|Nukes work and many years ago (almost 35 to be precise) I thought we would have licked fusion reactions by now but it is a much harder problem than anyone envisioned then. I don't think we will have a working, sustained fusion reactor running for at least 50 years so that leaves us with our good, old fission reactors. A number of years ago when the U.S. industry failed to get any more ordered they sold most of their nuclear divisions to a few Japanese companies as it just didn't make sense to stay in the business. As a result we don't have the manpower, skills and equipment to scale nuclear reactors in this country.. in fact we are barely keeping the U.S. Navy nuclear program functioning.|
My beef with nukes is this:
Numero Uno, and this the big one:
The waste problem has not been solved and the Nevada repository simply will not work. It is geologically not stable and ground water permeates the structure so in the long run it's a pretty safe bet that waste will not be stored there. As you probably know every reactor site in the U.S. has cooling ponds to store used fuel rods and waste. They are almost full at most sites and they are rapidly running out of room.
Reprocessing waste is expensive, especially if you end up with plutonium.
Reactors need lots of cooling water to dump the condensation cycle heat. We have to get rid of roughly 60% of the heat the reactor creates to condense the cooling water so it can be sent back to the reactor heat exchanger after it leaves the turbines. So we need a big river, ocean or something else to dissipate the heat. You will find no reactors in dry areas because fresh water is simply not available. My German friends that I visited with in San Francisco said that Germany is committed to getting rid of all their reactors in the next ten years or so because of the problems noted above.
Plus we are running out of Uranium, probably a 70 year supply at existing consumption. There are other possibilities but they are expensive.
So when I look at Solar and Wind and a few other renewable sources to me it's a no brainer which way I would go.
Storage of electrical energy is the Holy Grail in energy research right now. We have a couple emerging technologies that will probably work.
I really like the proposal put out in the January issue of Scientific American, A Solar Grand Plan:
This and Desertec in Europe and North Africa can generate all of the electricity we need... with no pollution!