Dr. Hannum retired after more than 40 years in nuclear power development, stretching from design and analysis of the Shippingport reactor to the Integral Fast Reactor.  He earned his BA in physics at Princeton and his MS and PhD in nuclear physics at Yale.  He has held key management positions with the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE),  in reactor physics , reactor safety, and as Deputy Manager of the Idaho Operations Office.  He served as Deputy Director General of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, Paris, France; Chairman of the TVA Nuclear Safety Review Boards, and Director of the West Valley (high level nuclear waste processing and D&D) Demonstration Project.  Dr. Hannum is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society, and has served as a consultant to the National Academy of Engineering on nuclear proliferation issues.


Various people have brought to my attention the National Academy's recently established Expert Panel on the Merits and Viability of Different Nuclear Fuel Cycles and Technology Options and the Waste Aspects of Advanced Nuclear Reactors. These are highly important topics, and deserving of an expert review. I have spent almost my entire career studying advanced nuclear fuel cycles and nuclear waste handling and disposal. There are several key points that I believe should be addressed by the panel:

1. The viability of different fuel cycles in the context of this study must include economic as well as technical viability.

2. It will be important to differentiate between technical and political considerations.

3. This topic can only be discussed in a world context, not a national context.

4. There is great uncertainty in the characterization of the risks of radiation.

5. Discussing the waste aspects of advanced nuclear reactors without addressing other nuclear wastes destined for disposal is meaningless.

I have attached a brief statement on the situation as I see it. I would appreciate your forwarding these comments and the attached paper to the Panel.

William H. Hannum, Ph.D., fellow of the American Nuclear Society

Click to read the statement

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