Author ORCID Identifier


Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sama Bilbao y León

Second Advisor

Dr. Jason Merrick

Third Advisor

Mr. James MIller


Nuclear energy is a source of carbon free power. With many countries striving to make deep carbon cuts in their energy sectors, nuclear energy could be a large part of the solution. One of the main obstacles standing in the way of the use of nuclear energy is the issue of used nuclear fuel disposal. According to the NEI, the U.S. creates about 2000 metric tons of used nuclear fuel per year and has generated around 76,000 metric tons of used nuclear fuel over the last 4 decades. While there are technical problems that need to be solved, it is primarily the public and political opposition to the disposal of used nuclear fuel that stands in the way of progress in this area. This work addresses this issue through Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). To make a decision among ten different fuel cycles, we have brought together five stakeholders: Nuclear Scientists and Engineers, Environmental Scientists, Economists, Political Scientists, and The General Public. Using Multi-Attribute Value Theory (MAVT), we have been able to develop decision models for each stakeholder as well as a model that combines them all and came to the conclusion that of the ten fuel cycles considered, the best decision is to continue to use On Site Dry Cask Storage. This decision is made with small sample sizes but the methodology could be applied at much larger scales and can potentially be used to choose a fuel cycle that encounters much less political and social opposition to its implementation.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission