Here's a new development on the nuclear power front. The technology involves small ceramic balls infused with thorium that are case hardened and emit very little heat. Thorium is currently being touted by scientists as a much better alternative to uranium-based nuclear power, which has been the traditional metal used in the process. Thorium is safer, produces less waste, and is also more difficult to convert into nuclear weapons. As for the energy-harvesting process, thorium balls won't break, have half the half-life of uranium, less storage problems, and are also very clean. The balls are also compact and powerful.
After the nuclear disaster in Japan, thorium's gained more exposure as a cleaner, safer alternative to uranium. If this technology exists, do we have to wait for the planet to melt-down (pardon the way too realistic pun) before we go to it?
Photo credit to Paul J. Everett.