Nuclear power is popular in some other countries. France has a strong nuclear power industry. France derives over 75% of its electricity from nuclear power. It is actively involved in nuclear research and technology development, and has plans for expansion. France is the biggest electricity exporter in the world thanks to its nuclear power.
Trends point to the increase of nuclear energy in the coming years, as it is the best alternative fuel available. It is regarded as a cheap source of energy with high energy rate and somewhat low impact on the environment, apart from the radioactive chemicals, emissions from nuclear power plants are virtually non-existent. It is also easily implemented with as the infrastructure is the same as fossil fuel burning energy plants.
Bill Gates is in talks with Toshiba and has invested millions of dollars into a new technology called a traveling-wave reactor (TWR). A TWR, unlike a traditional nuclear fission reactor such as the one Homer Simpson monitors, would be manufactured in small scale units — maybe that Tony Stark guy was onto something.
The best part about TWRs is they would run on the almost-completely benign isotope Uranium-238, as opposed to the usual fuel of enriched U-235 or Plutonium-239. This also means that such a technology might be able to use nuclear waste as fuel, thus eliminating almost all of the dangers associated with nuclear energy.
The guy Gates has heading the project is mad scientist and Microsoft veteran Nathan Myhrvoid. If they can do it, you can bet nuclear energy is going to get a whole lot more chic.
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