IPE Views: Is nuclear power’s potential too great to ignore?

first_imgIt is true the nuclear fission reactors currently used around the world are developments of technology originally developed during World War II as part of the US Manhattan Project to build a nuclear weapon before the Nazis did. Having succeeded in building nuclear bombs too late for use against Germany, they were used against the Japanese instead, to shorten a Pacific war characterised by extremely high levels of US casualties as the Japanese defended their home islands (27,000 in Iwo Jima and 49,000 in Okinawa).Thankfully, they have never been used again, even when General MacArthur requested their use during the Korean War. That historical experience has quite naturally coloured perceptions of nuclear power ever since. But is it time now to look at nuclear power more objectively, comparing its risks and benefits to those alternatives on offer that can supply the world with the energy it needs to live lifestyles we have taken for granted?The capacity to produce weapons-grade uranium and plutonium from the existing nuclear fission industry is what alarms institutional investors. The alternative that has always been discussed has been nuclear fusion. The combining of hydrogen nuclei to produce helium, as the sun does, has been the fabled clean energy solution. Unfortunately, its future success has always been predicted to be 30 years away, and has been so for the last 50!There is another alternative, though, that the nuclear sceptics should consider. A better alternative to the uranium and plutonium nuclear fission reactors may be thorium-fuelled nuclear fission reactors. They have the advantage over uranium and plutonium reactors in that there is considerably reduced nuclear waste. In addition, thorium itself is much more abundant than uranium.The issue of nuclear proliferation still exists, although it has been argued that the US shut down their research into thorium reactors in 1973 primarily because the thorium fuel cycle did not have weapons applications. Thorium-based fuel for nuclear power would be extremely difficult to use in the secret manufacture of a nuclear bomb because the spent thorium fuel contains the isotope of uranium U-232, as well as U-233. Whilst it is possible to use U233 in a nuclear weapon, the U232 it is mixed up with decays rapidly with the production of strong gamma rays, which creates significant problems of handling and greatly boosts detectability.Currently, the thorium-cycle nuclear power is being actively researched by a number of countries, including China and India. India, for example, has limited supplies of uranium but large amounts of thorium in the beach sands of Kerala and Orissa, which have rich reserves of monazite, which is 8-10% thorium, according to the government of India. Tourists sunning themselves on some of the fabulous beaches of Kerala may not realise what lies beneath them!Whatever the merits of thorium over uranium/plutonium in the creation of safe nuclear power, if global warming through carbon dioxide build-up is an existential threat to human civilisation, then choices do have to be made on the risks and rewards of alternatives to burning fossil fuels.The total number of direct deaths arising from nuclear energy, including accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima, is less than 100. Including estimates of increased cancer deaths arising from the 600,000 or so people exposed to increased radiation raises the figure to perhaps around 4,000. In contrast, direct deaths from coal mining would lie in the thousands per year, whilst indirect deaths caused by pollution from the burning of coal would also be a multiple per year of the total estimated indirect deaths arising from the nuclear accidents.Perhaps nuclear energy has been dismissed too readily by countries and institutional investors alike.Joseph Mariathasan is a contributing editor at IPE Joseph Mariathasan questions the wisdom of considering all things ‘nuclear’ in a negative light‘Nuclear’ has become a dirty word – understandably when applied to weapons but less so when applied to power. Of course, there are arguments that can be made in justification. There are concerns over possible links with nuclear weapons and issues over dealing with radioactive wastes. Even countries can choose to damn the concept. Germany closed down all its nuclear power stations following the Fukushima disaster.Yet the biggest existential issue facing the world is global warming caused by the build-up of carbon dioxide, primarily from the generation of power. Alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and tidal do not appear to have the capacity to be able to supplant completely the carbon dioxide-producing fossil fuels, or even make a major dent in their usage.What can replace fossil fuels is nuclear power. A long-term, effective solution to the existential threat of global warming could be the widespread use of nuclear energy to generate electricity, combined with a shift towards electric cars that has already begun.last_img read more

Milwaukee looks to sweep Oakland

first_img Associated Press For more AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25___This was generated by Automated Insights, http://www.automatedinsights.com/ap, using data from STATS LLC, https://www.stats.com Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditMilwaukee (12-14, 7-7) vs. Oakland (10-17, 5-9)Athletics Center Orena, Oakland, Michigan; Friday, 8 p.m. ESTBOTTOM LINE: Milwaukee goes for the season sweep over Oakland after winning the previous matchup in Milwaukee. The teams last faced each other on Jan. 18, when the Panthers shot 41.5 percent from the field on their way to a 73-68 victory. Milwaukee looks to sweep Oaklandcenter_img February 20, 2020 SUPER SENIORS: Milwaukee has relied heavily on its seniors. Te’Jon Lucas, Darius Roy, DeAndre Abram, Josh Thomas and Courtney Brown Jr. have combined to account for 75 percent of the team’s scoring this season and 88 percent of all Panthers points over the last five games.FACILITATING THE OFFENSE: Lucas has directly created 48 percent of all Milwaukee field goals over the last three games. The senior guard has 21 field goals and 18 assists in those games.ASSIST RATIOS: The Panthers have recently used assists to create baskets more often than the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland has an assist on 39 of 79 field goals (49.4 percent) across its previous three games while Milwaukee has assists on 48 of 81 field goals (59.3 percent) during its past three games.STINGY DEFENSE: Milwaukee has forced opponents into committing turnovers on 21.5 percent of all possessions, the highest rate among all Horizon teams.___last_img read more


first_imgTHE number of people from the rest of the Republic visiting Donegal during July increased by a massive 800%, a survey has found.The website ebookers.ie said the number of visitors coming to the real Ireland up here was TEN TIMES greater than the average increase.The number of Irish tourists in the county was twice that of the nearest other county – Wicklow. Jen Quinlan from bookers.ie said: “The unprecedented hot weather we have experienced so far this summer has meant we have seen a strong increase in the number of bookings for Ireland.“Oversees bookings are remaining steady, but the heatwave has caused an increase in domestic bookings that is great to see.”Failte Ireland spokeswoman Louise Tolerton welcomed the figures.She said: “This is great news and supports what we have be hearing from the industry over the last two months. We have had a great summer so far and the good weather has definitely given a boost to the tourism sector with a spike in Irish people holidaying here. “Irish holidaymakers are very weather dependent and traditionally will book their breaks at the last minute.“This year with the good weather there’s been a rush to traditional Irish holiday spots. The soaring temperatures will surely impact on the tourism sector’s performance for 2013, along with the boost from The Gathering.“Ireland is a great place to holiday and our Discover Ireland home holiday campaign has been working well over recent years to encourage more people to enjoy what is on their doorstep.“With a few more weeks left of the traditional summer break, there is still time to take advantage of what is here in Ireland.” SUNNY JULY SAW MASSIVE 800% INCREASE IN DONEGAL STAYCATIONS was last modified: August 13th, 2013 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalebookers.ieholidays in DonegalStaycationslast_img read more