The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years
Nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources
Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear
San Francisco, August 26, 2017: Kristin Zaitz is confident that her nuclear power plant is safe.
Zaitz, an engineering manager, was at Diablo Canyon Power Plant during both her pregnancies and has scuba dived to inspect the plant, which hugs the California coast. Zaitz wears a pendant with a tiny bit of uranium inside, an item that tends to invite questions.
“We all have our perceptions of nuclear,” Zaitz said.
In a few years, Diablo Canyon will close, part of a trend nationwide. The availability of cheap natural gas and greater energy efficiency has reduced demand for nuclear energy in recent years. Add to that ongoing concerns about public safety, such as those raised by memories of disasters at nuclear power plants in Fukushima, Japan, Chernobyl in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) and Three Mile Island in the United States.
Nuclear is ‘cleaner’ than fossil fuels
Supporters of nuclear energy say that when a reactor-based generating station closes, not enough wind and solar power is available to make up the difference. They lament that energy companies tend to turn instead to fossil fuels — coal and natural gas — which produce environmentally harmful emissions.
Zaitz and her co-worker Heather Matteson, a reactor operator, started Mothers for Nuclear, their effort to get the word out that nuclear power is clean, safe and better for the environment than some alternative energy sources.
“I went into the plant very skeptical of nuclear and being scared of it,” said Matteson. “It took me six to seven years to really feel like this is something good for the environment. I don’t want people to take six to seven years to make that decision. We don’t have that long.”
Matteson, too, wears the uranium necklace as a conversation starter. “Nuclear is fun,” she said. Is there any radiation emitted by the pendant? “There’s slightly more than from a banana,” she conceded.
Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear. They can help change attitudes of other women who tend to be more skeptical than men about nuclear energy’s benefits.
At the recent U.S. Women in Nuclear conference in San Francisco, women working in the industry talked about how more should be done to make nuclear power’s case to the public, and how they may be the best suited to do it.
“As mothers, I think we also have an important role to play in letting the public know that we support nuclear for the future, for our children,” said Matteson. “And we don’t know other mothers supporting nuclear power in a vocal way. We thought there was a gap to fill.”
Young women say they look at careers in this industry because they are socially minded.
‘Do something good for the world’
“I went into this wanting to do something good for the world,” Lenka Kollar, business strategy director at NuScale, a firm in Oregon that designs and markets small modular reactors. “Wanting to bring power to people. There are still more than a billion people in the world who don’t have electricity.”
Critics of nuclear energy say it doesn’t matter who is promoting it.
“Using mothers’ voices to argue for a technology that is fundamentally dangerous and that has been demonstrated by disasters like Fukushima to be not safe for the communities that surround the power plants or even cities that are hundreds of miles away is disingenuous,” said Kendra Klein, a staff scientist with Friends of the Earth, an environmental group.
While the future of nuclear power in the United States may be uncertain, the women here say they have a positive story to tell. (VOA)
The new self-powered version promises to be inexpensive and easy to apply to existing windows
The smart window controls the transmission of visible light and infrared heat into the building
The researchers chose the material because its chemical structure could be modified to absorb a narrow range of wavelengths
New York, July 2, 2017: By applying a new solar cell technology, researchers have developed a self-powered version of smart windows that could help save energy costs. Smart windows equipped with controllable glazing can augment lighting, cooling and heating systems by varying their tint, saving up to 40 percent in an average building’s energy costs. But these conventional smart windows require power for operation, so they are relatively complicated to install in existing buildings.
The new self-powered version promises to be inexpensive and easy to apply to existing windows, the researchers said.
This system features solar cells that selectively absorb near-ultraviolet (near-UV) light, so the new windows are completely self-powered.
“Sunlight is a mixture of electromagnetic radiation made up of near-UV rays, visible light, and infrared energy, or heat,” said Yueh-Lin (Lynn) Loo, Professor at Princeton University, New Jersey, US.
“We wanted the smart window to dynamically control the amount of natural light and heat that can come inside, saving on energy cost and making the space more comfortable,” she added.
The smart window controls the transmission of visible light and infrared heat into the building, while the new type of solar cell uses near-UV light to power the system.
“This new technology is actually smart management of the entire spectrum of sunlight,” Loo said.
In the paper published in Nature Energy, the researchers described how they used organic semiconductors — contorted hexabenzocoronene (cHBC) derivatives — for constructing the solar cells.
The researchers chose the material because its chemical structure could be modified to absorb a narrow range of wavelengths — in this case, near-UV light.
“Using near-UV light to power these windows means that the solar cells can be transparent and occupy the same footprint of the window without competing for the same spectral range or imposing aesthetic and design constraints,” Loo added.
The researchers explained that the near-UV solar cell technology can also power internet-of-things sensors and other low-power consumer products.
“It does not generate enough power for a car, but it can provide auxiliary power for smaller devices, for example, a fan to cool the car while it’s parked in the hot sun,” Loo said. (IANS)
New Delhi, March 16, 2017: The union cabinet on Wednesday gave the green light to the National Health Policy Bill 2017 two years after a draft copy of the bill was circulated among stakeholders. After considering suggestions from the public, state governments and others, the new policy will replace the previous one, which was framed 15 years ago in 2002. The upcoming policy’s objective is to raise the public expenditure to the 2.5 percent of GDP with more than two-thirds of those resources going towards primary healthcare.
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The policy, which desires to cater healthcare services in a “guaranteed way” to all, will contemplate current and impending difficulties emerging from the constantly evolving financial, technological and epidemiological scenarios.
The policy is expected to reach healthcare to all corners of the country, particularly the underserved and underprivileged.
“National Health policy will provide free medicines and ‘assured’ health services to all and aims to reduce out of pocket health expenditure,” Health minister J P Nadda said in Lok Sabha.
This new health policy will work along the lines of Digital India. The Health Minister said that under the policy, family health card will be made which will be connected to Public Healthcare facility so that a patient’s history can be digitally accessed.
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The government aims in shifting focus from “sick-care” to “wellness”, by promoting prevention and well-being.
It aims to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population distributed in a manner to enable access within the golden hour.
* To strengthen health systems by ensuring everyone has the access to quality services and technology despite financial barriers. The policy proposes increasing access, improving quality and reducing costs. It proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency and essential healthcare services in public hospitals.
* To focus on primary health care: The policy advocates allocating two-thirds (or more) of resources to primary care. It proposes two beds per 1,000 of the population to enable access within the golden hour (the first 60 minutes after a traumatic injury).
* To reduce morbidity and preventable mortality of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by advocating pre-screening.
* To promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative by using drugs and devices manufactured in the country.
* It highlights AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) as a tool for effective prevention and therapy that is safe and cost-effective. It proposes introducing Yoga in more schools and offices to promote good health.
* Reforming medical education.
The policy also lists quantitative targets regarding life expectancy from 67.5 to 70 by 2025, reduce Infant Mortality Rate to 28 by 2019, Under Five Mortality Rate to 23 by 2025, and maternal mortality rate (MMR) from current levels to 100 by 2020.
The series of benefits doesn’t just end here. While talking to Moneycontrol.com, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and managing director of Biocon Hospitals, said policy’s aim could become a huge driver in creating millions of jobs.
“The policy’s aim to ensure availability of 2 beds per 1000 population within the golden hour is addressing the opportunity for 2 million hospital beds. It will turn the hospitals into huge job creators as it will help in generating nearly 6 million jobs,” said Kiran Mazumdar Shaw.
-prepared by Ashish Srivastava of NewsGram Twitter @PhulRetard