Wednesday, November 25, 2009
One of the benefits of a crisis (economic, environmental, energy, etc.) is the desire it creates to find a solution, which can often result in a change of opinion over subjects previously considered to be completely out of the question. One of these is seen in an increase in support for nuclear power throughout the world, and another is that of legalization of marijuana in the United States.
The latter is an easy way to:
- keep law enforcement from having to spend resources on a less than critical area;
- fight drug cartels
- raise funds through taxation, something many states vastly need
Nuclear power on the other hand is an area that should never have been opposed in the first place, since it is much better for the environment compared to technologies like coal, and safety has continued to improve in spite of the previous worldwide opposition to its use. As the chart in the article shows, France is the largest user of nuclear power with 76.2% of its energy supply coming from there, and they were right to do so in spite of all the protests in the 80s and 90s against its use.
Here's the chart from the article rearranged to show the list of countries arranged from those using the most to least nuclear energy.
South Korea 36.7%
Czech Republic 32.4%
United States 19.6%
The other advantage to an increase in support for nuclear power is the advantages it can provide for exploration of space. Jupiter is about as far as a probe can explore powered by solar alone, and anywhere after that needs a different power source. Voyagers 1 and 2 are still going strong even at their incredible distance from the Earth thanks to a nuclear power source. Nuclear power may also be a good idea for manned colonization. Admittedly, in the beginning solar will only be necessary since the area of the Moon likely to be explored first is lit nearly 100% of the time.