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The nuclear waste is very problematic as well. We dont need nuclear power. Or at least going forward nuclear power will have been a crude way of making electricity that we drop.

I respectfully disagree.

I think it is going to be *very* hard to migrate to a non-fossil fuel economy. The high energy density and easy transportability of fossil fuels is going to be hard to live without. In the non-fossil fuel world of the future, there are going to be very few sources of guaranteed, high-density generating capacity. The only real option for most sites is going to be nuclear, along with hydroelectric for a few fortunate locales, with a smattering of other reliable sources such as geothermal (Iceland), and tidal in a very few locations. Nuclear may make up only 30% of the energy-generation mix, with the rest being from renewable sources, but it would be hard to do without that guaranteed 30%. So if we want to continue to have a modern industrial economy, and I think most of us do, we need to make nuclear power as simple, safe, and standardized as possible.

Personally, I think the waste issue is way overblown. The amount of waste generated annually per nuclear plant is small. It loses most (99%) of its activity in 100 years and 99.9% in 1000 years, at which point it's approaching the level of radioactivity of the ore that was mined. The decay of gamma-power (power emitted as gamma radiation, which accounts for all the long range exposure, and is what requires determines shielding requirements) decays by a factor of 10^4 after 1000 years. Now 1000 years is still a long time on the human timescale, but I think we could engineer waste disposal facilities that would remain secure for 1000 years.

Source: Flower et al. (1986), Characteristics and Quantities of Radioactive Wastes, Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London A, 319, 5.
doi: 10.1098/rsta.1986.0081

Nuclear power is an emotionally-charged issue, and people are very afraid of radiation. But the public perception and reality do not always agree. Radiation is much *less* dangerous than popularly perceived, while burning fossil fuels (and the release of CO2) are much *more* dangerous (to our future wellbeing as a society) than perceived.

Phil
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