R&D approaches to breeder development and commercialization

by Eugene C. Gritton

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The government research and development (R&D) process that leads to the commercialization of advanced technologies in the private sector can be described in terms of three main stages: basic research, pilot plant or field tests, and demonstration projects. This paper concentrates on the demonstration project stage of the R&D process and describes the dominant characteristics of successful government demonstrations that have led to diffusion success. It then examines the U.S. breeder demonstration program in terms of these characteristics. The author recommends that a base R&D program in breeder reactor technology be maintained and that support for basic R&D programs in fuel reprocessing and waste storage be increased; that increased R&D support be given to examining alternative breeder concepts; and that government-to-government cooperative agreements would be most appropriate for basic research programs, while cooperation in major demonstration programs be carried out on a company-to-company or utility-to-utility basis.

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