52 years ago in August 1958 the United States was so confident in our ability to provide clean nuclear energy that we put one hundred and sixteen men in a tin can called the USS Nautilus and sent them along with a nuclear reactor under the North Pole. Many of the crew from that voyage remain alive and well today.
What puzzles me is why the USA isn’t the undisputed world leader in nuclear power. Perhaps the title of undisputed leader in nuclear weaponry and leader in nuclear power are mutually exclusive. So it’s France who produce most of their power from nuclear reactors.
Google getting into the business of Nuclear power is the most exciting development in nuclear power in this country since the Nautilus. Google’s data centers are massive power consumers, but what also consumes a lot of resources is power transmission. It consumes land, steel, and a lot of power is lost during transmission.
If you can put a nuclear reactor on a 320ft submarine 60 years ago, you can build a clean nuclear reactor in 2010 with enough power to supply a local data center and the local town it provides employment for. My hope is that this is Google’s nuclear vision.