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Smaller nuclear reactors allow decentralized power – some critics not pleased via Atomic Insights

by Rod Adams on July 30, 2011

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

That is one of the sayings that I remember whenever I read works about energy by people like Amory Lovins or Ralph Nader and find myself agreeing with something they have written. (I rarely agree with either of them, but that does not mean that I always disagree.)

One area where I find myself in philosophical agreement is that I tend to like small-scale engineering and decentralized power. That philosophy aligns well with the underlying ideas behind one of Lovins’s books, titled Small is Profitable.

One of the features that I like most about nuclear fission energy is that the energy density is so many orders of magnitude larger than even the most energy dense chemical energy found in hydrocarbons. A tiny pellet the size of the tip of my pinkie contains as much potential energy as 20 large pickup trucks full of coal – if completely consumed. Energy dense fuel allows small machines that operate for a long time without any dependence on external supplies.

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