Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies

Closing the cycle: how South Australia and Asia can benefit from re-inventing used nuclear fuel management

By Ben P. Heard and Barry W. Brook


			

A large and growing market exists for the management of used nuclear fuel. Urgent need for service lies in Asia, also the region of the fastest growth in fossil fuel consumption. A logical potential provider of this service is acknowledged to be Australia. We describe and assess a service combining approved multinational storage with an advanced fuel reconditioning facility and commercialisation of advanced nuclear reactor technologies. We estimate that this project has the potential to deliver a net present value of (2015) AU$30.9 billion. This economic finding compares favourably with recent assessment based on deep geological repository. Providing service for used nuclear fuel and commercialisation of next generation nuclear technology would catalyse the expansion of nuclear technology for energy requirements across Asia and beyond, aiding efforts to combat climate change. Pathways based on leveraging advanced nuclear technologies are therefore worthy of consideration in the development of policy in this area.

(Photo: Nicholas Raymond on flickr)

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