Nuclear Energy

Niven writes:

I consider myself a person who believes fairly strongly in limiting human’s impact on the natural environment. But i believe firmly in nuclear energy.

Am a crazy? Well, my argument is, is that if we boil it down to basics – nuclear energy requires physically small quantities of input, which release very large amounts of energy. Less impact is required on the ground, to mine the fuel material. The reaction itself doesn’t create output that must intrisically be vented into the atmosphere.

So what about nuclear waste? Well, some nifty Aussies came up with “Synroc” which is essentially a system that creates artifical rock as an encasing around the waste. It returns the spent uranium essentially to the form it was removed in (ie, in rock), and can’t leak like metal cannisters. And, it pays to keep in mind that mined coal contains radioactive material – material that is heated and made airborne in tiny particles. Not so good.

Like coal, Australia would be self sufficient for energy material (we have over 50% of the worlds Uranium, i think). Unlike coal, we would have much lower carbon emissions, require less volume of mining, and have smaller facilities with arguably less environmental impact. People keep pointing to Cheynobl, but we must remember, this was a Soviet era reactor, with very poor systems and controls. Moreover, the only reason it ‘went up’ is because one of the operators saw the warning indicator and decided it was an equipment malfunction – therefore not shutting down the reactor in time. And, – don’t quote me on this – i think the axe to cut down the control rods and kill the reaction had been nicked. This situation could never arise in a properly regulated industry in Australia.

So nuclear power? Sounds good to me. Any thoughts?

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