Blue Ribbon

Reactor & Fuel Cycle Technology

The Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technology Subcommittee was formed to respond to the charge—set forth in the charter of the Blue Ribbon Commission—to evaluate existing fuel cycle technologies and R&D programs in terms of multiple criteria including cost, safety, resource utilization and sustainability, and the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation and counter-terrorism goals.

Given the Commission’s specific focus on policies for  managing of the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, the Subcommittee also addressed the closely related question of whether any currently available reactor and fuel cycle technologies, or any not-yet commercial technologies that are now under development, have the potential to change either the fundamental nature of the nuclear waste management challenge we confront over the next several decades or the approach the United States should take to implement a plan for the storage and ultimate disposition of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

To answer these questions, the Subcommittee reviewed a representative variety of advanced reactor and fuel cycle technologies, including the potential to improve existing light-water reactor technology and the once-through fuel cycle, as well as options for partially or fully closing the nuclear fuel cycle by reprocessing and recycling spent nuclear fuel.  We also reviewed the current research plan and proposed budget of the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and the adequacy of existing regulatory and legal frameworks to accommodate new reactor and fuel cycle technologies and facilities.

Subcommittee Members


Ex Officio(s): 

Reactor & Fuel Cycle Technology Meetings

Open Meeting - Reactor & Fuel Technologies - Washington

October 12, 2010

The Reactor and Fuel Technologies Subcommittee will hold an open meeting on October 12, 2010 from 8:15 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th...

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Open Meeting - Washington

August 30, 2010 - August 31, 2010

The focus of this meeting was on commercial technology options for reactor and fuel cycle technologies and actions that could be taken to enable first movers in these...

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Open Meeting - Idaho Falls

July 12, 2010 - July 13, 2010

RFCT subcommittee held a public meeting focusing on the status of R&D in nuclear energy, from both the USG and industry. Subcommittee members also toured nuclear...

Login or Register to reply 6 Comments Updated: May 12, 2011