Energy Topics

The benefits of biomass fuel, the safety of nuclear waste dumps, and federal support for alcohol fuel production were among the energy topics that made news in 1980.

| May/June 1980

  • 063 energy topics - toxic waste - Fotolia - TIMUROCK
    Nuclear waste storage was one of several an energy topics of ongoing concern in 1980.

  • 063 energy topics - toxic waste - Fotolia - TIMUROCK

The following were a few of the energy topics and energy-related topics garnering attention in 1980. 

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY CONSUMPTION? The U.S. Department of Defense gobbles up over 80% of all the energy used by the federal government. In fact, our military alone "eats" enough power to rank 22nd in the world, among nations, in total energy consumed, using more per year than does industrialized Sweden.

IT'S BEEN CALCULATED, therefore, that even if the Middle East oil fields could be captured intact — which is unlikely — more oil might well be consumed in such a war than would be gained through the conquest.

MAN-ON-THE-SPOT: The Michigan Sheriffs' Association reports that, when patrol cars were parked for 10 or 16 minutes of each hour at hazardous places — with the parking spots changed from hour to hour and day to day — there was a drop of 3.4% in personal injuries, a 9.4% reduction in property damages, an 89.1 % increase in violation citations, and fuel savings of 97.9 gallons per car over a two-month period!

PRETTY CONVINCING: A central-Kansas farmer reported finding a balloon on his property with a tag which said it had been released about 20 hours earlier near California's Rancho Seco Nuclear Power Plant (more than 1,600 miles away) as a demonstration of how rapidly wind currents could carry radioactive substances.

PIT PERFORMANCE: In 1979 this column reported on the Tri-Valley Growers of Modesto, California ... who use pulverized fruit pits and almond shells to generate steam for cooking, cleaning cans, etc. Now, the area's county pollution control board adds that — partly as a result of the switch to burning biomass fuel — regional emissions of sulfur oxides have been reduced, particulate matter is down by a factor of two, hydrocarbons are lower by a factor of 10, and carbon monoxide has been cut by a factor of 40.

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