"a marked bioaccumulation was apparent"
...in producing nuclear energy, the decay reactions repeat many times, with the imperfections of every repetition resulting in a loss of predictive power of computations. This hampers the optimization process, and is one of the main reasons why several large projects investigating energy production using more abundant Uranium-238 or Thorium (fast breeder reactors) were closed in Europe and the United States before they achieved the expected level of performance.
Another problem is the nuclear waste that emerges when energy is produced in the decay process. The waste can be substantially, or even completely, reduced if we could use an alternative form of nuclear decay that is triggered by externally accelerated particles. Here, too, however, we need more precise knowledge of the properties of nuclear processes.
The force binding atomic nuclei is a special case of the “strong force,” one of the four fundamental forces in nature, and is extremely difficult to investigate, because it acts very quickly and violently. Around 50 years ago, it was proposed to study the strong forces by firing protons at each other at very high energies...
Several large accelerator research centers were built... experiments at the HERA accelerator in Hamburg, Germany, have observed the strong interaction effects in slow motion, which could open a way to a precise understanding of the strong force... The HERA machine operated from 1992 until 2007... two large groups of physicists – one concentrated around the Brookhaven and Jefferson National Laboratories in the United States, and the other around CERN in Geneva – are proposing to restart the investigation of electron-proton interactions.
The study of these interactions should provide a precise understanding of the strong force. And, as the history of physics has shown, a better understanding of natural forces will open new, completely unexpected possibilities... A precise understanding of the strong force could be just as important, opening new ways to use nuclear-energy resources while solving the problems of safety and nuclear waste.
...policymakers are becoming dangerously complacent... Existing commitments for emissions reductions by 2020 do represent major action. But even if implemented fully, they are collectively not enough to put the world on a path that would give us even a 50-50 chance of avoiding a warming of 2°C above 19th century temperatures. Worse still, recent work by the International Energy Agency has concluded that without full implementation there is a real risk that the 2°C goal will be pushed out of our reach altogether. A less ambitious target is not good enough: global temperatures have not been 3°C higher than today for about 3m years. Such warming would likely lead to mass migrations away from the worst affected regions, with the risk of severe and prolonged conflict.
...global emissions per unit of output must now be cut by two-thirds in the next 25 years...The problem is that, as the IEA has shown, 80 per cent of projected emissions in 2020 are already “locked-in”, as a result of power plants that already exist or are under construction. This limits room for manoeuvre and underlines the sense of urgency for action.
In transport, around 25 per cent of energy emissions, a number of countries and companies have set targets that could see 20m electric vehicles on our roads by 2020. But this only represents 2 per cent of the projected global car fleet of 1bn, in 10 years’ time...
Action will vary from country to country but should include three common elements. First, benchmarking tools should be used to bring energy efficiency to best practice levels. Energy efficiency measures help to address current economic anxieties, and can deliver half of the emissions reductions necessary to achieve the 2°C goal.
Second, we need strong disincentives, such as adequate carbon pricing, against keeping old infrastructure, and more incentives to bring in new low-carbon technologies. Fossil fuel subsidies, amounting to $558bn worldwide in 2008, must go.
Third, measures to improve fuel economy, expand sustainable biofuels and promote the uptake of new vehicle technologies must be prioritised. This will bring about the cost and security benefits of cutting oil import bills and it is also crucial in reducing emissions.
At a time of intense fiscal pressure, revenue from carbon pricing and the savings from energy efficiency can fund these policies, and also lay the foundations for future growth. Such moves will improve energy security, and become an important part of global economic prosperity.
Carbon emissions aren't the only environmental issue.
it's not a bad idea, obviously--emissions are a big deal that are certainly worthy of attention--but the constant emphasis on carbon emissions distracts from a lot of other environmental problems,
Well then Japan is indeed screwed because both Chernobyl and Fukushima are using Uranium Oxide with Zircaloy cladding.
Solar panels on the roof generate energy, although the building still draws from the grid when it needs to. Other energy-saving mechanisms include using Energy Star-labeled appliances, using equipment to shade the inside from Florida's hot sun and applying high-performance insulation to further reduce solar heat gain. A utility bill in October of last year confirmed the net-zero claim when it found that the building was generating more power than it was using. Forty-five percent of the energy produced in the panels goes back into the grid.
Auerbach said that hypothetically, even if someone drank the rainwater directly, “it is still 25 times less risky than it would need to be in order to cause any kind of health concerns . . . . And that is even true for the population that would be the most vulnerable, such as pregnant women, breast-feeding women, and infants.’’
Radioiodine is a byproduct of nuclear energy production and has a half-life of eight days, Auerbach said. The half-life span means that only half of the level of radiation will be present in eight days, and so on until it dissipates.
The CS Monitor says Fukushima ≠ Chernobyl. "Some specialists are questioning the usefulness of an international scale for measuring the severity of nuclear accidents – a scale that now rates the Fukushima Daiichi crisis in Japan as equal to Chernobyl."
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