In an editorial from the August 16, 2009 The News-Star, Professor Emeritus Ron Thompson opines on the value of nuclear energy to meet an increasing global appetite for energy:
Global energy demands are increasing exponentially. Burning more fossil fuel is not a viable solution. An inescapable fact of burning fossil fuels is that for every 12 pounds of carbon burned, 44 pounds of carbon dioxide are produced. Another inescapable fact is the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing exponentially since the mid-1800s. It is possible that man’s activities can change the atmospheric conditions of the entire planet.
And while he notes how “nuclear reactors now have many successful years of operation and have a proven safety record,” his point is that the current “challenge we face today is what to do with the used fuel after it is removed from a reactor.”
In Thompson’s opinion, “the best solution is to separate the fuel and waste through a reprocessing cycle. The used fuel from a reactor contains about 5 percent radioactive waste and 95 percent nuclear fuel. The most dangerous radioactive wastes with the highest specific activity are short lived and decay to stable elements. Longer lived radionuclides can be transmuted into shorter lived isotopes.”
Read the full piece, “Nuclear fuel reprocessing: the benefits” here.
For more information on AREVA’s recycling efforts and its Back-End Division, click here.