Nuclear Power

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  • NASA is considering a nuclear fission based power source for a lunar base.[1] This makes sense. There are few things that can be done to hurry the development of a profitable industrial infrastructure on Luna. This is one of them. It would still be quite a few years before we reach the point that further investments could be considered profit motivated, but this could supply power until a circumpolar electrical distribution system is established. By that time people may have learned enough about lunar development to put definite numbers on the time and money required to get a first financial return.
  • An advantage of an enriched uranium power plant over a plutonium radioisotope thermal generator besides being able to produce more and better regulated power is that the initial supply of uranium fuel is neither very radioactive nor very poisonous. The anti nuclear crowd can be told that uranium is spread all over the Earth anyway, and if they do not like it they should be happy to see some of it leaving Earth. The fuel elements do not become seriously radioactive until the core of the power plant is started up. Eventually the used fuel could be disposed of by just letting it sit in the no longer operating power plant. If it is desired to refuel the plant, burial of nuclear waste on Luna should not be a problem. Just set them down, cover them with a slab of cast glass and mark the spot for avoidance. There is no problem of ground water contamination nor any wind born fallout on Luna.
  • Reference