3 teenage thinkers with big ideas for energy
The future of Mother Earth is now in the hands of our teenagers.
Originally posted on TED Blog:
Taylor Wilson has been called “The Boy Who Played With Fusion” by Popular Science magazine. At age 9, Wilson stunned tour guides at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, with his complex understanding of rocket science. At 12, he set out to make a “star in a jar.” By 14, Wilson had become the youngest person to achieve nuclear fusion with a working reactor. Built in his parents’ garage, the deuterium-hurling device is now housed in the physics department of the University of Nevado, Reno.
At TED2013, Wilson made his second appearance on the TED stage, above. Now 19, he arrived with a bold new idea — a way to make nuclear energy safe and portable, on a scale where it has the potential to address the global energy crisis. In today’s talk, Wilson shares his latest innovation — Small Modular Fission Reactors. These reactors are small, meaning that they can be built in factories and shipped around the globe. They run on already-molten material, so meltdowns won’t be an issue. They’re installed three meters underground, making them hard to tamper with, and yet, in the event of a disaster, the core can be drained to a tank underneath, stopping the reaction. And while traditional nuclear power plants run for 18 months before needing refueling, the small-scale versions could run for up to 30 years, after which they could be sealed for discarding.