Abstract: Relative to the struggles Western nuclear powered countries have experienced in the recent past, South Korea and China have had notable success building up nuclear power at an impressive scale. China today leads the world in new builds of nuclear reactors. Moving beyond indigenous construction, South Korea is on the verge of completing its first exported power reactor in the UAE, marking an impressive accomplishment for this relatively new nuclear startup. However, China and South Korea now face a challenge other more established nuclear powered countries have yet to solve, an unresolved structure of the back end of the fuel cycle. Despite the uncertainty that exists about the ultimate fate of the spent fuel, the more immediate problem of interim storage is urgent. In this talk, I will review the status and urgency of this problem in the two countries with quantitative results from modeling accumulation, storage and transportation. I will then outline immediate policy mitigations needed in the short term as well as strategies for designing a more permanent solution.
About the Speaker: Rob Forrest is currently a member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories where his research interests include nuclear power, cybersecurity, and nonproliferation. As a member of the systems research group, he specializes in data driven methods and analysis to inform policy for national security.
As a postdoctoral fellow at CISAC, his research focused on one of the most pressing technical issues of nuclear power: what to do with spent nuclear fuel. Specifically, he looked at the more short term issues surrounding interim storage as they affect the structure of the back end of the fuel cycle. He focuses mainly on countries with strong nuclear power growth such as South Korea and China.
Rob’s interest in policy and nuclear issues began during his fellowship in the 2008 Public Policy and Nuclear Threats program at the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at UC San Diego. In 2010, he also participated in the PONI Nuclear Scholars Initiative at CSIS.
Before coming to CISAC in 2011, Rob received his Ph.D. in high-energy physics from the University of California, Davis. Most of his graduate career was spent at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, IL where he performed a search for signs of a theory called Supersymmetry. Before beginning his graduate work, Rob spent two years at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. In 2001, Rob earned his B.S. in physics from the University of California, San Diego where, throughout his undergraduate career, he worked for NASA.