Intellectual Discovery and Cognitive Dissonance

I enjoy discovering new things, things that I never knew about or never thought of before.  Even when I have spent 30 years studying nuclear energy as an avocation, I find out things that didn’t know.

Recently, I was reading AtomicInsights and followed a link to a guest post by Len Koch, who worked for Idaho National Lab (and its predecessor) on the Experimental Breeder Reactor I and II.  I actually visited EBR-1 a couple of years ago and was impressed to see the technology that was invented before I was born.

What I learned about EBR-II was more interesting.  It produced power for 30 years for the INL site, which, by the way, is very remote and desolate, and it did so as it was producing more fissile material.

Anyway, Len mentioned that the DOE (US Department of Energy) has in its custody 700,000 tons of depleted uranium (DU), which can be bred into fissile plutonium.  Len has a photo of a container of DU, which typically contains 14 tons.  This is the energy equivalent of 100 million barrels of oil.  The DOE has about 50,000  of these containers! This amount of potential energy is incomprehensible!  I love to discover things like this!

Depleted Uranium Cylinder

Deplete Uranium Storage Container

One hundred million barrels of oil times 50,000 containers of DU = 5 trillion barrels of oil! (Other countries have even more DU.)

What are we waiting for? I, for one, am tired of the lame fear and pathetic excuses peddled by fossil fuel interests (and others) that keep us from using this virtually limitless source of energy. That is my cognitive dissonance.


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