The End of Nuclear Power?
A year after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, surveys show that more people around the world oppose nuclear power than ever before. Yet industry is pushing ahead. Who will prevail?
What's the Latest Development?
One year after the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan, the world's nuclear industry is pushing ahead with plans to build more reactors, many in developing countries. Yet surveys show more people than ever are opposed to nuclear fission energy. In a June 2011 survey of 19,000 people across 24 countries, a British polling company found that only 38 percent of respondents approved of nuclear power, making it the least popular form of energy, even below coal-fired power plants. A November 2011 survey of more people showed even less popular support.
What's the Big Idea?
In 2002, there was a record 444 nuclear power plants operating worldwide. Today, accounting for the Japanese reactors that have been taken off the grid, that number is only 388. China leads the world with 26 reactors and the Indian government is promoting nuclear power as a solution to the growing energy demands of its emerging economy. Yet per megawatt of capacity, building a nuclear energy plant is twice as expensive as a coal-fire plant and four times the cost of a gas-powered plant. Government support, or what nuclear experts call 'nuclear socialism' is essential in supporting the industry.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.
- Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
- After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
- Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
What do we see from watching birds move across the country?
- A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
- The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
- Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.