You see, Joy Numm led the campaign promoting nuclear fusion – the joining, or fusing of atoms - to generate electricity. In the lab, scientists had recently succeeded in creating more energy through fusion than it took to run the test. This was a huge breakthrough prompting Joy’s superior attitude.
Ima Splitter, on the other hand, advocated using fission – the splitting apart of atoms – to produce electricity. This technology has been successfully generating electricity for decades, notwithstanding issues concerning cost and the problem of radioactive waste.
The two were eyeing each other across the room when Great Grandmother Atoms clinked her spoon on her sherry glass (atoms use spoons??) drawing everyone’s attention. “Welcome All! As I’m sure you’ve heard, we lowly Atoms have recently gained some prominence in the human media.” She smiled and nodded slightly toward Joy. Ima’s electrons fumed!
“Humans are awakening to the reality that the fossil fuels they have relied on for decades need to be significantly curtailed in order to avoid severe environmental and health consequences,” Great Gram continued. “We applaud their work to increase efficiencies and expand the use of wind, solar, geothermal and other clean energy sources. Nevertheless, most experts agree that 10 - 20% of their energy will inevitably have to come from some baseload source. If it’s not to be coal or natural gas, then battery storage and nuclear are the most likely candidates.” The room erupted in applause while Joy and Ima maneuvered themselves to a quiet corner to have the showdown they both were relishing.
“You’re the reason for the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. No wonder folks are looking to me for a safer clean power source,” Joy spat. “Oh sure,” Ima shot back, “I suppose you’re going to waltz in and save the day. Haven’t you heard the old joke that economical fusion power is only ten years away? That joke’s been around for decades!”
“Girls, girls!” Great Gram interrupted. “We can have this conversation without all the drama. Let’s continue this next time because these are critical issues here on the only home we’ll ever know. After all, it’s where we’re all forever…Earthbound.”