How do you turn a nuclear warhead into a source of power that lights your living room? The answer came from Dr. Thomas L. Neff who conceived of, and carried out, the atomic recycling program called Megatons to Megawatts. You can read more about Dr. Neff in this The New York Times article. It’s quite poetic if you ask me, cold war era weapons meant to destroy our American cities if need be, in the end powering them.
I love hearing stories of triumph and ingenuity, embracing adversity and making the best of it. The “sword” of nuclear warheads being repurposed into “plowshares” we could harvest light heat and cooling from in our homes, should inspire all of us. While we don’t often encounter “swords” like this in our daily energy life, we do have the opportunity to make a change. Reduce. From the same NYT article Dr. Neff was quoted, “The lesson of the story, he remarked in an interview, is that ‘private citizens can actually do something’”. You can too, right at home.
Reducing the need for any energy source by creating a home that is energy efficient does a few things. It creates more affordable energy bills, makes you more comfortable and it allows our limited resources to last that much longer. The Megatons to Megawatts program expired in 2013, although there are other programs on a smaller scale in the works. We can run out of warheads, oil, gas, coal, or any other non-renewable resource. Do something at home, we can help.