Nuclear waste

Nuclear waste: Working for us, not against us

Photography: Getty Images

Do we seriously want to bury the stuff for the next 100,000 years? Turning it into electricity is a much brighter idea

The Red Bulletin presents Game Changers. The people, things and ideas that will change  our lives in 2016.

Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson built a small-scale nuclear fusion reactor

© Wikimedia Commons

There’s one thing we know for sure: Doc Brown was wrong – you can’t travel through time with radioactive plutonium. Which is a shame. But we can still use deadly radioactive material to save the world, as three young geniuses have proved.

Taylor Wilson, now 21, built a small-scale nuclear fusion reactor in his parents’ garage when he was 14. He has since been tinkering with plans for nuclear fission power stations, which would solve the problem of radioactive waste rather than contributing to it.

© TED // YouTube

Two MIT graduates, Leslie Dewan, 31, and Mark Massie, 29, are forging similar plans. They too have designed a next-generation nuclear reactor – on paper, at least.

All three want to solve one of humanity’s most pressing problems. Their molten salt reactors could use the highly radioactive waste from regular nuclear power stations as a source of energy to produce electricity with an efficiency level of 98 per cent.

And if that doesn’t work, we’ll be dusting off Doc Brown’s time machine again.

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01 2016 The Red Bulletin 

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