EUROPE TAKES MORE STEPS TO ENERGY INDEPENDENCEFebruary 10, 2011
Europe is getting serious - or is it? - about moves away from energy dependence on Middle Eastern and Russian petroleum and natural gas for its energy supplies:
Note the move toward an increased role for nuclear energy, being championed by France, Europe's largest nuclear power (by far), most of whose electricity is produced by nuclear power. What intrigued me about this article however, was both the odd vision amd lack of vision that the European leadership seems to have. On the one hand, the move to proven nuclear technologies and energy independence seems prudent, given the current Middle Eastern instabilities.
But if one reads the article, and then the comments beneath it, one sees the concern: nuclear fission technologies produce radioactive waste that only builds and must be disposed of. And nuclear fission reactors can have problems: think "Three Mile Island" and "Chernobyl" here. Reactors would be perfect targets for terrorism attacks and a major incident could leave a whole region, even country, uninhabitable for decades (again, think Chernobyl here).
There are technologies and concepts that need to be pursued, and pursued with a vengeance, and one of them is controlled fusion, the equivalent, in popular terms, of harnessing and controlling the energy processes of a miniature star, a kind of "chained up hydrogen bomb." Here the field is rife with stories of apparent breakthroughs and suppression. One need only think of Philo Farnsworth and his Fusor and Plamator patents, or even of Dr. Ronald Richter's project in Argentina. One could think of the ill-undertood and - by the scientific "orthodoxy's" priesthood - mocked processes of sonoluminescence and cold fusion.
Europe's solution is also worthy of comparison the the American one, if the American one can even be called a solution, or a vision, for thus far it seems the only vision coming out of the policy-making conference rooms of the American elite is yet another armed intervention somewhere to secure petroleum supplies.
We can meet the energy demands of the future, but it is going to require the vision, and the will, to do so. And it is also going to require a new attitude and outlook from the scientific priesthood to entertain all possibilities. While they're busily denouncing this or that claim that falls outside their theoretical boxes, I have yet to hear of anyone attempting to reconstruct Farnsworth's devices, for example, and pursuing that technology. And he did it in the 1960s!