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The Science Council for Global Initiatives (SCGI) is an international NGO dedicated to uplifting the standards of living of people of all nations while repairing our damaged environment.
by Tom Blees
2015 has been a fast paced year for SCGI. Since my last annual report, I have traveled to meetings in Singapore, New York, Washington D.C., Russia, California, Florida, London, Brussels, South Africa and Arizona. We are also involved in projects underway in South Korea, China, Japan, Indonesia and Australia. Around the world, there is increasing awareness of the role of advanced technologies in responding to problems ranging from climate change and ocean acidification to water scarcity and poverty. SCGI has been promoting a number of these solutions since our inception and it has been an exciting and gratifying time to be president of this organization. Here are some of the year's highlights.
The majority of our focus continues to be on nuclear power. The need for massive amounts of safe, affordable and clean energy has led to renewed interest in a variety of designs for nuclear power plants. This past year I spoke on this topic to groups in university lecture halls in South Africa, government policy meetings in Washington DC, Bloomberg's Future of Energy conference in NYC, and Global Energy Prize events in Moscow and Singapore. We continue to be a strong voice for nuclear technology in general and the Integral Fast Reactor in particular. A major step in the advancement of the IFR this year was completion of the design for a 100 ton-per-year pyroprocessing unit - the key step in recycling "nuclear waste" into fuel for fast reactors. This 2 year project at Argonne National Laboratory was promoted and facilitated by SCGI. The work was led by Dr. Yoon Chang, a charter member of SCGI and early leader in the development of the IFR.
The last two weeks of September was quite the time for news – the Pope’s visit, the Speaker’s exit, the Chinese President’s visit, the United Nations General Assembly, huge Hurricane Joaquin, weird House committee rants, flowing water on Mars, more Trumpeting, the new Daily Show.
But the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Seattle on his way to the East Coast was little heralded. Disputes over computer hacking, cyber-plundering and limits on U.S. firms’ access to Chinese markets have tensions high between the two federal governments, to the point where unleashing economic sanctions on Chinese businesses is a definite possibility (WP).
In this interview (James Hansen, former Head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and currently professor at Columbia University) talks about the role of nuclear in climate change mitigation.
I’m James Hansen. I’m from Columbia University’s Earth Institute where I had programmes on climate science awareness and solutions. First we have to educate the public because there’s a lot of misunderstanding about nuclear power.
There are problems with every energy source including nuclear power, but if you look at fossil fuels, 10,000 of people a day are dying from pollution from fossil fuels. Nuclear power has been much safer than that over its lifetime, but we can make it much better with new technologies, much better nuclear power. So it really has the potential of being a substantial part of the solution to climate change.