There is one source of carbon-emission-free energy that is cheap, reliable, and proven to work on a large scale: nuclear power (see “Nuclear Options”). It often gets a bad rap because of perceived safety problems. In reality, it has become a sort of litmus test for societal rationality. People have a hard time estimating some kinds of risks. For example, they fret about the safety of flying but show little concern for driving, despite statistics showing that cars kill vastly more people than planes do.
A close look at Fukushima is instructive. The tsunami killed about 16,000 people; radiation from the reactor has killed none. In fact, the nuclear accident was entirely preventable. T
Nathan Myhrvold is a cofounder of Intellectual Ventures, whose subsidiary TerraPower is designing a novel nuclear reactor.
Nathan was also the CTO at Microsoft. He is a very smart guy. I am sharing this because the parallels between people’s reactions to drones and nuclear power are in many ways similar.