Australian news, and some related international items

Another sign of madness? – thermonuclear propulsion technology to power a rocket to Mars. 

Signs of madness? — Beyond Nuclear International

Decisions on nuclear future are guided by myths

By Linda Pentz Gunter 12 Feb 23

“………………………………………………………….  a sign of some kind of madness?

A few weeks later, that same presentiment [about the UK government] was re-evoked on reading a headline in the print edition of the Washington Post: US works on nuclear-powered rocket.

This is not an entirely new story, but an update on the plan to use thermonuclear propulsion technology to power a rocket to Mars. 

There are so many things wrong with this. The premise is that not using a nuclear reactor to power the rocket will mean it will just be too tediously slow for human passengers to endure — a journey of seven months. With the reactor on board speeding the rocket on its way, the journey to Mars could be cut to what? A mere three and a half months. Not tedious at all!

Never mind that rockets have a nasty habit of sometimes exploding on the launch pad. And never mind that do we REALLY need to spend billions of dollars right now trying to get maybe three astronauts to Mars when we have a planet called Earth that desperately needs every dime and dollar available to save it?

The announcement was replete with the usual illogicalities. Sending astronauts on that seven-month journey to Mars in a traditional rocket was “dangerous” as “the radiation levels on a Mars mission could expose astronauts to radiation levels more than 100 times greater than on Earth.” Much better to send them there on a rocket powered by a nuclear reactor!

There is another agenda afoot here, of course, and it’s a military one and the sinister battle for who controls space. 

If you thought shooting down the Chinese spy balloon was exciting, that was child’s play compared to what is planned for NASA’s nuclear reactors in space. 

This includes being able to power satellites to become more agile in maneuvering away from “enemy” satellites. Using nuclear propulsion will achieve that, but what other consequences might result from a host of nuclear powered satellites buzzing around in space? It’s no surprise that the Space Force, created for war-fighting in space, is involved in all this.

And of course, apparently taking its cue from the mess we have already created on Earth, NASA wants to place nuclear reactors on the Moon as a power source. But for who or what exactly? Will we plant the US flag there while we are at it and claim a new military and strategic frontier? The signs are ominous. 

And what about all the radioactive waste? Will we be boring deep holes in the Moon to bury it, or will we simply jettison it further into deep space? It’s bad enough that the oceans are already our dustbin. Now Space is to be our new nuclear waste frontier.

While all this was going on, evidence from yet more research poured in about how completely unnecessary it is to use nuclear power for anything, now or in the future. 

Looking at every kind of power demand including energy consumption, electric vehicles, and commercial transport, then applying solar, wind, nuclear, heat pumps, storage and other technology, nuclear power was repeatedly eliminated from the mix for increasing costs without increasing reliability.

And yet, governments here and in far too many other parts of the world press on inexorably with plans to continue the use of nuclear power or develop new nuclear programs. 

Despite all the evidence that this is —  to understate it  — a Very Bad Idea.

Linda Pentz Gunter is the international specialist at Beyond Nuclear and writes for and curates Beyond Nuclear International.


February 12, 2023 - Posted by | Uncategorized

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: