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Karlsruhe, Germany

On Friday, March 11, 2011, Japan experienced a natural disaster of inconceivable dimensions. At 2.46 p.m. local time (6.46 a.m. CET), a gigantic earthquake with the epicenter approx. 150 km east of the city of Sendai in the Pacific Ocean also shook the coastal region nearby. The seismic event was triggered by abrupt tectonic plate shifts some 20 to 30 km below sea level (zero level). The seaquake had an intensity of 9.0 on the logarithmic scale, which is 0.8 points above the severest earthquake of 8.2 so far registered in Japan. This unexpectedly high energy release caused a tsunami wave of a maximum height of 23 m which flooded the coastal region approximately one hour later, causing a large number of human casualties and extreme devastation of towns and villages, infrastructure, and the environment. Four nuclear power plants are located in the area directly affected by the disaster: Onagawa, Fukushima Daiichi, Fukushima Daini, and Tornan'. The site of Fukushima Daiichi was hit most severely. The effects on this plant of the tectonic shifts, and the impact of the tsunami this triggered, and the countermeasures taken by the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company(Tepco) for protection and containment of damage, are outlined on the basis of information available as this journal went to press. Source

Kuczera B.,Badenwerkstr. 7
ATW - Internationale Zeitschrift fur Kernenergie | Year: 2010

The German federal government established the environmental goal of reducing carbon emissions from 1,033 million t in 1990 by 40 % to 620 million t/a by 2020. The Federal Environmental Office reports a reduction by 26 % for the past economic crisis year of 2009 over the reference year. Consequently, further efforts are needed along these lines if the objective is to be reached in 2020. Towards this end, the German government and industry founded the National Electric Mobility Platform on May 3, 2010 in an effort to make Germany a lead market for electric mobility and have one million electric vehicles operate on German roads by 2020. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel in addition demands mobility in future to be "more independent of resources, less pollutant to the environment, and more sustainable." These target criteria basically are met in the power supply sector when nuclear power is used to generate electricity. Against this backdrop, perspectives of electric mobility are outlined in terms of their environmental characteristics, and various approaches to achieving adequate electricity supply are explained. In view of the boundary conditions in power technology and power economy, the agreement reached by the present coalition government on September 6, 2010 about extending the plant life of the 17 German nuclear power plants supports the objective referred to above. This compromise of coalition politics exercises a bridge function in providing for an average plant life extension of 12 years over the current plant life limitations. The federal government considers this plant life extension a key feature of its new overall energy concept, which is to be more independent of resources, less polluting to the environment, and more sustainable than the current status quo. Source

Kuczera B.,Badenwerkstr. 7 | Tromm Th.W.,Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
ATW - Internationale Zeitschrift fur Kernenergie | Year: 2012

Around the turn of the 20th/21stcenturies, 2 trends were perceived in the public with respect to future global energy supply, and both have since been discussed at great length: the greatly increasing demand for primary energy and the consequences arising to the climate on this planet as a result of its use. For this reason, the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, Vienna adopted a resolution at its 2000 General Conference inviting all states interested in the peaceful use of nuclear power to concentrate their nuclear fuel cycle activities under the aegis of the IAEA. Especially the examination of nuclear technologies for innovation and proliferation resistance is in the focus of interest. A little later, Senior Experts from 25 countries adopted the terms of reference for the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles - INPRO, on the basis of which the project was established within the IAEA Nuclear Energy Department in May 2001. A forum for science and technology has thus been created by industrialized, emerging and developing countries with the impetus to discuss and evaluate the different aspects of the use of innovative nuclear power systems (INS) of the 21 st century. Germany is one of the 10 founding members. After the first decade, in April 2012, INPRO was composed of 36 members, i.e. 35 states and the European Commission (CEC). The members delegate so-called Cost-free Experts to Vienna for project work and/or make financial contributions to the respective extra budget of the IAEA. The direction of INPRO activities is determined by a Steering Committee representing all members having a seat and voting rights. The Steering Committee meets twice a year to discuss the progress and continuation of its project work. Source

Kuczera B.,Badenwerkstr. 7
ATW - Internationale Zeitschrift fur Kernenergie | Year: 2012

The public widely associate nuclear power with the megawatt dimensions of nuclear power plants in which nuclear power is released and used for electricity production. While this use of nuclear power for electricity generation is rejected by part of the population adopting the polemic attitude of "opting out of nuclear," the application of nuclear power in medicine is generally accepted. The appreciative, positive term used in this case is nuclear medicine. Both areas, nuclear medicine and environmentally friendly nuclear electricity production, can be traced back to one common origin, i.e. the "Atoms for Peace" speech by U.S. President Eisenhower to the U.N. Plenary Assembly on December 8,1953. The methods of examination and treatment in nuclear medicine are illustrated in a few examples from the perspective of a nuclear engineer. Nuclear medicine is a medical discipline dealing with the use of radionuclides in humans for medical purposes. This is based on 2 principles, namely that the human organism is unable to distinguish among different isotopes in metabolic processes, and the radioactive substances are employed in amounts so small that metabolic processes will not be influenced. As in classical medicine, the application of these principles serves two complementary purposes: diagnosis and therapy. Source

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