First stop, Stark Tower!
Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's top supplier and a leader in research into alternative energy sources, announced this Wednesday that a team of the Corporation's scientists have made an enormous breakthrough in harnessing nuclear fusion as a feasible power source.Read More
Nuclear plant security is one of those things that pretty much everyone agrees on. In essence, it's probably a bad idea to let just anyone wander around a nuclear facility without proper clearance. Just wanting security to be without faults doesn't make it that way, unfortunately. After around 70 Greenpeace activists swarmed two nuclear plants in Sweden, six managed to avoid security overnight by hiding out on rooftops. In fact, plant owner Vattenfall claimed that all the activists had been detained and their security measures had worked.Read More
If there's one thing that can make a video of destruction even cooler, it's amusingly drawn faces on the things being destroyed. In this video, it's cooling towers at various power plants being taken down and said cooling towers seem pretty surprised. This is actually an ad by a group called Ecotricity, and you might not agree with their willingness to throw nuclear power under the bus alongside most established pollution culprits like coal and other fossil fuels, but however you look at it, one of the towers has a mustache! Isn't it hilarious?! You bet it is.Read More
Russia has announced plans to build eight floating nuclear reactors -- the first of their kind -- to enhance the country's efforts to explore the Arctic for oil and gas reserves. The arctic is currently more navigable than it has ever been due to the melting of ice, which was previously an impediment to traversing the region. The arctic may be the last natural stronghold of oil and gas reserves in the world, so accessibility and control of the region is of high interest. The floating power plants are designed to each create enough electricity for 45,000 people, and will have the extra option of purifying sea water into fresh water. With a cost of approximately $335 million each, Russia intends to produce the floating nuclear reactors for mass production. Countries like China, Algeria and Indonesia have expressed interest in purchasing the reactors. The first power plant should be completed sometime next year, and will be deployed to Russia's Kamchatka region in the far east.Read More
This striking statistic and chart comes from this well-sourced Next Big Future article (interactive data visualization available here), which places the average number of deaths per terawatt-hour at 0.04 for nuclear (this takes Chernobyl into account), 36 for oil, and a whopping 161 for coal worldwide. The death rate per TWh of coal is even higher in China, at 278. (A terawatt-hour is the amount of work done by one terawatt of power expended for one hour of time.) The deaths from traditional fuel sources are generally not as high-profile as those from nuclear energy -- particularly the one million deaths that the World Health Organization estimates occur each year due to coal-related air pollution. But this only serves to illustrate the tendency of people -- and the media that feeds that tendency -- to focus on the high-impact and low-probability rather than the pervasive and pernicious. (Next Big Future and IBM via Seth Godin via clusterflock)Read More
Early this morning, an explosion at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan prompted fears of high radiation leakage and a possible core meltdown. Those fears have since abated, though the situation remains dangerous. The plant, which was damaged in yesterday's massive earthquake, has been a source continual concern as Japan attempts to stage recovery efforts in the area. From The New York Times:
Officials said late Saturday that leaks of radioactive material from the plant, which began before the explosion, were receding and that a major meltdown was not imminent. But severe problems at two nuclear plants close to the epicenter of the quake forced evacuations of tens of thousands of people from surrounding areas, hampering efforts to search for survivors and forcing Japan’s leadership to grapple with two major crises as the same time.Reports on the incident say that the explosion was caused by a buildup of hydrogen inside the concrete enclosure around the reactor core. Officials are being quoted as saying that the core itself was not damaged, and that amount of radioactive material released in the explosion was minimal. Since the explosion, radiation readings have actually diminished. The explosion does give workers a chance to directly cool the core, and lessen the chance of a reactor meltdown. Read More