The illustration shows the relative size of the earth's remaining energy reserves of gas, oil, coal and uranium. Today's industrialized society depends predominantly upon oil, which is among the smallest of the available resources.
With the present type of nuclear power plants, uranium affords the least energy resource. But if we had invested more in the so-called "fast breeder reactors", uranium would have comprised humanity's greatest energy source.
However, the development of such reactors has almost been completely put on hold. The main reasons are that the process proved more difficult than first believed, and the risk for uncontrolled nuclear weapon proliferation was judged to be too great. My view on this matter is that countries which want to acquire nuclear weapons would do it most easily by means of small research reactors. Many believe for example, that Israel took this route, and today they are estimated to possess 50-200 nuclear weapons.
|Currently, the risk is even greater that functional warheads remaining in some of the former Soviet Union's more unstable buffer states would be put to use.|