Climate Change, Drought Relief, and a New Green Deal

As I've mentioned before, I'm more than just a transgender woman fighting for equality. I'm a chemist looking for new and innovative ways to improve the environment as well as the world.

Tomorrow is 3/14, also known as Pi Day, in honor of the irrational number that mathematically correlates the diameter to the circumference of a circle. This is essentially a made-up holiday for geeks and nerds alike, which has been used to promote education in STEM fields.

I'm a lifetime member of Alpha Chi Sigma, a chemistry co-ed fraternity founded in 1902 and boasts 21 Nobel Prizes among its ranks. Part of the mission of AXƩ is to strive for the advancement of chemistry both as a science and as profession.

To that end, I've been researching LFTR (Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors) as a way to not only get us off of foreign oil, but to combat global warming as well as deal with the nuclear waste of yesteryear's plutonium reactors. (Something that AXƩ and Two-time Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling warned us about.)

Put simply, the waste of yesteryear's nuclear reactors have to be buried for thousands of years because we enriched Uranium to the point of it being used as a nuclear weapon and created energy by putting it into pressurized water tank at 160 times our atmospheric pressure and at a temperature of 330°C. 

The meltdown at Fukushima highlights the issues that, even with multiple safety systems working simultaneously, the basic premise of how we harvest nuclear energy from the Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) invented back in 1946 is problematic.

So I'm putting together a plan and reaching out to other congressional incumbents as well as 2018 candidates to begin the process to retire the nuclear energy of yesteryear and to move forward to the next-gen, safer, thorium-based nuclear energy. This 'New Deal' would provide research money to universities as well as include an investment in solar, wind, and geothermal energy in order to end the destructive, poisonous energy-collecting process known as fracking once and for all. We'll fight unemployment by investing into renewable energy independence.

Liquid Fluorine Thorium Reactors (LFTR's) would use pressurized, liquefied salt... something that has ionic instead of covalent bonds. Simply put, it's less reactive and the massive amounts of heat that is generated could be used to desalinate our rising oceans and we could collect the salt safely while making pipelines for the water to go to our drought-stricken areas in the USA. 

(If you have five minutes, here's a quick explanation about LFTR's.)

Imagine, if you will, a future where we no longer have weekly oil spills from derailing oil cars on trains that haven't had safety overhauls since the 70's and no more oil pipelines bursting, ruining our lakes and aquifers. Our pipes would carry desalinated water across the nation to combat droughts that are only going to get worse with climate change.

Rather than bury nuclear waste for thousands of years, the spent fuel from LFTR would only have to be buried for two hundred years due to the lower levels of radioactivity.

Reducing the amount of nuclear waste we have to bury will be a deterrent to domestic terrorism, while kicking the addiction to foreign oil will weaken terrorists abroad who are funded by the sale of oil. 

If there's anything I'm good at, it's finding unique 'outside the box' solutions to problems that are interwoven into all aspects of our lives. I look forward to proving that in the coming months as the primary day approaches.

Comparison of waste from current nuclear energy reactors and the next-gen, safer Thorium reactors using liquid fluorine instead of water.

Comparison of waste from current nuclear energy reactors and the next-gen, safer Thorium reactors using liquid fluorine instead of water.