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SCIENCE

This week : Burying nuclear waste…forever

Text by Eve IRVINE

Latest update : 2009-06-29

After years of research Sweden is poised to create the world’s first ever permanent storage site for nuclear waste.

At Oskharsham in the south of the country a 4km long site has developed a way of burying the toxic waste. Once buried it is laid to rest for 100,000 years, after which time the radiation in it is deemed to be equal to that naturally found in uranium. The final site will be situation to the north of Stockholm. In fact two towns spent months fighting to have the nuclear waste site based in their countryside.

 

Earlier this year Sweden overturned a 30 -year ban on nuclear power. It did so to further secure its energy supply and also because nuclear power does not emit C02 it is thus considered an option in the fight against global warming. Sweden remains one of the world leaders in terms of renewable energy and has set itself the ambitious target of having 50% of its energy needs satisfied by such means by 2020. That is double the target set in other European states.

 

In Stockholm, all of the cities buses are run on ethanol. The city switched over to this in 1990, in a bid to reduce pollution. At first, just 30 ethanol-fueled buses were added to the fleet for a three-year test period. This proved positive and 20 years later Sweden has continued to be innovative with energy in its transport. Central Station sees hundreds of people pass through its corridors every day and the body heat they generate is now being used to heat the office block next door.

 

Finally ENVIRONMENT spends the evening at a climate party, inspired by the Tupperware style party’s of years gone by this one tries to sell people ways in which the can help save the planet. Organizers feel that the personal approach is much more effective and that people will be more inclined to act if a friend or colleague rather than a politician or the media are giving them the message.

 

Date created : 2009-06-29

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