English 2010 p. 546-558 United States Ellis, T. Petroski, R. Hejzlar, P. Zimmerman, G. McAlees, D. Whitmer, C. Touran, N. Hejzlar, J. Weave, K. Walter, J. C. McWhirter, J. Ahlfeld, C. Burke, T. Odedra, A. Hyde, R. Gilleland, J. Ishikawa, Y. Wood, L. Myhrvold, N. Gates Iii, W. H. TerraPower, LLC, 1756 114th Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98004 (United States) Bibliographic information available from INIS: http://inis.iaea.org/search/search.aspx?orig_q=RN:42097751 San Diego, CA (United States) 13-17 Jun 2010 Country of input: France; 33 refs. American Nuclear Society, 555 North Kensington Avenue, La Grange Park, IL 60526 (United States) American Nuclear Society - ANS; La Grange Park (United States) 978-89448-081-2 2284 p. SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY carbon computerized simulation economics economy energy efficiency energy systems fuel cycle human populations hydrocarbons nuclear energy nuclear fuels nuclear power plants plutonium power density power generation rivers safety seas seawater solar energy travelling waves uranium water cooled reactors water moderated reactors actinides efficiency elements energy energy sources fuels hydrogen compounds materials metals nonmetals nuclear facilities organic compounds oxygen compounds populations power plants reactor materials reactors renewable energy sources simulation surface waters thermal power plants transuranium elements water Conference Rising environmental and economic concerns have signaled a desire to reduce dependence on hydrocarbon fuels. These concerns have brought the world to an inflection point and decisions made today will dictate what the global energy landscape will look like for the next half century or more. An optimal energy technology for the future must meet stricter standards than in the past; in addition to being economically attractive, it now must also be environmentally benign, sustainable and scalable to global use. For stationary energy, only one existing resource comes close to fitting all of the societal requirements for an optimal energy source: nuclear energy. Its demonstrated economic performance, power density, and emissions-free benefits significantly elevate nuclear electricity generation above other energy sources. However, the current nuclear fuel cycle has some attributes that make it challenging to expand on a global scale. Traveling-wave reactor (TWR) technology, being developed by TerraPower, LLC, represents a potential solution to these limitations by offering a nuclear energy resource which is truly sustainable at full global scale for the indefinite future and is deployable in the near-term. TWRs are capable of offering a ∼40-fold gain in fuel utilization efficiency compared to conventional light-water reactors burning enriched fuel. Such high fuel efficiency, combined with an ability to use uranium recovered from river water or sea-water (which has been recently demonstrated to be technically and economically feasible) suggests that enough fuel is readily available for TWRs to generate electricity for 10 billion people at United States per capita levels for million-year time-scales. Interestingly, the Earth's rivers carry into the ocean a flux of uranium several times greater than that required to replace the implied rate-of-consumption, so that the Earth's slowly-eroding crust will provide a readily-accessible flow of uranium sufficient for all of mankind's anticipated energy needs for as long as the sun shines and the rain falls. Moreover, TWRs can naturally retain their efficiently-expended fuel for century length time-scales, so that they intrinsically pose minimal safety and security transportation hazards in addition to being full-scale carbon-free energy sources. This paper describes how TWRs could help move the global energy economy to a more sustainable footing. An economic case and potential impacts on the global energy system are explored. The paper also provides an overview of the practical engineering embodiment of the TWR, new computational tools we have developed for modeling TWRs, the degradation of the plutonium vector in used fuel from TWRs and advanced technological options for re-purposing fuel to extract more of its potential energy. (authors) United States INIS