A suggested roadmap for world-wide energy resource planning and management
Free (open access)
Volume 1 (2016), Issue 1
72 - 86
In the near future, we will need an internationally based system for worldwide planning of future energy resources and their effect on the world environment. Logically, this should be a responsibility of the United Nations, which already possesses much of the infrastructure needed and is already active in this area. Because different nations have different resources, different problems and different needs, it is reasoned that a flexible and diplomatic approach is also called for. We will need to try to secure support from all nations, and the economies and cultures of many nations differ considerably. This calls for special skills in negotiation. This is complicated by the varied, uncertain and changing technologi- cal facilities, which we have at our disposal. After a brief and comparative review of these facilities, an outline of the structure of the internationally coordinating organisation is suggested, followed by examples of the different types of issues which are likely to be encountered. These are: reintroducing improved technology to a nation, which has suffered grievous environmental harm from inadequate similar technology such as the Fukushima incident; nations with especially difficult transport problems; nations with perceived overpopulation problems; using UN and other expertise for nations still under- going development; applying persuasive pressure by peaceful means. Finally, by outlining a large-scale cooperative venture by several nations, the mode of operation of the suggested U.N coordinating body is outlined. The example used is the choice of thorium-based molten-salt reactor technology using both fast and thermal neutron spectra. This appears to be the only choice we have, as other sustainable systems cannot accommodate the size of our problems. The only exception is using the Desertec solar project, which appears to be disadvantaged by being significantly more expensive. Molten-salt reactors would give a 1000-year energy security for industrialised energy-hungry nations on the Far East/Pacific Rim, which is the example considered. This system would use modern actinide burn-up technology to make nuclear-waste disposal a more acceptable proposition. Thus, nuclear waste can become a low-level and disposable hazard after only about 300 years of storage. After this storage, the waste becomes a valuable resource due to production of rare transmuted elements.
actinide burn-up, climate control, molten salt thorium reactor, United Nations, fourth-generation nuclear technology, 24/7 solar power.