National Technical University of Athens
School of Mechanical Engineering
Nuclear Engineering Department

Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 46, Issue 12, p. 11497-11504

Expert Judgments about RD&D and the Future of Nuclear Energy

Laura D. Anadona, Valentina Bosettib, Matthew Bunna, Michela Catenaccib, and Audrey Lee c
aJohn F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, United States
bFondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Corso Magenta 63, 20123, Milan, Italy
cCalifornia Public Utilities Commission, 505 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, California, 94102, United States


Probabilistic estimates of the cost and performance of future nuclear energy systems under different scenarios of government research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) spending were obtained from 30 U.S. and 30 European nuclear technology experts. We used a novel elicitation approach which combined individual and group elicitation. With no change from current RD&D funding levels, experts on average expected current (Gen. III/III+) designs to be somewhat more expensive in 2030 than the were in 2010, and they expected the next generation of designs (Gen. IV) to be more expensive still as of 2030. Projected costs of proposed small modular reactors (SMRs) were similar to those of Gen. IV systems. The experts almost unanimously recommended large increases in government support for nuclear RD&D (generally 23 times current spending). The majority expected that such RD&D would have only a modest effect on cost, but would improve performance in other areas, such as safety, waste management, and uranium resource utilization. The U.S. and E.U. experts were in relative agreement regarding how government RD&D funds should be allocated, placing particular focus on very high temperature reactors, sodium-cooled fast reactors, fuels and materials, and fuel cycle technologies.

List of the 60 E.U. and U.S. Nuclear Experts Who Participated in this Study

NamePrevious and/or current affiliationCountry
Markku AnttilaVTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland)Finland
Fosco BianchiItalian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy & Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA)Italy
Luigi Bruzzi University of BolognaItaly
Franco CasaliENEA; IAEA; University of BolognaItaly
Jean-Marc CavedonPaul Scherrer InstitutSwitzerland
Didier De BruynSCK CEN, the Belgian Nuclear Research CentreBelgium
Marc DeffrennesEuropean Commission, DG TREN, EuratomBelgium
Allan DuncanEuratom, UK Atomic Energy Authority, HM Inspectorate of PollutionUnited Kingdom
Dominique FinonCentre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS),
Centre International de Recherche sur lEnvironnement et le Developpement
Konstantin FoskolosPaul Scherrer InstitutSwitzerland
Michael FuettererJoint Research Centre - European CommissionThe Netherlands
Kevin HeskethUK National Nuclear LaboratoryUnited Kingdom
Christian KirchsteigerEuropean Commission, DG Energy & TransportThe Netherlands
Peter Liska Nuclear Power Plants Research InstituteSlovak Republic
Bruno Merk Institute of Safety Research
Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
Julio Martins Montalvo e SilvaInstituto Tecnologico e NuclearPortugal
Stefano MontiItalian National agency for new technologies, Energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA)Italy
William NuttallUniversity of CambridgeUnited Kingdom
Francois PerchetWorld Nuclear UniversityUnited Kingdom
Enn Realo Radiation Safety Department, Environmental Board, Estonia; University of TartuEstonia
Hans-Holger RognerInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)Austria
David ShropshireJoint Research Centre - European CommissionThe Netherlands
Simos SimopoulosNational Technical University of Athens; Greek Atomic Energy Commission, NTUAGreece
Renzo Tavoni Italian National agency for new technologies, Energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA)Italy
Andrej Trkov Institute Jozef StefanSlovenja
Harri TuomistoFortum Nuclear Services OyFinland
Ioan Ursu Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH)Romania
Bob van der ZwannEnergy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN)The Netherlands
Georges van GoethemEuropean Commission, DG Research, EuratomBelgium
Simon WebsterEuropean Commission, DG Energy, EuratomBelgium
John F. AhearneNational Academy of Sciences, Sigma Xi,Nuclear Regulatory CommissionUSA
Johnhong AhnUniversity of California, BerkeleyUSA
Edward D. ArthurAdvanced Reactor Concepts, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of New MexicoUSA
Sydney J. BallOak Ridge National LaboratoryUSA
Ashok S. BhatnagarTennessee Valley Authority Nuclear OperationsUSA
Robert J. BudnitzLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Nuclear Regulatory CommissionUSA
Douglas M. ChapinMPR AssociatesUSA
Michael L. CorradiniUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUSA
B. John GarrickU.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review BoardUSA
Michael W. GolayMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA
Eugene S. GrecheckDominion EnergyUSA
Pavel HejzlarTerraPowerUSA
J. Stephen HerringIdaho National LaboratoryUSA
Thomas IsaacsStanford University, Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryUSA
Kazuyoshi KataokaToshibaUSA
Andrew C. KleinOregon State UniversityUSA
Milton LevensonOak Ridge National Laboratory, Bechtel, EPRIUSA
Regis MatzieWestinghouseUSA
Andrew OrrellSandia National LaboratoryUSA
Kenneth L. PeddicordTexas A&M UniversityUSA
Per F. PetersonUniversity of California, BerkeleyUSA
Paul S. PickardSandia National LaboratoryUSA
Burton RichterStanford University, Lawrence Livermore National LaboratoryUSA
Geoffrey RothwellStanford UniversityUSA
Pradip SahaGE Hitachi Nuclear EnergyUSA
Craig F. SmithLawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Monterey Naval Postgraduate SchoolUSA
Finis SouthworthAreva North AmericaUSA
Temitope TaiwoArgonne National LaboratoryUSA
Neil E. TodreasMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyUSA
Edward WallaceNuScale, PBMR Ltd. , Tennessee Valley AuthorityUSA