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The Energy Crisis and a Call for Change

             Everyone has a smartphone, computer, and a car, but energy is a scarce resource that is facing the fate of depletion unless we change our ways of living or find a stable alternative energy source. Right now, we heavily rely on oil to sustain our comfortable lives, and our oil supply is running out, despite our heavy import strategies. There are several alternatives being discussed, such as wind power, solar panels, methane gas, and nuclear power. Each shows promise and has its limitations. In his book "Too Much Magic", James Kunstler proposes that these alternatives are not viable and that turning to technological advances to dig ourselves out of this energy crisis we face will not work. Nuclear power reactors use a uranium rod to perform the process of fission, where atoms are split into matter and massive amounts of energy. This process is cooled by turbine controlled water that turns into steam from the heat of the reactor core. No pollution is released into the atmosphere, so the only externality to the process is the radioactive sludge from the spent uranium rods, but this waste has a reasonable halftime where it becomes harmless after several years in a maintained storage facility. Although Kunstler's concerns are valid, further investment into nuclear power will solve the energy problems we are facing today, and by doing so we can replace oil as our primary resource for energy production.
             Nuclear power has a negative connotation due to its military utilization, but that is far from its only use. Nuclear power reactors produce energy, as well as radioactive materials that are used in the medical field and many others. (Nuclear Regulator Commission) These radioactive materials are used to treat cancer via teletherapy, brachytherapy, and therapeutic nuclear medicine. (U.S. NRC) This is in addition to being more efficient than the alternatives due to the technological advances of fission, which is the splitting of atoms resulting in free neutrons and photons, and a high energy output even by the energetic standards of radioactive decay.

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