Home Opinion Dear Editor Letter: Most people don’t understand nuclear energy

Letter: Most people don’t understand nuclear energy


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I have been following the nuclear energy industry over the last 10 years and have narrowed my scope to just three scenarios. The first is to provide the U.S. with a storage facility for all the spent nuclear fuel the U.S. government is mandated to consolidate in a secure and safe location. The second would be to provide a nuclear fuel depot to convert old “fuel waste” to new liquid nuclear fuel for the next generation of reactors and third, to provide a facility to use the new fuel in a nuclear-powered hydrogen production facility to provide clean transportation fuels to replace fossil-based sources.

For clean energy to move forward, we need to start with the energy fuels of the future: uranium, plutonium, and thorium. There are 83,000 tons of unused spent nuclear fuel (uranium with some fission products, like plutonium), 830,000 tons of depleted uranium left over from today’s nuclear fuel production facilities, like URENCO and over 61 tons of pure weapons-grade plutonium excess. Every isotope of those sources is fuel for the molten chloride salt fast reactor technology being developed and HI-STORE CISF would be the primary stored fuel source. The United States would not have to mine or import uranium for thousands of years.

It is a given that nuclear power plants can generate clean electricity, but it also produces a lot of extra heat for other industrial applications like water desalination, steel and aluminum production, cement production or any other process that requires high heat. They also provide many isotopes for the medical diagnostic and treatment procedures for cancer cases and other medical necessities like sterilization of medical equipment.

Most people, governments, academics, environmentalists, and others, have a very narrow perspective of what nuclear energy is and what it does and does not provide for humanity’s well being. I believe a lot of those same people don’t understand the power that oil and gas have provided either. If everyone understood at least the basics of Energy-101 for society, there would be less confusion about fracking, radiation, NGOs, vaccines and even climate change, if that is possible.

Martin Kral

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