from the urls-we-dig-up dept
The problems with nuclear power via fission have obviously not been overcome by technology (or politics). European countries have started to back off nuclear power, and the US isn’t expanding its nuclear power capacity in the near future. However, nuclear power isn’t dead yet. Maybe some people think it should be, but what if someone figures out how to prevent meltdowns and burn nuclear waste as fuel?
- China is expected to have an operational Generation IV nuclear fission power plant within the next few years, not sometime in 2030 or 2040. High temperature pebble-bed reactors that use helium instead of water to transfer heat are designed to avoid meltdowns with passive systems. China is looking to sell their nuclear power plants to countries like Saudi Arabia, and it also has some molten-salt reactors using thorium on the way, too. [url]
- Bill Gates has invested in TerraPower, a company that is developing nuclear energy technology called a travelling wave reactor. This kind of reactor doesn’t require enriched fuels, so it avoids proliferation problems and can even consume some depleted uranium waste as fuel. But these reactors aren’t fully operational just yet. [url]
- Tens of thousands of metric tons of nuclear waste is currently in “temporary” storage, above ground in power plants across the US. A few geologically stable sites have been considered for nuclear waste storage, but shale deposits have only recently been investigated. A handful of European countries, as well as Canada and Japan, have already been looking into shale deposits to store radioactive waste, but the NIMBY factor for nuclear waste makes it tough to commit to any long-term storage plans. [url]
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