Issue Date: May 19, 2008
Why Not Nuclear?
Regarding the article &"Energy Defines Sustainability," I have yet to hear any persuasive, rational argument as to why current nuclear technology is not adequate to solve our energy problems (C&EN, April 14, page 11). Of course, developments will continue (fourth generation, thorium fuel cycles, etc.), but even today nuclear power looks to me like the answer (note France's use). A number of good proposals to store waste have been offered, including drilling into geologic formations that have been stable for hundreds of millions of years. Better yet, just store it and in 50 years the next generation of reactors will be able to use the 90% of energy that is still in the spent fuel.
Add to that some plausible developments in lithium battery technology (or perhaps EEStor's ultracapacitor) and we can forget about transportation fuel problems as well (in particular, ridiculous ideas like hydrogen use). We will just be charging our cars at night while those nuclear plants are still humming. As an added benefit, we can go back to eating our food instead of fueling our cars with it.
Stephen J. Kennedy
Survey on Global Scientific Challenges
In December 2007, the ACS Board of Directors adopted a new strategic plan with six major goals. The board is now asking members to help shape one of its goals, to "be a global leader in enlisting the world's scientific professionals to address, through chemistry, the challenges facing our world."
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