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Chernobyl disaster – Ukraine 1986

April 26th marks 36 years since the devastating Chernobyl nuclear disaster - the worst ever in terms of cost and fatalities.  An explosion during a safety test caused radioactive material to be released into the air. Huge evacuations ensued and exclusion zones of 1000 sq mi were put in place. In recent developments of the Russian invasion on Ukraine, concerns have been raised about nuclear threats being made. This is the first time that occupying a nuclear plant has been part of war strategy. The disaster highlights the enormous danger of nuclear energy and also their potential use as a nuclear weapon in the wrong hands.

Chernobyl disaster – Ukraine 1986
Dark image of a man walking into the distance along a huge rusted gas pipeline which goes through wetlands with dry grass growing through the water
Pixabay

Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline

Controversial Line 3 replacement has been approved – cutting through Alberta, Canada, all the way to Superior, Wisconsin. Thousands of protesters have raised concerns about the environmental impact to wetland areas, water contamination and contribution to climate change. It also breaks the treaty territory of Anishinaabe peoples - impacting their way of life and threatening livelihoods from wild rice farming. Follow the latest news here.

Enbridge Line 3 Pipeline
350.org Africa

East African Crude Oil Pipeline

Despite numerous protests against it, the oil extraction project, largely funded by French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation, is still under construction and, once completed, will become the world's longest heated oil pipeline, running from Uganda's oilfields to the port of Tanga in Tanzania. Opponents argue that it cuts through critical wildlife habitats and forest reserves, as well as causing large-scale displacement of communities and pollution of water sources.

East African Crude Oil Pipeline
White nuclear power plant with two red and white cranes | Choppy dark blue water in the foreground and hazy mountains in the background
Flickr | IAEA Imagebank

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

The 11th of March marks the anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear power plant failed in 2011 after being hit by a severe earthquake and violent tsunami. The resulting meltdown released large amounts of radioactive materials. Up to 150,000 people had to leave the contaminated area permanently. The disposal work will still take around 40 years. After the disaster, several countries abandoned their nuclear programs.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

Dakota Access Pipeline protests

When the pipeline plans became known in 2016, a broad protest movement formed with indigenous people who fought for their holy land, environmentalists and other political groups. The protests were reported worldwide, there were recurring demos and many arrests. Unfortunately, the pipeline was finally completed in 2017. However, it was temporarily switched off in summer 2020 because a federal judge wants to investigate the environmental impact.

Dakota Access Pipeline protests

Wind Power

In 2019, wind turbines generated a nominal output of over 651 GW  worldwide. Although this corresponds to only 5.6% of the global electricity requirement, the environmental compatibility and the low electricity generation costs make it a promising energy resource. Although, for a sustainable and widespread use there has to be a satisfactory solution for critical points such as the long-term storage of energy or the noise emission of the wind turbines.

Wind Power

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Hero of the Month

John Deutch

John Deutch is the former director of CIA and the author of "The Crisis in Energy Policy. He has been a member of the MIT faculty since 1970 and has published over 140 publications in physical chemistry, technology, energy, international security, and public policy issues.

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