Nuclear Alternatives

Tomorrow the Chernobyl Desaster has its 20th anniversary. On many TV channels there are news and footages of what happened at the Chernobyl plant and what's the current state. And these are reminding us which consequences we have to face when all existing (or non-existing) security instances fail and radioactivity breaks through. Current pictures and comments are available at Elena Filatovas (aka "Kid of Speed") page. Look out for the Ghost Town and Land of the Wolves stories.

Since the time of the accident the number of new reactors per year has dropped significantly according the Nuclear Power Plants Information Page of the IAEA. But as much as mankind has learned from that accident, nowadays the energy production using radioactive fuel is rising again.

It's paradox but the main reason for this recent activity is because of environment concerns. The main other energy-sources, coal and gas, hold a large part of the global atmosphere pollution. Nuclear power on the other side has no effect on global warming. This main point and the drastically improved security have even convinced one of the co-founders of Greenpeace to go nuclear. There's a nice article on this subject on ABC News.

I personally think that even if nuclear power is much safer nowadays and nuclear fuel is running out slower than coal, oil or gas(PDF) it shouldn't be forgotten that nuclear power relies on non-renewable energy sources and mankind will have to deal with renewable alternatives sooner or later.

And if we have to deal with an inevitable switch to renewable energy wouldn't it be better to have the advanced technology from a decade of research and development than having hundreds or thousands of expensive reactors lying around depleted all over the world?

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