• Question: How will your job give the environment long term benfits?

    Asked by ginaissocoollike to Jack, laurenceharwood on 22 Mar 2012. This question was also asked by ebaxter.
    • Photo: Jack Snape

      Jack Snape answered on 22 Mar 2012:

      My work contributes toward the international project of fusion energy. If fusion energy succeeds then there could be quite a few ways in which the environment is benefited and people’s lives might improve:

      1. By removing the dependence on fossil fuels we might stop climate change which could stop natural disasters like droughts.

      2. Eventually fusion energy could be cheaper, so we’d have more money to enjoy ourselves.

      3. We wouldn’t have to rely on other countries for energy sources, like Russia for gas or Africa for solar power.

      4. It would be easier to switch to electric or hydrogen cars so there would be less pollution in towns and cities.


    • Photo: Laurence Harwood

      Laurence Harwood answered on 23 Mar 2012:

      I’ve been asked this question so many times and it is quite right that I should be made to justify what I do.

      A lot of my work has been involved in discovering special molecules that selectively take out the radioactive elements from spent fuel removed from nuclear reactors. These elements are dangerously radioactive for millions of years and currently are just stored – and the quantity being stored is growing every year. This is the so-called “nuclear legacy”.

      However, when they have been separated out using our chemicals, they can be placed into a special nuclear reactor and converted to non-radioactive elements making nuclear power much much cleaner and providing us with a very low carbon footprint source of electricity. That way we can continue to live comprtably but begin to address how to reverse global warming because the first thing we must do is to cut down out carbon emissions from burning oil and gas.

      I hope this will bring long term benefits to the environment and to humanity. 🙂