The supply of inexpensive energy is one of the key problems of modern civilization. It can be accepted only as a compromise that such valuable resources as fossil oil or coal are used for power generation instead of as raw materials for organic chemistry.240 This presumably temporary compromise is based on a comparison of the cost of the present type of nuclear fission reactor with the high cost of fossil fuel resources. Nuclear fission at present hardly reaches the level of competitivity241 because the basic material -- uranium and thorium ore -- is extremely expensive. Economically-available ore can supply energy only for 50 years, when the minimum annual consumption of 1022 joules predicted for the year 2050 is taken into account. The problems of immense production of fissionable materials that are radioactive, the possibility of a catastrophic explosion of a fission power station, which cannot be completely ruled out, and other questions of security242 basically categorize the present fission reactors only as a short-range energy source.


Nuclear Fission Neutron Production Thermonuclear Reaction Fossil Fuel Resource Great Compression 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heinrich Hora
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of New South WalesKensington-SidneyAustralia
  2. 2.Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteHartfordUSA

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