Yesterday I blogged about the ever-growing release of carbon dioxide. The largest sector responsible for CO2 emissions is electricity. I look at the numbers, and I cannot help but conclude that we are going to choke ourselves to death if we don't reduce our CO2 emissions.
The biggest producer of CO2 is electrical power generation, slightly larger than the transportation sector. It represents the best candidate for alternative energy.
We also have a legacy nuclear power problem in tons of nuclear waste. Somehow we must find a way to neutralize this biological/environmental hazzard, because sooner or later, we will have a catastrophic release. This plutonium waste has a half-life of 24,100 years. Not a problem that is going away.
Idaho National Laboratory is responsible for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant. There is a reason it is called next generation. It operates at much higher temperatures than today's older reactors. It uses helium instead of water as the primary coolant. This generation of reactors will be built in underground silos so that everything fails as at Fukushima, the heat will be radiated into the Earth sufficiently to prevent a meltdown. More importantly for ' discussion - it can burn our present nuclear waste.
Are fast-breeder reactors the answer to our nuclear waste nightmare tells that Britain has 120 tons of radioactive plutonium waste. In the next generation nuclear plant, that 120 is potentially enough to power the UK grid for 500 years. That catches people's attention, particularly when it is CO2-free.
But it is somewhat like a pact with the devil. There can be no failures with nuclear power, because nations or continents can be biologically ruined. But we already have a devil's brew accumulating in the atmosphere.