A New Approach to the Nuclear Fuel Cycles

Best Practices for Security, Nonproliferation, and Sustainable Nuclear Energy

In the past decade, a resurgence of enthusiasm for nuclear power has rekindled interest in efforts to manage the fuel cycle. The 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan and current proliferation crises in North Korea and Iran raise this question: Is the current approach on the fuel cycle—leaving uranium enrichment and spent fuel reprocessing capabilities in the hands of national governments—too risky on proliferation grounds?

In early 2011, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Center for Strategic and International Studies launched the New Approaches to the Fuel Cycle (NAFC) project. This project, led by Corey Hinderstein and Sharon Squassoni, sought to build consensus on common goals,address practical challenges, and engage a spectrum of actors who influence nuclear energy policymaking.

Drawing from industry, government, and NGO community expertise in the United States and abroad, the NAFC project worked to outline a vision for an integrated approach to nuclear supply and demand. The result, presented in this report, is the first comprehensive approach that contains guidelines for shaping a sustainable nuclear supply system and leverages existing trends in nuclear industry, with “best practices” to help implement that sustainable system.

Kelsey Hartigan, Corey Hinderstein, and Andrew Newman

Sharon Squassoni