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Convert Oil Wells to Solve the Solar Storage Problem

Similar mismatches in supply and demand contributed to massive cascading blackouts in August 2003 in the northeastern United States and Canada, in July 2012 in India, and in March 2019 in Venezuela. The situation is unlikely to get better anytime soon, for three reasons. First, as countries everywhere move to decarbonize, the electrification of transportation, heating, and other sectors will cause electricity demand to soar. Second, conventional coal and nuclear plants are being retired for economic and policy reasons, removing stable sources from the grid. And third, while wind and…

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The Nuclear Reactors of the Future Have a Russia Problem

Say you want to make nuclear fuel: Take some uranium, and with molecular wizardry, transform this heavy metallic element into a gas. Then put it in a centrifuge and whirl it around in a radioactive tornado, until the lightest particles cluster towards the center. Those are the molecules containing the uranium isotope 235. That’s the isotope for you, because it can produce energy when it’s split. Do this again and again in a series of centrifuges known as a cascade, siphoning off the U-235 each time, and pretty soon you’ll…

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