The Download: Harvard’s geoengineering failure, and lengthening nuclear crops’ lifetimes


In March 2017, at a small summit in Washington, DC, two Harvard professors, David Keith and Frank Keutsch, laid out plans to conduct what would have been the primary photo voltaic geoengineering experiment within the stratosphere.

The primary idea behind photo voltaic geoengineering is that by spraying sure particles excessive above the planet, people might mirror some quantity of daylight again into area as a method of counteracting local weather change. But critics have argued that an intervention that would tweak the complete planet’s local weather system is simply too harmful to check in the true world.

The single, small balloon experiment got here to symbolize all of those fears—and, in the long run, it was greater than the researchers have been ready to tackle. Last month, a decade after the mission was first proposed, Harvard formally introduced the mission’s termination. So what went unsuitable? And what does that failure say in regards to the latitude that researchers need to discover such a controversial topic? Read the complete story.

—James Temple

Why the lifetime of nuclear crops is getting longer

The common age of reactors in nuclear energy crops all over the world is creeping up. In the US, which has extra working reactors than another nation, the typical reactor is 42 years outdated. Nearly 90% of reactors in Europe have been round for 30 years or extra. 

Older reactors, particularly smaller ones, have been shut down in droves resulting from financial pressures, notably in areas with different cheap sources of electrical energy, like low-cost pure fuel. But there might nonetheless be quite a lot of life left in older nuclear reactors. 



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