The Age of Concrete

Posted by , 15th March 2010

Blaine Brownell

burj-khalifaDubai’s Burj Khalifa, now the world’s tallest building, is made of reinforced concrete, a material that has surpassed the use of steel used to build the previous recordholder for height. This engineering achievement shows that the strength of concrete has tripled in the last four decades, allowing concrete structures to be thinner, lighter, and far taller.

Brownell, the author of “Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine our Physical Environment,” is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

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Jump-starting nuclear energy

Posted by , 5th March 2010

Patrick Moore

Nuclear.power.plant.DukovanyCurrently, nuclear power plants supply about one-fifth of the nation’s energy. And no member of the public has ever been injured by a nuclear power plant in the United States, nor has any nuclear worker died of a radiation-related incident. California would have to remove more than half a million passenger cars from its roads to eliminate the amount of carbon dioxide prevented by the state’s four nuclear reactors. The two reactors in Georgia will create an estimated 3,500 jobs during construction and 800 permanent jobs when the reactors are up and running. In California, where a state moratorium on new reactors has been in place since 1976, a majority of residents responding to the most recent California Field Poll on nuclear energy approved of building new reactors. Countries such as France, Japan, and Britain already have made great strides in extracting unused energy from used nuclear fuel, at the same time reducing the amount and longevity of waste byproducts. By employing advanced recycling techniques, advanced fuel fabrication, and new reactor designs, we could turn what is now considered waste into one of our most valuable future energy resources.

Patrick Moore is chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. and co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

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