Nuclear energy was supposed to be the energy of the future. But then came the upkeep.
Once upon a time, the Atomic Age was right around the corner. The promise of nuclear power would lead it to take over the world and power all our incredible tomorrows.
And then, life happened. In the video above,TED Ed gives a nice rundown of some of the technical issues keeping nuclear power at bay across the globe.
Safety, of course, is the big one. The challenges facing nuclear energy are inherent within the system. The control rods need to be cooled down to generate the steam which powers the generators. When things go wrong, they go very wrong. Accidents at sites like Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima draw massive headlines and bad publicity.
That hasn’t stopped some from using nuclear, though. While it doesn’t dominate the world like people once predicted, nuclear energy still powers slightly over 10 percent of the planet, which is saying something. Thirteen countries rely on nuclear for at least a third of their energy supply although this is generally seen to be a downward trend. Nuclear leader France, for example, just elected Emmanuel Macron to be prime minister partially on a campaign promise of reducing the country’s 72 percent reliance on nuclear to 50 percent. The upkeep is just too great.
Macron, like many around the world, is hoping to transition to renewable energy, which recently became the cheapest form of energy on the globe. One of the big advantages of renewables? Minimal upkeep, and never having to worry about rods again.
This article was originally written for and published by Popular Mechanics USA.