No Nukes, Alternative Energy Analysis, and Other Energy News

"No Nukes" anti-nuclear activism and the conclusions of an alternative energy analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund are among several items covered in this ongoing energy news briefs feature.
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
September/October 1979
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Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) held a series of "No Nukes" concerts to raise money for groups opposing nuclear power.
ILLUSTRATION: AYUTAROUPAPA/FOTOLIA


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The following energy news stories were drawn from multiple sources. 


No Nukes

The Musicians United for Safe Energy Foundation, Inc. (MUSE) will use proceeds from a series of "No Nukes" concerts held in New York's Madison Square Garden in late September to provide funding for qualified groups that are working to stop nuclear power.

Alternative Energy Analysis

One of the Environmental Defense Fund's economists, Dr. Wayne Wiley, did a "highly regarded" financial analysis which showed that the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (the second largest utility in the U.S.) could cut 90% of its planned new nuclear and coal plants by shifting investments to presently available alternative energy sources and meet all its projected energy needs at lower cost to both the company and the public!

Alcohol Fuel Transition Costs

A representative of one of the major oil companies claimed during a recent Los Angeles television interview that drastic mechanical changes would have to be made on the average American car for it to run on alcohol. He also stated that the petroleum firms will require $10 billion in government subsidies if they're to develop an alternative source of liquid fuel.

U.S. Vs. Brazil Energy Policy

Right after the U.S. Senate voted $500 million in loan guarantees for "demonstration" alcohol fuel plants, the Brazilian government announced that it will invest $5 billion through 1985 in its alcohol fuel program.

Ford's Ethanol Commitment

A spokesman for the Ford Motor Company, which is one of the corporations planning to produce vehicles in Brazil that will burn 100% alcohol, said that they were "tuned in" with that country's switch to the fuel. "So, whatever it takes," Ford promises, "we're going to comply." (Fiat already has "alcoholic cars" coming off its South American production lines.)

Philippine Fuel

Back in 1930, an ad directed at Manila sugar growers claimed: "The new Studebaker trucks are now built to use alcohol instead of gasoline, a saving to you of 45% in fuel."

Auditory Climate Control

A stereo LP entitled "Environments Disc Eleven" supposedly reduces the need for air conditioning on warm days and lessens heating requirements on cold ones. Sounds of a winter blizzard, rattling windows, a roaring fireplace, and a thunderstorm are claimed to have kept oil technicians cool in desert heat, and the same sound effects were—it's said—found to "warm up" a cool room. Check your record store or write to Syntonic Research, Inc. for more information.

Solarex Buyout

Standard Oil of Indiana has purchased a minority interest in Solarex Corporation, the world's leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (solar/electric) energy systems.

Lost Helium Reserve

Although the U.S. has the world's largest proven reserve of helium, nearly all of this valuable element will be irretrievably lost into the atmosphere in 20 years unless conservation efforts start immediately. Helium is currently vented into the air during the production of natural gas, since present laws and gas industry practices don't encourage extraction and storage.

Solar-Powered Public Bathroom

The "solar six-holer" is the name given to the nation's first solar-powered public bathroom, which opened this past summer at Narragansett, Rhode Island. A battery of rooftop solar panels is the only source of both heat and hot water for the $21,000 colonial-style facility, which the city fathers consider "educational" since it gives people a chance to see solar heating in action.

Low-Level Radiation Dangers

Dr. Ernest J . Sternglass, Director of Radiological Physics at the University of Pittsburgh, reports that "there was a sudden and unexplained rise in infant deaths, in leukemia, and—many years later—in various types of cancers" in cities which have had a nuclear power plant operating nearby.

Energy Poll

Ninety-four percent of the American public favor strong efforts to develop solar energy, but 57% think that the country will never come up with a solution to the problem of energy shortages.

Energy Self-Sufficiency

Bill and Delores Randolph of Xenia, Ohio aren't waiting for the government to solve the energy crisis. Besides using a windmill in their yard (which supplies all their electrical needs) and wood heat in the living room, Bill—an electrical engineer at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources—plans to produce enough alcohol to power a backup furnace and is converting his truck to run on the fuel.

In Brief

Transportation Secretary Brock Adams points out that, "If we had a 10% shift of people away from their automobiles, it would swamp us and overload the public transportation system" .... MICROWAVE OVENS SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR CANNING, since the uneven heat transfer may cause glass jars to explode and—even if the containers don't burst—food at the center of some jars may never reach the sterilization point .... Sales of GAS-SAVING MOPEDS are up almost 5O% over last year .... In the U.S., it takes 20-30 calories of energy to produce one calorie of food, while the Chinese use only ONE CALORIE OF ENERGY (mostly human) to produce as much as 30 calories of food.


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