National Geographic : 1975 Dec
The nuclear plant. Dark and fore boding threat? Or great future power source. There are reasons to support both views. Today, nuclear fission provides about 2% of our energy. By 1985 it may provide 12%.Americanow has 55 operational nuclear plants. By 1985 the number could double. But, can we accept the risks? Nuclear wastes may remain radio active for thousands of years. Where can we store them that long? We can't allow the heat of fission to foul lakes and streams. The risk of human error is un deniable. So is risk of nuclear "spill" or even sabotage. Yet we need energy. Our oil and gas must be conserved. New sources developed. Where can we turn for tomorrow's power? To coal conversion? Oil shale extraction? The wind? The sun? The tides? The earth's in ternal heat? The atom? The an swer is "all of these things and more." No one source will meet our total energy needs. The ques tion is what part will each play? Most energy planners look to nu clear energy to meet a portion of tomorrow's power requirements. A pound of uranium reactor fuel can yield the energy equivalent of 25 tons of coal, 107 barrels of oil. But can we hold nuclear risks to levels most would judge accept able? Levels that would permit us to complete those generating sta tions already planned-and those that could be added? The more we delay this answer, the greater chance we may fall short of adequate future power. Concerned citizens, government and industry must move toward agreement faster. Caterpillar's involvement is ma chinery used in energy produc tion, site preparation and land reclamation. We are concerned over the lack of definitive national energy policy. There are no simple solutions. Only intelligent choices. Caterpillar,Catand U areTrademarksof CaterpillarTractorCo.