Sunday, September 23, 2007

Swords into plowshares

Surprising fact of the day:
Anderson said that 10% of US electricity currently comes from recycled Soviet nuclear warheads.
From a Long Now talk about nuclear energy. Which is apparently the least bad of options to supply the predicted doubling of energy demand by 2050. There's a bunch of questionable assumptions hidden in the argument as presented, some of which are addressed by the commenters. A huge nuclear infrastructure sounds enormously dangerous -- but then, so does burning a lot more fossil fuels.

I wonder what ever happened to space-based solar power generation? That was something I was interested in a few decades ago, but you don't hear much about it lately.

If I start getting into futurist mode I get very depressed. The world is going to go through some drastic changes in the next few decades. The biggest variable (which is not often discussed) is how fast things are going to go. If oil prices and climate change ramp up slowly, there will be time to adjust. If things go quickly, the result will be massive catastrophe. People and markets can adapt to anything, but it takes time. New technologies might help, but the cycle for developing and deploying a new technology is decades...and we've wasted the last couple twiddling our thumbs.

Oh well, this was going to be a happy post...it's certainly nice that we are turning old nuclear warheads into useful energy.

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