Potential contamination carried by space vehicles is a major concern to the public and private space industry. Satellites and space craft components are manufactured in clear rooms to prevent the possibility of biological contamination of astronomical bodies. However, recently a new type of contamination was discovered.
One of the things that supporters of nuclear power always bring up is the fact that nuclear power plants are base-load power. This means that the plants are always running and producing power as opposed to solar and wind installation which are intermittent. Having base-load power sources on the electrical grid to continually supply a minimum amount of electricity is very important.
Nuclear power plants are designed to prevent the escape of radioactive materials. As nuclear power plants age, the danger of release of radioactive materials increases. All nuclear power plants contain a vast network of pipe to carry coolant through the different components of the system. As these pipes age, the danger of corrosion and cracks allowing radioactive materials to leak increases.
I have blogged about the San Onofre Generating Station near San Diego before. This plant is owned and was operated by the Southern California Edison (SCE) utility. The plant was shut down in 2013 after replacement steam generators failed. SCE redesigned the replacement generators but were told by the manufacturer that the new designs might not work correctly.
There has been a lot of discussion in the media lately with respect to whether we should create a colony on the Moon first or send missions to explore and colonize Mars first. We have billionaires such as Elon Musk who are dedicated to getting human beings to Mars. National space programs have sent a lot of robot probes to Mars with a U.S. probe landing just a few days ago.