Issues

About issues

Here, we will add our assessments to current events in politics, society and economy. Please feel free to suggest topics to be covered here .

New Finish nuclear power plant Olkiluoto with enormous financial losses

Nuclear giant Areva threatens halt of Olkiluoto construction 

The dispute around enormous financial losses from the Finish Olkiluoto nuclear reactor project deepened yesterday, when the French nuclear giant Areva published its half-year results. Areva threatened to freeze construction if TVO does not submit to the company’s demands of shouldering a share of the cost. The latest estimate of construction costs reached €5.5 billion, which compares to the price of 2.5 billion originally presented to Finnish public and politicians.

Stopping global warming is risk management

The issue with stopping or reducing global warming is about risk and managing risk: Science still does not know the exact mechanism by which smoking and its associated chemicals causes cancer. What we do know is that smoking is the biggest risk factor in developing lung cancer. The more you smoke, the more your risk of getting lung cancer. Not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and not everyone who gets lung cancer has smoked.

What is thermosolar power or concentrating solar power (CSP)?

What is thermosolar power, or "desert energy"? Thermosolar energy means generating electricity from the heat of the sun, and not, as photovoltaic panels do, from sunlight. Since a large quantity of solar heat is required, evidently this must be done in the desert. A short introduction in this promising technology to produce electricity from a renewable source:

Nuclear Proliferation in a nutshell

Nuclear proliferation is used to describe the spread of fissile material, weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not (yet) in posession of nuclear weapons. It is feared that the likelyhood of a nuclear warfare does increase with the number of nations with nuclear weapons.

Nuclear proliferation is related to the civil application of nuclear power in the following ways:

Nuclear Power phase-out is pro-gressing

Nuclear energy is a relatively small industry, but one with big problems. It covers just one-sixteenth of the world’s primary energy consumption, a share set to decline over the coming decades.

The average age of operating commercial nuclear reactors is 23 years. This means that more power stations are being shut down than built. In 2007, world nuclear production fell by 1.8 % and the number of operating reactors was 439, five less than the historical peak of 2002.

Who is building new nuclear power plants?

There has been a lot of talking about the renaissance of nuclear power in the light of global warming and increasing oil prices. So let's have a look at the global situation: Who is building new nuclear power stations and who is just talking about?

Eat less meat: CO2 emission of our food

The carbon dioxide emissions (carbon footprint) caused by our personal behavior is driven to a large extent by the type and quality of our nourishment. The amount of greenhouse gases caused by the production of food is different from one food type to the other (see table below). Worst is meat and in particular beef.

A environmental friendly and climate change friendly nourishment is characterised as follows:   

Plastic bags and plastic bottles - CO2 emissions during their lifetime

A number of people have asked about the implications of using plastic bags on the personal carbon footprint as well as on the environment in general. There are some comparisons between paper bags and plastic bags available which clearly show that it all depends on how many times these plastic or paper bags are being used. 

Littering is probably the severest problem related to plastic bags. Nevertheless let's now have a look at the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for the production and incineration of plastic bags.

Are cows the cause of global warming?

A cow does on overage release between 70 and 120 kg of Methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of Methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. Therefore the release of about 100 kg Methane per year for each cow is equivalent to about 2'300 kg CO2 per year.
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