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[en] On 2 December 1942 the first man-made nuclear reactor went critical. The nuclear age was born. In his recently completed 'political history of nuclear energy' M. Goldschmidt traces the whole story of the nuclear age from the discovery of fission to the present day. In the extract from his book printed below, M. Goldschmidt tells of his personal involvement in the US nuclear research programme and of his contact with the workers at the University of Chicago; he reminds us that Fermi's achievement, historic as it was, was not the first chain reaction to take place on earth
[en] Dr Eklund presented the Agency's annual report to the General Assembly of the United Nations at its thirty-fifth session on 6 November 1980. The Director General started with a brief examination of the prospects and outlook for nuclear power. OECD countries, Japan and the USA have significant nuclear power programmes. The Eastern European Socialist countries have recently embarked on major nuclear power programmes. The developing countries present a different picture, but work on economically feasible smaller plants progresses and electrical grids are expanding. It is forecast that not more than ten developing countries will be operating nuclear power plants by 1990, and at the most twenty by the turn of the century. However, the trend in orders for new nuclear plants is still declining, although at recent major conferences there was general agreement on the need to use nuclear energy, the environmental consequences of burning large quantities of coal and oil were stressed. The present stagnation in the nuclear industry has led to a decline in the availability of professional manpower
[en] The development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes has had a series of big international scientific and technical conferences as major milestones. The first was, of course, the United Nations Geneva Conference in 1955, which released a wealth of information which had hitherto been classified. This conference gave rise to a worldwide enthusiasm for the potential and possibilities of nuclear power. The three following Geneva Conferences in 1958, 1964, and 1971 showed a successive slow change in character reflecting the change in the nature of the information exchange which was taking place, the new role of smaller and more specialized meetings, and fast and extensive literature dissemination systems. Steadily, these conferences turned from the original role of international information exchange among scientists and technicians to one of summarizing a wealth of available information in order to present it to those who were to take planning and programming decisions in each nation, reflecting also the hopes and the great investments required in nuclear power. The IAEA, established in 1957, provided the UN with a scientific secretariat for the last two Geneva Conferences, and itself organized the Conference on Nuclear Power and its Fuel Cycle in Salzburg in 1977 at a time when the closing of the nuclear fuel cycle was a focal point of interest
[en] The author discusses the reasons for science transfer to developing countries. He mentions the impact of science on industrial and technological development in such countries. Furthermore he describes the activities of the IAEA and UNESCO in this field. (HSI).
[en] There is a renewed interest in wooden houses in France, and stress is rightly being put on their thermal insulation properties and the low recurrent costs of heating. On the other hand, it is less often realized that there are energy savings that result from the low energy-cost of producing and working with wood and wood-based products. On the basis of analyses and calculations made by one of us in the course of his studies at the E.N.G.R.E.F. (Forestry option), a comparison is made of the quantities of wood products used in various kinds of wooden houses. For each 100 m2 of living space there are used 11-17 m3 of sawn timber (some hardwoods but mainly softwoods), 1,4-3,6 m3 of plywood and 2-6,5 m3 of particleboard. This corresponds to a consumption of round-wood of 24-34,5 m3 of saw logs and 3,5-9,8 m3 of chip-wood and pulp-wood, i.e. 0,3-0,45 m3 round-wood equivalent per square metre. With the help of American eco-energy data (the only available source), numerical values have been obtained for the energy consumed from harvesting the trees to building the houses. For 100 m2 of living space in wooden houses, the expenditure of energy is 1,40-2,40 t oil equivalent, according to the type of house. This is 2,5-4 times less than for houses of steel and cement, of comparable cost and comfort. If it is still needed, this tentative eco-energy analysis supplies one more argument in favour of wooden housing. (authors)