[extropy-chat] Nuke 'em

Robert J. Bradbury bradbury at aeiveos.com
Sun Oct 23 16:52:38 UTC 2005

On Sun, 23 Oct 2005, Technotranscendence wrote:

> Which is not to say I'm against it.  Just allow a free
> market in energy production and if nuclear plants pop up all over...

This may be a classic example where the "free market" may not
be the right solution.  Ideally one would like to mine the
uranium, concentrate it into fuel, use it to generate electricity,
breed any future fuel sources and transmute any radioactive "waste"
materials into non-radioactive materials all at the same site.

I.e. one only has non-dangerous materials going in and non-dangerous
materials + energy coming out of such facilities.  Due to the different
specializations in free market societies however (the mining companies are
not the reactor builders are not the waste disposal companies) it is difficult
to envision this without strong government incentives (or regulations) to
promote the development of such energy production centers.

Also, it is worth noting as an aside, that once robust MNT becomes
available, the problems currently being dealt with in Iran at this
time (countries that want to enrich their own uranium) become much
more widespread.  One does not require large centralized facilities
with specialized centrifuges for uranium enrichment.  It would be
moderately easy for terrorist organizations to design, manufacture
and distribute small nanotech based enrichment facilities (think
along the lines of home shop tools).  The only way out of this that
I can see is massive education and economic "uplifting" efforts that
would go hand-in-hand with nanotechnology development that would make
terrorism as a whole a rather undesirable course to follow.  This
is where Greg's concerns about government "intrusiveness" into private
lives becomes a concern.  Detecting small home-based enrichment facilities
would probably be a non-trivial problem.  (It can be trivial if you allow
nanorobot detection systems to run around searching for them -- but then
you get into the intrusiveness problem.)


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