Nuclear power is a crucial component in the move towards creating sustainable, carbon-free energy for the United States. However, many people - including some other candidates - dismiss it out of hand.
Why does it have such a bad reputation?
Two reasons. First, the public’s perception of its safety has been skewed by TV shows like Chernobyl and The Simpsons. Second, nuclear waste is dangerous and long-lasting, and disposing of it is expensive.
Both points are less of an issue with modern reactors.
When the OECD, NEA, and NASA analyzed the actual danger of nuclear energy compared to other sources, they found that it caused orders of magnitude fewer deaths than fossil fuel-based energy. And that’s not even considering the long-term impact of climate change from burning fossil fuels.
With modern reactors, safety is drastically increased, and nuclear waste is drastically decreased. After the completion of the Manhattan Project, America explored the option of using thorium as a potential source for civilian nuclear power. There is roughly 3 times more thorium on Earth than uranium, and we are already mining it as a byproduct of other rare-earth element mining. Thorium mining is substantially safer than uranium mining, and thorium reactors produce less waste than uranium reactors
Why did we go with uranium instead of thorium in the 1940s? Uranium is used in nuclear weapons; thorium isn’t. Yet another benefit to using thorium as a power source! Nuclear isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s a solid solution for now, and a technology we should invest in as we move to a future powered primarily by renewable energy.
Problems to be Solved
- checkNuclear power plants generate a majority of our “carbon-free” energy, but they only generate less than 20% of our overall energy, despite being cleaner than fossil fuels.
- checkPublic opinion is generally misinformed on the safety and effectiveness of nuclear power.
- Nuclear energy gets a bad rap because we all think about Homer Simpson and the possibility of contamination. The reality is that nuclear power is one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly paths forward to a more sustainable future.
- checkProvide America with emissions free energy sources while other renewable technologies are still developing in efficiency and sustainability
- checkEducate the public on how nuclear power can be used safely and effectively
As President I will...
- Invest $50 billion in research and development for thorium-based molten salt reactors, and nuclear fusion reactors, to provide a green energy source for Americans.
- Engage in a public relations campaign to update the reputation of nuclear reactors.
- Plan to start breaking ground on new, safe, thorium-based molten salt nuclear reactors by 2027.