- Jan 17, 2022 3:33 pm GMT
"Emma Redfoot stands at a whiteboard in a small conference room, sketching neutrons, protons and nuclei, her voice rising enthusiastically as she explains nuclear fission: A neutron blasted into a uranium-235 atom shatters the atom, releasing energy and yet more neutrons that split other uranium atoms, causing a frenetically energetic chain reaction. 'The crazy thing about nuclear energy is that it turns mass into energy,' she says, her gray-blue eyes opening wider. 'It. Destroys. Mass!'
On the other side of the thick glass window here at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, Idaho, the mercury approaches 100 degrees, the sun an angry orange blob behind the thickening gauze of smoke from wildfires across the region — a reminder of the toll fossil fuels are taking on the planet.
But Redfoot says that the situation isn’t hopeless, that we can slash greenhouse gases and still have nice electrified things, including this comfortable climate-controlled room, without making the planet hotter and drier and smokier. To do so, however, we must embrace nuclear power — conquer our irrational fears of radiation and return to 'a story that can be told in terms of abundance in the world we live in.'"
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