Sunday, February 12, 2017

Letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren

Senator Warren, Dear Elizabeth,

I watch US politics from afar, and I've become a great admirer. My name is Mathijs Beckers and I live in the Netherlands, and I specialize in energy analyses. Particularly from a materials invested per unit of energy produced viewpoint.

If we are serious about mitigating our damaging influence on the climate we're going to need advanced nuclear energy working together with all the possible renewable energy sources at our disposal.

Evidence suggests that current production rates of essential materials are well below required levels and this means that in order for a 100% renewable energy portfolio to work, we need to start increasing mining operations exponentially, subsequently causing more greenhouse gas emissions and thus causing more environmental damage.

Contemporary nuclear energy is significantly more efficient in terms of materials used. Advanced nuclear opens up possibilities to include Thorium (which is now a waste material from mining activities) and bomb-grade plutonium - hence making sure that we start dismantling the nuclear weapons stockpile and turning the fissile material into energy, rather than keeping people hostage with them.

Additionally, advanced reactors will be able to produce essential isotopes required for medical applications and space exploration.

Finally, it could be a tremendous force in the jobs sector, as advanced reactors are being developed with modularity in mind. Building them on the principles introduced by Henry Ford. These, compact, liquid fuelled, reactors could be one of the new export products of the United States, thus helping to bring jobs to many people.

I hope you don't think that it is unbecoming for a Dutchman to comment on US legislation, but do remember that climate change doesn't care about borders. It is a worldwide problem. Since the US leads, if you enact the right kind of policies, the world will follow. And we've been kicking the can down the road on advanced nuclear reactors, and therefore catalyzing this development has now become more necessary than ever before.

With kind regards,
Mathijs Beckers

Author of Highway to Dystopia, Science a la carte, the non-solutions project

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