Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Future of Nuclear Power

A few days after my post on Thorium reactors the earthquake and tsunami disaster struck Japan, and then the ensuing nuclear problems.  It's worth noting that the meltdown and radiation concerns surrounding the boiling water reactors at Fukushima would not exist with LFTR's.  In the absence of power they shut down and passive cooling mechanisms keep things under control.  In the end a 40 year old nuclear design came through a category 9 earthquake and a 20+ foot tsunami with relatively little widespread effects, though it could have been much worse.  A modern LFTR would have done even better.  I'm not sure what the future of nuclear power will be after the Japan incident but I'm not sure we have any real option other than to pursue some sort of nuclear power.  More coal is certainly not viable, NG is a short term solution that still depends on fossil fuels, and without better storage I don't know if wind and solar can handle significant base load in the near future.  More generating capacity will have to be built to feed a growing population unless we are prepared to severely cut back our power usage.

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