Archive for Nuclear Energy

Finally, Some Common Sense From Science

Posted in America, Britain, Children, England, Environment, Europe, Health, News, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 20/10/2013 by floroy1942

WHOThe World Health Organization (WHO) has just released a report that states “the leading cause of lung cancer is air pollution”. It has always been my belief that air pollution from cars and factories has been a significant cause of this and many other sicknesses, and not the smoker who was deemed by all as the ‘Evil One’. For years, doctors and scientists have been blaming smokers for all the cancers in the world with their ‘Passive Smoking’ hype and telling everyone that if as a non-smoker you get lung cancer it is the fault of those evil smokers who pollute the atmosphere. Well, at last the truth will out, and it seems we smokers are not the ones to blame for all the vile diseases in the world.

Not As Big An Evil

Not Killing Everyone In A 100m Radius As We Were Told!

I am well aware that smoking heightens the risk of smoker’s contracting lung cancer and I do not take that lightly, but I have never subscribed to the idea that to sit across the room from a smoker you are bound to get it as some will have us believe. When I was young I often went to the cinema, and because there were no restrictions on smoking, the smoke inside was as thick as fog at times. It was an every day part of life, just as in the pubs, but the point I am making is that we did not have hundreds of thousands dying of lung cancer every year like we do now, the disease was practically unheard of. It was the same for every leading nation in Europe and North America.

1950's Industrial Scene - The Price Of Burning Coal

1950’s Industrial Scene – The Price Of Burning Coal

The one major thing that changed after then was that people became more affluent and had money to buy cars, evidenced by the fact that since the 1950’s the car population has exploded until we now have over a billion cars on the world’s roads. As you would expect, this came at a price i.e. a massive expansion of the pollutants entering the atmosphere. Not only cars but also the explosion of the manufacturing industry is to blame as more and more factories started up to provide us all with the luxury goods we crave like mobile phones, electric hair-dryers, cosmetics, computers and of course cars. The number of factories in the world has risen beyond imagination when compared to those far off days prior to 1960.

Air Pollutants

Air Pollutants

From the WHO data it becomes clear that our avarice will at some time in the future be the end of us, for as we want more and more so we add more deadly chemicals to the very air that we breathe, and eventually it will kill us! Harsh words for some, but I believe prophetic.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has quoted the fast rising economic and industrial expansion of countries like China and other East Asian countries that has resulted in smog in major cities such as we saw in major industrial centres in England in the 1950’s.

Bus Conductor Guides The Bus Driver

Bus Conductor Guides The Bus Driver

I remember a time in Manchester when I was about fourteen that my father made me walk in front of the car to show him the way because otherwise movement in the thick smog was impossible. It took us several hours to travel a few miles to get home.

The catalyst in those days was that since the birth of the Industrial Revolution, every factory and home burnt ordinary coal, and it was only in the 50’s and 60’s that we learnt how to to process coal into such things as coke and other smokeless fuels. Later came the nuclear age which was the cleanest of all, but we sat with the problem of disposing of used nuclear fuel rods. Thankfully for us, such times are history, but not in the Far East.

The  Good Old Days

The Good Old Days

I find it amazing that for decades scientists have blamed the smoker for all the lung diseases of the world, and governments have willingly persecuted these people for their “Filthy Habit”, and many people give disgusted looks or shout abuse at those among us who enjoy it. I remember sitting in the front row of the smokers seats on an aeroplane when going on holiday. I was well within my rights to smoke then, but a Dutch woman in front of me turned and gave me a mouthful of abuse in a very loud voice that “I was killing her with my smoke”. Needless to say, she got short shrift from me. But all the hype against smokers has been exacerbated by continuing ‘scientific’ reports that if you are within 100 yards of a smoker the passive smoke will kill you.

The Effects Of Air Pollution

The Effects Of Air Pollution

Dr Kurt Straif, from IARC, said: “The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancer-causing substances. We now know that outdoor air pollution is not only a major risk to health in general, but also a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths.” Cancer Research UK said it was not a surprise. I am no scientist but I reported on the link between air pollution and cancer up to two years ago because to me it was obvious. Thankfully science has now caught up.

The Harmful Effects of Air Pollution

The Harmful Effects of Air Pollution

What has also come to light is that charity organizations like Cancer Research are down-playing the WHO results, probably because it will affect future donations and goes against everything they have been preaching to the masses for the last thirty years i.e. that tobacco smoke is the number one killer. Dr Julie Sharp, the head of health information at the charity, said: “It’s important that people keep the risk from air pollution in perspective. Although air pollution increases the risk of developing lung cancer by a small(??) amount, other things have a much bigger effect on our risk, particularly smoking.” (Oh yes! Let us admit we may have made a mistake, but after all it was was only a teensie weensie one wasn’t it!).

So where do we go from here? That’s a very big question with a very expensive answer! The WHO is asking governments to begin taking action to curb emissions in a big way. They can do this if they wish, but the measures required would be very unpopular with the masses who invariably know nothing of the risks to mankind’s future, and are only interested if it impacts their daily lives. Few people have the brains to look forward and imagine what our current greed is doing to the lives of our children and grand-children, and even their children.

New York City Skyline At Night - A Shocking Waste Of Power, And It's Everywhere

New York City Skyline At Night – A Shocking Waste Of Power, And It’s Everywhere

To clean up the air we breathe before it kills us all we have to make major inroads into our current way of life. It may be as some advocate, finding cleaner sources of energy but in my opinion that is a pipe dream unless you are talking about nuclear power stations. We would be far better off making huge cuts in the amount of energy we use because so much of it is pure waste, like city office blocks with all their lights on all night, garish advertising boards that stay on all night, and all the little electrical gadgets we have around the home like electric toothbrushes, hair dryers and juice mixers. They all add up to a monumental waste of all the world’s precious resources and add to the pollution unnecessarily.

One Of The Largest Polluters

One Of The Largest Polluters

Next in line is of course the motor car, for this is perhaps the biggest polluter of all with over a billion cars on the road. Some families have three and four cars between them, father, mother, son, daughter etc. There will come a time when governments will have to step in and make it law there will be no more than one car per family. Vehicles are a double danger, for not only do they pollute the air in our cities and towns, but are also consuming natural resources at an ever increasing rate, and what will you do when the oil tap is closed for the last time? Keep going on at the rate we are and I can see mankind going back to the horse as a means of transport.

Is This YOUR Child's Future Because Of Our Own Excess?

Is This YOUR Child’s Future Because Of Our Own Excess?

Whichever way you look at it, we all have to start consuming less and reduce emissions drastically if our children, and theirs, are to have a world to live in. It starts with each an every one of us – No-one else!

Roy.

France Leads The Way By Turning Out The Lights

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 02/02/2013 by floroy1942
Shanghai At Night

Shanghai At Night

According to reports, France has taken a major step towards saving the planet without even realizing it. The French government have apparently just passed a law that forces shops and office blocks to turn out their lights at night, quoting “light pollution” and “electricity savings”.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas

The law states that all of these buildings must turn off all lights within one hour of the last person leaving, or by 01.00hrs every night and the projected savings in electricity are staggering. It has been calculated that this one measure will save sufficient energy to power 750,000 homes for an entire year! The actual figure is two terawatt/hours of electricity a year. When you consider the implications of this, it is an enormous saving of power at a time when demand is growing at an ever-increasing rate year on year.

World Energy Consumption On The Rise

World Energy Consumption On The Rise

As we have more and more gadgets in the house requiring this precious resource, plus of course the introduction of electric cars, the energy demands of today’s society will grow to such an extent that the power companies will be unable to fill demand in the future. This in effect, will necessitate a mass building programme of extra power stations which will need more of the Earth’s resources to feed them.

London

London

When you look at the night skyline of  all the major cities in the world they are a mass of light from glaring advertisements to whole skyscrapers lit from top to bottom. If you think about it, this is wasting power on an unprecedented scale the like of which is incomparable. We are using coal, natural gas and nuclear power to satisfy our increasing needs, and this is before millions of people ‘go green’ and buy an electric car to ‘save the planet’.

Power Guzzler!

Power Guzzler!

There are many people who are against nuclear power, but what they do not realize is that as demand increases we will need many more power stations to keep up with demand. If they are all gas or coal powered we will hasten the day when the whole planet will have the problem currently inflicted upon the people of Beijing, China. A poisoned atmosphere!

Sydney Australia

Sydney Australia

For this reason it is wise for us all to look at ways to reduce our power consumption, and the step that France has taken is the right way to go. It only remains to be seen how soon all countries follow this lead and impose the same law. When you think about it, I am sure you will see that it makes sense.

Roy.

Nuclear Power Demonstrations After Japan

Posted in Britain, Demonstration, Environment, Europe, Germany, Insanity, Modern World, Nuclear, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 13/03/2011 by floroy1942

I guess it was inevitable that the anti-nuclear lobby would be out demonstrating even before the dust had settled on the Japanese reactor  in Fukushima. Students were out in force in Germany yesterday, just a day after the disaster, demanding the shut down of all nuclear power plants in the country.

OK! But Give Us An Alternative

As soon as I saw the reports on the news, I remarked to my wife that while these people may demand an end to nuclear power, none have a workable suggestion to replace the electricity generating capacity of the nuclear plants. Passion is one thing, but common sense often dictates the reverse!

 Until man devises a safer way of satisfying the needs of our power-hungry society, we are stuck with what we have. It may not be ideal, and in certain circumstances i.e. when abused like Three-Mile Island and Chernobyl or a natural disaster as in Japan, things can go ‘pear shaped’. These are the risks we have to take.

There are those who say we should concentrate our attention on wind, solar and hydro-electric power or bio-fuels, but all are totally impractical on the scale required to satisfy our energy needs.

The Heart Of Our Power Generation

I have written often enough on the practicality of these alternatives and will therefore not go into detail again here. I just refer to you to a previous post on the subject, but suffice it to say, the alternatives listed are not a workable solution as a replacement for nuclear power:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/germany-the-nuclear-dilemma/

Our biggest problem is the ever increasing demand for more and more electricity, and we have reached the stage where there is little or no spare capacity in many western countries. Our consumption rates are at an all-time high and increasing year on year. There has to come an end to our greed!

London’s Wasted Gigawatts

Take a look at the world’s major cities for example, and see how many office blocks and shop fronts are lit up at night like christmas trees, even though they are empty. Take another look at all the neon signs and advertisements that festoon our cities and ask yourself, can we continue in this way? It may look nice, but in real terms it is sheer unadulterated waste. Should this wastage be outlawed we could probably shut down several nuclear plants based purely on the energy savings. The problem is not nuclear power itself, but the selfish, arrogant use we make of what is generated!

Times Square New York- Watts In An Advert!

Now a new energy ‘gobbler’ is emerging on the market in the form of all-electric cars. For sure, they will help to solve the climate change problems but they are a hidden menace in the form of the demands they will make on our power generating capability. Can you for one second imagine the energy requirements of tens of millions of electric cars plugged into the net every night? On top of our ever-increasing demands for everything else, such an addition would overload our power grids within seconds. I have also covered this topic in a previous posts as follows:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2009/12/19/future-transport-electric-hybrid-hydrogen-or-bio/

We have a saying in England: “You can’t have your cake and eat it!” Not very practical because what is the point of having cake if you can’t eat it, but never-the-less it makes a point. As a species, we cannot continue expanding our power requirements ‘Ad Infinitum’ and not expect a backlash. The fact is, we have to make good with what we have, and at the moment that is nuclear power, and distasteful as that is, we have no alternative! There is no quick fix for our energy needs until scientists unlock new forms of power generation, and that will take years.

Chernobyl- One Disaster Is Enough

Considering the risks attached to nuclear power generation it is perhaps more prudent to improve safety measures at the plants. No-one wants a repeat of Chernobyl, which was caused by human error and not an inerrant fault in the design, but as the Japanese situation has indicated, better safeguards are required to ensure a nuclear reactor can be quickly and safely shut down in the event of a natural disaster before over-heating becomes a factor.

The USA At Night From The ISS Station

The risk of a real atomic explosion is minuscule, but the possibility of the escape of radioactive material still causes concern. This needs to be addressed by the scientific community as an urgent priority. The general public should not be put at risk under any circumstances, for as we see at the moment, any incident involving nuclear power brings out the protesters. It would be nice if they could come up with a really workable alternative, but to date they can’t!

Each and every one of us can do our bit towards reducing the energy drain. Switch off the lights and other electrical appliances like the TV and video recorder when not needed, and use low energy bulbs wherever possible. In every home it may be a small thing, but collectively, it all adds up.

The World Hot Spots

Governments need to introduce laws that prevent entire office blocks and shops from being lit up at night when they are empty, and a curb on all the neon advertising could be introduced. Sounds impractical, and many will say a bit daft, but just for one moment imagine how much power would be saved. It will boggle your mind! If we continue to put so much pressure on our electricity generating companies, we may well be left with no choice but to take such measures.

Roy.

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