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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The race to return to the moon is on. Earlier this month NASA unveiled its mission statement to revisit earth's satellite and create a permanent base there. While it may become the jumping off point for further exploration of our solar system and beyond, there are more earthly prizes in sight, with some scientists believing that it has the potential to solve the world's dependence on fossil fuels. (Full story)
Should nuclear power be a primary power source in the future?
The logistics of mining, processing, and purifying He-3 (1 part in 100 million) recovered from the lunar regolith, not to mention providing the energy to support the operation while maintaining a human settlement, would be extraordinary, if not impossible. It would probably be rather difficult on Earth, where water, air, and energy are often available. Of course, the proposal doesn't consider the fact that the D-He3 fusion cycle would require much higher fusion plasma temperatures, and would produce lower fusion power densities than the D-T cycle. Note that the D-T fusion cycle is still not quite perfected.
No, I think it is too dangerous and environmentally unfriendly.
Perhaps in the far future nuclear power may be a good alternative. Right now and in the short term (100 years) this is just not the best economical or safest way. With a permanent base on the moon, the cost of building, maintenance, repair and travel would make mining costs for HE-3 too economically inefficient.
Nuclear power, while producing no air pollution, still produces large amount of radioactive waste, which as we know, lasts for thousands of years. More importantly, though, is that nuclear power still requires uranium which means it is not a never ending source of fuel, implying that we will one day have to ask the next question on what will replace it. Why not skip that step and invest in a real source of never ending power, and that is solar, tidal and wind. Or perhaps hydrogen, which is the most abundant chemical in the universe.
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