In the last decade, the economics of existing nuclear power plants have improved in the United States and worldwide. Further economic improvements could be realized by better management of planned outages, understanding of unplanned outages, resource sharing among several plants, and more efficient use of nuclear fuel. Dry spent-fuel storage has removed the limitation of on-site storage caused by the limited size of the originally designed storage pools. However, delays and uncertainty about the date by which the national U.S. program will receive the spent fuel have significant financial penalties that could be mitigated if a central interim facility were established to receive spent fuel. Furthermore, a higher incentive for spent-fuel minimization could be obtained if the waste fees were based on spent-fuel volume rather than on electricity sales. Introducing thorium into the fuel cycle has the potential to improve the economics of the fuel cycle while reducing the volume of spent fuel and improving its proliferation resistance.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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