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Soc 300 Green Market

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Is a Green World A Safer World? Not Necessarily
Rhonda Watson
SOC 300
March 18, 2013
Prof. M. Mena

Is a Green World A Safer World? Not Necessarily

In this article the author discusses the possibility that a green world will be a better habitat for humanity. The author is doubtful and looks over the world to find out why. In a series of talking points the author examines a number of issues that will serve to disrupt those dwelling in an environmentally sound world. These include the possibility of green protectionism in the western world, the condition of oil producing countries and the water shortage that already exists and will increase in the future.
The US was blessed with some pretty massive oil fields, like the East Texas fields. The main problem was that once the domestic supply of oil began running down, and it became cheaper to import it than make the efforts to get more oil from remaining sources in the US, we decided to simply go with the flow and join Great Britain and others in the Oil Power Politics game rather than seriously shifting away from oil consumption. However, two real issues emerge. One is how to safely dispose of spent fuel, a dilemma still fervently debated by environmentalists. Another is how to safeguard the security of the fuel at every other stage of its life cycle, particularly in comparatively cash-strapped emerging countries, which are often in regions scarred by instability and home to terrorist organizations with their own nuclear ambitions.
The first is more fable than reality - the actual dangerous part of the waste is pretty small, stored easily on site, and can be recycled into almost pure useful fuel using breeder reactors. Same goes for the rest of the waste, which is much less dangerous and easily stored .
The second is an issue, but keep in mind that the uranium fuel used in power plants usually can't be used in bombs without significant enrichment (which is what the Iranians are doing). If need be, you could even run Thorium-reactors, which would eliminate the threat of weaponization.
I'm all for a mass nuclear expansion in the US (I'd like for it to be essentially the steady-state power source in the US, supplemented by regional power bonuses like solar in the Southwest and wind in the Central States), but there is one other issue. Nuclear plants take a lot of freshwater (which they recycle back into the source harmless but warmer), or at least most of the current plants do. If we go nuclear, we need to make sure that we use designs like the Pebble-Bed Design the French are moving towards (which uses gas as a coolant rather than water). We also need heavy standardization among plants. Both because of the new value it will have and the new conflicts it will generate.
We could always revive the scheme to tow icebergs northward. It so happens that about three quarters of the world's known lithium reserves are concentrated in the southern cone of Latin America-to be precise, in the Atacama Desert, which is shared by two countries: Chile and Bolivia. Most of it is in Bolivia's part of the desert. Incidentally this is why development of it is going tepidly at best. The potential investors know that Bolivians will just nationalize whatever they build in Bolivia, and the Bolivians have more or less said they will. On the brightside, perhaps it's better that Bolivia be the equivalent of a petrostate in the 21st century for the US than the Middle East states

Reference
Rothkopf, D. J. (2009). Is a Green World a Safer World? Not Necessarily? Foreign Policy, 37(1), 140.…...

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