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Nuclear Waste, KFC, and Girl Scout Cookies

first_imgDear EarthTalk: Why don’t we reprocess and re-use our nuclear waste like France does? Would it be possible for us to start doing so?                                                            — Albert Jukowsky, Silver Spring, MDReprocessing nuclear waste to extract more energy from it, while expensive and controversial, is indeed to this day still practiced in France, the UK, Russia, India and Japan—but not in the United States, where it was invented. The process involves breaking down spent nuclear fuel chemically and recovering fissionable material for use in new fuels. Proponents tout the benefit of reducing the amount of nuclear waste, resulting in less highly radioactive material that needs to be stored safely.Nuclear reprocessing was first developed in the U.S. as part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb. After the war, the embryonic nuclear power industry began work to reprocess its waste on a large scale to extend the useful life of uranium, a scarce resource at the time. But commercial reprocessing attempts faltered due to technical, economic and regulatory problems. Anti-nuclear sentiment and the fear of nuclear proliferation in the 1970s led President Jimmy Carter to terminate federal support for further development of commercial reprocessing. The military did continue to reprocess nuclear waste for defense purposes, though, until the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War made continuous ramping up of our nuclear arsenal unnecessary.More recently, George W. Bush pushed a plan, the Global Nuclear Energy Project (GNEP), to promote the use of nuclear power and subsidize the development of a new generation of “proliferation-resistant” nuclear reprocessing technologies that could be rolled out to the commercial nuclear energy sector. Federal scientists came up with promising spins on reprocessing nuclear fuel while minimizing the resulting waste. But in June of 2009 the Obama administration cancelled GNEP, citing cost concerns.Proponents of nuclear power—and of reprocessing in particular—were far from pleased with GNEP’s axing, especially in light of Obama’s earlier decision to close Yucca Mountain as the U.S.’s future nuclear waste repository. “GNEP may have gone away, but the need to recycle spent fuel in this country is more important than ever because of the government’s stupid decision to close Yucca Mountain,” said Danny Black of the Southern Carolina Alliance, a regional economic development group, on the Ecopolitology blog. “Without Yucca Mountain, the pressure is on the industry to do more with recycling.”But a 2007 report by the nonprofit Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) would seem to justify Obama’s decision. IEER found that nuclear reprocessing would actually increase our volume of nuclear waste six fold. IEER also reported that France, which runs the world’s most efficient reprocessing operation, spends about two cents per kilowatt hour more for electricity generated from reprocessed nuclear fuel compared to that generated from fresh fuel. IEEE further reports that the costs to build the breeder plants needed to convert spent nukes into usable fuel would “create intolerable costs and risks.”For now, U.S. nuclear plants will continue to store waste on site, with spent rods cooled in pools of water for upwards of a year and then moved into thick steel and concrete caskets. While proliferation and terrorism have long been risks associated with hosting nuclear plants on American soil, recent events in Japan underscores that even Mother Nature poses a threat. As such, advocates of reprocessing probably stand little chance of reviving plans in a political climate now so hostile to nuclear development.CONTACTS: Ecopolitology, www.ecopolitology.org; IEER, www.ieer.org. Dear EarthTalk: I understand that fast-food giant YUM! Brands, owner of KFC, is under fire by Greenpeace and others for rainforest destruction. What’s the story?  — Betsy Barnard, Wellesley, MAYUM! Brands, which operates 38,000 fast food restaurants in 110 countries (including not only KFC but also Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, WingStreet, A&W and Long John Silver’s), has come under fire of late from Greenpeace and other rainforest advocacy groups for sourcing palm oil, paper and other goods from suppliers notorious for destroying tropical rainforests in Indonesia and elsewhere. While McDonald’s and Burger King have worked in recent years to cut their ties with palm oil and logging companies linked to rainforest destruction, YUM! continues to ignore calls to source their resources more responsibly.Indonesia’s tropical rainforests are home to orangutans, tigers, elephants, clouded leopards and dozens of other endangered plants and animals. Environmentalists report that 40 percent of Indonesia’s rainforests have been logged over in the last half-century, mostly to clear the way for palm oil plantations. The cleared timber is sold at huge profits for paper and pulp, while the palm oil brings in continuous revenue for multinational corporations despite denuding lands once rich in biodiversity.Tropical rainforests also sequester significant amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) in their growing woody biomass; chopping them down only accelerates the rate of global warming by allowing more CO2 to escape into the atmosphere where it contributes to the greenhouse effect. Despite a partial moratorium on rainforest destruction announced by the Indonesian government in May 2011, analysts believe that nearly half of the country’s remaining tropical rainforests will be cleared within two decades.Over-exploitation of natural resources—and deforestation in particular—is a huge obstacle to Indonesia’s growth. According to the Rajawali Institute for Asia at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, by eliminating its natural capital for negligible gains, Indonesia lost $150 billion in future revenues between 1990 and 2007, wiping out one-third of the country’s national savings in the process.There are “major economic risks for Southeast Asia’s agriculture and timber sectors if they don’t take prompt action to conserve their forests,” reports Glenn Hurowitz, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy. “Global consumers are increasingly demanding deforestation-free products,” he says, adding that Nestle, McDonald’s, Unilever and others have pledged to obtain their palm oil from sources certified “sustainable” by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.YUM! Brands is not the only offender. Greenpeace has also targeted Mattel toys for supporting suppliers that contribute to Indonesian deforestation. And two Michigan girl scouts were shocked to find out the cookies they were selling contained palm oil obtained from deforested land in Indonesia. They spread the word to fellow girl scouts across the country, thousands of whom have stopped selling cookies as a result.Concerned consumers should write the company a letter asking them to stop using products derived from deforested rainforest lands. Greenpeace makes it easy by hosting an online form letter that sympathizers can sign onto and the group will take care of delivering your message directly to YUM! executives.CONTACTS: YUM! Brands, www.yum.com; Center for International Policy, www.ciponline.org; Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, www.rspo.org; Greenpeace Form Letter to YUM!, https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=689.last_img read more

Wenger urges Arsenal to keep going

first_img West Ham, who have plummeted down the table following a poor run of results, regrouped for the second half and would have been good value for an equaliser. However, Arsenal finally broke then down again with nine minutes left when Aaron Ramsey fired in after a neat one-two with Giroud and substitute Mathieu Flamini rolled home a third to send Wenger’s side into next week’s Champions League tie away to Monaco with renewed hope of an unlikely victory. “We just have to keep going. We have won eight of the last nine and we are stronger today than we were at the start of the season,” said Wenger. “We dropped off in this league because we won one of six at the start of the season. Today we are a different team. “We suffered a lot from the post-World Cup fixtures, players came back and they weren’t ready to play.” Giroud’s goal finished off a classic slick Arsenal passing move as the France forward continued his fine recent form, with six goals in the last seven. “It was a fantastic goal because it’s a consequence of a fantastic combination just before and after. On top of that the finishing was great,” said Wenger. “Giroud is a boy who has played at 22 or 23 in division three (in France). He’s come out and has become an international footballer. “You need some mental strength to do that because there’s no red carpet there. You have to work hard to get out there and get to the top – you need some special strength.” Wenger takes Arsenal to his former club on Tuesday night needing to overcome a 3-1 deficit from the first leg, something which has never been done in the Champions League before. He said: “We have come out of a good week because we have played at Manchester United (in the FA Cup), we have played the London derby today and we need the belief to prepare well for Monaco. Let’s do that and after we will see. “If you have no belief you have no chance. We have to believe that we can do it. “This time Monaco are favourites so we have to go there, give absolutely everything.” West Ham assistant manager Neil McDonald felt the team just could not cope with the amount of absentees, which included James Tomkins with a dislocated shoulder and Enner Valencia, who cut his toe after standing on a broken teacup. “When you are missing vital players through injury, to try to adjust and playing one of the best players in the league becomes very difficult,” he said. “Even the goalkeeper has dislocated his finger before the game (in the warm-up), but Adrian has been a brave lad and played on with a very good performance, making some great saves. “The game plan was to stifle Arsenal as much as we could, but we did not pass the ball well enough until the second half and then we conceded two goals at the end which is disappointing.” Irons boss Sam Allardyce passed up on his post-match media duties to try to refocus the team. “The players are really feeling sorry for themselves and Sam is trying to pick them up, but they have given their all,” said McDonald. “We have played five of the top six teams and the performances have been good overall, if disappointed with the results, b ut we have to look forward and be positive.” The Gunners recorded an eighth home league victory to keep the pressure up on second-placed Manchester City after finally ending what was a spirited second-half effort from the Irons. Theo Walcott, recalled to the starting XI following injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, had missed a couple of early chances before goalkeeper Adrian was beaten on the stroke of half-time by a fierce angled drive by Olivier Giroud, which cannoned in off the far post. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes his side are proving themselves a “different team” as the Barclays Premier League season run-in approaches after seeing off the challenge of West Ham 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium. Press Associationlast_img read more

Tennis News Rafael Nadal progresses in Madrid Open, David Ferrer retires

first_imgDavid Ferrer retired from competitive tennis with a loss to Alexander Zverev.Rafael Nadal is bidding for his sixth Madrid Open title.Rafael Nadal missed a couple of weeks of action due to a stomach bug.https://www.newsnation.in/sports/ipl-2019/amit-mishra-obstructing-the-field-ipl-2019-eliminator-sunrisers-hyderabad-vs-delhi-capitals-vizag-article-223485.html Madrid: Rafael Nadal believes he is finding his rhythm again after beginning his bid for a sixth Madrid Open title on Wednesday by beating Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets. The victory also came hours before Nadal’s fellow Spaniard David Ferrer played the final match of his career, losing 6-4, 6-1 to Alexander Zverev in his last tournament before retirement. Nadal has endured a turbulent few weeks after slipping to surprise defeats in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month before then being hit by a stomach bug on Sunday. But there was never much sign of an upset in the Spanish capital, where the world number two opened up with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.     “Right now every victory is important for me because it gives me the option to play again the next day,” Nadal said. “Two weeks ago maybe playing again was not a chance to improve because I didn’t feel like that in training. Now I am feeling better in matches and I think everyone gives me the chance to get better.”RELATED     Nadal has not arrived in Madrid without winning in either Monte Carlo or Barcelona since 2015 and, after also pulling out of Indian Wells due to a knee injury in March, concern was growing ahead of the French Open later this month. The 32-year-old, who will be chasing his 18th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, will now face another young talent in America’s Frances Tiafoe, with either Stan Wawrinka or Kei Nishikori waiting in the quarter-finals. “After Indian Wells, I had a big mental drop,” Nadal said. “I had to stop for two weeks and mentally I dropped. I struggled a lot to get fit and recover that energy, which I now feel again.”      Ferrer bowed out after losing to Zverev, calling time on a distinguished career that included 27 ATP titles and a highest ranking of number three in the world.  Renowned for his never-say-die attitude, the 37-year-old reached the French Open final in 2014, as well as five more Grand Slam semi-finals. “I couldn’t have given more to this sport,” said Ferrer, who left his bandana on the ‘T’ of the service box. “I don’t know what my legacy will be but I always fought until the last point. Maybe it will be that.”      Nishikori and Wawrinka will meet in the third round on Thursday after Nishikori took just over two hours to win 7-5, 7-5 against Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien and Wawrinka defeated Argentina’s Guido Pella 6-3, 6-4. The Swiss have won his last two matches against Nishikori, including a three-set victory in Rotterdam in February, when he went on to reach his first final since undergoing knee surgery in 2017.     Osaka in control     Juan Martin del Potro lost 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 to Serbia’s Laslo Djere in his first match since February as the Argentine continues to work his way back from a knee injury.     Nishikori’s compatriot and world number one Naomi Osaka is through to the quarter-finals of the women’s tournament for the first time after she eased past Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-2, 6-3. Osaka pulled out of the semi-finals in Stuttgart last month with an abdominal injury but has said she is no longer feeling discomfort during matches. “I feel fine, so that’s great,” Osaka said. “I’m at a really good place right now. I feel like I’m having fun playing tennis again which is always a good thing for me. I always play well if I have that mentality.” In the last eight, the two-time major champion will face Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic who beat Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova 6-0, 6-2. A potential semi-final foe for Osaka is world number three Simona Halep, who annihilated Slovakian Viktoria Kuzmova 6-0, 6-0 in 44 minutes. Number two seed Petra Kvitova saw off France’s Caroline Garcia 6-3, 6-3 and will now face the Netherlands’ Kiki Bertens. highlightscenter_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more