The role of fission nuclear power in our energy future

I am somewhat cautious about fission nuclear power and its role in America’s energy future. It may play a temporary role, but it is not a long-term solution to our energy needs.

There certainly are advantages to fission power, such as no emissions of greenhouse gases or other pollutants. Those opposed to nuclear power often point to the risks of radioactive leaks, and the problems with short- and long-term radioactive waste. But there is an issue that does not come up often in the discussions I’ve seen about nuclear power: uranium is a non-renewable natural resource, just like coal or petroleum. Whatever role fission power plays in our energy mix, it is an interim or short-term role. A few hundred years from now, we will not use fission as a significant source of electricity. Uranium is a non-renewable resource; fission power is non-sustainable.

Building new nuclear power plants is an issue in the upcoming presidential election. Here is what John McCain’s energy policy page says:

John McCain Will Put His Administration On Track To Construct 45 New Nuclear Power Plants By 2030 With The Ultimate Goal Of Eventually Constructing 100 New Plants.

I’m not opposed to this, but view it more as a necessary evil rather than a long-term solution to our energy needs.

Barack Obama’s energy policy page says nothing about nuclear power.

Grace and Peace

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