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Science and Environment/Energy
If the Fukushima nuclear reactors were based on thorium instead of uranium, the current nuclear crisis in Japan right now wouldn’t be happening. Thorium is a superior nuclear fuel to uranium in almost every conceivable way, yet we hear almost nothing about it in the contemporary hubbub about nuclear power. If there is such a thing as green nuclear power, thorium is it. For one, a thorium-powered nuclear reactor can never undergo a meltdown. It just can’t. This is because thorium is slightly lighter than uranium and is not fissile – meaning you can pack as much of the stuff together as you want and it won’t undergo a runaway chain reaction. Instead, you need to inject a smidge of energy into a thorium reactor to kick it off. Some designs use uranium or plutonium as a seed. An even safer design uses a particle beam to trigger the reaction. If there’s a problem, you switch off the beam, and the reactor cools down of its own accord. The meltdown is averted by simply doing nothing.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 | 775 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more
Science and Environment/Energy
The second oil crisis of 1979 had just ended when the Government of Sri Lanka decided in 1982 to place energy efficiency and demand management as the top priority, with the energy ministry functioning directly under the President. By 1983, burdened with a severe drought requiring more thermal power generation as well, Sri Lanka spent 45% of her export earnings to buy oil, and the situation was getting worse. Thanks to the Mahaweli power plants, moderate weather, moderate oil prices and fast growth of the economy, Sri Lanka never had to spend such a large share of her income to buy oil. The more recent peak was in 2008, when the country spent about 35% of the export income on oil.
Thursday, 30 July 2009 | 1124 hits | Print | PDF |  E-mail | Report | Read more