, Volume 25, Issue 3-4, pp 121-139

Can Fusion and Fission Breeding Help Civilization Survive?

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Abstract

As apparent from the title, this author feels that civilization faces a real threat, one which will become obvious and serious within the lifetimes of many readers of this article. This threat is not global warming, but lack of affordable energy. We take for granted turning on a light, or adjusting our thermostats in winter or summer, or filling our cars gas tank; and lose sight of the fact that there are huge and complicated industrial systems which make this possible. But as we run out of petroleum and natural gas, and worry about the environmental and climatic effects of burning coal on the required scale, how can this continue? This paper makes the case that breeding nuclear fuel, by both fusion and fission, is the only way our civilization as we know it, can continue beyond the next half century or so.