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half the world aims for cleaner technology

“The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate between Australia, the United States, Japan, India, South Korea and China was unveiled in July aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions by developing energy technology.”

“ According to figures released by the partnership, the six founding partners of the new pact account for 45 percent of the world's population, 48 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and 48 percent of the world's energy consumption.”

“Asia-Pacific partnership pact members say cleaner technology is a better way to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that many scientists blame for rising global temperatures.”

Note that, just as with Iraq and the Asian tsunami, a coalition of advancing nations is steadily coming together to confront major world problems. Meanwhile, the corrupt UN is being increasingly sidelined.

The coalition of the willing gets together and acts effectively, while the UN panders to unaccountable dictators and indulges in empty gestures and speeches.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#asia_pacific_151205


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germany and australia rethinking their anti-nuclear power stance

“Nuclear power should play a role in electricity production in Germany in the future, Economy Minister Michael Glos said in a newspaper interview on Sunday, calling for a rethink of plans to close the country's reactors.”

“ "It doesn't make any sense for us to buy electricity produced by nuclear power from our neighbours but to totally turn our backs on it ourselves." ”[Quoted from planetark.org]

marker at abelard.org

“Senior members of Australia's government are pushing for a debate on a home-grown nuclear power industry in a country that digs up and exports a sizeable chunk of the world's uranium but has long shunned nuclear energy.

A push to replace ageing coal-fired power plants with nuclear facilities to secure long-term electricity supply and meet ambitious carbon emissions targets has gathered momentum with two ministers putting forward a formal proposal for a study into the sector.” [Quoted from planetark.org]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#australia_131205

yet another disaster in the non nuclear fossil fuel sector

“Nov. 27, 2005: Coal dust catches fire at the Dongfeng Coal Mine in Qitaihe, a city in Heilongjiang province, killing at least 134 miners.

and more of just the bigger coal m:ines in one country:

“-Feb. 15, 2005: An explosion in Sunjiawan coal mine in Liaoning province kills 214 miners.

“-Nov. 28, 2004: An explosion in the state-run Chenjiashan Coal Mine in the northwestern province of Shaanxi kills 166 miners.”

and more.

related material
Are the health and other dangers being exaggerated?

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#fossil_fuel_disaster_281105

wind energy expanding fast in the usa

The equivalent of 2.5 large power stations capacity added in one year. This is still far from the numbers required but it seems the United States is starting to wake up to the problems.

“AWEA said US wind power produced in 2005 will reduce emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide by about 7 billion pounds or the equivalent to keeping nearly 500,000 sports utility vehicles off the road.”

“[...] When additional wind power capacity comes on line it generally replaces the highest priced fuel, natural gas, rather than other sources of power like coal, oil and nuclear.”

related material
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#wind_usa_061105

countries acting to handle energy more wisely, while vested interests complain

japan considers end user carbon taxes

And the fossil fuel industry doesn’t like it - now there’s a shock.

“The ministry said in a statement that the tax should be 2,400 yen ($20.85) on a tonne of carbon emitted from fuels. That means the tax on coal could be 1.58 yen per kilogram and that on gasoline 1.52 yen per litre (4.3 cents per gallon).

“The tax would generate income of 37 billion yen a year for the government and result in a payment of 2,100 yen per year for an average household.”

marker at abelard.org

germans move to reverse nuclear shutdown....another shock

Reality hurts socialists.

“The outgoing government of the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens pushed through legislation in 2000 requiring that all nuclear power plants in Germany be shut down by about 2020.

“However, in talks between the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the SPD, who are working out the details of forming a coalition together, negotiators are discussing a possible 8-year extension, SPD sources told Reuters.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#japan_281005

on micro-generation

“And what the Weltons, of Togmorden, Lancashire, have done today, thousands in cities and countryside may be doing themselves in the next few years, according to a new report, 'Seeing the Light', to be published tomorrow by the Sustainable Consumption Roundtable. Its authors envisage a future in which we all generate electricity at home: wind turbines on roofs, solar panels in gardens and heat pumps in basements.

“Homeowners could meet a quarter of our Kyoto commitments this way by cutting their dependency on coal and gas-generated electricity.”

“ 'Wind turbines and solar panels are still too costly. If the government placed mass orders for them, and placed them in town halls and schools, prices would plunge. Then we could all afford them. To install a generator or solar panel today, you need specialist help. You should be able to buy one at B&Q and stick it in yourself.' ”

related material
Distributed energy systems and micro-generation

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#microgeneration_261005

on the nuclear clean-up myth - a case study

Recommended scan.

“In 1994, a study by the Department of Energy (DOE) estimated it would take 60 years and $37 billion to clean up and demolish the Denver area's Rocky Flats site, a veritable city of government buildings that produced plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.

“ But last week, in a rare development that holds lessons for the DOE's 38 nuclear weapons facilities, the contractor hired in 1995 to scrub Rocky Flats said the job was done. The 800 buildings had been demolished, the contaminated soil and plutonium removed to guarded storage sites. Time: 10 years. Cost: less than $7 billion.”

This result was obtained by the judicious use of positive and negative incentives.

  • Positive incentive: large bonuses for early delivery.
  • Negative incentive: large penalties for safety breaches.

related material
nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous?
ionising radiation

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#nuclear_cleanup_231005

ingham on nuclear power and political cowardice

A useful, rather crude primer with added political spin. Recommended for a close scan.

“It cannot be ignorance. Ministers and officials know the score about Britain's precarious energy supplies. If their failure to act - as distinct from appointing inquiries - is because of complacency, it is risk-taking to the point of recklessness. Many suspect the real reason that prevents them from "selling" the need for nuclear power to safeguard future supplies of electricity at a reasonable cost is political cowardice born of political correctness.”

The document is a bit rough in places, but in essentials it is approximately correct. For instance, China is looking to build nuclear power stations in more like 5 years, but then they do not waste time with 5-year ‘planning’ PR exercises.

And worrying about even 5 Albert Halls’ worth of waste is also nonsense. You merely have to consider the past of coal slag heaps to realise nuclear waste is a trivial issue.

Meanwhile, the efficiency of alternatives is rapidly growing (as Ingham, almost accidentally, notes). Ingham is correct that nuclear power development is presently essential, but like most political advocates, he somewhat spoils it by over-egging.

marker at abelard.org

Even that old Aussie leftie Bob Hawke is drooling for easy money from the nuclear waste neurotic tendency:

“A former Australian prime minister has proposed that the country offer to store the world's nuclear waste in its vast desert interior and use the money earned on environment and social welfare programmes.” [Quoted from planetark.com]

Note that the major reason for slow action on nuclear waste depositories is ....
wait for it! ....
Insufficient accumulated nuclear waste so far!

related material
For far more detailed analysis start at
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#nuclear_politics_011005

exporting pollution to china

“Cement is one of several energy-intensive industries -- among them aluminium, steel and chemicals -- that are ratcheting up the environmental toll of China's breakneck industrial expansion through ravenous consumption of electricity from its mostly coal-fired plants.

“China is often criticised for the amount of power it uses to generate each dollar of national income -- four times as much as the United States and nearly 12 times as much as Japan, the official Xinhua agency said.

“Beijing has launched an efficiency drive to improve this figure, but as a developing nation where electrical appliances are still out of reach for many, power use on a per-person basis is far lower than these countries and some officials are starting to protest that China is taking the strain for other nations.”

“ China has seven of the world's 10 most-polluted cites, and according to the International Energy Agency, air pollution causes around 400,000 premature deaths.”

related material
on economic barriers to replacing fossil fuels
wwf world ecology report 2004

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#exporting_pollution_300905

4,500-acre solar system planned for california

solar collectors. Image credit: Sterling Energy Systems
Solar collectors. Image credit: Sterling Energy Systems

“Now SCE (Southern California Edison) has agreed to purchase upwards of 500 megawatts of electricity from Stirling Energy Systems -- enough to provide all the energy needs to 278,000 homes -- or more than all other U.S. solar projects combined. While neither company has disclosed the financial details, SCE said the system will not require state subsidies.

“The effort will begin with a pilot project: a proof-of-concept facility with 40 solar dishes producing one megawatt of energy. The test will take place over the next 18 months, and, if successful, Stirling Energy Systems will construct a 20,000-dish array over four years, covering 4,500 acres -- more than four times the size of the National Mall in DC -- in the desert northwest of Los Angeles. ”

The supplier company: Sterling Energy Systems
with a short effective film (11Mb)

related material
california and energy policy

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#solar_energy_150905

rent a floating nuclear facility

Russian floating nuclear plant, aertist's impression.  Image from www.narod.ru
Image from www.narod.ru

“ “Russia will only sell its products — electric power, heat and fresh water. This means that there is no cause for concern with respect to the proliferation of nuclear technologies. A floating plant under the Russian flag would be taken up to the coasts of states that had signed the necessary agreements. It would drop anchor in a convenient place that was protected from potential natural disasters and contact local engineering services on the shore. Then it would start up its reactors and — let there be light!” he said.

“The plant will save up to 200,000 metric tons of coal and 100,000 tons of fuel oil a year. It will be fully supported by the infrastructure of the Russian nuclear industry, and will be serviced by rotating teams. The reactors will be loaded with nuclear fuel once every three years and will have a lifespan of 40 years. Every 12 years the plant will be sent home and overhauled.”

related material
nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#russian_nuclear_110905

better than buying from “the sheiks, dictators, rats and crooks”

“Montana could supply the entire United States with its aviation, gas and diesel fuel for 40 years without creating environmental damage.”

This fuel would come from coal.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#montana_020905

attacking oil dependence in your garage

“He's part of a small but growing movement. "Plug-in" hybrids aren't yet cost-efficient, but some of the dozen known experimental models have gotten up to 250 mpg.

“They have support not only from environmentalists but also from conservative foreign policy hawks who insist Americans fuel terrorism through their gas guzzling.”

“ They'd [politicians] rather work on something that won't be in their lifetime, and that's this hydrogen economy stuff," Frank said. "They pick this kind of target to get the public off their back, essentially.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#oil_dependence_240805

california and energy policy

Item by California governor Schwarzenegger
California is one of the biggest economies on the planet.

  • California's gross state product is nearly $1.5 trillion, making it one of the world's largest economies.
  • California accounts for over 13 percent of the nation's output, and trails only Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France. [Quoted from Cal Facts 2004]

“I launched our effort when California hosted the United Nations World Environment Day Conference in San Francisco last month, where leaders from around the world gathered to discuss our shared responsibility for protecting the earth. It was there that I signed an executive order to establish clear and ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our state: by the year 2010 our goal is to reduce our emissions to less than those we produced in 2000; by 2020 our goal is to make our emissions lower than 1990 levels; and by 2050 our goal is to reduce overall emissions to a full 80 per cent below those we produced in 1990.”

“ [...] We are aggressively pursuing with the legislature my proposal to have one million solar-powered homes and buildings in California to save energy and reduce pollution. We are greening the state's fleet of government vehicles, to be the most fuel-efficient in the world.

“These steps are great for the environment and great for our economy, too. Many people have falsely assumed that you have to choose between protecting the environment and protecting the economy. Nothing could be further from the truth. In California, we will do both.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#california_110705

bush calls for alternatives to fossil fuels

“ US President George W. Bush urged leaders ahead of a G8 summit on Wednesday to spearhead a worldwide effort to invest in alternatives to oil and gas to help control global warming.”

“ Listen, the United States, for national security reasons and economic security, needs to diversify away from fossil fuels. And so we've put out a strategy to do just that. I can't wait to share it with our G8 friends," he told reporters in Denmark.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#alternatives_080705

huge study of long-term radiation risks in the nuclear industry finds only low-level risks

“The researchers studied 407,000 nuclear industry workers in 15 countries who had been exposed to low doses over an extended time span.

“The results suggest only a small proportion of cancer deaths in the study group were due to chronic, low-dose exposure. The scientists estimated that 1-2 percent of deaths from cancers, except leukaemia, in the nuclear workers in the study may be due to radiation.”

Radiation report: summary.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#radiation_290605

ontario planning to close coal production in favour of gas and nuclear generation

“Duncan also said the government is currently reviewing a tentative deal with Bruce Power, a unit of uranium producer Cameco Corp. and several partners, to refurbish two laid-up nuclear reactors, which would represent more than 1,500 megawatts of additional capacity.

“Ontario will replace its Thunder Bay generating station with gas-fired generation in 2007 [...].”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#ontario_170605
material science approach to hydrogen storage [lite]

“New quantum calculations and computer models show that carbon nanotubes "decorated" with titanium or other transition metals can latch on to hydrogen molecules in numbers more than adequate for efficient hydrogen storage, a capability key to long-term efforts to develop fuel cells, an affordable non-polluting alternative to gasoline.”

“Using established quantum physics theory, they predict that hydrogen can amass in amounts equivalent to 8 percent of the weight of "titanium-decorated" singled walled carbon nanotubes. That's one-third better than the 6 percent minimum storage-capacity requirement set by the FreedomCar Research Partnership involving the Department of Energy and the nation's "Big 3" automakers.”

This kind of approach makes much more sense than the widespread claims of pressured tank storage of hydrogen much suggested at present.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#hydrogen_store_130605

basic facts of long distance electricity transmission [four pages]

“The most cost-effective way to generate large amounts of electricity is with a rotating synchronous generator, which naturally produces alternating current. ”

From page 4, on high-voltage direct current transmission [HVDC]:
“While it is expensive to convert normal AC power to DC power and back again, the savings in power losses and in construction costs can make HVDC cost-effective if moving more than 500 MW further than about 500 km over a point-to-point link.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#waste_160505

nuclear power now coming out of the shadows in the uk

“The government's strategy to kick-start a huge nuclear power station building programme is revealed today in confidential Whitehall documents seen by The Observer.

“In a 46-paragraph briefing note for incoming ministers, Joan MacNaughton, the director-general of energy policy at the new Department of Productivity, Energy and Industry, warns that key policy targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and boost green energy are likely to fail, and that decisions on new nuclear power stations must be taken urgently. It advises that 'it is generally easier to push ahead on controversial issues early in a new parliament'.”

“The Whitehall briefing, a 'first day' options paper prepared for the new Secretary of State, Alan Johnson, states that the government is widely expected to 'come off the fence' on nuclear energy and advises that it should work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Treasury and Number 10 to 'be on the front foot', making a statement on energy policy and its impact on climate change before the summer recess.”

“How far would we need to resolve the long outstanding issue of finding a final depository for high level nuclear waste, as a pre-condition for progressing new build?' ”

This last is nonsense generated by the pseudo-greens and various nimbys and competing corps. The amount of storage required is trivial. A main reason for delay has been the lack of waste to store relative to the cost of a deep depository.

I was somewhat amused and somewhat depressed by recent nonsense proposals to bury billions of tonnes of carbon from the filthy fossil fuel industry down mines and oil wells for millions of years, while idiots continue to rant about their uneducated fears of a bit of deep deposited radiation!

“[...] Old oil and gas fields stored hydrocarbons safely for millions of years, raising hopes that the same can be done for CO2 from power stations.”

“Global estimates of the geological space available for the economic burial of CO2 are sketchy. But Audus estimates that around 11,000 billion tonnes of CO2 could be disposed of underground (see Graph), several times the likely emissions of CO2 from burning fossil fuels in the coming century. This could at least give the world extra time to give up its reliance on fossil fuels." [Quoted from newscientist.com]

Another item refers casually to 500,000 a year killed each year by the fossil filth. This article is on concerns about ‘global brightening’, which may interest some.

related material
dust, aerosols and particulates

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#nuclear_uk_080505

bush increasingly serious over energy - he seems prepared to ride over nimbys and corps

“Our dependence on foreign energy is like a foreign tax on the American people [....].”

“President Bush proposed allowing oil companies to build new refineries at abandoned military bases and encouraging new nuclear power plants in steps that critics said would do nothing to address America's immediate problem of high gasoline prices.

"The problem is clear. This problem did not develop overnight, and it's not going to be fixed overnight," Bush said in lowering expectations for immediate relief.”

“ Bush, speaking to a friendly crowd of small business leaders, urged Congress to include in energy legislation now moving on Capitol Hill a plan to let oil companies use former military bases to build new refineries.

“No new U.S. oil refineries have been built since the 1970s, mostly because of the lengthy process to obtain environmental permits from state regulators and opposition from local communities.

“A top independent oil refiner, Valero Energy Corp. said expanding its current fleet of refineries makes better economic sense than building new refineries at closed military bases. [...]”

“ Bush also proposed offering federally backed risk insurance for companies wanting to build new nuclear plants, to mitigate the cost of delays due to any potential failures in the licensing process. The last generation of nuclear power plants was built in the 1970s and 1980s.

“In addition, Bush proposed allowing the Federal Regulatory Commission become the lead authority over states in granting licenses for the construction of liquefied natural gas terminals.”

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#bush_energy_030505

oil price effects of france, virtually a non-producer of oil

France is, of course, a very low level oil producer and is, therefore, highly exposed to oil market price hikes.

Major countries keep oil stocks against shocks, France has chosen in part to eat into stocks.

“France's annual energy consumption was stable in 2004, up 0.7 percent to 276 million tonnes of oil equivalent, compared with economic growth of 2.3 percent.

“But its energy costs represented about 1.8 percent of last year's gross domestic product (GDP), the highest since the early 1980s, with crude and refined oil accounting for a third, or 93 million tonnes of total energy consumption."

For those confused by the effects of oil prices on production and trade, note the small percentage of energy costs in the total production. Also notice the GNP rise is above oil rises. This due in part to the higher energy efficiency in Europe.

But above all, France is one of the very few countries that have acted rationally to nuclear power.

“Since the oil price shocks in the 1970s France has increased its energy independence by becoming the world's second largest nuclear power producer, behind the United States, by building 58 reactors to provide 78 percent of power production.”

They mean electric power production. Reuters [Planetark] is very bad with figures. They should also note that French electric power from nuclear reactors is far above the USA in percentage terms.

“Electricity production last year rose marginally by 0.9 percent to 572 terawatt hours, with output from state-owned Electricite de France's [EDF.UL] nuclear reactors up 1.6 percent to 448 TWh.”

For approximate efficiencies see the fuel table in Replacing fossil fuels - the scale of the problem.

France even makes income by selling electricity abroad.

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#france_and_oil_020505

bush speaks out forcefully about energy

“First, the energy bill must encourage the use of technology to improve conservation. We must find smarter ways to meet our energy needs, and we must encourage Americans to make better choices about energy consumption. We must also continue to invest in research, so we will develop the technologies that would allow us to conserve more and be better stewards of the environment.

“Second, the energy bill must encourage more production at home in environmentally sensitive ways. Over the past three years, America's energy consumption has increased by about 4 percent, while our domestic energy production has decreased by about 1 percent. That means more of our energy is coming from abroad. To meet our energy needs and strengthen our national security we must make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy.

“Third, the energy bill must diversify our energy supply by developing alternative sources of energy like ethanol or biodiesel. We need to promote safe, clean nuclear power. And to create more energy choices, Congress should provide tax credits for renewable power sources such as wind, solar, and landfill gas. We must also continue our clean coal technology projects so that we can use the plentiful source of coal in an environmentally friendly way. The bill must also support pollution-free cars and trucks, powered by hydrogen fuel cells instead of gasoline.

“Finally, the energy bill must help us find better, more reliable ways to deliver energy to consumers. In some parts of the country, our transmission lines and pipelines are decades older than the homes and businesses they supply. Many of them are increasingly vulnerable to events that can interrupt and shut down power in entire regions of the country. We must modernize our infrastructure to make America's energy more secure and reliable.

“Every source of power that we use today started with the power of human invention, and those sources have served us well for decades. Now it's time to apply our knowledge and technology to keep the American Dream alive in this new century. There is nothing America cannot achieve when we put our mind to it. And I urge Congress to work out its differences and pass an energy bill that will help make America safer and more prosperous for the years to come.”

Looks like Bodman is putting his feet under the desk and starting to work, and about time too.

“Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said in a speech Friday the country was pursuing ways to make electricity and transportation fuel without fossil fuels in order to reduce emissions and reduce dependence on foreign oil.” [Quoted from planetark.com]

Condi Rice:

“As I said earlier, the energy dialogue that the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, and Secretary Bodman will lead together recognizes the importance of addressing growing energy demands while taking into account their environmental implications. The three main components are: civil nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and cleaner technologies.

related material
one of the most important jobs in the world goes to unknown

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#bush_energy_190405

west waking up to energy problems

“Some 66 percent of participants in the survey said they agreed that driving vehicles that require less fuel to run was patriotic, since it could help reduce the US dependency on Mideast crude.

“The survey, conducted for the nonpartisan Civil Society Institute think tank, also showed that 57 percent of self-described conservatives considered the purchase of a fuel-efficient vehicle an act of patriotism.

“Even 67 percent of NASCAR racing fans concurred that fuel-efficiency and patriotism go hand in hand, the poll said.”

Meanwhile, the POTUS continues political adjustment:

“This is going to be a subject, by the way -- was a subject of interest in my trip to Europe. In the councils of the EU, we talked about how we can work together on technological developments to change habits and change supply of the energy mix for the world. And this will be a topic of -- at the G8, as well.”

marker at abelard.org

In the meantime, both the UK and US governments are slowly reintroducing populations to the necessary major upbuild for future nuclear generation. Even some of the more serious thinkers among green organisations are starting to talk sense regarding nuclear power.

The introduction of democracy to the Middle East will, of necessity, mean rising living standards in that area. Even at present levels, pumpable oil will last no more that 30 more years. If alterations in power use and infrastructure are not started now, there will be catastrophic shortfalls of the energy needed to run modern civilisations.

If the governance of the poorer areas of the world is not changed with rapidity, the problems will not gently fade away - they will grow greater month by month. Allowing pollution and ecological destruction of increasing areas on a planet with a population in uncontrolled growth is not realistic nor sane. This planet already has its holding capacity under considerable stress. Ecological realism is a matter of survival, not a matter to be dismissed by the uneducated and ostrich classes as ‘tree-hugging’.

Pacifying areas with large badly governed populations will become increasingly costly in terms of blood and treasure. It seems that the leaders of the Coalition of the Willing realise this and are in process of radically changing their international policy. Meanwhile, the old men of Old Europe stand idly by, wringing their hands while free-loading on the more responsible nations.

Believing in business as usual is a game for fools, not an available luxury for thoughtful responsible international statesmen.

Without modernising backward nations, the West will be subject to ever-increasing pressures of international economic migrations as foolish rulers (often socialist dogmatists) ruin one part of the planetary ecology after another, meanwhile keeping populations in the ignorance that leads to uncontrolled growth, famines and predictably attendant wars.

Freeing the Middle East is no optional luxury. It is an essential task to head off ever growing strife and difficulties at home.

The exploding of the atomic bombs in 1945 brought the effective end of serious wars, for now the leaders were vulnerable, not just the fellow on the end of a pike in some far off muddy ditch.

The West simply cannot allow dogmatic loons with nukes on sticks, let alone in suitcases or shipping containers. This imperative is driving modern international politics and will not be gainsaid by pious or romantic sermons from unrealistic appeaseniks.

Making fearful immature remarks about Bush will not alter realities.

related material
replacing fossil fuels - the scale of the problem

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#problems_190305

move towards miniature nuclear reactor

“The 4S reactor unit is referred to as a battery because it does not have moving parts, and once installed, its fuel will not need to be replaced as in conventional nuclear reactors.

“The reactor unit is 50 feet to 60 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet in diameter. It will be built outside of Alaska, installed in the Yukon River community, encased in several tons of concrete and not be opened during its operating life, which is now estimated at 30 years.”

“ The nuclear option looks good even if Galena were to pay for the reactor. In that case the power costs were estimated at 15 cents to 25 cents per kWh in the study, Chaney said. Toshiba has estimated the cost of the 4S reactor at $25 million. Galena's power is now 28 cents per kWh.”

Oddly, I can not immediately find reference to the miniature reactor on the Toshiba nuclear power site.

A useful lite outline of the expanding nuclear power rethink. [Link to first of 5-page item, from Limbic]

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#nuclear_reactor_090205

conservation of energy in buildings - a major future concern

“We're in the last decades of the fossil fuel age, facing climate change and a changing social climate," says Sue Roaf, professor of architecture at Oxford Brookes University. "People are still producing big air-conditioned buildings loaded with gizmos that address problems that shouldn't exist in the first place. They will announce that they have cut 20% off running costs, but it is 20% off running costs for that type of building. In physical terms, it is still using three or four times more energy than is necessary.”

Part of a scrappy section with related links. About time someone produce a clear, wide-ranging, well illustrated book on this.

Sue Rof's Ecohouse in Oxford. Image credit: Architectural Press

Sue Roaf’s ecohouse in Oxford, UK (photo above), has thermal insulation, energy efficiency appliances and solar energy from photo-voltaic panels . As a result, it emits practically no carbon from fossil fuels and with its its electricity generation, surplus electricity is exported back to the national electric grid.

related material
uk move to conservation by improved building standards
advanced space age building techniques look to come down to earth
lowering environmental cost of building construction, wood, steel or concrete?

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#ecohouse_280105

well written, straightforward article on nuclear power

Well researched article on nuclear power energy generation, recommended reading.

“How worried should we really be in 2005 that accidents or attacks might release and disperse a nuclear power plant’s radioactive fuel? Not very. Our civilian nuclear industry has dramatically improved its procedures and safety-related hardware since 1979. Several thousand reactor-years of statistics since Three Mile Island clearly show that these power plants are extraordinarily reliable in normal operation.

“And uranium’s combination of power and super-density makes the fuel less of a terror risk, not more, at least from an engineering standpoint. It’s easy to "overbuild" the protective walls and containment systems of nuclear facilities, since - like the pyramids - the payload they’re built to shield is so small. Protecting skyscrapers is hard; no builder can afford to erect a hundred times more wall than usable space. Guaranteeing the integrity of a jumbo jet’s fuel tanks is impossible; the tanks have to fly. Shielding a nuclear plant’s tiny payload is easy - just erect more steel, pour more concrete, and build tougher perimeters.”

“ [...] Raw fuel accounts for over half the delivered cost of electricity generated in gas-fired turbines, about one-third of coal-fired power, and just a tenth of nuclear electricity. Factor in the cost of capital equipment, and the cheapest electrons come from uranium and coal, not sun and wind [...] ”

Note that another paragraph in this article is highly misleading:

“The technology for replacing (roughly) one pint of gasoline with one pound of coal or under one ounce of uranium to feed one kilowatt-hour of power to the wheels is now close at hand.”

About 7 grams (1/4 ounce) can generate as much energy as 1/2 tonne of oil, 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, or around 3/4 tonne of coal.

related material
Nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#nuclear_power_150105

hydrogen in iceland

“Hydrogen's big drawback is that it is very expensive to produce -- either by splitting water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen or by separating hydrogen from natural gas or methane.

“With current technology, burning oil to make hydrogen to run a bus produces more pollution than simply running the bus on oil. Iceland sees itself as a testing ground, where almost unlimited heat from hot springs can be tapped for experiments.”

“Among other problems, some scientists say the atmosphere might simply become too cloudy in a hydrogen economy, emitting vast amounts of water vapour, perhaps reflecting sunlight back to space or trapping it and warming the globe.

“Iceland's buses, made by DaimlerChrysler, cost about 1.25 million euros ($1.67 million) each, or three to four times more than a diesel-powered bus, Skulason said. It takes about 6-10 minutes to refill a hydrogen bus, giving a range of 400 km.”

related material
replacing fossil fuels- the scale of the problem

the web address for this article is
http://www.abelard.org/news/energy2005.php#iceland_hydrogen_120105
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