In the 1950s and early 60s, the dawn of nuclear power was supposed to lead to a limitless consumer culture, a world of flying cars and autonomous kitchens all powered by clean energy. In Europe, it offered the then-limping continent a cheap, inexhaustible supply of power after years of rationing and infrastructure damage brought on by two World Wars.
German automakers are caught in a quandary – how can they pay more for a clean energy surcharge tax when automotive sales are down. The problem stems from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's move to take the country further away from nuclear and toward using more renewables to power the electricity grid.
In light of Japan's Fukushima disaster, the future of nuclear power is a topic of debate whenever alternative power sources are discussed. Whether you are for nuclear power or against it, one legacy of this technology will be the great lengths that governments and power companies must go to dispose of the spent fuel and other byproducts.
Japan continues to struggle from the effects of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and one of the biggest issues facing the nation has been the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The facility is now a grade seven nuclear disaster, which puts it on the same scale as the Chernobyl disaster in Russia during the 1980s.
Japan's devastating earthquake and the resulting tsunami has already claimed thousands of lives, but the threat is far from over. The Japanese government is feverishly fighting possible meltdowns of multiple nuclear reactors, and radiation has spiked to dangerous levels in some areas around the compromised facilities. The U.S. government has gone out of its way explaining to us that radiation from these plants won't travel here in anything close to dangerous quantities, but what about the vehicl
It seems that the nation's stockpile of W76 nuclear warheads is due for a tune up. According to The Kitsap Sun, the Navy is moving 1,600 and 1,800 of the warheads from their home at the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base in Washington State to the Texas panhandle for updating. The 100-kiloton are between 23 and 32 years old, and as such, require updates to their aiming, firing and fusing systems. In order to get those updates, the warheads will have to travel by road in special, unmarked tractor trailers.
Now that John McCain has been officially enthroned as the Republican party's choice for the window seat in the Oval Office, it's time to look at his proposals for how to deal with this country's seemingly insatiable thirst for energy. As expected, the focus of McCain's plan is to let the market decide what the best and most efficient means are to reduce America's dependence on imported petroleum and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A cap and trade system that would allow polluters to buy emissio
News rolled in yesterday that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has called for a huge increase in the number of nuclear power plants in the U.S.: 45 new plants by 2030, and another 55 after that. That's almost twice as many new plants as are operating in the U.S. today (104, according to the AP). What benefits does nuclear offer? According to McCain, "Every year, these  reactors alone spare the atmosphere from the equivalent of nearly all auto emissions in America." Of course, t
It has been said numerous times that German automakers are upset with European proposals which would limit CO2 output to around 120 grams per kilometer. Perhaps we shouldn't be lumping Volkswagen or its subsidiaries into that category. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of VW, has admitted that the VW brands, including luxury carmaker Audi, can achieve those low carbon standards. In fact, Winterkorn believes that the standards are achievable today, not by 2015 as proposals would require. Technologies which
Faced with the problems of oil supply and environmental factors, it seems quite certain that many of our transportation options in the future with be powered by electricity. Methods of supplying the necessary electrons are legion but all seem to involve costs and problems of one kind or another. With power from coal, there is not only the well known CO2 emittance problem, but also incredible amounts of mercury and a host of other poisons that get unleashed upon us and our environment. The popula
The electric car movement has, for the foreseeable future, a problem explaining how to best generate the massive amounts of electricity that plug-in hybrids and pure electrics will need. Right now, coal and nuclear the two most common ways to generate electric power in the U.S., and, while there's a lot of work being done on cleaner renewable sources, these two will be with us for a while yet.
Many politicians and others have promoted nuclear power as a means of addressing climate change since reactors emit no greenhouse gases or noxious pollutants. Setting aside for the moment the issue of what do with radioactive waste (by no means a trivial issue) there are other issues with nuclear power that will prevent it from being a panacea.
First I am going to pose a question, then, I am going to make a statement. Here goes: Is nuclear power good or bad? In this particular example, a new submarine for the British Royal Navy is powered by its very own nuclear reactor, and said nuclear reactor will power the machine for its entire expected 25-year lifespan. While the idea of never needing to refill a gas tank or recharge batteries sounds great, the question is whether nuclear power is a good option. Like I said earlier, this example
I have got to tell you that the article linked to here is very long and takes a good while to get through. Then, after you have read the whole thing, you still need time to meditate on all of the points. But, after doing that, feel free to comment on some of the ideas that Vinod Khosla outlines and the points that he makes. I believe that some of what he has to say is true and has merit, but can't quite agree with everything. Here is a good point: "every coal-fired power plant is a ticking slow
AddA Resource Investors thoughts on the State of the Union address: Back lithium, thorium, hydrogen and more
I am not a resource investor, by any account I am not much of an investor at all, unfortunately. But, there are investors out there who concentrate on our earth's resources. An advisor on the site Resource Investor gave his viewpoints on the technologies and resources required to make the President's talking points a reality. Here they are in condensed form:
The Indian President, Dr. A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, has addressed the topic of energy independence in his speech to the 94th Indian Science Congress in Tamil Nadu. Raising his concerns for the level of carbon dioxide production through energy production, Dr. Kalam stated that he wanted to focus on how India can contribute in minimising carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, power generation capacity in India stands at 130,000 MW, but this is forecasted to increase to 400,000 MW by 2030. To achieve this
We've been hearing a lot about nuclear power lately. Bush mentioned it as an ideal energy source to generate hydrogen fuel. An MIT study proposed two reactor concepts to produce nuclear hydrogen. This Weekend Edition story on NPR finds that a co-founder of Greenpeace is an active supporter. And the Nuclear Energy Institute says that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans don't mind it.
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