Why I Support Nuclear Power at a Safe Distance of 93 Million Miles
By Peter Sichel
Solar energy can readily provide everything we need as reported by the US Department of Energy: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/files/SEU_rpt.pdf
"Covering 0.16% of the land on Earth with 10% efficient solar conversion systems would provide 20 TW of power, nearly twice the world's consumption rate of fossil energy and the equivalent 20,000 1-GWe nuclear fission plants."
"For calibration purposes, the required U.S. land area is about 10 times the area of all single-family residential rooftops and is comparable with the land area covered by the nation's federally numbered highways."
Some studies suggest there's only enough "rich Uranium" to provide about 40 years of electricity using terrestrial nuclear fission. Even worse, this doesn't cover the energy needed to safely manage the nuclear waste already produced. Despite enormous investment, fast-neutron breeder reactors are still commercially unproven.
Solar power actually addresses the problem of Global Climate Change in a sustainable way. The Earth-life-system has a sustainable energy budget defined by the annual amount of solar energy received. Nuclear power at a safe distance of 93 million miles is the solution the Earth-life-system has worked out. Ambient solar and wind energy fall within this budget. Utilizing vast amounts of previously stored energy is problematic because it shifts the ecological balance previously worked out regardless of the fuel source.
All of the most difficult problems have already been worked out including security, nuclear non-proliferation, terrorist threat, transportion of harzardous materials, and safe storage and disposal of nuclear waste. The only nuclear power plant we need has already been built.
Our sun has a superior record of safety and reliability measured in billions of years. Although the risk of catastrophic failure of a terrestrial nuclear facility is small, the potential losses are so enormous that no commercial insurance carrier is willing to underwrite the risk. Terrestrial nuclear facilities enjoy special liability protection which means in effect we the people accept the risk.
Id put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we dont have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. -- Thomas Edison, 1931
Peter Sichel is founder and chief engineer of Sustainable Softworks, a software developer specializing in advanced Macintosh networking.
psichel "at" sustworks "dot" com
Last updated 31-Dec-2007.
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