Wired: "Nuclear ‘Power Balls’ May Make Meltdowns a Thing of the Past"

Triso— short for “tristructural isotropic”—fuel is made from a mixture of low enriched uranium and oxygen, and it is surrounded by three alternating layers of graphite and a ceramic called silicon carbide. Each particle is smaller than a poppy seed, but its layered shell can protect the uranium inside from melting under even the most extreme conditions that could occur in a reactor.

[..] Most nuclear reactors today operate well below 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and even the next generation high-temperature reactors will top out at about 2,000 degrees. But during the INL tests, Demkowicz demonstrated that triso could withstand reactor temperatures over 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Out of 300,000 particles, not a single triso coating failed during the two-week long test.

Between triso, Thorium and Bill Gates' vaunted "Terrapower" — where you recondition spent rods into a big heap that you essentially light on fire, lock up and walk away from for a steady production over several decades — nuclear technology seems to exist that is able to manage the enormous downsides associated with its operating thesis.

No one is taking the inadequate first few generations of solar panels as indicators of what current photovoltaic technology is capable of; it's downright reckless to do so with all nuclear technology, considering the changes we're all going to have to make in the next few years.

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