1056 K
9 pp.
 
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TitleThe Future of Atomic Energy
Author(s)Fermi, E.
Publication DateMay 27, 1946
Report NumberMDDC--1
Unique IdentifierACC0043
Other NumbersLegacy ID: A80036151; OSTI ID: 14576
Research OrgUS Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring OrgUS Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
SubjectNuclear Power Reactors and Associated Plants; Nuclear Fuels; 29 Energy Planning, Policy and Economy; Nuclear Energy; Nuclear Power Plants; Energy Source Development; Ship Propulsion Reactors; Radioactive Waste Management
KeywordsPower Reactors; Forecasting; Nuclear Power; Technology Assessment; Safeguards
Related Web PagesEnrico Fermi and the First Self-Sustaining Nuclear Chain Reaction
AbstractThere is definitely a technical possibility that atomic power may gradually develop into one of the principal sources of useful power. If this expectation will prove correct, great advantages can be expected to come from the fact that the weight of the fuel is almost negligible. This feature may be particularly valuable for making power available to regions of difficult access and far from deposits of coal. It also may prove a great asset in mobile power units for example in a power plant for ship propulsion. On the negative side there are some technical limitations to be applicability of atomic power of which perhaps the most serious is the impossibility of constructing light power units; also there will be some peculiar difficulties in operating atomic plants, as for example the necessity of handling highly radioactive substances which will necessitate, at least for some considerable period, the use of specially skilled personnel for the operation. But the chief obstacle in the way of developing atomic power will be the difficulty of organizing a large scale industrial development in an internationally safe way. This presents actually problems much more difficult to solve than any of the technical developments that are necessary, It will require an unusual amount of statesmanship to balance properly the necessity of allaying the international suspicion that arises from withholding technical secrets against the obvious danger of dumping the details of the procedures for an extremely dangerous new method of warfare on a world that may not yet be prepared to renounce war. Furthermore, the proper balance should be found in the relatively short time that will elapse before the 'secrets' will naturally become open knowledge by rediscovery on part of the scientists and engineers of other countries.
1056 K
9 pp.
 
View Document 
  


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