File The Big Dry
The Economist (“The Big Dry,” 4/26/07) reports that Australia’s extended drought has led to disputes between the federal and local governments over water use, and warns that other countries will face similar problems as the global climate warms.
File Managing Spent Fuel in the United States
In a research report for the International Panel of Fissile Materials, Frank Von Hippel argues that the push for reprocessing spent fuel in the United States is fundamentally illogical, as it would be enormously costly and would provide no tangible benefits over dry cask storage.
File Scientists look high in the sky for power
The San Francisco Chronicle (“Scientists Look High in the Sky for Energy,” 5/7/07) reported that researchers are looking into the feasibility of building huge kite-like generators to produce electricity from the jet stream. Ken Caldeira at Stanford University calculates that 1 percent of the energy in high altitude winds could provide enough energy for the entire planet.
File IPCC Working Group III
Working Group III released its contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which deals with mitigation. The report outlines current trends and mitigation strategies, and also discusses the remaining unknowns.
File Estimates of the US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile
Robert Norris of the National Resources Defense Council and Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists published a fact sheet on US nuclear weapons stockpile. They estimate that the stockpile will decline from more than 9,930 weapons currently to just over 5,040 by 2012.
File DPRK Energy Futures
The Nautilus Institute’s David Von Hippel and Peter Hayes provide an update on the DPRK’s energy balance estimate through 2005. Building on their previous work, the authors argue that while there is some evidence of improvement in the overall energy balance, the situation remains serious.
File DPRK 2005 Attachments
File A Nuclear Reactor Reborn
The New York Times (Matthew Wald, “A Nuclear Reactor Reborn,” 5/11/07) reported that the government’s decision to restart the Brown’s Ferry nuclear reactor, which was shut down 22 years ago for safety reasons, indicates the difficulties expected in getting regulatory clearance to open new plants. The $1.8 billion spent refurbishing the reactor is almost equal to the cost of a new plant.
File Climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water
The International Herald Tribune (James Kanter, “Climate change puts nuclear energy into hot water,” 5/20/07) reports that while nuclear energy is being touted as a possible solution to climate change, global warming threatens to cause a shortage of cool water necessary for operating reactors.
File Attack-proof power line to be installed in NYC
Reuters (“Attack-Proof Power Lines to be Installed Under NYC,” 05/21/07) reported that Consolidated Edison and American Superconductor Corp. have agreed to install a superconducting power line underneath New York City to make the city’s power grid less vulnerable to an attack or extreme weather.
File Partner plan shares benefits and risks
The Sydney Morning Herald (“Partner plan shares benefits and risks,” 5/19/07) reported that the Bush administration’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership idea is coming under attack from both nonproliferation experts and countries that are being asked to forgo uranium enrichment, for promoting double-standards in nuclear proliferation.
File Roadblocks to Japan’s Biofuel Goal
OhmyNews International (Hisane Misake, “Roadblocks to Japan’s Biofuel Goal,” 5/12/07) reported that the Japanese government’s goal to save 500,000 kiloliters of crude oil annually by 2010 through by increasing the use of biofuel is facing several obstacles. Not the least among these is the country’s limited capacity for domestic production, and thus reliance on imports in an market where demand outstrips supply.
File Electricity Technology in a Carbon-Constrained Future
The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducted an analysis of the potential for significant CO2 reductions from the U.S. electric power sector within the next 25-30 years. The study found that while no single technology constituted a “silver bullet,” it is possible using a combination of approaches to slow, stop, and eventually reduce CO2 emissions in the coming decades, while at the same time meeting growing power demands.
File Tidal Turbines to Light Up Manhattan
Technology Review (“Tidal Turbines Help Light Up Manhattan,” 4/23/07) reported that six turbines are being submerged off New York’s Roosevelt Island to generate electricity from the rapid tidal currents in the East River. Unlike traditional tidal barrages, the new turbines don’t have any major impact on tidal flow, although there are some concerns about the danger they may pose to fish.