Nuclear power is back in favour, at least in government circles. Today,energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband will expand upon the UK’s plans for a fleet of new nuclear reactors. Elsewhere, Sweden hasreversed its decades-old ban on nuclear power and an increasing number of countries are expanding their nuclear generating capacity.
Four new reactors are under way in Europe at the moment: two Russian-designed reactors in Slovakia, plus Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 and France’s Flamanville 3, which both rely on the French state-owned Areva’s involvement and expertise. The Finnish site has been beset by delays, rising costs and criticisms over safety and still has no definite opening date, while the cost of Flamanville 3 has risen from €3.3bn to €4bn.
A country’s economic worth can be measured in more ways than just its GDP and national debt. It is also important to consider the economic potential that lies in the harvesting of the natural resources within its borders. This map shows the top producing countries of each resource, or the proved reserves in the case of oil and natural gas. Each circle represents the percentage of the world’s total that the country produced in the last two years. Though some of the resources are renewable and some are not, it is interesting to see which parts of the world are rich in resources that are essential to our way of life, and to consider what this map might look like 10 or 100 years from now.
Since federal limitations on domestic oil production in the 1980s, there has been a steady decline in US production. By 1994, the US was importing more than its total domestic production. Restrictions on supply help to drive up prices and unnecessarily contribute to US reliance on foreign oil.
As much as 66 percent of all US crude oil is imported from other countries, and the amount of oil imported from OPEC nations is roughly equal to the amount of oil produced domestically. Petroleum, natural gas and coal are the primary sources of energy consumed in the United States because they are the most energy rich resources available. So far, renewables have only been capable of providing a small portion of total energy consumption, and their contribution to energy consumption has remained limited over the last two decades. However, with increasing government and private focus on green energy sources, renewables are likely to go from strength to strength in the near future.
Don’t get all worked up by the headline, Sinophiles. We’re talking about the 60th birthday of the founding of the People’s Republic, which Mao Zedong declared on October 1, 1949. Here’s a look at China then and now.