As growing demand for energy has prompted ever-increasing use of fossil fuels, the resulting issues of energy security and climate change have in turn led to renewed interest in the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier. Hydrogen has the potential to play an important role as a sustainable and environmentally-acceptable source of energy in the 21st century. Since the natural sources of pure hydrogen are extremely limited, it is necessary to develop technologies to economically produce large quantities of hydrogen. The presently-dominant technology to produce hydrogen is based on the reforming of fossil fuels, with the subsequent release of greenhouse gases. Hydrogen could be produced by water cracking, using heat and surplus electricity from nuclear power plants.
The Nuclear Science Committee (NSC) has organised three Information Exchange Meetings on the Nuclear Production of Hydrogen to discuss scientific issues pertaining to the production of hydrogen using energy produced by nuclear reactors. The last of these meetings was held in October 2005, where the current scientific and technical issues related to the hydrogen generation using nuclear energy were presented and reviewed. The meeting participants strongly endorsed further international cooperation on issues related to nuclear production of hydrogen. Extensive collaboration already exists in some research areas, such as the sulphur-iodine thermo-electrochemical cycle. Additional areas of cooperation could include:
The fourth information exchange meeting on Nuclear Production of Hydrodgen, 14-16 April 2009, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Third Information Exchange Meeting on Nuclear Production of Hydrogen, 5-7 October 2005, at Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Oarai, Japan
Second Information Exchange Meeting on Nuclear Production of Hydrogen, 2-3 October 2003, at Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois, USA.
First Information Exchange Meeting on Nuclear Production of Hydrogen, 2-3 October, 2000, at NEA Headquarters, Paris, France.