TECHNOLOGICAL MATURITY AND R&D PROGRAMS

A frequently asked question is whether nuclear decommissioning has reached technological maturity. A generally accepted definition of technological maturity is given as:

“A mature technology is a technology that has been in use for long enough that most of its initial faults and inherent problems have been removed or reduced by further development…One of the key indicators of a mature technology is the ease of use for both non-experts and professionals. Another indicator is a reduction in the rate of new breakthrough advances related to it—whereas inventions related to a (popular) immature technology are usually rapid and diverse, and may change the whole use paradigm—advances to a mature technology are usually incremental improvements only.”

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ENERGY SPENT IN DECOMMISSIONING

Quite recently, I was taken aback when somebody asked me about the energy (e.g. Mwh or Petajoules, PJ) spent to demolish a NPP, and the innuendo was that the decommissioning-related energy could be comparable with the construction of the same NPP, and even to the energy generated by that plant. I must admit I had no answer to offer on the spot. And yet, I realized soon that this is an argument used at times by the anti-nuclear groups. Was this really a loaded question? I decided to launch an enquiry among my colleagues and friends and I am glad to share the results with you.

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