Sunday, February 15, 2009

Going Nuclear

So here we are in the year 2009, and I've been thinking of some things that have been missing. Shouldn't we already have flying cars? Better infrastructure? More telecommuting? We live in a digital age and we still can't get things right such as dog food free of fertilizers or E.coli in your burgers.

To make this conversation a bit more intellectual, I'd like to discuss nuclear power. Yes, the "n" word of 2009. Many countries are scared by the potential dangers of nuclear power. I'm not talking in the form of weapons, but more so the use of energy. Honestly, they should be given the hazards of towns melting down and radioactive waste that has to be stored. Yet one particular country is in a unique bind - France.
Since the oil shocks in the mid 1970's, the nation built a network of reactors (59 to be exact as of 2008) that now produce roughly four-fifths of the country's electricity. That is pretty amazing, but why? France has no oil, no coal and thus no choice! Secondly, a majority of their political leaders are trained scientists that are brilliant in various disciplines. And last but not least, they choose nuclear because quite frankly the decision-making process has been centralized. So while they might be energy independent, is it perhaps at too high of a cost or risk?

Source:National Geographic, 2009

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