Hunting down viable, eco-friendly energy options that don’t rely on fossil fuel deposits is perhaps one of the greatest challenges that man has faced in recent memory. This quest is made all the more pressing by palpable signs that global warming may indeed be more legitimate than we’d like to acknowledge. Proponents of nuclear power are metaphorically jumping up and down these days, waving their hands in the air and saying, “Pick me! Pick me!!” because in theory, power generated from atomic energy releases minimal CO2 (as opposed to coal and natural gas power plants) at far less fiscal cost than conventional sources — but what about the environmental cost? Everyone remembers what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl…
With memories now a little blurry around the edges and plenty of time finally passed, nuclear power is once again being viewed in a favorable light, simply because we need alternatives and we need them NOW. Most people are probably not aware of the fact that as of February 2010, 436 nuclear power plants are currently operating in 30 countries and 56 additional plants are currently being constructed…so it’s a serious reality that’s happening in our backyards right here and now. Even President Obama acknowledges that it is “a necessary step” in spite of its “serious (waste safety) drawbacks” in order for us to meet our energy challenges for generations to come.
Another unlikely supporter is Bill Gates, who clearly must think that nuclear power is the way to go since he has invested in an alternative nuclear startup called TerraPower, a move which only backs his belief that “the world needs to get to zero carbon emissions by 2050.” Currently in talks with Toshiba, Gates’ TerraPower compadres stand out in the crowd because their nuclear reactor will run on depleted “waste” uranium, making it theoretically eco-friendly since it will “extend the available supply of the world’s uranium” and run for several hundred years until the reactor meets the end of its usable life. Industry experts believe that Gates’ nuclear aspirations will be a boon to the resurgence of this form of alternative power as a cleaner energy source, one that all of us appear to embracing whether we realize it or not.