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The High Cost in Life of America's Coal Addiction, Nuclear Hatred
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Written by Daniel   
Friday, 16 April 2010 18:10

From Daily Tech

America is the world's top research nation, yet we continue to embrace coal power, an outdated power source that's dangerous to mine and emits hazardous chemicals. 

A coal plant emits 100 times more radiation into the environment than a nuclear plant of the same capacity. It also emits cancer-causing compounds, precursors to acid rain and greenhous gases.

 

America has been paying in human life for decades for its coal addiction, as illustrated by the most recent accident in West Virginia.  (Source: CNN.com)

Modern nuclear power is clean, safe, and affordable, so why are Americans afraid of it? If France can generate over 80 percent of its energy from nuclear power, why can't we?  (Source: Herve Lenain/Corbis)
Coal is dirty, dangerous, and outdated, so why can't Americans move ahead?

Scientists have gifted the U.S. with the technology we need to take our energy future into our own hands.  You could tear down every nuclear reactor in the U.S., rebuild 10 times as many reactors as the current number and still produce less waste on a yearly basis, by using modern designs such as liquid metal fast breeder reactors (LMFBRs), pebble bed reactors, and molten salt reactors.  And with promising technologies like thorium reactors and fusion-fission hybrid reactors on the horizon, it would certainly seem that the time for nuclear is now.

And yet America remains fearful of nuclear, even as President Barack Obama has tried to cajole Americans into finally embracing nuclear power again.

Most Americans don't realize it, but we already get 20 percent of our power from nuclear energy generated in the U.S.  That is truly domestic energy; true, it comes at a cost of some waste, due largely to outdated reactor designs largely built in the 60s and 70s, but at least we are in firm control of this power source.

Most of the rest of America's power budget comes from the fossil fuels to which America is so addicted.  American cars run on oil, a resource we have to purchase in large quantities from volatile foreign theocracies.  And in America, most of our power comes from a power source far more dangerous to Americans than nuclear energy -- coal.

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