Monday, July 27, 2009

The Bird the Cat Dragged In

Some Monday nuclear tastiness:

09-02-18Nairobi_action Well, we don’t know:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is willing to support Kenya in exploiting nuclear power as a source of energy.

IAEA Director General, Dr. Mohammed El Baradei, said Friday that in order for Kenya to achieve rapid industrialization there was the need to add nuclear energy in its current energy mix.

"Kenya might have other sources of energy but in order to industrialize faster, there is need for nuclear energy," Dr. Baradei said.

What we can’t tell from the story is whether Kenya wants nuclear energy or if Dr. El Baradei is making some stray comments – other stories on this seem to root from this one. We think he’s saying that the IAEA is offering Kenya help in developing a domestic industry. Then we came to this:

Dr. Baradei was speaking when he met President Mwai Kibaki at his Harambee House office here late Thursday.

Quite a chatty guy, our Dr. El Baradei.

These are members of the Women’s Major Group, protesting before UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program) in Nairobi to keep nuclear energy from being considered a green energy. The sign says, “Nuclear energy is not a solution for climate change. Redirect nuclear funding to renewables – now!”

The rhetoric goes a little extreme: “There is not one part of the nuclear power chain, which is not connected to continued human rights violations, of indigenous and women’s rights and the rights of future generations.” Whew! At least nuclear is an equal-opportunity destroyer of souls.

You can read more here.

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lead01 In the face of the financial downturn, Russia is scaling back its nuclear plans to one new reaction per year from two. That’s understandable. Here’s what caught our eye, though:

At the same meeting, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev put forward three priority challenges for the country's nuclear power industry.

The first task, he said, was to improve the performance of pressurised water reactors over the next two to three years. The second, over the medium-term, is to develop a new technological basis for nuclear energy based on a closed fuel cycle with fast neutron reactors. Thirdly, the industry must develop nuclear fusion as a future energy source.

Good, good, what!? This is the first time we’ve seen fusion as part of a country’s energy roadmap. We’re fond of fusion, especially as an energy source with a genuine fan base – but at least for now you have to drain a city to power a town. (Don’t be fooled, though – a lot of smart people have been trying to make fusion work for years.) If the Russians have a way forward, power, so to speak, to them.

Members of the Russian Cossack Folk Dance and Song Ensemble.

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newt-gingrich We have, at best, mixed feelings about twittering politicians, since the form encourages the drive-by phrase making that has come to define so much television coverage of politics. On the other hand, it is unfiltered communication (ggod) and the imposed terseness tamps down the blowhardiness of our political class(very good).

With that, we give you Newt Gingrich:

We r ready 4 alternative forms of energy that moves into the 21st century & provides jobs. Wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower.

And that’s the bird the cat dragged in.

Himself.

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