HBO’s Chernobyl Sparks Questions About US Nuclear Power Safety. Physicist Ed Lyman discusses new safety threats to US nuclear reactors and why risks here are different than in Russia.
UCS 27th Aug 2019 read more »
On Monday, Democratic candidate for president Andrew Yang revealed his climate plan. Like the plans of fellow nominees Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the plan is ambitious. But Yang’s sticks out from the others because he openly endorses a type of nuclear power known as thorium. Nuclear power has divided the Democratic candidates, with a few, like Sanders and Marianne Williamson, outright opposing its extended use into the future. Meanwhile, contenders like Yang, Sen. Cory Booker, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar actively support it. Yang’s plan claims that the public’s conception of nuclear safety “has been skewed by TV shows like Chernobyl and The Simpsons.” Thorium comes with its own challenges. “Thorium dioxide melts at 550 degrees higher temperatures than traditional uranium dioxide, so very high temperatures are required to produce high-quality solid fuel,” says a report from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a Department of Energy institute. And while thorium might avoid some of the long-term challenges in waste management, combining it with uranium-233 in the short term would actually be more radioactive than current plants.
Popular Mechanics 27th Aug 2019 read more »