Even if we assume the use of fast breeder reactor cycles to convert fertile material such as thorium
into plutonium, then on the assumption that we scrapped all of our fossil power plants and replaced
them with fission reactors, we would run out of fissile material in ~650 years.
That assumption is only true if you make the assumption that humanity will be forever stuck on the planet Earth.
In fact, if there was widespread use of fission as a power source, NERVA style atomic pile rockets could provide an interplanetary infrastructure with travel times in weeks rather than months and years.
Atomic rocket infrastructure would open up the entire nickel/iron asteroid belt, plus the heavy metals of Mercury and Venus for exploitation.
Although the two planets listed would each only add another ~200-350 years of fissile materials each, that is still under the assumption of recovering surface (ie, crustal) deposits of fissiles -- the bulk of Earth's (and Venus/Mercury) fissiles rest deep in her core.
Mining the asteroids gives us all the bounty of planetary core levels of available fissiles with the ease of crustal extraction (actually, it's even easier, but that's a different discussion).
In effect, just the readily available fissionable materials in the solar system give us a good several millenia of power use.
Never mind the fact that there are 3 billion tons of recoverable Helium-3 on the lunar surface (with which we would be able to have nuclear FUSION with _today's_ technology), and we should be able to produce workable commercial deuterium fusion within a few millenia.
Saying we shouldn't use fissiles because they'll give out in 650 years is like saying that we shouldn't use fossil fuels because they'll give out in 200 years. The fact of the matter is that, unless we are using a nuclear process, the energy density of petrochemicals cannot be matched for their extraction price -- in other words, you get a lot of bang for your buck. Likewise with fissionable materials.
After addressing this issue as a side-discussion, I'm almost fired up enough to research and build an article submittal on it for k5! :P :)
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker
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