India power outages

More than 600m people were affected by the power outage in India after a massive power breakdown for the second day in a row on Tuesday.

India has one of the lowest per capita rates of power consumption (about 1/10 of global average). Energy shortage is a known issue and probably will continue to be a thorn in future. It’s the world’s worst blackout ever, and it might happen again soon.

Japan nuclear-power free

Nuclear power symbolJapan is switching off its last working nuclear reactor – at the Tomari plant, in Hokkaido – as part of the safety drive since the March 2011 tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

Since the Fukushima disaster, all the country’s reactors have been shut down, one by one, for “routine maintenance”. They must withstand tests against earthquakes and tsunamis, and local authorities must give their consent in order for plants to restart. So far, none have.

That leaves Japan without energy from atomic power for the first time since 1970. Until last year, Japan got 30% of its power from nuclear energy.

Severe power shortages are expected as summer looms. It’ll be interesting to see if the Japanese can coup with the problem – with extra import on oil-and-gas, plus rationing etc. The public will stand even firmer against the reopening of the reactors if they manage to live on without nuclear power in coming months.

Japan nuclear power plant crisis

Japan is still battling to avert a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima No.1 nuclear power station, four days after it was crippled by the earthquake and tsunami.

Three of its four reactors had been hit by explosions, while the remaining one caught fire this morning. Residents within 20 kilometres had been asked to evacuate. And it’s now confirmed that radiation has been released into the atmosphere at levels that can damage human health (in nearby areas).

Low-level radioactive wind (presumably bringing no health threat) could reach further zones, including Tokyo which is located 240km away from the plant.

The Japanese government will begin releasing nationwide data on this matter later today. Meanwhile, neighbouring countries like China, Russia and South Korea are also strengthening their monitoring of radiation levels.

The meltdown crisis has sparked concerns of the safety of nuclear plants around the world, especially those located at quake-prone areas. Safety precautions are never safe enough when it’s against extreme nature’s wrath.

Portugal launched world’s first wave farm

Portugal has officially launched the world’s first commercial wave power project on September 23. The Agucadoura Wave Park, developed by Scottish firm Pelamis, was supposed to launch in 2007 but was delayed by an underwater connection issue.

The first phase of the project cost about nine million Euros and generates power using three Pelamis Wave Energy Converters (PWEC) which are semi-submerged, articulated structures composed of cylindrical sections linked by hinged joints and are located approximately three miles off the coast. Video below shows how it works.

The second phase of the project will install a further 25 PWEC and bring the total capacity up to 21MW, which will be able to meet the average annual electricity demand for more than 15,000 Portuguese households while displacing more than 60,000 tonnes per year of carbon dioxide emissions from conventional power plants.

UK will be the next to embrace the wave power with the Orcadian Wave Farm in northern Scotland and the Westwave project in Cornwall, southwestern England.