Abstract: After several decades of impressive growth in nuclear reactor development, China today leads the world in new builds of reactors. With this impressive scale of construction comes issues familiar to countries with more mature nuclear power programs, specifically an unresolved structure of the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle. While there may be several decades before this long term issue need be resolved, the problem of interim storage of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) is much more immediate. In this talk I will review the current status and magnitude of the problem as well as the deadline for its mitigation. I will then outline an ongoing, scenario-based study aimed at informing SNF interim storage policy under uncertainty of the back end of the fuel cycle. This study incorporates broad issues such as logistics, economics, public acceptance, safety, security and proliferation. I will then show some preliminary results from a subset of these issues as well as some policy recommendations.
About the Speaker: Rob Forrest is a postdoctoral fellow at CISAC. His research focuses on one of the most pressing technical issues of nuclear power: what to do with spent nuclear fuel. Specifically, he looks 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 working with the Klystrons that supply the RF power to the accelerator. 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.