Archives for March, 2011

The historic March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which cost untold number of lives and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless and mourning, was an object lesson on the unpredictable and often violent planet that we are fortunate enough to inhabit. The news media, however, quickly shifted their focus to coverage of the…

As heroic workers and soldiers strive to save stricken Japan from a new horror—radioactive fallout—some truths known for 40 years bear repeating. An earthquake-and-tsunami zone crowded with 127 million people is an unwise place for 54 reactors. The 1960s design of five Fukushima-I reactors has the smallest safety margin and probably can’t contain 90 percent…

Comments Off on The Human CO2 Legacy Keeps Going and Going and Going

Eat you heart out, King Ozymandias. Our CO2 monument will last longer than yours. Oh the folly of humankind, the hubris. How many of our forebears have striven for immortality only to have their works crumble like so many grains of sand. It’s a sad story that’s oft been told, perhaps no better than by…

It may come as a surprise to know that half of the global population uses biomass (wood, agricultural wastes and dung) and coal for cooking. For Sub-Saharan Africa where electrification rates outside of South Africa are only 28 percent, biomass and coal are the primary cooking fuels for over three fourths of the population. Combustion of…

It’s natural that the nuclear crisis in Japan is causing people to rethink nuclear power. Frankly, it would be crazy if it didn’t. But the problem with energy choices in general is that it’s actually pretty hard to  change your mind once you’ve chosen a direction.  Nuclear power proves the point. For most of the…

The Scotland government has just started the prize period for a renewable energy competition, the Saltire Prize, which will reward a team of innovators with more than $16 million if they can demonstrate a commercially viable wave or tidal stream energy technology that can provide 100 GWh of energy over a continuous two-year period, just…

A group blog by Yale students. The topic: Many of the world’s nuclear power plants are reaching the end of their expected lifetimes, and policymakers are divided on what to do. Safely decommissioning such plants is costly, and funding for doing so is scarce. Compounding the problem, there are worries about nuclear proliferation, particularly regarding…

While there may be good reasons for nuclear power to be used as a bridge fuel to a renewable energy future, I am confident that nuclear power is politically dead in the United States. This makes the research and development of alternative energy and carbon capture and storage that much more important and urgent. It…

It’s an unfortunate fact that stress has a way of making people crazy. At the moment, rising oil prices are creating a lot of stress. One of the problems with our deep dependence on oil is that oil prices can (and do) swing wildly in relatively short periods of time. Between January 2007 and July…

Comments Off on Expert Coverage of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant: Links

A nuclear power station is built around a tiny little reaction reaction that happens as atoms are split apart. This tiny process is contained in several protective layers that are built to protect the outside environment from radiation emitted from the process and the breakdown. When the earthquake hit Japan last week, these protective measures…