Climate change and our divided nation. Is it a top priority and a threat to mankind as most Democrats believe, or is it not much to worry about, and maybe even beneficial, as most Republicans believe?

We are a divided nation indeed. In no other area is this more apparent than in our attitudes towards Climate Change. Democrats regard is as a top priority more and more, while Republicans maintain it is not much to worry about, way down in the importance of things that need fixing. The PEW research center shows the growing discrepancy:

Republicans live in over 90% of the area of the United States, Democrats are concentrated to urban areas, and in areas of majority black or Hispanic population.

Most of the Democrats live concentrated in Urban areas, and they have already experienced climate change! The Urban Heat Island effect can be as high as 7 degree Celsius on a dog day in August, with humidity to boot!

Most Republicans on the other hand live in rural areas where there are no heat islands. If anything, they are realizing that the winters are less severe, and the summers are not getting hotter. They see good in the climate change, such as we can now feed another 2 billion people on earth, thanks to the fertilizing effect of increasing CO2.

I have put in the reasons why Rising CO2 levels may actually be on balance beneficial : https://lenbilen.com/2020/02/28/climate-change-is-real-and-is-caused-by-rising-co2-levels-leading-to-less-extreme-weather-this-is-on-balance-good-for-the-environment/

Now for the question: Should we expand the burning of fossil fuels?

Even though increasing levels of CO2 is beneficial for the climate we should not expand, but reduce the mining, drilling and fracking of fossil fuels. There are better ways of supply the energy needs of the future. We should leave some of the fossil fuels for our great grandchildren not yet born.

More solar panel farms. This I see as a niche market. China still control 90% of the rare earth metal mining we should only use them in urban areas to lessen the need for an expanded grid. One area that is ideal for more solar panels is to put them up as roofs in open parking lots, especially those that are covered with black asphalt. Parked cars will be cooler and dryer, and it will lessen the urban heat effect.

More wind turbine farms: I love birds, especially large birds such as eagles and raptors. The eagles like to build their aeries on top of the wind turbines, and – you guessed it – they get whacked by the rotor blades. During the Obama administration they upped the yearly allowable kill of bald eagles from from 1100 to 4200. If you kill a golden eagle there is still a 250000 dollar fine. If we increase the number of wind-farms we could run out of large birds.

Hydro-electric power: This is mostly already utilized to capacity. One exception is the river Congo in Africa, still waiting to produce electric power.

Nuclear plants: This is the only realistic solution, but not the common U235 power plants. No, we need a Manhattan-like project to fast track Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear reactors. Here are 25 r3qsons why this is the only realistic solution until we master fusion power, which is always a couple of decades away from commercialization.

Twenty-five reasons to rapidly develop Thorium based Nuclear Power generation.

We need badly to develop and build Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactors to secure our energy needs in the future. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

3. One ten-thousandth of the TRansUranium waste compared to a U-235 based fast breeder reactor.

4. Thorium based nuclear power produces Pu-238, needed for space exploration.

5. Radioactive waste from an LFTR decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors.

6. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

7. Produces isotopes that helps cure certain cancers.

8. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe.

9. Molten Salt Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten.

10. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

11. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions.

12. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

13. Thorium Nuclear Power generators  scale  beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

14. No need for evacuation zones, can be placed near urban areas.

15. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

17. Russia has an active Thorium program.

18. China is having a massive Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program.

20. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

21. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, disasters like Chernobyl are impossible.

23. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

24. Produces electrical energy at about 4 cents per KWh.

25. Can deplete some of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

 

Published by

lenbilen

Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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