The Good Kind of Nukes


Happy Friday, I hope y’all had a great week. Mine was relatively uneventful, but I do leave for Colorado to snowboard today, so there’s that.


If anyone has a creative OOO message for my work email, lmk!



Going nuclear


Usually when you hear the word “nuclear” you default to bad thoughts, but this week was different. The US turned on a new nuclear reactor (the Vogtle Unit 3) in Georgia on Monday, with plans for it to become fully operational by the summer.


This is the first new nuclear reactor to come online in almost 7 years, and most of that is due to the negative stigma surrounding anything “nuclear”.


Nuclear reactors help combat global warming and generate nearly half of the clean, carbon free electricity (wildly more efficient than solar or hydro power). There are curretly 55 nuclear power plants in the US, which generate roughly 20% of the country’s electricity.



And even with all of those benefits, nuclear powerplants are still highly debated and difficult to fund simply due to the association of the word “nuclear”, with bombs or nuclear meltdowns (like the few I mentioned here)


Which sucks, because it’s not really fair. Are the consequences bad if things go south? Absolutely, but that’s not because of the power source. It’s typically due to operational shortfalls.


Even the World Nuclear Association has stated that all major studies conclude that nuclear energy is an exceptionally safe and productive way to create clean energy.



How it works


It’s actually pretty easy to understand too.


Basically, these powerplants generate electricity using nuclear fission, a process where you shoot a neutron into an atom, splitting the one atom into two (usually uranium).



This splitting of atoms generates an insane amount of heat.


This heat is used to boil water into steam.


This steam is used to spin a turbine, and the turbine generates electricity.


Yea, it’s really that easy.


TLDR? Here’s a diagram, or you can watch this video.



If it’s really that simple then it can’t generate that much electricity, right? Nope.


Just one power plant can provide up to half a state with its electricity needs. So in my opinion, just stick two of these bad boys in the most remote part of the state and viola the whole US acheives net 0 carbon emmision.




Get over it


Regardless of whether or not you agree with nuclear energy production, odds are you’re going to have to get over it.


According to the IPCC, at least 80% of the world’s electricity must be low carbon by 2050 in order to prevent irreversible climate change, which is large part of the Paris Agreement. And hate to break it to ya, but there’s no way we’re getting there with solarpower – the technology just isn’t there yet.


The only way we really could achieve that goal is through nuclear energy.


And people are starting to notice. Bill Gates has said that “Nuclear energy will ‘absolutely’ be politically palatable again” because it kinda has to be. It’s clear to many people that nuclear is the way forward simply due to necessity, so like I said the public will have to get on board, or get over it.


Anyways, that’s my two cents, I’m already one foot out the door. Time for vacation.


Let’s have ourselves a weekend!

from, matt

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