The Simple Facts
One pound of uranium contains as much energy as 2 million pounds of oil. Releasing that energy from the uranium results in less than one pound of waste material that can be stored in a simple container for decades with no effect on the environment.
Burning 2 million pounds of oil will require releasing several thousand tons of carbon dioxide, and varying amounts of sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
A pound of uranium is easy to move while transporting 2 million pounds of oil requires the service of about thirty standard sized tanker trucks.
The facts above can be verified using any physics book, the implications of the facts are almost never discussed. The mission of Atomic Energy Insights (AEI) is to instigate a discussion that is urgently needed.
Fact vs. Popular Opinion
There are few technological innovations that can generate the same level of emotional response as nuclear energy. One has difficulty finding a mention of the technology in the press without some accompanying comment about nuclear waste, Three Mile Island or Chernobyl.
This emotional response prevents rational discussion about the ability of our industrialized society to survive. We are frequently treated to pleas for radical action to reduce the impact of acid rain, carbon dioxide emissions or ground level ozone concentrations. The fact that atomic power plants eliminate these problems is rarely reported!
Energy Is Not Scarce
People in industrialized countries are told that their way of life is wasteful and that there is not enough fossil fuel in the world to allow developing nations to duplicate our kind of prosperity. We are rarely told that the world’s stockpile of uranium and plutonium represents many decades worth of energy resources or that extensive deposits of uranium exist in the United States, Australia, and Canada. The fact that thorium, an element that is more common than uranium, has been used to fuel certain kinds of reactors is virtually unknown.
About Nuclear Reactors
Many Americans believe that nuclear reactors are too big or too expensive. Nuclear power plants the same size as a truck engine have been built for space applications.
At least five of the 25 lowest cost electricity producers in the United States are nuclear plants.
Nuclear Waste Fund Surplus
We have even been told that nuclear power is hopelessly dependent on massive government subsidy programs. Here are the facts:
- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is fully supported by licensee fees.
- Few utilities have ever made a claim under the Price-Anderson Act.
- The Nuclear Waste Fund shows an eight billion dollar surplus with more coming in every day.
Atomic Fission: Safe
The accumulated record of nuclear power is even more incredible when one realizes that humans have only known about the basic physical process of fission since 1938 and about chain reactions since 1942.
Atomic fission is easily controlled, there is a large base of fully trained plant operators and builders, and the fuel is concentrated and abundant. The process offers the hope of unlimited prosperity for all of the world’s people. With abundant energy we can make dirty water pure, convert scrap metal into vehicles, and turn sand into computer chips.
The nuclear industry in the United States has amassed an incredible safety record of zero deaths caused by radiation. Nuclear powered submarines, cruisers and aircraft carriers have combined for over 100 million miles of ocean travel during a forty year period. The energy source has proven its merit and deserves to be carefully considered and discussed.
Compared to other technologies, fission is an infant. Innovations and ideas that make nuclear energy more accessible will be reported so that people can make more informed decisions about their future.
A New Era
It is time to begin a new discussion about energy in America, one that is based on facts and comparisons instead of one based on fear, vested political interests and ignorance. Since our government has abdicated its role in educating and moderating active debate in favor of subsidizing the interests of narrowly focused groups, we will take on the responsibility for bringing you information and discussion.
We encourage your participation in this newsletter. With the help of your questions and our attempts at response, we expect to produce a lively source of information unavailable elsewhere. Let the fireworks begin.