The future role of nuclear energy is a key factor in determining a long-term energy strategy to cope with the challenges ahead: a growing planet with a growing thirst for energy; the need to provide the access to modern sources of energy for the poor; the need to assure energy security and availability at reasonable costs; the threat of climate change, which calls for a drastic shift from current energy generation technologies; and the myriad other local, regional, and global environmental impacts of energy use and production.

To play a major role in meeting these intertwined energy challenges, nuclear energy would have to grow dramatically, requiring strong support from governments, utilities, and publics around the world. Achieving that support is likely to require improved economics and major progress toward resolving issues of nuclear safety, nuclear security, proliferation-resistance, and nuclear waste management. To sustain a much larger nuclear enterprise for many decades also raises the question of uranium availability and options for extending fuel resources.

The objective of the Workshop is to present the main results of an expert elicitation survey that was conducted both in the United States and in the European Union during the summer-fall of 2010 to a set of worldwide known experts and to enable a discussion. The focus of the survey is the role of research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in addressing the major problems of nuclear fission. After a presentation of the survey results, participants will discuss both areas of agreement and areas of disagreement, in an effort to understand where there is consensus and where the most important disputes and uncertainties lie.

The Workshop will also include a discussion of the factors that are likely to shape the diffusion of nuclear energy technologies and that are not (or are just partly) related to technological factors. This topic is also covered by the survey and will be the focus of the second day of the workshop.


The event is organized by the International Center for Climate Governance (a joint initiative of  the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini), the ICARUS project and the Science Technology and Public Policy Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard University Kennedy School, in collaboration with the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change.

The workshop is open to a selected audience.