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Q & A: Is nuclear power real?

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Most recent answer: 07/13/2013
Q:
After the billions and billions spent on the nuclear energy industry, why is it impossible, after 50 years, for someone to demonstrate the proof-of-concept, eg, put 2 (or whatever number is required) Uranium rods put into a bucket of water, thus generating superheated steam? It's not "scientific" for everyone to believe in nuclear power generation merely on endless hearsay. A little scientific proof is in order. How about it? Everyone claims Uranium rods can make water boil - let's see it!
- Chad (age 27)
St. Louis, MO USA
A:

Your question is very confusing. The type of nuclear power you mention, ordinary fission chain reactions, drives power plants all around the world, including over 75% of the electrical power generation in France. Our late friend Al Wattenberg participated in the original "proof of principle" under Stagg Field at the University of Chicago in 1942.

Perhaps you are thinking of nuclear fusion power? A great deal has been spent on developing it, and so far we aren't close to having a usable fusion power plant. Although the fuels for nuclear fusion are far more plentiful than those for fission, it's unclear whether it will ever be possible to build a fusion power plant. We do gather energy released by fusion in the sun and use it. We can also generate large amounts of fusion energy in nuclear explosions, but that's not useful for obtaining electrical power.

Mike W.


(published on 07/13/2013)

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