How many times have you heard politicians tell you that the only reason a nation with abundant oil and gas might want to enrich uranium is to build nuclear weapons.
The United States has always been one of the top two or three oil and gas producers in the world, but we also have scientists and engineers that have consistently recognized that U-235 is a special nuclear material with unique physical properties. Those properties can be put to nefarious purposes, but they can also provide incredible capabilities – like small, exceedingly long lived, reliable power sources for deep space and undersea applications.
Those applications sound pretty specialized until you realize that any power source that can work reliably in those airless environments can also work reliably in our normal environment without producing any obnoxious gaseous waste products that have to be constantly dumped.
I want one of NASA’s tiny reactors in my home. If you think such a device would be impossibly expensive for individuals, think about the fact I am old enough to remember when only deep space missions could afford to use microprocessors.