Feb 25

Clapp, Richard W. “Nuclear power and public health.” Environmental Health Perspectives 113.11 (2005): A720+. Environmental Studies and Policy Collection. Web. 25 Feb. 2010.

This peer reviewed article shows a spike in interest of installing new nuclear plants nationwide due to the benefits of uranium powered energy being clean air. One of the quotes from MIT on mitigating CO2 emissions in electricity sums up the need to deploy more nuclear reactors nationwide:

“…four options for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity: increasing efficiency, expanding renewable energy sources, capturing carbon dioxide and sequestering the carbon, and increasing use of nuclear power.”

The article also states that there is a new type of reactor that is “inherently safe”, a pebble bed modular reactor in South Africa pending approval for construction permits at the time of publication.

Since this article was written after 9/11, there is concern about the security of deploying nuclear plants worldwide as they act as a potential target for terrorists.

The article also states that we have learned our lessons from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island disasters and that the exposure of radiation to workers of the nuclear plants are insufficient.

“Given the availability of alternative carbon-free and low-carbon options and the potential to develop more efficient renewable technologies, it seems evident that public health would be better served in the long term by these alternatives than by increasing the number of nuclear power plants in the United States and the rest of the world. “

MIT. The Future of Nuclear Energy. Rep. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2003. Print.

This is a very comprehensive “interdisciplinary study” conducted in 2003 at MIT. After reading the summary of the study. As stated in the previous source I researched, MIT stated about the feasibility of deploying nuclear power:

““…four options for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity: increasing efficiency, expanding renewable energy sources, capturing carbon dioxide and sequestering the carbon, and increasing use of nuclear power.”

This statement alone captures the essence that nuclear power is indeed helpful to working with the energy crisis. MIT cites four problems that need to be investigated; cost, safety, proliferation, and waste must be taken into account for large scale nuclear energy deployment.

The study states that nuclear plants can justify their challenges if they contribute significantly to reducing global warming.

The MIT study estimates that by 2050, 1500 more 1GW reactors will have signed on (we have 366 reactors world wide in service as of 2003)

Another critical thing to consider is the choice of fuel cycle, “what type of fuel is used, what types of reactors “burn” the fuel, and the method of disposal of the fuel”. This is evaluated in depth in the article.

“We believe that the world-wide supply of uranium ore is sufficient to fuel the deployment of 1,000 reactors over the next half century”. This is key as even though uranium is a nonrenewable source, we still have the resources to keep it feasible for the foreseeable future.

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Feb 22

After watching “Powering the Planet” by Nate Lewis, it has become apparent that we are facing an energy crisis. Worldwide, we are currently using 13 TW of energy a year, and that number is expected to reach 28 TW by 2050. The US alone uses 3 TW of energy a year! I didn’t believe the statistics at first, I thought the US used more than only 25% of the global annual energy.

One of the interesting facts Nate Lewis brings up is that if we were to compensate for the extra 10 TW solely on Nuclear Energy, we would need to build 10,000 more 1GW Nuclear Reactors by 2050, literally a nuclear reactor every other day for the next 50 years. This shows that we can not rely on nuclear power alone. Nate Lewis also goes into to showing the feasibility of deploying carbon less primary energy sources such as how a huge 250 square mile or so solar cell in the midwest could power the US continuously if we were able to find out a feasible way of storing the energy over night.

All in all, I found this lecture really interesting and will probably be modeling my senior project investment video on the techniques that Nate Lewis used such as using thought provoking statistics to get a point across.

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Feb 10

I have decided to broaden my topic choice for my senior project to incorporate multiple methods of energy generation for the future, not just nuclear energy. This is important as I found out during the critique last time that the storage of nuclear waste is one of the hurdles in deploying a large scale network of nuclear generating stations.

I want to work on the project with Jake Neighbors still as he seems to share a passion for energy generation in 2110 with me.

Visually speaking, I am planning to make it a clean, “happy” video of how we were able to “save” Earth by using clean energy. This will include shots that I take of the diverse energy generation stations all over Southern California.

I think Margaret will like it even though it is not a violent film (unlike some SciFi post apocalypse ideas I had.)

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Feb 10

After watching, An Inconvenient Truth, I have decided that I want to broaden my horizons to investigate the energy outlook in 2110 as a whole instead of just nuclear energy.

World Energy Crisis. Web. 09 Feb. 2010. <http://planetforlife.com/>.

This shows that oil, coal, and natural gas were supplying 85% of the world’s energy needs in 2008. So far, we have discovered enough oil to last us for another 42 years. Of course, as John said, this number has remained constant for a while, and is most likely due to the fact that we have only discovered what we truly need for the near future.

With regards to global warming, this site investigates several alternate energy sources to mitigate the release of carbon when burning fossil fuels to create energy. As evident in the wedge of mitigation (as I call it), we can save some CO2 emissions by switching to clean air energy. It is important that we cut down on our emissions as there is a positive correlation between CO2 in the atmosphere and the Average Temperature (as seen in An Inconvenient Truth)

“Clean-Air Benefits of Nuclear Energy.” Nuclear Energy Institute. Web. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://www.nei.org/keyissues/protectingtheenvironment/cleanair/>.

This resource from the NEI is helpful for my original topic of focusing on nuclear energy. It also shows that the generation of nuclear energy does not create any ozone harmful gases (such as Nitrogen Oxide) that protects the environment from being adversely affected by ozone depletion. This is mandated by the Clean Air Act of 1970.

Also, the site goes onto talk about how nuclear generation doesn’t produce CO2, the largest greenhouse gas that is contributing to climate change.

“Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, clean-air electricity source that can be expanded widely to produce large amounts of energy. Nuclear energy makes up more than 70 percent of all the nation’s clean-air electricity generation. U.S. nuclear power plants also prevented the emission of 1 million short tons of nitrogen oxides and 2.7 million short tons of sulfur dioxide—pollutants controlled under the Clean Air Act. The amount of nitrogen oxide emissions that nuclear plants prevent annually is the equivalent of taking more than 47 million passenger cars off the road.”

“Wind Energy in California.” California Energy Commission Home Page. Web. 11 Feb. 2010. <http://www.energy.ca.gov/wind/overview.html>.

Wind energy is being utilized in California and across the globe to attempt to cut down on CO2 emissions during energy generation. Wind energy is feasible in places where there is a high wind and a low risk of building towers (i.e. not by an airport).

In California, there is currently a federal tax credit (i.e. monetary incentive) for those who decide to utilize wind generation. It is also interesting to know that in California 4,000 jobs were created when the state decided to utilize wind energy.

This site is helpful as it gives a glimpse of a clean air, alternative energy generation method that can help with reducing CO2 emissions.

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Feb 03

I was doing some more research about growing strawberries in San Diego’s climate and multiple sources are recommending the “Seascape Variety”. These are apparently perfect for planting at this time of the year.

The Peaceful Valley SKU is FP786 for 1 lb (about 40 plants) for $7.99. It is better to buy plants than to buy seeds if we want a harvest soon.

Please note that this item ships separately and accrues shipping charges.

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