The Energy Crisis

Nearly every day in politics something about the energy crisis is brought up. We have options of fossil fuels, renewable energy, and the less popular nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is unsafe and should not be used, according to many citizens. However, nuclear energy is much safer and efficient with the use of Thorium, so why isn’t our government investing in it?

Nuclear energy is primarily created with Uranium 238. This uranium must undergo several refining steps, usually more than 3, just to be prepared for a nuclear power plant. Everyone is aware of the situations that have occurred in Russia and closer to home in Harrisburg. The radioactive waste of uranium used in a power plant can last over 10,000 years. Terrorist activities have escalated in the past few years and nuclear power plants become a target due to possible weaponization and meltdowns. You can easily begin to see why so many people oppose nuclear energy.

Thorium nearly eliminates all of these problems. Thorium can undergo nuclear fission to produce an artificial Uranium 233. It then must be controlled with a beam of neutrons to continue the breeding process in the power plant. This beam could essentially be switched off, eliminating any threat of a meltdown if one were to occur. The by-products of thorium are only dangerous for a few hundred years, rather than uranium’s 10,000 years, and there is significantly less waste. Most importantly, thorium cannot be weaponized. Thorium is predicted to be 3 times more abundant than uranium in our soil. Thorium requires no refinement, like uranium, so it can essentially be used right out of the ground. Thorium has been proven to be 4.8 times cheaper than natural gas, and 3 times cheaper than coal, respectively.

Given these facts about the use of thorium in nuclear power plants, why hasn’t our government invested money into it? Many critics say thorium production is too expensive, but I don’t quite buy into that when in 2010 President Obama pledged $8 billion to nuclear power plant construction. One of the primary reasons nuclear power plants began using uranium was for weaponization because they were developed during the Cold War era. If our government and President Obama are prepared for peace, why aren’t we putting our money where it can be used?

The war on energy is nowhere close to being finished, but we should at least take one wise step forward. Pledging $8 billion solely to nuclear power plants is not just chunk change, it’s an amount that could change energy as we know it. The world is ready to take a step, we just need someone wise to take it.

Adam Campbell

Jersey Shore

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom