Nuclear power

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Nuclear know-how without nuclear infrastructure doesn't get you very much. A racecar driver without a car can't drive. A pilot without a plan can't fly. ~ Benjamin Netanyahu

Nuclear power, or nuclear energy, is the use of exothermic nuclear processes to generate useful heat and electricity. The term includes nuclear fission, nuclear decay and nuclear fusion. Nuclear power stations provided about 5.7% of the world's energy and 13% of the world's electricity in 2012. There is an ongoing debate about nuclear power, with proponents contending that nuclear power is a safe, sustainable energy source that reduces carbon emissions, and opponents contending that nuclear power poses threats to people and the environment.

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  • The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
    • Albert Einstein, Statement on the Atomic Bomb to Raymond Swing, before 1 October 1945, as reported in Atlantic Monthly, vol. 176, no. 5 (November 1945), in Einstein on Politics, p. 373


  • Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
    None but ourselves can free our minds.
    Have no fear for atomic energy,
    cause none of them can stop the time.
  • I happen to be one who believes that we will not get very far in working out a peace program, or in lowering the suspicious fingers which are now being pointed toward America by other nations of the world, until we recognize that, after all, the secret of atomic energy does not belong to America, but that, instead, it belongs to all mankind.
    • Wayne Morse, remarks in the Senate (October 22, 1945), Congressional Record, vol. 91, p. 9893.


  • We are not bent on conquest or on threatening others. But we do have a nuclear umbrella that can protect others, above all the states to which we are allied or in which we have a great national interest.
    • Richard Nixon, on-the-record interview with C. L. Sulzberger (March 8, 1971); reported in The New York Times (March 10, 1971), p. 14.
  • Klaatu: So long as you were limited to fighting among yourselves -- with your primitive tanks and planes -- we were unconcerned. But soon you will apply atomic energy to space ships -- and then you become a threat to the peace and security of other planets. That, of course, we cannot tolerate.


  • A paper reactor [new reactor concept] has the following characteristics: it is simple; it is small; it is cheap; it is lightweight; it can be built very quickly; very little development is required and it will use off the shelf components; it is in the study phase and not being built now. By contrast a real reactor has the following characteristics: it is complicated; it is large; it is heavy; it is being built now; it is behind schedule; it requires an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items; it takes a long time to build because of its engineering development problems.
    • Hyman G. Rickover in pp. 158-159 The Rickover Effect (1992) by Theodore Rockwell, Naval Institute Press.


  • Our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter.
    • Lewis L. Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, speech at the 20th anniversary of the National Association of Science Writers, New York City (September 16, 1954); reported in The New York Times (September 17, 1954), p. 5.


  • Fission is a process of deadly fascination; had nature chosen her constants just a little differently, we should have been deprived of its potential for social good and spared its power for social evil. Despite the former and despite the undeniable fact that the latter is responsible for nuclear and particle physics being decades in advance of what would otherwise have been their time, I know what my own choice for the constants would have been.

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