The case for optimism on climate change - "I'll finish with this story. When I was 13 years old, I heard that proposal by President Kennedy to land a person on the Moon and bring him back safely in 10 years. And I heard adults of that day and time say, 'That's reckless, expensive, may well fail.' But eight years and two months later, in the moment that Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon, there was great cheer that went up in NASA's mission control in Houston. Here's a little-known fact about that: the average age of the systems engineers, the controllers in the room that day, was 26, which means, among other things, their age, when they heard that challenge, was 18." (via; previously) [more inside]
UN Climate Report: We Must Focus On 'Decarbonization', and It Won't Wreck the Economy - "The basic message is simple: We share a planet. Let's start acting like it." [more inside]
The Economist is holding an online debate on nuclear power. These debates provide a great opportunity to get an overview of the different perspectives on an issue. If f you are so inclined, you can share your own views on the topic too. Today's discussions focus on a contribution by Amory Lovins.
Over fifty years after Los Angeles' first nuclear meltdown, the State of California is finally getting around to decontaminating the radioactive fallout.
Yarchive is one man's collection of UseNET posts on the topics of Air Conditioning; Aircraft; Bicycles; Cars; Chemistry; Computers; Electrical, Electronic; Environment; Explosives, Pyrotechnics; Food; Houses; Guns; Jokes; Medicine; Metalworking; Military; Nuclear; Telephones; Physics; Risks; Security; Space mostly from a select group of authors. It has been updated several times since it first appeared here in 2001 and it never fails to sucker me in for hours every time I stumble upon it from a Google Search. [more inside]
In 1954 the UK Atomic Energy Authority established a research campus at a distant, disused airfield in Caithness, Scotland. The mission: develop fast breeder reactor technology. In 1988, they chose to conclude the research and in 2000 to decommission the site. This 32-year cleanup now underway is chronicled at a most snazzy website... [more inside]
Earth, 2100 AD. Atmospheric CO2 has doubled to 1000 ppm. From shore to the horizon, there is but an unending purple color -- a vast, flat, oily purple. No fish break its surface, no birds. We are under a pale green sky, and it has the smell of death and poison. Paleontologist Peter Ward's new book links past mass extinctions to global warming and shows, absent major changes, "Our world is hurtling toward carbon dioxide levels not seen since 60 million years ago, right after a greenhouse extinction." Maybe it's time for a heresy: nuclear energy's green, and renewables aren't.
Kerr Magee had applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to call their waste an "experimental fertilizer" and just spread it over the top of the land.
Depleted uranium is now understood to have many medical consequences unique to its modern application as munitions, due to its incendiary, aerosolizing behavior when pulverized. (Rosalie Bertell explains, youtube) It has become a leading candidate for the cause of Gulf War syndrome, and was associated with massive increases in cancer and birth defects in Basra. The EU has called for a moratorium on its use four times, and WHO is deeply concerned with its consequences, but the USA (with Canadian complicity) and Russia continue to use it in Iraq and elsewhere. (prev: 1 2 3 4 5)
A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
The latest in something of a trend, left-leaning LA Weekly has warmed to nuclear power. Earlier this year, Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore endorsed it as well (along with such practices as salmon farming). The idea that Nuclear is green has appeared in the pages of the New York Times, with (both subscriber only, sorry) Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof making the case back in March and April. They've encountered some resistance, but it seems to be a growing position. (Of course, there are some people who aren't being asked to join the club.) Is this a "Greenwashing" or a legitimate change in the environmental movement?
A Blivet. More nuclear waste than the planned repository at Yucca Mountain can hold will pile up at reactor sites as the government continues to approve license extensions for power plants, an environmental research organization claimed in a study to be released today. If a repository is built by 2010 in the mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, its 77,000-ton capacity will be filled by existing spent fuel awaiting shipment. That's not counting another 9,900 tons that will have accumulated in the meantime from license extensions, according to the study by the Environmental Working Group.
James Lovelock, the creator of the Gaia theory, says that only a massive expansion of nuclear power as the world's main energy source can alleviate the effects of global warming. [Via WorldChanging.]
Bush's energy plan. We knew it was coming. Arguing the United States "faces the most serious energy shortage since the oil embargoes of the 1970's," Bush proposes the expansion of drilling, a new commitment to nuclear power, and a review of vehicle mileage standards. If you really want to dig--er, I mean drill--into it, the proposal is available on the White House website.