Klimaneutraler und sicherer Strom aus radio­aktiven Iso­topen?

Jetzt wissen wir, dass die künftige Bundeskanzlerin Annalena Charlotte Alma Baerbock heißen wird. Ziemlich wahrscheinlich zumindest.

Umso wichtiger, sich daran zu erinnern, dass es intelligentere Wege des Klimaschutzes gibt. Denn Technologie und Innovation sind die Lösung, nicht Verbote und Enthaltsamkeit. Schon gar nicht Deindustrialisierung hierzulande:

McKinsey zeigt, wie Technologie die Lösung ist

Glaubt nur keiner und die Politik will es nicht glauben, kann man doch mit Angst gut Wähler mobilisieren. Dabei gibt die neue US-Regierung viel mehr für neue Technologien aus und auch woanders wird auf Innovation gesetzt. So in Großbritannien:

  • “Imagine a nuclear battery in a little box that uses decaying isotopes to generate cheap and clean electricity around the clock for decades with no combustion, fission, or noise. It just sits silently and emits constant power.This far-fetched idea is becoming real. Vaulting advances in materials sciences are unlocking technologies that radically change the cost calculus of radioisotopes. Companies are springing to life with prototypes that could be on the market before the next general election.” – bto: Ich finde das absolut faszinierend. In Deutschland wird daran bestimmt nicht geforscht, denn hierzulande ist ja anscheinend alles, was mit Atom zu tun hat, verboten.
  • “(…) the UK is the world leader in the rarified field of isotope batteries. A British-Australian start-up with research operations in Cumbria has found a way to harness gamma rays from the radioactive decay of cobalt-60. Infinite Power thinks it can cut costs to levels that take your breath away.” – bto: Das wäre sehr erfreulich! Und vor allem kämen wir dann von dieser Verbotskultur weg.
  • “Infinite Power is working with the UK National Institute for Advanced Materials, a hub of leading universities known as the Royce Institute. These are part of a flourishing British ecosystem in radioisotope technology. In 2019 the National Nuclear Laboratory launched an Americium battery on behalf of Nasa that can generate power for hundreds of years in deep space, the first of its kind in the world.” – bto: Denn wir wissen, dass es mit Wind und Sonne nicht gehen wird.
  • “Scientists at the Culham Centre of Fusion Energy are working on tritium (hydrogen-3) and carbon-14 to make diamond batteries’ from spent nuclear fuel. They have linked up with the University of Bristol on a man-made diamond that harvests the energy from carbon-14 isotopes and promises to generate power on a ‘near infinite basis’.” – bto: Vor allem würde sich so eine Nutzung für Atomabfälle finden.
  • “The technology works in much the same way as a solar panel except that the energy does not come from the sun. It comes from the decaying isotope. The normal vibration process in solar cells instead converts beta, X-ray, and above all gamma waves from cobalt-60 into electricity. There is much more energy in a gamma ray,’ said Mr McLeod. Mr McLeod estimates the ‘levelised cost’ of electricity at $7-17 per megawatt hour, cheaper than thin-film solar ($36-44), gas combined cycle ($44-68), or nuclear ($118-192), once scale is achieved. The capital cost is under $300,000 per megawatt, a tiny fraction of the $6,500,000 average cost for the latest nuclear reactors.” – bto: Das nenne ich einen echten Durchbruch. Technologie und die Marktwirtschaft würden erneut beweisen, dass sie funktionieren.
  • “Cobalt-60 is relatively safe with a half-life of 5.2 years, though you would not want it in your kitchen. The small pencil-sized sticks are placed in tubes, protected by 11in (30 cm) steel in boxes. They are sealed in cement buildings when scaled up for serious power. They do not require the fortress architecture that make nuclear fission plants so expensive.” – bto: Also es gibt Strahlung, aber nicht so fatale, leichter zu sichern, kleinere Anlagen. Leuchtet ein.
  • “The UK government has jumped on Infinite Power’s cobalt-60 battery to help solve an immediate conundrum: how to switch from combustion engines to EVs without breaking the grid, already under transition stress as it goes from being a 20th Century fossil-based system to a 21st Century flexible system of distributed green power.” – bto: Immerhin sieht man es als ein Problem an. Bei uns wird einfach erzählt, dass wir weniger Auto fahren sollen.
  • “Britain has a strong incentive to make use of spent nuclear fuel. It is sitting on the world’s largest stockpile of radioactive residue at Sellafield, listed today on government books as a giant liability but with the potential to become an asset instead.” – bto: Das wäre auch für uns gut, aber das atomfreie Deutschland …
  • “Once the technology takes off, demand creates its own supply. It becomes commercially worthwhile to build small industrial reactors just to make the cobalt-60 round-the-clock. That at least is the idea.”
  • “Mr McLeod said the radioisotope technology has lain dormant because the world was not ready. He compared it to gasoline in the late 19th Century before the combustion engine. It was deemed useless by early oil drillers and tipped into rivers in Pennsylvania. A single twist in technology turned waste into liquid gold.” – bto: Wenn das alles stimmt, denke ich mit einem lauten Lachen an unsere “Endlager”-Diskussion.
  • “What is clear is that there are countless technologies emerging across the world that are changing the calculus on CO2 abatement faster than governments, economists, and commentators can keep up. Britain is the crucible where so many breakthroughs are happening, perhaps because the country never succumbed to the technology luddism of the precautionary principle, and perhaps because the grip of vested interests is relatively weak (the same thing).” – bto: nicht wie bei uns, wo aus einer ehemaligen Technologienation ein Land wurde, das auf Selbstmord aus Angst vor dem Tod setzt.

telegraph.co.uk (Anmeldung erforderlich): “The possibilities for the UK’s net-zero drive are tantalising”, 7. Februar 2021