MYROLE RTM1- Featured GrASS on 25 Jan 2011, 330pm

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Dear Friends,

We here at GrASS need your help to help us gather the below mentioned items to help us raise funds for our shelter and other independent pet rescuers.

The items are:

Scrap Paper
Old Newspapers
Old Magazines
Unwanted uncooked/raw Acidic Fruits ( Oranges, pineapples, lime,lemons)
Unwanted uncooked/raw fruits
Unwanted uncooked/raw Vegetables
Brown Sugar
Rice Bran
Red Earth
Glass Jars/Plastic containers with lids
Cardboard boxes (any other cardboard materials)
Aluminium Cans
Expired Food Products

For more ways on how or what items you can donate to help please visit HERE

Monday, August 17, 2009

Article: ‘We are not afraid’

Sunday August 16, 2009


THIERRY Dehr, 49, lives 25km away from a nuclear reactor, but he is not very concerned about that.

"I think a lot more people die in road accidents than from nuclear side effects," the Frenchman, who was on holiday in Kuala Lumpur, said over the phone recently.

Dehr lives in Alsace in the eastern side of France with his Malaysian wife, Mei Yin. The nuclear reactor, called Fessenheim, is located along the Rhine river. There are villages around it – one is just 500m away from the reactor.

"The villagers are very fine about it. The land is very cheap as not many want to live there. The villagers have suffered no disease (caused by radiation) nor is there any leakage from the reactor," says the craftsman who owns a landscaping business.

France is touted as a nuclear energy success story for a very good reason: according to the World Nuclear Association, 75% of its electricity comes from nuclear energy and it has 59 nuclear reactors, which are operated by Electricite de France (EdF).

Cooling towers at French nuclear Tricastin site in southeastern France. The country is set to keep its oldest nuclear reactors running for another 10 years, buying time to build replacements. – Reuters

The country began to lean heavily on nuclear energy after 1974 when events in the Middle East caused a global "oil shock", which resulted in skyrocketing fuel prices. Back then, most of France's electricity came from oil-burning plants and because it had few natural energy resources – minimal coal and no oil or gas – it reeled from the shock.

Thus, French policy-makers decided that the country should capitalise on nuclear energy.

Last September, EdF bought Brtain's leading nuclear energy company, British Energy. Three months later, it announced that it would invest billions in the American Constellation Energy Nuclear Group.

Areva, the France government-controlled engineering company, is the world's biggest nuclear power plant construction company. The country has even offered to help build Malaysia's first nuclear power plant.

According to an article by American network Public Broadcasting Service's Frontline ("Nuclear Reaction: Why do Americans fear nuclear power?), the French are very accepting of nuclear energy. Dehr seems to be like most of his countrymen.

"We accept it as it's a good transition from gas, petrol and coal. Sooner or later we're going to run out of energy sources, which are also very polluting," he says.

His Malaysian wife, Mei Yin, shares his sentiments. "I feel comfortable living in an area surrounded by three nuclear reactors. I believe we should ask ourselves this: 'Should we deny ourselves the advantages provided by nuclear reactors just because we are afraid of the disadvantages that can come with it?" she says, via e-mail.

But aren't they afraid of a Chernobyl in their backyard?

"No nuclear disaster has ever happened in France so far, so I've never felt worried about it," Frédéric Bonardel, 33, a construction worker from Orléans says, via e-mail.

Dehr adds: "We all know and have seen the effect of a major catastrophe such as Chernobyl and Three Mile Island But there's not much choice. We go with it. (The danger of nuclear energy) is not something that's on our minds all the time."

He notes that because of its nuclear reactors, France is "self sufficient".

"We can even sell electricity to Britain and Germany. It's not as bad as people say – there are no after-effects (from the reactors)," he said. Dehr may not be aware of this: according to BBC reports, there were four leaks from French nuclear power stations last year. Around July last year, the French government had to ban fishing and water sports in two local rivers after liquid containing unenriched uranium leaked from a broken underground pipe into the ground and then the water.

Dehr says many French people believe they have to get rid of nuclear energy one day.

"The only bad point about nuclear energy is the waste. We've not found a way to manage it, so we bury it in old coal mines and sink it in cement. But we hope that in the next 1,000 years our children will find a way to get rid of that," he says.

According to US News, The French have been recycling their nuclear waste for about 25 years. The process was invented in the United States, but it was halted there because as the process separates uranium from plutonium, theoretically, it could be diverted to produce nuclearweapons.

Bornadel believes France should use "greener technologies" such as solar and wind energy but because of "obvious economical or political reasons", these haven't been sufficiently developed to be functional.

But for now, he thinks it's best that the older reactors are replaced by new ones. A new European pressurised water reactor, or EPR, will be built in Normandy soon. It consumes 15% less uranium and produces 30% less nuclear waste, says

However, the waste it produces is "considerably more radioactive" than that from the older reactors.

Says Bornadel: "It's mandatory to find alternative solutions very quickly. But many international conglomerates, consortiums and influential groups are making huge profits from nuclear energy, and that won't make the task easy."

"In my opinion, there are as many French people who are for it as against it. I even believe that many among those who are against it are simply influenced, made fearful by what they read or hear in the news," says Mei Yin.

Dehr adds that there are strong anti-nuclear groups in France and it's healthy to have a counterbalance to the powerful nuclear lobbyists in the country.

He notes that Malaysia has a "huge amount of free energy", like solar energy, and should tap it.

"I think Malaysia will make a great leap if it concentrates on that instead of continuing to use petrol and choking the whole country with cars. I'm sitting here at KLCC talking to you, and the sun is out and it's really hot outside. And I'm thinking, 'What a waste.'"

Related Stories:
Benefits of nuclear energy
The Korean experience
Safe, clean and abundant
Costly and unsafe

This article was taken from: The Star Online: Lifestyle: Focus 16 August 2009

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