Main Issues Related to Nuclear Energy Expansion Around the World

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Reuben W. Hills Conference Room
  • Jacques Bouchard

Abstract: The expected increasing world energy demand makes it necessary for us to seriously and urgently study the questions of global warming due to greenhouse gas effect emissions and the depletion of fossil resources. This clearly means producing more energy, while emitting a minimum amount of CO2, and keeping the costs under control and acceptable for the user.

A growing number of prospective studies thus envision that nuclear energy, because it is carbon-free, will play an important and essential role in the world energy mix of the 21st century.

However, the increased use of nuclear power to generate electricity brings with it, threats to regional and global security - specifically, increased risks of nuclear weapon proliferation and nuclear terrorism: nuclear power reactors inevitably produce plutonium as a by-product, plutonium that could be used by countries or terrorist groups to fabricate nuclear weapons. Several states still have not signed the NPT, while others have not clarified their real intentions.

Even though this aspect should by no means be neglected, the issue of nuclear energy expansion should be examined globally, accounting for the context, the current needs, as well as all kinds of concerns.

The context is the one described above, characterized by growing energy demand and climate change: nuclear energy is unanimously recognized as a solution well adapted to such a context. Its overall assets are numerous, it is a clean and competitive source of energy, which has very good safety records, with more improvements to come, it contributes to security of energy supply. All these assets should not be swept away for reasons solely linked to proliferation concerns. As a matter of fact, intensive works are being carried out, to improve even more nuclear energy's track record, by ensuring its sustainability: waste minimisation, increased safety, competitiveness, economy of uranium resources, resistance to nuclear proliferation, and application to fields wider than shear electricity production.

Jacques Bouchard is Special Adviser to the Chairman of the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). In 2006, he was appointed Chairman of the Generation IV International Forum (GIF) for 3 years.

Born in 1939, Jacques Bouchard holds an engineering degree from the "Ecole Centrale de Paris", and specialized in reactor physics.

Mr. Bouchard joined the CEA in 1964 and became Head of the Experimental Physics unit in 1973, then head of the Nuclear Engineering Department in 1975. In that capacity, the work he conducted was mainly in support of pressurized water reactor technology, and he also led studies in physics for fuel cycle applications.

In 1982, he became head of the Fast Neutron Reactor Department in Cadarache. In 1990, he was appointed head of the CEA's Nuclear Reactor Division, then, from 1994 to 2000, he became the Director of CEA's military application division.

From 2000 to 2004, he was in charge of the entire nuclear energy sector in CEA.

Since 2005, he is Special Adviser to the Chairman of the CEA.

Jacques Bouchard was also the President of the French Nuclear Energy Society from 2001 to 2003 and professor at the reknown "Ecole des Mines de Paris". He has serve on the board of directors of several companies working in the nuclear field, and he is member of many advisory committees to national and international nuclear organizations.

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