The following nuclear energy resouces provide background information and suggested links for data in global energy, economics, market trends, and frequently asked questions (FAQ). Compiled and assessed by: Abdullah Agab, Sakshi Mishra, Uros Simovic, Akansha Tyagi, and Yuzhou Wang (2017 updates provided by Ashwin Kumar Balaji)
Uranium 2016: Resources, Production and Demand
This report is a joint publication by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This report provides a detailed study of the global uranium supply, global uranium demand and individual reports for different countries. The OECD Nuclear Energy Agency is a group of 34 countries working to maintain and further develop the economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The IAEA is known as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization within the United Nations. IAEA was set up in 1957 as the world’s center for cooperation in the nuclear field to promote the safe and peaceful use of nuclear technologies. The information of each country can be found by clicking on the interactive contents page and it redirects the reader to appropriate section. Each country features a brief history of nuclear use, the resources used, production, procurement and detailed policies along with price information. The report provides a comprehensive overview of nuclear resources on a global and national scale and allows for analytical comparisons.
The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission publishes this report on their website, describing the materials and steps needed to process nuclear fuel. The linked page is split into 3 subheadings: Regulated Materials, Regulated Activities and Responsibilities. The Regulated Materials section contains information about the materials used in fission and byproducts from the nuclear fuel cycle. The Regulated Activities section provides information regarding uranium recovery facilities, fuel cycle facilities, and material transportation. These activities directly deal with the process of extracting uranium from the ground to its processed fuel form. The last section, Responsibilities, briefly outlines the role of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in regulating materials and activities.
Supply of Uranium
This report provides information on uranium resources and reserves, including data of known recoverable resources of uranium by country (in tons of uranium) and the ratio of uranium in different recovery cost category by country (updated September 2016). Related background information is also provided in relation to geology, economics and technology. This website is provided by the World Nuclear Association, intended to “provide encyclopedic coverage of topics related to nuclear power and other nuclear technologies.”
The United States Nuclear Reactor Regulatory Commission (U.S.NRC) provides information about how nuclear reactors work and regulated. The web page is divided into 3 sections: Regulated Reactors, Regulated Activities and Responsibilities. The Regulated Reactors section contains links on how current reactors work, and research regarding developing new reactor models. In addition, the Operating Reactors section has links to how reactors are operated and licensed. The Responsibilities section has links to pages of the different NRC offices located in different regions of the United States outlining their major roles.
World Nuclear Power Plants in Operation
This is a database of all nuclear power plants in operation worldwide (except for US, updated to April 2017). The data source is the International Atomic Energy Agency PRIS Database. Data for each nuclear plant includes country, reactor name, reactor type, net capacity (MW) and date connected. This website is provided by the Nuclear Energy Institute, which is a nuclear industry-lobbying group in the US. There is also other useful information on this website, such as nuclear units under construction worldwide, helpful for forecasting future trends of nuclear energy.
Japan – International Energy Data and Analysis
The report, 'Japan - International Energy Data and Analysis (January 2015)', which is published by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), gives the detailed description of current energy scenario in Japan. The EIA is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating energy information. The aftermaths of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in terms of energy portfolio of the country is discussed throughout the report. Specifically, the section titled Electricity (page 12) describes the effects of phasing out nuclear power on the electricity sector. The last paragraph on page 1 describes the negative impacts of phasing out nuclear on the economy of the country.
www.eia.gov On the EIA site earch for the keyword “Japan” and one of the results will be this pdf: www.eia.gov/beta/international/analysis_includes/countries_long/Japan/japan.pdf
Technology Roadmap- Nuclear Energy
The report, 'Technology Roadmap - Nuclear Energy (2015 Edition)', is jointly presented by the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Energy Agency (EIA). The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency is a group of 34 countries working to maintain and further develop the economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The section titled Nuclear Energy Progress since 2010 (page 9) describes the construction of Generation III reactors and provides information about newly built reactors by the end of 2014. The section “Vision for deployment to 2050” includes a plot forecasting the energy production by technology based on 2 degrees scenario and 6 degrees scenarios (page 21). Tables 2 on page 24 summarizes the findings of the agencies regarding the global nuclear investment needed for releasing 2 degrees scenario by 2050.
www.iea.org On the IEA site search for the key-word “Technology Roadmap - Nuclear Energy” and one of the results will be this pdf: www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/TechnologyRoadmapNuclearEnergy.pdf
Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants
The report Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants by United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) summarizes process/phases, regulations and required funds for decommissioning nuclear power plants in the United States. The U.S. NRC was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to ensure the safe use of radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while protecting people and the environment. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements. The table on page 5 summarizes the decommissioning status for shut-down NRC- Licensed Power Reactors as of May 2015 and a map of the locations of these reactors is provided on the last page of the report. The data is obtained from U.S. NRC records.
www.nrc.gov On the NRC site search for the keyword “decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants”, one of the results will be following pdfs: www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/decommissioning.pdf
FAQ #1: How do nuclear power plants work?
In a nuclear-fueled power plant – much like a fossil-fueled power plant – water is turned into steam, which in turn drives turbine generators to produce electricity. The difference is the source of heat. For nuclear power plants, the heat to make the steam is created when uranium atoms split – called fission. There is no combustion in a nuclear reactor. The first link provided below details this process. A link to an animated image of a functioning boiling water reactor can be found at the end of the webpage of the first link. The second link provided below provides an interactive graphical summary of how nuclear fuel is produced, used and stored.
FAQ #2: What percentage of global energy comes from nuclear resources?
The report linked below, “Nuclear Energy Around the World,” states that 30 countries worldwide are operating 435 nuclear reactors for electricity generation and 72 new nuclear plants are under construction in 15 countries (as of May 2014). Nuclear power plants provided 12.3 percent of the world's electricity production in 2012. This information is from the Nuclear Energy Institute (which is a nuclear industry lobbying group in US).
FAQ #3: Where can I find a comprehensive list of nuclear plants in the US?
The first link below provides general nuclear energy information for the U.S., including nuclear plant statistics and nuclear electricity companies. Information about former and existing nuclear power plants in the U.S. and detailed data about these plants can also be found on this website. The second link provided below lists all U.S. nuclear plants locations on a Google map.
FAQ #4: How much do nuclear energy facilities cost and what are the economic benefits of using nuclear energy?
Nuclear power plants are capital-intensive projects, with construction costs estimated at $6 billion to $8 billion for a large reactor. Once built, operating costs for electricity are low. Every dollar spent by the typical nuclear power plant results in the creation of $1.04 in the local community, $1.18 in the state economy, and $1.87 in the U.S. economy, according to an analysis of 23 nuclear plants representing 41 reactors. The first link provided below gives information about new reactor costs and economic benefits of nuclear energy. The second link points to a white paper titled “Nuclear Energy’s Economic Benefits - Current and Future from Nuclear Energy Institute.” The table on page 2 of this report compares the jobs creation and salary statistics of various energy technologies, including nuclear.
On the above link, search the keyword “Nuclear Energy’s Economic Benefits”, one of the results will be the following pdf: www.nei.org/corporatesite/media/filefolder/policy/papers/jobs.pdf
FAQ #5: How and where is nuclear waste deposited in the US?
Currently in the United States, there is no central repository. Nuclear waste generated in the United Stated is stored at or near the nuclear facilities across the country where the nuclear power is produced. There is a common belief that Yucca Mountain is the central Nuclear Waste Repository. However, after nearly two decades of research and federal spending of nearly $6.7 billion, the DOE released a report concluding uncertainties remain with this project. The uncertainties are largely a result of the fact that Nevada ranks third in the country for seismic activity and M.I.T’s Macfarlane points out that there are three volcanic cones located within 10 miles of Yucca Mountain. If one of the volcanos were to erupt, it would essentially expel nuclear reactive material. The link below provides additional details.