Why Nuclear Power?

It’s expensive, crowds out clean energy investment, is susceptible to natural disasters (a la Fukushima), and nobody knows what to do with the spent fuel.

If nuclear energy is expensive and bad for the environment, why is it being pushed so heavily? And why did the Fukushima reactors use plutonium – instead of just uranium? We need a little background to understand the answers.

Virtually all of the nuclear reactors in the U.S. are of the same archaic design as those at Fukushima. This design was not chosen for safety reasons. Rather, it was chosen because it worked in Navy submarines, and produces plutonium for use in nuclear weapons.

Indeed, safer designs – such as thorium reactors – were left on the shelf because they don’t produce weapons-grade plutonium.


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