Date of Award



Edward Van Buren


In producing my senior thesis I wanted to solve the problem of green house gas emissions. My research focused on finding and examining a sustainable energy source that made sense in present day terms, an energy source that would not be extremely disruptive but would hopefully be part of the solution for the United States in reducing its carbon footprint.

I’m sure many of you know about the different forms of sustainable energy that exist today. Wind power, hydro electric power, tidal power, geothermal power, solar power, and biomass/waste power. For some reason nuclear power is often overlooked when discussing the future of U.S. sustainable energy production. Nuclear power seems to fall into an in-­‐ between state, it’s not a fossil fuel, it’s not a green source of power… but it could be. I am arguing that increased spending on nuclear infrastructure is the answer… at least for the time being. The sustainable energy sources mentioned above (the solar, wind, water, biomass, etc.) are much cleaner and have even lower overall carbon footprints, but it is my belief that increased nuclear productivity will act as a transitional form of safe, stable, low cost electricity.

If the United States wants to realistically change the way in which energy is produced increased nuclear production will in essence pick up the slack left behind while fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas are progressively phased out. Increased nuclear productivity will help take the economic strain off of consumers while they transition from the status quo to newer green technologies. During which time, these new sustainable forms of energy production will be allotted more time for development and to prove their overall worth and longevity.