I recently saw the documentary “Into Eternity”, which discusses the future of nuclear waste by showcasing the construction and implementation of a nuclear waste facility being constructed in Finland. Nuclear waste is hazardous for 100,000 years, and therefore requires great care for proper disposal. Many people do not know that nuclear currently makes up a significant portion of our energy infrastructure in the United States. As discussed in the National Geographic article that I have posted to this article, its infrastructure is being expanded overseas as well. The benefits of nuclear energy come in the form of a lack of emissions, but the problem comes from when they fail, the radioactive wastes is incredibly toxic for humans and the ecosystem as a whole.
That being said, the more specific question being discussed by this article is essentially, how do we make energy infrastructure more resilient in the face of impending sea level rise?
We currently have too many nuclear powerplants that are in danger of being compromised by rising sealevels. This is exacerbated by the fact that nuclear reactors tend to be located near water, which is used to help cool the system. If the system overheats, it fails, rising global temperatures is causing this cool water to warm, which is yet another challenge facing nuclear plants.
According to the article, “two nuclear reactors churn out enough electricity to power nearly a million homes.”, and the United States has 100 reactors. That being said, we need to find ways to either mitigate the risks of our current nuclear plants, and decommission them, safely dispose of their wastes, and then hopefully move in an even more resilient / sustainable energy direction.
What do you think about the nuclear energy debate in the USA? Do you think that the disposal of nuclear waste could exacerbate issues associated with free trade and world systems theory? (rich nations sending nuclear waste to poorer nations)
*you can watch the documentary for free on VIMEO here Into Eternity