Letter: An energy source for the future
In the June 26 Monitor were articles titled “Obama outlines plan to combat climate change” and, by Joshua Keating, “Climate change problems for the 1 percenters.”
Keating horribly understates the problems facing mankind, and I applaud President Obama’s choice to bypass Congress. If left to Congress to pass legislation reducing carbon dioxide, our species is surely doomed.
A book in the Concord library, Energy for Future Presidents by Richard Mueller, a physicist at UC Berkeley’s Earth Surface Temperature project, leaves little doubt of the severity of global warming. His project used more than a billion temperature measurements going back to the mid-1700s to show that global temperatures were fairly steady until around 1950, when levels worldwide started to rise.
While reducing our use of electricity is the cheapest, easiest way to reduce our carbon footprint, our elected representatives must take steps to stop burning coal to generate electricity. Substituting solar and wind generation would create jobs in those fields to replace those lost by reduced coal mining. However, whereas Seabrook uses superheated steam in an above-ground plant that generates about 1.5 megawatts, a new technique would use a liquid (melted) salt to transfer heat from the nuclear pile to dynamos.
A modular nuclear power plant has been designed to be manufactured and transported to location, then placed into the ground, with little above-ground. This melted salt process is about one-fifth as large as Seabrook, enough for a city of 40,000. Nuclear fuel can come from a variety of places, but the waste from these plants is minimal and the fuel only replaced after about 30 years.
Our future generations will be dying by the millions in climates that are too dry to produce adequate food supplies and too hot to survive in, unless carbon generation is stopped and soon.