The European energy policy is to drastically cut carbon emissions by 20% in 2020 and 50% in 2050† however despite significant efforts to reduce energy use and increase renewable energy production, energy consumption has increased and reliance on fissile fuels has only decreased by ~3% in 20 years (see Figure 1). If target reductions of 50% by 2050 are to be achieved, with an ever increasing global population, the need for cheap and clean energy is definitely a prerequisite for the competitiveness of European industry. In this context a significant emphasis must be placed on future energy sources that are low carbon, reliable and sustainable. Nuclear power is one proven technology that can meet these exacting criteria.. Research in the nuclear arena shows that the medium to long term energy needs can be met by complementing the current nuclear fleet with fast neutron spectrum reactors incorporating a complete recycling of all actinides – the so called Generation IV of nuclear power.
Seen in this context ASGARD contributes significantly to increasing the sustainability of nuclear energy by bridging the investigations of the fuel recycling research. ASGARD will investigate the fabrication and dissolution behaviour of novel fuels for fast critical reactors. The knowledge advances of ASGARD will show to Governments, European Utilities and Technology providers that there are several options to the manufacturing and recycling of the novel fuels. It is of vital interest for the project that the outcome will be meaningful for the fuel manufacturing industry. To analyze the results of ASGARD with respect to their applicability in industry, an Industrial Users Group (e.g. Westinghouse –Sweden) is involved in the project.
† Based on 1999 levels.