from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Petroleum prices are relatively low right now, but there are no guarantees that the price of oil will remain low for very long. Progress on biofuels and fusion aren’t great bets for the impatient, but there’s an existing energy source with some serious growth potential: nuclear fission. Okay, we’ve been talking about advances in nuclear energy for a while, too, but the barriers are mostly economic/regulatory, not in the engineering or science.
- Molten-salt nuclear reactors have been on the cusp of creating a much safer next-generation path for nuclear energy. Molten-salt reactors have passive safety features and can even get rid of some nuclear waste while generating energy. However, cheap petroleum and the high cost of getting a building permit for a new nuclear power plant… have delayed these fission energy developments. [url]
- The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the only underground nuclear waste repository in the US — located outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, in a salt mine. There was an accident involving the “wrong kind” of kitty litter that caused some radioactive material to be released and for the facility to shut down temporarily. Currently, some progress is being made to keep WIPP operational and continue storing long-lived radioactive waste. [url]
- A bunch of companies are developing smaller nuclear reactors for commercial use — generating only a few megawatts or a few dozen megawatts of electricity using reactors about the size of a shipping container (or smaller). It might be easier/cheaper to get these smaller reactors into operation, but the real question is whether or not these designs prove to be significantly safer. [url]
After you’ve finished checking out those links, take a look at our Daily Deals for cool gadgets and other awesome stuff.