Some form of nuclear reaction is without a doubt the energy source of the future. The only questions are when and what form. Nuclear fusion (distinct from nuclear fission) is seen by many as an ideal energy source. It is fueled by hydrogen atoms, which we can obtain from water, and releases no carbon into the atmosphere. Nuclear power has a bad rap because of the inherent risks in nuclear fission. When you’re splitting atoms, a huge amount of gamma radiation is dumped into the surrounding environment. Nuclear fusion, on the contrary, combines atoms, producing far less radiation and with a far shorter half-life (between 50 and 100 years as opposed to hundreds of thousands).
Nuclear energy cannot provide liquid fuels. 70% of US oil consumption at 19.6 million barrels every day is in the transportation sector. It is not as simple as replacing energy from oil with energy from nuclear power. You also have to change the entire nature of the liquid-fuel based cars, trucks, and airplanes. This is not something that can be accomplished in a short time frame (like 10 years). Even if/when the US car business becomes based on electricity, there is an entire additional set of things to be concerned about. Right now, the only way to significantly scale up electricity generation is by mining and burning more coal. Also, electric cars, with present technology (and nothing radically different on the horizon) require things like neodymium for the magnets in the motors, and lanthanum and lithium in the batteries. 97% of the neodymium and lanthanum in the world at present come from China, although the US is re-opening its rare-earth mine at Mountain Pass, California. More than half the lithium used in the US is imported, mostly from Chile and Argentina, and Bolivia holds the greatest known lithium resources. So switching to electricity derived from nuclear power trades oil import dependency for dependence on imported neodymium, lanthanum, and lithium. And did I mention that 85% of US uranium is imported? That’s a greater import dependency than we have for oil.
It maybe a good bridge energy source to use to transition from fossil fuels. However, the waste from nuclear energy would have to be contained and uranium would have to become more accessible and not imported as much. It is a possibility not a solution.
Click here to cancel reply.
Sorry,At this time user registration is disabled. We will open registration soon!
Don't have an account? Click Here to Signup
© Copyright GreenAnswers.com LLC