File China’s Space Weapons
Writing in the Wall St. Journal (“China’s Space Weapons, 7/23/07), Ashley J. Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace argues that, given the United States’ enormous military superiority, China would try to attack space-based communication capabilities in the event of a war. Since this is vital to Chinese military strategy, Beijing will not be interested in international treaties regulating the weaponization of space.
File Russia Plans Big Nuclear Expansion
The Christian Science Monitor (Fred Weir, “Russia Plans Big Nuclear Expansion,” 7/17/07) reported that Russia wants to increase the proportion of its electricity that comes from nuclear power from 15 percent at present to 30 percent by 2030. Included in the plans for expansion is building the world’s first floating atomic reactors.
File Nuclear Mishap or Meltdown?
Scientific American (“Nuclear Mishap or Meltdown? It’s All a Matter of Degree,” 7/25/07) reported that the planned expansion of nuclear power may increase familiarity with the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES). Like the Richter Scale does for earthquakes, INES rates events at nuclear power plants, ranging from 0 for a minor event with no safety significance, to 7 for a “major nuclear accident.”
File Seas could rise much more than we thought
The Sidney Morning Herald (Marian Wilkinson and Wendy Frew, “Seas could rise much more than we thought,” 8/6/07) reported that Stefan Rahmstorf has just published a new method for projecting sea rises due to global warming, which predicts much faster sea level rises than the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released earlier this year.
File Too Hot to Handle
In a new report from the Oxford Research Group, Frank Barnaby and James Kemp argue that the risks associated with a massive expansion of nuclear power over the rest of the century far outweigh any benefits that might accrue from carbon emissions reduction.
File How can Japan contribute to peaceful nuclear programs abroad?
The Association of Japanese Institutes of Strategic Studies carried a commentary by Kunihiko Uematsu, senior advisor on international affairs at the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (“How can Japan contribute to peaceful nuclear programs abroad?” 07/27/07). Uematsu argued that with the push for nuclear expansion driving up the demand for LWRs, Japan should actively export equipment and expertise abroad, particularly to developing countries.
File Models underestimate global warming impacts
Science News (“Models underestimate global warming impacts,” 5/30/07) reported that new research shows that models in the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underestimate some changes that are already underway due to global warming.
File Hard Truths About Global Energy
The National Petroleum Council released a 422-page report entitled “Facing the Hard Truths About Energy: A Comprehensive View to 2030 of Global Oil and Natural Gas.” The report indentifies five core strategies for meeting energy demand in the future: increasing efficiency to moderate demand; expanding and diversifying production; integrating energy policy into foreign, trade, security, and environmental policies; enhancing scientific and technological capabilities; and developing the legal and regulatory framework for carbon management.
File Solar Power in the Rain
The Guardian (David Adam, “Solar Power in the Rain,” 8/9/07) reported that a company called G24 Innovations has developed a new solar cell that uses a pigment common in white paint to mimic photosynthesis. Because they don’t use silicon, these new cells will be cheaper than traditional photovoltaics, and also work better in periods of low light. While initially limited to small-scale applications like recharging cell phone batteries, the company envisions eventually using them for larger-scale energy production, such as providing electricity to large buildings.
File Tougher Rules Urged to Protect Arctic
The Financial Times (Michael Peel and Fiona Harvey, “Tougher Rules Urged to Protect Arctic,” 8/19/07) reported that the World Wildlife Federation has called for an international treaty on the Arctic, to prevent conflict over resources as the melting of the polar ice caps makes the region more accessible for exploration.
File Who Resolves Arctic Oil Disputes?
The Christian Science Monitor (Colin Woodard, “Who Resolves Arctic Oil Disputes?” 8/20/07) reported that the melting of the polar ice caps has opened up the specter of competing claims to the Arctic region, as countries bordering the region scramble to lay claim to resources that were formerly inaccessible.
File Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free
In this article in Japan Focus, Mark Selden interviews Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, regarding his new book, “Carbon-Free and Nulcear-Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy.” Makhijani argues that dealing with global warming requires the U.S. to take the leadership to move to zero CO2 emissions within the coming decades.
File Japan’s Nuclear Plants at Grave Danger from Quake Damage
Writing in Japan Focus, Isibashi Katsuhiko, a professor at the Research Center for Urban Safety and Security of Kobe University, argues that the period of high seismic activity is expected to continue for the next forty years, and that unless radical steps are taken to improve the safety of Japan’s nuclear power plants in the near future, Japan could be facing a true nuclear disaster.