A recent nuclear fusion experiment puts physicists one step closer to achieving ‘ignition,’ a promising development for new clean energy.
Investing in the next generation of nuclear reactors could give the world an important tool for reducing carbon emissions.
While renewable energy has made enormous strides in recent years, nuclear power still has distinct advantages.
Expanding the technology is the fastest way to slash greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonize the economy.
It makes fighting climate change a lot easier.
For many years, we have let fear, rather than facts, control the narrative over nuclear power. While the conventional story around nuclear power focuses on the few disasters that have occurred, nuclear’s track record tells a different story: one of unparalleled safety, successful waste management, and abundant, affordable, green energy. The world needs nuclear power now more than ever.
Many advocates argue that in light of the threat of climate change and the increasing need for carbon-free baseload electricity generation, nuclear power should play a role in the world’s future energy mix. Others call for abolishing nuclear power. But that may not be feasible in the foreseeable future.
Fission isn’t for the faint of heart. Building a working reactor—even a very small one—requires precise and painstaking efforts of both engineering and paper pushing. Regulations are understandably exhaustive. Fuel is hard to come by—they don’t sell uranium at the Gas-N-Sip.
The Pentagon recently announced plans to up the production of plutonium pits, a core component of nuclear weapons.
As with all technologies, thorium power has its shortcomings. Building any nuclear plant is still very expensive, and our nuclear-power infrastructure has focused on uranium for 50 years, meaning a switch to breeder reactors would cost even more.
Well, nuclear energy today is by far the largest source of carbon-free electricity in the United States. That's a fact. That's indisputable.
How familiar are you with nuclear energy? If the only time you think about nuclear power is in terms of Homer Simpson’s job or while scrolling through Netflix, then probably not very.
Beyond carbon emissions and safety, the debate must also confront how the choices we make now constrain the kind of world we can build in the future.
The overwhelming majority of nuclear power stations active today entered service long before the science of climate change was well-established. Two in five nuclear plants operate on the coast and at least 100 have been built just a few metres above sea level. Nuclear energy is, quite literally, on the frontline of climate change – and not in a good way.
A new women-led, progressive energy group will devote itself to nuclear policy.
The perception of radiation risks is out of whack with the reality.
Nuclear power is likely the least well-understood energy source in the United States. Just 99 nuclear power plants spread over 30 states provide one-fifth of America’s electricity. These plants have provided reliable, affordable and clean energy for decades. They also carry risk - to the public, to the environment and to the financial solvency of utilities.
In an Idaho desert lies the epicenter of American nuclear energy research. Among the relics of early reactor experiments there, the country's energy future is taking shape.
There may come a day when next-generation nuclear reactors can prove their economic viability in the real world and not just on paper. But until they do so—and especially while the old generation of nuclear power is dying—it makes no sense to promote nuclear power.
New nuclear reactor designs could bring far more widespread use and public acceptance of this powerful form of energy.
There's a simple, compelling argument that the world ought to be building many more nuclear power plants. We'll need vast amounts of carbon-free energy to stave off global warming. It's not at all clear that renewables can do the job alone. And nuclear is a proven technology, already providing 11 percent of electricity globally.
Build them up? Or tear them down?
The United States, Russia, and France now describe the once-neglected technology as a key part of their decarbonization plans. Nuclear is losing its stigma, in other words. It’s been invited to the cool kids’ table. The reindeer games are over. Now it has to deliver.