As you may have noticed, the final installation to our Fukushima series is taking a little time to come. Unfortunately, there’s been some time demands (due to health problems of close family) that have made it difficult to work out schedules and lay down the tracks, and may continue to do so for another week or two.
We haven’t forgotten about you, we haven’t packed up and moved on, and while it’s tough for us to get tracks down, we are still working out topics and points of interest and doing research as time permits.
Sorry about the delay, but we shall return!
~ Yuri & Rick
As always, XKCD seems to have a timely word to say.
Of course, there are other fuels and technologies as well. The energy density for Thorium-232, for instance, is even higher at around 8.2×107 MJ/kg. Deuterium-Tritium fusion is projected to have a density of around 3.3×108 MJ/kg.
To give you an idea of what that all means, the power consumption of the world (as of 2008, if wikipedia can be trusted) was just under 144,000 TW⋅h or 5.18×1020 Joules. The mass of Th232 required to provide the whole world’s energy consumption for a year would then be 5.18×1020J ÷ 8.2×1013J/kg ≅ 6,317,000 kg. That’s 6,300 metric tonnes to produce all the energy the world needs for a year with essentially no carbon footprint. This presumes total efficiency, which is unrealistic of course, but we’re talking about ideal values like what our friends at XKCD are using for the moment.
By comparison, a decent sized coal fired power plant will go through around 30-40 thousand tonnes of coal every day, just to fire one plant to serve one local area, with an immense carbon output.
Nuclear power has certainly got its drawbacks, and we’re examining some of them in our podcasts… but it’s very, very tough to deny the lure of carbon free power generation on this scale. The trick is to make sure the way that power is being generated doesn’t have the potential to be worse than the harm atmospheric carbon does.
Part two of our three part look at the continuing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Sadly, our schedules didn’t work out in time to get a show for you on Christmas eve. Tune in on January 7th to hear part three of our Fukushima series where we’ll talk about the present state, and potential future, of the beleaguered multiple-meltdown nuclear power plant.
Listen to it here:
For those interested in knowing more about Fukushima, nuclear fission and its hazards, we present links for further exploration:
- A handy dialogue to help resolve the confusion regarding the many ways of referring to nuclear radiation
- Timelines of the events that happened in Fukushima immediately before and after the quakes and tsunami (from Wikipedia and Scientific American)
- The outstanding resources from GlobalReasearch.ca, especially their comprehensive look at Fukushima titled Fukushima: A Nuclear War Without A War
- The continuing effort of Iori Mochizuki at his site Fukushima Diary, probably the best place to get up to speed on Fukushima news unfiltered by traditional Japanese media channels
… and as promised, here’s the full interview audio with Sean from Japan.
UPDATE: Turns out that we need three episodes to full explore the topic. Part two coming online soon!
Welcome to Sci/Tech with Yuri and Rick, a podcast to discuss science, technology, and their intersection with politics.
You can hear us live, streamed via Netroots Radio every Monday at 3pm PST/6pm EST. All our shows will also archived at Stitcher, and should be available the same day they’re aired.
We’re still in the progress of getting everything up to speed, so please excuse the dust while we continue getting set up. We plan on sharing interesting links, show updates, and additional background information on the topic we’ll be discussing.
We hope you’ll be educated and entertained by our show. If you have any comments, or would like a question about your favorite science topic answered on the air, please post a comment or send us an email letting us know. You can also send us your questions by twitter via @SciTech_Radio or by adding the tag #SciTechRadio to your tweet.
~ Yuri & Rick
Yuri linked this image to me earlier. Reminds me of the relative non-event that was the NASA press conference today.
XKCD somehow manages to have something applicable to every possible scenario…