhat more expensive in 2030 than they were in 2010, and they expected the next generation of designs (Gen. IV) to be more expensive still as of 2030. Projected costs of proposed small modular reactors (SMRs) were similar to those of Gen. IV systems. The experts almost unanimously recommended large increases in government support for nuclear RD&D (generally 2–3 times current spending). The majority expected that such RD&D would have only a modest effect on cost, but would improve performance in other areas, such as safety, waste management, and uranium resource utilization. The U.S. and E.U. experts were in relative agreement regarding how government RD&D funds should be allocated, placing particular focus on very high temperature reactors, sodium-cooled fast reactors, fuels and materials, and fuel cycle technologies.


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For Academic Citation:

Anadon, Laura D., Valentina Bosetti, Matthew Bunn, Michela Catenacci, and Audrey Lee. "Expert Judgments about RD&D and the Future of Nuclear Energy." Environmental Science and Technology 46, no. 12 (2012): 11497–11504.

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"Research, Development, and Demonstration for the Future of Nuclear Energy"
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