Paul Dreissen takes a look at a Third World desperate for electricity, and says it's time for the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR):
'The only good thing about the good old days is that they're gone."For our archive on the PBMR, click here.
My grandmother's wisdom came from experience. As a teenager in late 19th-century Wisconsin, she had cleared tons of rocks from fields and hauled countless buckets of water on the family farm. If she had to select just one modern technology, she said, she would choose running water. But electricity was a close second.
No wonder. Without electricity, modern life reverts to her childhood: no lights, refrigeration, heating, air-conditioning, radio, television, computers, safe running water, or mechanized equipment for homes, schools, shops, hospitals, offices and factories.
Incredibly, this is what life is still like every day for two billion people in developing countries. Viewed at night from outer space, Africa really is the Dark Continent: Only 10 percent of its 700 million people regularly have electricity. Much of poor and rural Asia and Latin America faces a similar predicament.
Abundant, reliable, affordable electricity is thus a critical priority for developing nations. Hydroelectric projects offer one solution, coal-fired power plants another. They aren't perfect ecologically, but neither are wind turbines, which require extensive acreage, kill birds, and provide inadequate amounts of intermittent, expensive electricity that cannot possibly sustain modern societies.
Now a revolutionary nuclear-energy technology is being designed and built in South Africa, with suppliers and partners in many nations, including the United States.
Technorati tags: Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Power, Technology, PBMR, Electricity