The Energy Cri$i$

The energy crisis (and associated climate crisis) truly expose human selfishness and greed in its rawest form.

On one side the oil, gas, and coal giants push an archaic method of powering civilization as the only viable option.. Like they have been for the past hundred some odd years. On the other side, we have a coalition of “green energy” companies pushing inefficient, expensive, and short sighted options as the only way to save the planet. The only thing any of these people care about is lining their pockets with our hard earned dollars.

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Solar power sources are extremely expensive to build and operate. They are the most expensive form of energy, notoriously inefficient.  Wind powered turbines are cheap. However, the unpredictable nature of wind makes them unreliable in regards to powering larger communities. They have also been observed to have an adverse effect on the migration patterns of bird populations.

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Obviously, we would like to phase out the use of coal and natural gas. Combined they account for about 66.5% of energy production. Coal mining is dangerous business. The industrial waste produced by mining and processing is extremely toxic as well. Thanks again to the greed of industry and government officials, waste disposal and storage facilities are falling into disrepair all over coal mining areas. Numerous cases of spills into local water sources have been noted just within the past year.

This all begs the question: why the $@&% are we not pushing nuclear energy?! At least in my mind, am I the only one? Did you know that a coal burning power plant can be converted to nuclear energy, simply by changing the burner? Coal runs at about $0.0221/KwH where as nuclear fission reactors run at roughly $0.0172/KWh. Nuclear fission is currently the cheapest and most efficient forms of energy. It is also among the safest and cleanest!

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So why then is public opinion of nuclear energy so negative? Its simple really: when we think of the word “nuclear” we associate it with bombs, the cold war, and radioactive waste. Suddenly we all start fearing a group of men with thick Russian accent detonating a dirty bomb to avenge the soviet motherland… That or we think of good ol’ George W.  Saying “Nukaler”… Love that man, let’s take a moment to bask in Bushtopia!

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… Alright, that got weird. Let’s move on shall we?

There have only been 2 melt downs: Chernobyl in 1986 ( again with the Russians!) And the Fukushima Daiichi power plant after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Not much stands up to a major earth quake and tsunami, so yes in that highly unlikely situation it is possible for a modern plant to melt down. With the coming of the digital age, precise control of every aspect of production at the plant is essentially child’s play. Safeguards such as underground chambers , emergency response mandates, ect mean they are safe places to work and live near.

This goes further than just powering our homes and businesses. With Lockheed on the brink of producing a fusion reactor that can fit on the bed of a pickup truck, passenger and cargo planes could be rocking nuclear power within the next few decades! What about electric cars? If you plug an electric car in at your house, you’re simply sucking energy from a coal or gas plant down the road. If we convert these facilities to nuclear fission, we would have truly ” green” cars. Nuclear energy in my humble opinion, is the best and only way to solve the issue of long term energy independence.

Want to know more about nuclear energy? Check out these links!
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/products/compact-fusion.html
http://www.world-nuclear.org/Nuclear-Basics/

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