Nuclear-powered Automobiles / by kevin murray

The United States receives some of its essential energy from nuclear power plants.  Nuclear energy also successfully powers some of our naval submarines, which it has done for a number of years, proving the point and the validity that a nuclear reactor can be scaled down to the size needed for transportation, even in the trying conditions of being both underwater in an incredibly stressful environment of vibration, pressurized conditions, and the pitching conditions of oceanic salt-water itself.   The brilliance, ambition, and success of building nuclear submarines should not be underestimated, with our first nuclear submarine being commissioned sixty years ago in 1954.


Therefore, not too surprisingly, well before nuclear power was vilified by the mainstream press, the automobile industry took a look at providing an automobile powered by nuclear, as opposed to our conventional fossil fuel of choice, oil.  The Ford Nucleon concept car of 1958 was the furthest that Ford Motor got to developing a nuclear car, but the effort was soon given up, mainly because it was thought that the nuclear power needed to power that car would both be too large and too powerful, but times have changed in the ensuing years.


Today, the American public seems enchanted by Tesla and its cars that run on electricity in which the power to run their cars are stored within batteries.  While electric cars are hardly a new novelty, it is gratifying to see that a certain portion of the American public is enamored by it.  Nuclear energy, on the other hand, especially given how little would be needed in order to successfully power up an automobile, is something that is far more intriguing to the transportation world, because it offers the opportunity to drive without re-fueling, without re-charging, whatsoever.


While most people associate uranium and plutonium with nuclear energy, there is another element, thorium which is far better suited as nuclear energy because it is: more abundant than uranium, far less viable for nuclear weapons (if at all), has significantly less nuclear waste, and demonstrates a much higher energy power than uranium as a source of energy.  This element, thorium, is the key for our transportation needs now and into the future. 


The engineering and logistics behind producing an automobile that runs on a scaled-down version of nuclear power would be challenging, but at the same time, achievable, with the additional positives of significantly less pollution, an end to our need or dependence upon oil, and the scales of geo-political power trending significantly to the country or countries that are able to scale up the fastest in bringing this product successfully to market. 


Our world today depends upon energy, without it, without access and the reliability of relatively inexpensive energy, nothing would remain the same, our world would soon become, within a matter of months, pure hell and chaos.  There are over 1 billion cars on our planet, none of those cars have any usefulness without fuel, wars are fought continually to gain access to fuel, nuclear fuel is the answer, it is the future, and it must be pursued with all deliberate speed.