January Energy Links

I will compile a recap of 2011 energy yields as well as our other activities in the next few days, but for now here are some energy links from around the world:

First of all, a recent report revealed that the French nuclear reactors are not nearly as safe as believed and that massive and expensive safety upgrades are required. I hope they make the upgrades as soon as possible, since France is a lot closer than Ukraine and we did get the Chernobyl fallout back in the day. Particularly, since the French nuclear power company AREVA is also reporting record losses of more than a billion euros due to the drastically decreased support for nuclear power and the drastically increased safety demands post Fukushima. However, I also wonder whether the knowledge that the French reactors are less safe than believed will lower the still considerable support for nuclear power in France.

According to a recent report by a panel instigated by the Japanese government, the response to the Fukushima disaster was severely lacking. Of course, the report is only confirming what everybody already guessed anyway.

More fallout from the Fukushima disaster: In Canada, there are increasing worries about radioactive contaminated fish being imported from Japan and Pacific. After Chernobyl it was mushrooms, now it’s fish. Why does radiation always has to affect the foods I actually like?

What is more, even in Japan experts are beginning to ask whether the world can phase out nuclear power completely, at least according to this article from the Oman Observer. Of course, it must be remembered that as an oil-producing country, Oman is not exactly unbiased with regards to this question.

Though the Oman Observer also reports on alternatives to both nuclear power and fossil fuels, such as this article about the Sultanate of Oman planning to increase its investments in solar power in cooperation with German and Swiss solar power companies. Solar power seems like a very good solution for the Arab peninsula, since the region gets a lot of sun and has a lot of land that has no agricultural or other use.

As alternative methods of energy generation go, this is one of the crazier (and potentially very risky) schemes: US developers are planning to pump 90 million liters of water into a dormant volcano in Oregon to demonstrate their new geothermal energy technology. Somehow I doubt that pumping water into volcanoes will be the future of energy generation. Never mind the dangers to human life, property and the environment, if the volcano turns out to be not quite as dormant as everybody thought.

Thanks to Jay Lake for the volcano and radioactive fish links.


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