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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 302;

Silver Buckshot or Bullet: Is a Future “Energy Mix” Necessary?

Faculty of Science, Engineering & Technology, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 55, Hobart 7001, Australia
Science Council for Global Initiatives, North Fort Myers, FL 33903, USA
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA
School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide 5005, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 November 2017 / Revised: 17 January 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2018 / Published: 24 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nuclear Waste Management and Sustainability of Nuclear Systems)
Full-Text   |   PDF [266 KB, uploaded 24 January 2018]


To displace fossil fuels and achieve the global greenhouse-gas emissions reductions required to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change, the prevalent argument is that a mix of different low-carbon energy sources will need to be deployed. Here we seek to challenge that viewpoint. We argue that a completely decarbonized, energy-rich and sustainable future could be achieved with a dominant deployment of next-generation nuclear fission and associated technologies for synthesizing liquid fuels and recycling waste. By contrast, non-dispatchable energy sources like wind and solar energy are arguably superfluous, other than for niche applications, and run the risk of diverting resources away from viable and holistic solutions. For instance, the pairing of variable renewables with natural-gas backup fails to address many of the entrenched problems we seek to solve. Our conclusion is that, given the urgent time frame and massive extent of the energy-replacement challenge, half-measures that distract from or stymie effective policy and infrastructure investment should be avoided. View Full-Text
Keywords: nuclear fission; natural gas; renewable energy; climate change; energy mix nuclear fission; natural gas; renewable energy; climate change; energy mix
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Brook, B.W.; Blees, T.; Wigley, T.M.L.; Hong, S. Silver Buckshot or Bullet: Is a Future “Energy Mix” Necessary? Sustainability 2018, 10, 302.

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