Nuclear is the answer


Molten salt being tested in a lab. Picture credits: Creative Commons

Clayton Saunders, Ranger Review Reporter

Climate change, the yearly warming of the globe, is one of the biggest problems that the world is facing today. It is supposedly a controversial topic, but all of the research from scientist proves how dangerous it is. Climate change is caused by carbon dioxide emissions trapping heat in the atmosphere. The energy industry is the leading in carbon dioxide emissions.

Solar power and hydroelectric are fairly well known as the primary clean sources of energy, but on of the most overlooked clean energy sources is nuclear. Nuclear energy is looked at as scary and dangerous, and in some ways it is. If someone were to google pollution, he or she would find pictures of nuclear reactors despite the fact that nuclear energy emits no carbon dioxide. Despite the view of nuclear as an intimidating source of energy; it is clean and effective.

The molten-salt reactor was a part of the Manhattan project by the United States in the 60’s. The Manhattan project was the research of nuclear fusion for the use of bombs during World War II and was responsible for the bombs created that dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“A molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of nuclear reactor that uses liquid fuel instead of the solid fuel rods used in conventional nuclear reactors. Using liquid fuel provides many advantages in safety and simplicity of design,” according to ZME Science.

This reactor dissolved thorium or uranium rods as opposed to the standard reactor. Since the whole rod is dissolved, the reactor has a 99.9% yield as a opposed to the 5% yield from a modern reactor.

The science behind nuclear fusion in common terms is the release of energy from the decay of radioactive elements. This is used to create energy.

Another way this reactor is an improvement is the fact that it is safer than the standard reactor. Since everything is liquid, a fail safe is designed with a freeze plug that will open if the reactor reaches a certain temperature; this causes the reaction to stop as the molten salt is drained into separate cylinders.

Despite all of the research to support this reactor, the government shut down the project due to the fact that the Cold War was in motion and the United States needed bombs. The reactor did not produce weapons grade plutonium as opposed to a standard reactor. All the testing during the Manhattan project provided research that supported nuclear energy from this reactor that provides an alternative for the standard reactor.

As the threat of World War III approaches, nuclear stockpiles of nations increase as well. This makes me believe that this next world war will not be fought with guns and tactics, but bombs and radiation.

Einstein is referring to the fact that the next world war will result in the complete annihilation of the modern world that we know in this quote: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Einstein couldn’t predict the exact weapon of war that would result in this, but modern science shows nuclear weapons could result in this disaster.

The world needs this reactor; if not, the destruction of the world is imminent either from the polar ice caps melting and causing floods of biblical proportion. The other option is nuclear war with no survivors.

The future of energy is nuclear. The idea that nuclear energy is something we can’t control and should be scared of is a narrow mind set. To say that there is no climate change at all is just complete ignorance. If someone doesn’t do this soon then who knows the fate of this earth.