Technological Change in Construction Affecting Sustainability – Green Building Technology
Issues concerning construction and the environmental sustainability have been of great concern. Many technological changes have taken place in construction industries to attain a sustainable life. Technological improvement has emerged because of the impact of the construction with the environment. A major technological improvement that has taken place in the construction industry is green building technology.
Green building is a new technology that has been introduced in building and construction companies It is also referred to as sustainable building. The green building technology aims at increasing the efficiency in buildings with their site uses by using processes and structures which are environmentally friendly and resource efficient. The green building technology aims at changing the nature of operation, construction, maintenance, design, demolition, and renovation of buildings.
Green building technology aims at finding a sustainable balance between home and industrial building and the sustainable environment. For this to be achieved, it requires keen intervention in different construction sectors including the design team, the engineers, and the architects together with the project clients in each phase of the construction project. The green building technology is aimed at expanding and complementing of the classical system of building design which is concerned with the economical sustainability, their utility, comfort, as well as durability.
The green building technology is designed in order to curb the impact from the built environment to that of human health and natural environment in different ways. These ways include;
1. Sustainable water usage, energy and resources available.
2. Promoting the health of the occupants and improving the productivity of employees
3. Reducing resulting wastes, environmental pollution, and degradation.
Buildings have got a great impact on the environment if they are not checked. The impact caused by the construction of building also extends to the health of people within the building. The technological change in construction looks at the resultant improvement over a long period, which is the entire life-cycle in construction including its subsequent operations, disposal costs and the maintenance of the building.
Green Building Technology – Was it introduced as a cost-saving measure or for other reasons such as meeting building regulations or improving thermal performance, etc.?
As mentioned above, green building technology was introduced in order to achieve a sustainable environment. This including saving on the cost of construction, reducing the impact of construction to the environment, Sustainable water usage, energy and resources available, as well as minimization on the waste disposal which causes environmental pollution and degradation.
Building has an adverse effect to the health of individuals. The public health is affected by the construction, the building design and operation practices. The effects of buildings to health can be grouped in three main categories.
1. Effect on those occupying the building: various aspects on the building affect the health of the occupants, the staff, and visitors of a certain building. This includes indoor air circulation. The indoor air circulation of a building depends on the physical design of the building, which includes the ventilation, waste disposal locations, airflow, and pressure. Daylight access in the building also affects the occupant.
2. Effect on the health of the community surrounding the building: Health of the surrounding community is affected by the building. This can also result from waste material from the building. It also has an impact on the water management and air circulation to the neighboring community.
3. The effect of the entire global community: The health effect of the building extends beyond the immediate community. The production material of a building can constantly release toxic components to the environment. The components can cause severe effect to the larger community such as the effect of CFCs.
The goals achieved by introduction green building technology included energy efficiency, water efficiency, and material efficiency and improved indoor environment. On energy efficiency, the green building technology aims at reducing the total capacity of energy used in its construction and operation.
For this reason, buildings are constructed in a way that they will save on energy and avoid energy wastage through several ways such as siting a building in place where there is enough daylight to be used instead of electricity during the day. The houses are also fitted with solar water heaters to cut on energy use and cost in heating.
Sustainable building also aims at reducing the overall consumption of water. For this reason, water harvesting techniques have been incorporated in the construction of buildings to harvest rain water. Installation of water recycling and purifying machines is also put in place to ensure water efficiency and conservation. The technological changes in the construction industries have helped to achieve a sustainable environment which is necessary to reduce the impact caused by building to the people within them and the surrounding community.
PARAYIL, G. (2002). Conceptualizing technological change: Theoretical and empirical explorations. Lanham, MD, Rowman & Littlefield.
SMITH, M. R. (1994). Does technology drive history? the dilemma of technological determinism. Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press
TROY, P. N. (1995). Technological change and the city. Annandale, NSW, Federation Press.
VLANDIS, P. (1999). The impact of technological change on construction management. Thesis (B. Build. Construction Management) University of New South Wales, 1999.
The Impact and Effectiveness of Social Media Deployment within the UK Construction Industry
Over the past decade, social media has been at the forefront of how many individuals and organisations use the internet. This user-driven technology has provided a platform for users to publish their own content and share information through a variety of different interfaces. Often seen as industry that does not embrace change, the construction industry must ensure it understands the opportunities social media brings advertising, promotion, collaboration and communication are some of the themes considered.
Many within the industry have already adopted social media into their businesses, but there are some who have no interest. Four interviews were carried out with a variety of differing industry professionals; the findings were investigated to establish how social media was being used throughout the industry and how companies were looking to use it in the future.
The main findings showed a varying degree of social media adoption and differing views on the opportunities it presents for the industry in the future. It has been concluded that while it appears that social media has been adopted by the construction industry, it has only been bit part as most companies using the medium seem to only consider it a tool for promotion and few understand or implement it as a collaborative mechanism.
Assess the current use of social media within the construction industry
Compare the construction industries use of social media platforms to that of other industries
Investigate the reasoning construction companies choose to use or not to use social media
Critically appraise the effect of using social media and discover if there is a significant difference for those who have not invested in this medium
Consider the opportunities social media provides for a business and understand how it could affect the construction industry in the future
1 – Introduction
An introduction to social media in construction
Aim and objectives
Secondary data collection
2 – Literature Review
What is social media?
Types social media and the main platforms
Types of social media
Social media platforms
Uses of social media in business
Social media in construction
Social media in other industries
Social media as a collaboration tool
3 – Research Methodology
4 – Data collection and Analysis
Data analysis respondents
Data analysis results
Introduction and general use of social media
How social media influences the perception of the construction industry
Organisations use of social media
The future of social media in construction
5 – Discussion
Social media in the construction industry
Implementing social media into a business
The future of social media in construction
6 – Conclusion, Limitations and Recommendations
Satisfying the objectives
Analysis of objectives
For more tips on how to write your own construction management dissertation check out the Construction Management Dissertation collection today. It contains many dissertation topics and dissertation titles. I would very grateful if you can share this post on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you.
Causes and Determinants of Real Estate Bubbles in China – A Study into Beijing
The real estate market of Beijing is under investigation in order to find whether there is a potential housing bubble in China. Housing bubble as a phenomenon will be analyzed. Furthermore, the residential market of China and whether various programs for the housing policy affect housing market are presented, especially during the period 1998-2014. The Ηukou registration system gives interesting information about the housing market, the central government’s policy, and its reaction and ability to cope with a housing bubble. Ηukou registration number defines whether an individual comes from a rural or an urban area, as well as the locality.
The urban and rural residents with agricultural or non agricultural Ηukou have different rights, and thus different chances for housing, especially in large metropolitan areas like Beijing. The connection of the four state owned banks with the housing market and their reaction to the house price changes during our period of interest is analyzed. The banks reacted without taking into account the risk, because they think that they are too big to fail. Volatility is also analyzed because it is important to find the reasons behind the changes in house prices. House price volatility forces households to buy a house to live in so that they could avoid the fluctuations in house prices, and a potential price increase. Regions in Beijing do not have the same property characteristics and potentials for a real estate bubble.
The results from the research of the secondary data are presented, with some final discussion. The answer for a housing bubble in Beijing is not crystal clear. Various findings support the existence of a bubble and some others do not. Although Beijing and regions in Beijing show a house price trend above the equilibrium price, the political status quo is special. In addition, it depends on the way data are collected, the availability of data, as well as their validity. It also depends on whether we have unclear property rights, housing inequality, and not a wide freedom of choice for the households.
While there are many factors that contribute to the formation of housing bubbles, as it is a very complex phenomenon, the present dissertation is focused on some important issues revealed from the literature review. Specifically, the above hypothesis is tested considering the following issues:
The correlation between potential real estate bubble and changes in housing prices in Beijing
The correlation between potential real estate bubble and housing prices volatility in Beijing
The role that the banking sector plays to the potential real estate bubble in Beijing
The readiness of Chinese authorities to deal with a Real Estate bubble
The so far reaction of Chinese authorities to imbalances and housing price volatility
The correlation between the residential market in China and Beijing and a potential real estate bubble
The correlation between the Hukou system in China and a potential real estate bubble
Housing Bubble Dissertation Contents
Aim and Objectives
2: Literature Review – Housing Bubbles
Definition of Bubbles
3: Literature Review – The Role of House Prices and Volatility
Changes in Housing Prices
4: Literature Review – The Role of the Banking Sector
The Banking Sector in China
5: Literature Review – The Role of Chinese Authorities
Government Involvement in Urban Housing
6: Literature Review – Residential Market in China and Beijing
Residential Market in China and Beijing – A Historical Perspective
Housing Provident Fund (HPF)
Economical and Comfortable Housing Program (ECH)
Cheap Rental Housing Program (CRH)
7: Literature Review – Hukou Registration System
Description of Hukou Registration System
Housing Finance System
Inequality in Beijing
8: Research Methods
9: Data Analysis
Is There A Potential Real Estate Bubble In Beijing?
I do hope you enjoyed reading this post on Causes and Determinants of Real Estate Bubbles in China. There are many other titles available in the real estate dissertation collection that should be of interest to construction management students and building professionals. There are many dissertation titles that relate to other aspects of construction such as project management techniques, environmental management, building and construction methods to name a few. It took a lot of time to write this post and I would be grateful if you could share this post via Facebook and Twitter. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. Thank you.
Green Building Construction also known as sustainable building is an energy efficient building technology that is founded on a plan that enhances the efficiency of saving not only energy but also building materials and water. Sustainable building helps to promote the well being of the residents by providing a healthy and safe living and working environment. Over the years, the construction of commercial buildings has had massive impact on the environment; it not requires large quantities of energy and resources but also leads to the production of dangerous atmospheric emissions that cause environmental pollution. Owing to the increasing demand for buildings to accommodate the enormously growing businesses and population as well as having in mind the imminent risk of global warming, construction engineers and architect have come up with new building technologies that would render both residential and commercial buildings less harmful to the environment. As an energy efficient building technology, sustainable building has been instituted to solve major environmental problems (Johnsons Control, 2012).
Lately, several residential and commercial buildings have been switching to energy efficient technologies which according to Kibert (2008) are both cost efficient and save on the environment. Such technologies comprise of solar and wind energy among other sources of energy that will not destroy the environment. Statistics from a research carried out by Bauer (2009) on sustainable building revealed that commercial buildings are known to account for over 68% electricity consumption much of which is used to heat and ventilate a building. Furthermore, Bauer defines a sustainable building technology as the one that should several architectural and design strategies, which deal with the energy conservation in terms of air conditioning and cooling, ventilation as well as passive solar heating.
Global warming is a serious crisis that is greatly affecting the world. In order to reverse or end this menace, the society must take proactive measures, such as learning to adjust what they use in order to be less dangerous to the environment. Constructing “green” buildings would significantly solve this problem. There exists several ways of averting environmental degradation and additional ways are being embraced daily. As these fresh developments crop up, the returns associated with embracing green building becomes more evident and reasonable for the consumer (Projects by Students for Students, 2012).
Both fresh and innovative developments have been made in the engineering field with the aim of helping protect and save the environment. It is imperative for each and every person to be to be cognizant of energy consumption, owing to the detrimental effects of global warming. While the implementation green building construction may be associated with huge capital outlays, new construction developments have been linked to cost-effective solutions. Although green “engineering” and sustainable building has been on the media spotlight lately, the technology is however as old as civilization itself. Solar energy is definitely the most popular form of energy conservation.
Solar panels have been known to decrease the consumption of energy in several commercial buildings through the production of alternate energy from the sun. However, as ideal as the solar power might be, the technology is only restricted to places that receive direct sunlight every single day in a year. The Kurilpa Bridge at Brisbane provides a perfect example of how solar energy has been implemented to cut on cost and reduce pollution. Equipped with 85 solar panels, the sun is able to account for over 85 percent of the bridge’s energy needs as well as eliminate annual carbon emissions by over 39 tonnes (Esagawa, 2003).
Apart from the significant solar energy, other technologies that offer sustainable developments have been cropping up. For instance, wind is considered as a major source of energy. The major reason why wind turbines are being preferred is because it is an efficient and cleaner way of generating electricity. Actually wind turbines do not need any fossil fuels to produce any sort of electricity and is fully reliant on the wind. This guarantees that there are no carbon emissions. As the winner of the prestigious LEAF “Best use of Technology” award, the 240 meters tall Bahrain world trade center has beaten them all to be the best striking model for green building. The commercial building has massive wind turbines that generate electricity for the mega building. Definitely, Bahrain world trade center strikes out as the best environmental friendly building in the world.
In addition, the use natural light as an energy efficient technology has been greatly embraced by new large commercial buildings. Modern eco-friendly building is being designed with several windows and skylights so as to tap natural light deep into the structure. This saves on energy as artificial lights are made to turn off once there is sufficient amount of natural light. This technology has been implanted by the California Academy of Sciences at golden gate park in San Francisco. The corporate office at Luck Stone in Goochland is another building that has fully implemented the use of natural light. The building has several skylights and windows allow natural light.
Green Building Construction
Green and sustainable construction may be realized through the various choices of building material. While non-renewable materials rapidly deplete the environment, opting for renewable resources to build is significantly decreases the amount of pollution related to construction as well as slows the exhaustion of non-renewable resources. In addition, the use of renewable building materials is economically viable, environmental friendly and energy efficient. However, it would even be greener, not to cite cost-effective, to renovate an already existing building as opposed to constructing a new one. This would save the ecosystem by avoiding the production of all new materials (Kibert, 2008).
Despite the fact that most green engineering methods give back to the environment by lowering the amount of energy used, a number of techniques usually support the local habitat more directly. For instance, the use of green roofs is becoming more successful and efficient. A green roof is made up of a layer of soil and vegetation and is beneficial to the building in several ways. Most important is that the runoff water from the top of a green roof drains cleaner as compared to before it hit the roof. Furthermore, green roofs provide great insulation by blocking out the scorching sun during the hot seasons such as summer, or preventing the heat from escaping the building in the winter. Since their inception more than five years ago, Green roofs been implemented in major large commercial buildings. For instance, Sun Trust Bank in Richmond transformed the top of a four-story building to a lovely 11,800-square-foot ‘green roof,’ complete with drought-resistant plants that absorb storm water and guzzle carbon dioxide (Bauer, 2003).
One technique that is still developing is the conservation of clean hot or cold air. The California Academy of Sciences building has vents that open on the domes to let out hot air as well as motorized windows to let in cool air. While this can control the temperature in a building efficiently, air quality is just as important, “since, on average, people spend 80-90% of their time in buildings” (Bauer, 2003). There is a constant battle between keeping a constant temperature while using the least amount of energy and keeping the air fresh. Most home heating and air conditioning systems advertise providing accurate temperature control as well as filtering mold, moisture, dust, and pollen. There is not yet technology that can meet the same standards while using much less energy.
Although present day practices in green building construction are important, the real success lies with the future. The future is what will transform the entire world into a place that is self-constructive, rather than destructive. Even more beneficial than new technologies arising is the improving of existing technologies to make them greener, more user friendly, and more cost efficient. Geothermal heating and cooling and water conservation techniques appear to be some technologies that will be making major steps to improvement in the near future.
Regulations influence people’s lives, whether those individuals desire to abide by them or not; however, is it feasible to be inspired sufficiently to a point where regulations are not required. This is a fact that engineers and investors argue over. There are not at present numerous compulsory laws and policies to guide people in green building structure, but the intensity are escalating. The verdict to make a structure “bright green” is frequently a responsibility of the engineers and architects of the structure. Occasionally, it may basically amount to paying additional finances for the structure upfront so as to publicize that a structure is “green,” but there are numerous unknown profits that can be disregarded at the outset (Kibert, 2008).
There are presently numerous structures of authorization in existence these days that support green building, and that is what the majority of them do– they support green building, as in opposition to authorizing it. The major one of these is the Leaders in Engineering and Environmental Development (LEED), qualifications. Numerous structures at present are determined to acquire one of the little types of LEED qualifications. 70% of latest LEED qualified structures fit into the latest building or main repairs group. With every range of qualifications, there come diverse stages: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Each of the stages of qualifications would achieve the recognized structure recognition in addition to the evident ecological and financial payback. As declared on the LEED website, “LEED is a third-party qualifications curriculum and the nationwide acknowledged standard for the blueprint, construction and operation of high performance green buildings” (2008). A LEED certification is broadly cherished, creating support and speeding up of the implementation of green structure methods. LEED ventures are endorsed by central and national public structures. There are as well LEED structures in 41 diverse nations (2008). The qualifications of a LEED qualification for a new structure are founded off of six groups: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process (Kibert, 2008).
Green building construction is quickly growing in both importance and popularity. There are several businesses that are taking benefiting out of this, whereas at the same time cheering for more change. These are the kind of companies that deal with green products, involve themselves in environmental activities, and encourage the consumer to go green. Uncertainly, it is evident that we must embrace change quickly so that we may avert the environmental catastrophe that is about to condemn our country. Individuals will have to amend their way of life in order to overturn the damage that has already been done. Besides saving the environment, the emerging intelligence of green building construction and engineering will help consumers save money by cutting down the rate of energy consumption. As soon as fresh technologies are invented, there is a steady development of that technology until it has been perfected, making it inexpensive and user friendly. If people were to exploit these advances as they open up and are confirmed sustainable, at that moment they will be following the road that guides back to a healthy successful earth on top of money in their wallet.
Bauer, M. (2009). Green Building: A Book for Sustainable Architecture. London: Springer.
Esagawa, T. (2003). Environmentally Sustainable Buildings: Challenges and Policies. New York: OECD.
Kibert, C. (2008). Sustainable Construction: A Green Building Delivery and Design. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Johnsons Controls. (2012). makeyou Buildings Work: More Efficiently, Sustainably and Profitably.
Projects by Students for Students. (2012). Energy Sources.
The Potential for Indigenous Power Generation From Below the Ground for Nuclear Energy
This is a brief content analysis of the potential of nuclear power in UK. We are greatly concerned with nuclear power and some of its renewable alternatives. We shall discuss how Nuclear energy contributes as one of the components used to supply electricity in the UK and in other countries. We will also take a look at some of the pros and cons of nuclear power. Is there a way to dispose of its waste products? If so then what are the levels of nuclear waste products and how do they affect the environment. The essay also has an extensive coverage of the technologies as is compared to dimensions found to characterize energy issues (environmental, economic, technological, psychological risks and future/political). We also take a look at how the last four decades has seen the world come a long way in learning how to dispose nuclear waste, how to release nuclear energy, how to make use of it and how to control it. We also take a look at the theoretical comparison of all costs and benefits arising from alternative development patterns and which one would be the ideal method to use while estimating the potential role of nuclear power in meeting electric energy requirements in UK/oversea countries. In addition, we have defined both reactors Magnox and AGR noting in particular that some of the environments are in areas ‘threatened’ with the potential sitting of a new nuclear power station and that in ‘unaffected’ areas. In a more in depth perspective, we find that nuclear power was evaluated as alternatively positive and overwhelmingly negative. Further discussions of this pattern in particular showed a degree of consistency irrespective of the dimension of evaluation. These findings are related to people’s attitudes towards nuclear power, and the growth of antinuclear feeling from environmentalists and other sectors. In general, we have broadly discussed how nuclear power as the expansion programme with the least cost would definitely yield maximum net benefits. Though this fact if debatable, it has yet to be proven otherwise as nuclear power is sourced as a carbon free source of energy.
Nuclear energy is a one of the most highly concentrated energy available that is made accessible by nuclear reactors. It is low carbon, dependable, affordable energy that also increase the diversity of energy supply. It was clearly stated in the Nuclear White paper in 2008 that the along other carbon sources, the nuclear power stations also have to play their vital role in country’s better energy development. The energy produced by the fission process is being generated in nuclear power stations. This energy is also produced by the splitting of uranium atoms in nuclear reactor. 50 million times energy is produced and generated in this process as compared to the carbon consumption. Total 441 powers stations are producing and generating nuclear power in a capacity of 375GW in all around the world (Meeting Energy Demand).
The constructive possibilities of uranium were identified some time back during the development of nuclear energy, even as plans were being made to release nuclear energy explosively. The post war decade was mostly dominated by the awesome destructive power of nuclear weapons. In the mid 1950s engineers and scientists started harnessing nuclear power for other purposes that mostly involved peace. This prospect looked brighter and brighter. A surge of euphoric predictions that was there in the aftermath of the two nuclear explosions in Japan ended the 2nd world war. The atomic power is considered so powerful that it could run a car on an engine that was the size of a fist (Walter C Patterson, 1982).
It’s also considered powerful enough to keep ‘atom powered’ aircrafts aloft for an indefinite period. People who understood the powers of nuclear energy choose to be more realistic and choose applications for nuclear development that would lead to development rather than fiction (Popular Mechanics, 1957, pg. 258).
The term atomic energy originated back in 1903. It is energy produced by atoms or from a nuclear reaction.
Uranium ores are very economical recoverable concentrations of uranium found in the earth’s crust. Uranium is one of the most common elements present in the earths crust. Uranium ores are even more common that both gold and silver (Enrico Fermi 1938). Uranium ores can be found in rivers, oceans, rocks and in the soil.
It’s important to note that when dealing with nuclear atoms, energy is only released when there is a change in an atom’s nucleus. There are two types of nuclear change namely nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. Large atoms in nuclear fission are split into two so as to release energy. New elements are often formed as a result of nuclear fission reactions. There is always loss of mass during nuclear fission. This is because the missing matter has been converted into energy that can be used to generate electricity. Uranium is one of the isotopes used to start nuclear fission chain reactions (Michael A. Seeds & Dana E. Backman, 2010, pp 119).
Nuclear fusion when a new element is formed. It often occurs in small atoms such as hydrogen. It has the capability of releasing much greater amounts of energy as compared to nuclear fission. Nuclear fusion reaction is also referred to as thermonuclear reaction. A great example of such energy can be found on the sun where hydrogen atoms join together to create a new element known as helium. This type of reaction not only releases energy, but also light, heat and radiation. The hydrogen bomb is also another great example of nuclear fusion energy (Joseph A. Angelo, 2004, pp. 156).
In general, nuclear fusion energy has with time proved to be among the countries cleanest energy source (Jonathan Fildes, 2005). The only disadvantage it has is that it’s hard to control nuclear fusion reaction. If this can be achieved, then there would be enough time for governments and organizations to set up energy plants to supply to the large population.
History of Nuclear Power in the UK
The economical issue surrounding energy varied in the ensuing years as the cost of coal increased, while that of oil remained low. The balance remained uncertain as some of the nuclear costs increased. Public concern started building up in the late 1960s as attention was drawn to problems arising from the large scale use of fuels. This included the air pollution from the burning of oil and coal, ecological damage from surface mining and health hazards from underground coal mining. The increase of oil prices in the late 1960s plus the increasingly uneasy labour relations in the coal field increased the attraction towards the use of nuclear power. This factor tentatively and gradually accelerated industrial commitment to nuclear power. It also accelerated nuclear component of the total electricity output (Roy M Harrison & R E Hester, 2011).
The availability of nuclear energy saw electricity supply systems lessens their dependency on coal while governments reduced their dependence on petroleum exporting countries. Generation of electricity using nuclear power obviously seemed as the best alternative. Coal and oil were seen as irreplaceable raw materials for the chemical industry that should be reserved. Meanwhile nuclear energy was to be used to generate electricity which was seen as a premium form of energy that is high grade, clean and versatile at the point of use. The use of energy worldwide continued to rapidly rise as more and more people were exposed to the use of technology. Experts predicted that the worldwide consumption per person would grow to be twice as that used. Glasstone (1979) argued that this energy would only be provided by some 4000 clusters of nuclear power stations with each cluster having enough reactors to produce at least five times the output of the largest power station today. This requirement of high energy for use by humans thus made the future role of nuclear energy very crucial. This created the vigorous growth of nuclear capabilities since all these energy requirements had to be met (Walter C Patterson, 1982).
The civil nuclear power programme in the UK grew out during the post – war military imperative that produced plutonium for nuclear weapons. The UK only had two plutonium producing reactors known as the Windscale piles. They started work in 1947 under a labor government (Rebecca Morelle, 2007).
The reactor’s design comprised of a large composite clock of graphite which ran horizontal cooling holes into the uranium metal fuel. The reactor core was enclosed into a concrete box that provided a biological shield, and was cooled by air that was blown into it through powerful pumps. There were chimneys capped with filters that were used to discharge the heated air. It was later realized that changing the design would allow the heat to generate steam that would later drive the turbines to produce plutonium and electricity. This resulted in three major changes in the design which saw an increase in the heat removal capability. It was a very important step to increase thermal efficiency so that the conventional steam turbines could be used effectively. The second changes saw a move away from using air as a cooling agent. It was necessary since the major component of air is nitrogen, and in its compressed form would prove to be too great a neutron absorber for the reactors to operate with natural uranium. In its place, carbon dioxide was chosen since it’s a more reasonable heat transfer medium which has lower neutron absorption. The third and final change made was to use magnesium alloys to clad uranium bars and engineer them into the cladding radial cooling fins. This design led to the generic name of Magnox for the reactor type (Thomas Telford, 1995).
In August 1953, work on the construction of Calder Hall began. The plant was later opened by Queen Elizabeth in October 1956. This was almost 14 years down the line since the first man-made reactor was assembled by Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago. The opening of Calder Hall was greatly appreciated since the country was experiencing oil and petrol rationings. This was a remarkable solution to the current shortage of energy that the country was experiencing (Thomas Telford, 1993).
Social and Environmental Issues
There was a turbulent period experienced in the UK from the 1990 – 2006. This was because a lot of nuclear fortunes were seen to rise and emerge from ruins. Some of the events were self made while others were entirely as a result of outside developments. There were a lot of personalities involved in the development of this industry. They did this by developing the philosophical and political rationale for privatizing the industry. Most of these personalities made the industry more competitive while others provided the determination and energy to drive the industry side through to floatation. There were very many fundamental changes in almost every dimension that greatly affected nuclear power in the UK in way or another. Some of the phases include
World oil prices leap 100%, gas prices soar, electricity market prices recover
Weakening pool prices
British Energy in crisis seeks government aid
Market introduction – the pool
Dash for gas
Break-up of the nationalized electricity industry
Gas linkage to Europe
Major external companies act as predators on smaller UK companies
Strengthening pool prices
Privatization of British Energy
(Adrian Ham & Robert Hal, 2006)
Nuclear Waste Disposal
This is by far one of the most controversial topics that will continue to haunt generations to come (Robert C. Williams and Cantelon, P 1980). This is because a clear cut solution has not yet been formulated on how to properly dispose of some of the nuclear end products such as radioactive waste. Radioactive waste is the gaseous, liquid or solid waste produced by nuclear fuel production, nuclear power stations, nuclear plant decommissioning and weapons manufacturer and reprocessing of spent fuel. There are three basic types in which wastes are categorized. This is according to the type and the amount of radioactivity it contains. They include:
LLW (Low level waste): this consisted of lightly contaminated paper towels, clothing and laboratory glass ware. Land allocated for such type of disposals should be restricted for at least 300 years to allow for the radioactivity to wear out.
ILW (Intermediate Level Waste): they consist of heavily contaminated material such as parts of decommissioned reactors, used fuel rod casing and used ion exchange resins. Disposal of this level of waste products requires heavy shielding so as not to expose any living thing to some of the harms caused by radioactivity.
HLW (High Level waste): this consists of highly radioactive reprocessing liquor and spent nuclear fuel: this is the most radioactive and concentrated of all the three categories. Wastes of this intensity therefore require intense radioactive decay processes where a large amount of heat is generated so as to facilitate the decay of the waste products (Royal Society of Chemistry, 1999)
Potential of Nuclear Power in the UK
Although the nuclear power industry can employ people directly at power stations, in the bigger picture this can boost the economy and businesses locally and throughout the supply chain. It is estimated that 56,000 jobs are dependent on the UK civil nuclear within the UK alone. Many more thousands of jobs will be created if more power stations are proposed and created.
Most of the UKs current nuclear plants are due to close by 2023. To maintain the current flow of nuclear power in the energy it is estimated 10 million kilowatts (kW) of new nuclear capacity will needed to be added to the UK’s supply. This works out to be about six to eight new nuclear plants being built. Due to UK having gained nuclear experience both in Britain and abroad, UK is in a position to take advantage of these opportunities.
In a study it was indicated that British industry could potentially have 70% of the skilled workforces necessary within Britain already. EDF is already investing in training. Edf is working hard to train more people to be necessarily skilled for working at the nuclear power stations. EDF are proposing to open 4, which they will secure 700 permanent and 200 contract positions for more than 60 years. (EDF energy.com). Below is an image showing EDF’s current nuclear sites.
Future developments of nuclear energy prospects saw various programmes launched as competition costs between other fossil fuels increased. One of the programmes launched was the ‘Programme of nuclear power”, government established white paper in February 1955. Some of the things proposed included
The construction of a twin reactor power station. This was to be started in mid 1957 and to be operated in 1960 – 1961
Construction of a further twin reactor power station that was of the same design as the latter but more improved in terms of performance. It was to start in 1958 – 1959 and start operations in 1963.
A construction of four other power stations that were envisaged as being a developed design.
(Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011)
Currently, close to one sixth of UK’s electricity is generated by nuclear power. This is done utilizing 16 operational nuclear reactors at 9 plants. You should note that out of this nuclear reactors, there are 14 advanced gas cooled reactors, one pressurized water reactor and one Magnox. This show how much the UK greatly relies on nuclear power so as to produce energy. This also brings out the huge capability of nuclear energy as a potential force that the UK can’t live without. Picture the country without at least one sixth of a power source. This would be disastrous for not only the countries economy, but also on its development. Nuclear power in the country has also shown tremendous signs of growing and producing an even bigger share of UK’s power source. This will also be heavily facilitated by the fact that the government gave the go-ahead to permit private suppliers to construct up a total of 8 new power plants. This was done back in October 2010. The only set back experienced was that some few member countries refused to back this proposal and therefore refuted the construction of any nuclear power on their soil. One of these countries was Scotland. However with the groundwork already started in several areas, there is simply no stopping the momentum made to increase UK’s reliance on energy generated from nuclear energy (Manasi Karkare, 2008).
Nuclear power is not only an alternative source of energy that is clean, but it’s also a cost effective way to produce power (Felix A Ferrit, 2006). The UK stands to benefit greatly through any findings our of nuclear power research. However, there are some few problems that need to be addressed before this can be achieved. They include:
Nuclear waste disposals
Nuclear power use and control (I.e. weapons of mass destruction)
Tony Blair (2006) argued during his speech at the CBI annual dinner that once these two issues are addressed, the country can march forward and explore other potential advantages that they can get from nuclear power. Otherwise, they have no choice but to stall any development since each move should be monitored to ensure whether it’s constructive or destructive. These issues bring out to light the fact that this country still has a very long way to go because we have yet to achieve any mature technology that can handle such immense potential of power. There is no need for alarm since there are several proposals being brought forward to help improve the sector (Patrick Wintour & David Adam, 2006).
Even though its waste products are harmful to the environment, it’s still wise to say that nuclear power has the capability to become the largest source of carbon free electricity. This however can only be achieved if the country steps up its current economy and meets its carbon targets. This source of energy is also seen as a way out of global warming and meet UK’s target on reducing emissions of gases responsible for this. It’s assumed that using nuclear power will help the country attain its ambitious target of cutting emissions by 80%. The concentration of the government on this source of energy has with time proven that nuclear power has the potential of also undermining any other attempts of finding a cleaner, greener, secure and more sustainable source of energy. This fact can be blamed on the heavy reliance of the country on nuclear power to produce their electricity (Making It, 2011).
Currently UK has 17 reactors that generate about 19% of its electricity. The country has a number of full fuel cycle facilities that include major reprocessing plants. The shut down of some of the power plants has greatly reduced the power contribution from nuclear plants that were experienced back in the 90’s.
Below is a table of nuclear reactors operating in the UK
Present Capacity (MWe net)
Dungeness B1 & 2
1983 and 1985
Hartlepool 1 & 2
1983 and 1984
Heysham I – 1 & I – 2
1983 and 1984
Heysham II-1 & II – 2
Hinkley Point B 1 & 2
2×610 (but operates at 70% 430 – MWe)
Hunterston B 1 & 2
2×610 (but operates at 70% 430 – MWe)
1976 and 1977
Torness 1 & 2
1988 and 1989
Total: 16 units
(World Nuclear Org)
Magnox: currently, it’s one of the obsolete types of nuclear reactors which was designed and still is in use in the UK. The name Magnox originates from the alloy used o clad the fuel rods found inside the reactor. They are carbon dioxide cooled, pressurized, graphite moderated reactors that use Magnox alloy as fuel cladding and natural uranium as fuel. The design for the civilian Magnox power station was created with on-load refueling as a consideration since the government wanted to maximize the power station’s availability by eliminating refueling downtime.
AGR (Advanced Gas-cooled reactor): this is a type of nuclear reactor that uses carbon dioxide as coolants and graphite as moderators. It was developed from the Magnox reactor requiring stainless steel fuel cladding to withstand high temperatures and operating at a much higher gas temperature for improved thermal efficiency. Enriched uranium fuel is needed due to the fact that the stainless steel fuel cladding has a higher neutron capture cross section than Magnox fuels (World Nuclear Org).
Nuclear power as a sustainable source of power has yet to be fully explored in terms of its prospective. There is no lucid motive about the Fukushima events’ impact on the development of the nuclear power industry internationally as well as national. However, logically protection will be highlighted on the schema. Since nuclear power is one of the most important entity all around the globe, but UK efforts to maintain its carbon emission level and increasing demands for energy supplies. To develop nuclear energy, the government, semi government and private/public authorities, operators, and contractors must have to consider the importance of developing nuclear energy by focusing on it as an industry. They should measure up the safe and improve the nuclear energy development at industrial levels. The UK Government has pressurized the third party liability on operators, industrial contractors, and suppliers, due to which they are well experienced to increase intention towards industrial development of nuclear energy. To meet with liabilities and demands, the UK companies are in a state to take improvement of these opportunities as they have attained nuclear skills in Europe as well as on international levels. In 2009, a research done by the NIA (Nuclear Industry Association) demonstrated that British industry could better supply the experienced labor force obligatory to manufacture and preserve a new nuclear armada. The industry of nuclear power hires workers openly on industrial levels and can enhance the cutback and businesses in the vicinity and right through the supply procession. Anticipated thousands of jobs are reliant on the national nuclear industry in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, several jobs would be increasing during the building and maneuver of projected innovative nuclear power stations. Opportunities included the mechanized of apparatus, site setting up, preservation, servicing, plan, and engineering mentoring, authorized and monetary services, and jobs on position once the power stations are prepared. The UK’s existing nuclear plants are schedule to end up their operations in 2003. Just to sustain the current divide up of nuclear power in the energy combine about 10 million kW of new nuclear plants which are in progress.
2003 Energy White Paper
The Government’s Energy White Paper, published in 2003 and titled “Our Energy Future – Creating a Low Carbon Economy” concluded that:
Nuclear power is currently an important source of carbon-free electricity. However, its current economics make it an unattractive option for new, carbon-free generating capacity and there are also important issues of nuclear waste to be resolved. These issues include our legacy waste and continued waste arising from other sources. This white paper does not contain specific proposals for building new nuclear power stations. However we do not rule out the possibility that at some point in the future new nuclear build might be necessary if we are to meet our carbon targets.
Angelo A Joseph. (2004). Nuclear Power Technology. Westport (Connecticut); London: Greenwood Press. pp. 156-300.
BBC (2010) News Politics 2010 [Online] Nuclear power: Eight sites identified for future plants.
EDF energy (2012). What nuclear power energy means for UK economy.
Everett Bob et al. (2011). Energy Systems and Sustainability nuclear power for a sustainable future. Oxford: oxford university press. pp 395 – 455.
Fildes Jonathan. (2005). Science & Environment 2012 [Online] Man-made star to unlock cosmic secrets.
Ham Adrian & Hal Robert. (2006). A Way Forward For Nuclear Power. 2006 Energy Review Submission.
Harrabin Roger (2012) Treasury messing with UK clean energy policy, say MPs.
Joy. D.S. & Jenkins. R.T. (1974). Wien Automatic System Planning Package (WASP): An Electric Utility Optima Generation Expansion Planning Computer Code. Washington, D.C: Ernst & Whinney.
Karkare Manasi. (2008). Nanotechnology: Fundamentals and Applications. pp. 104.
Mark Tran (2007) The Guardian (London)[Online] Government nuclear power talks pointless, say green groups.
Morelle Rebecca. (2007). Science & Environment 2007 Windscale Fall Out Underestimated.
Making It. (2011). [Online] Is nuclear power necessary for a carbon-free future?
Royal Society of Chemistry. (1999). Environmental impact of nuclear power generation. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. 3.5 in. pp. 83.
Royal Society of Chemistry. (2011). Nuclear power and the environment. Cambridge: RSC Publishing. pp. 8.
Seeds A Michael. & Backman E Dana. (2010). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. 11th ed. pp. 119.
Telford Thomas. (1995). Radiation Dose Management in The Nuclear Power Industry: Proceedings Of The Conference Organized By The British Nuclear Energy Society And Held In Windermere, Cumbria. London: the society. pp. 65.
Telford Thomas. (1993). Remote techniques for nuclear plant: proceedings of the conference organized by the British Nuclear Power Energy Society, held at Stratford-upon-Avon. London: British Nuclear Energy Society. pp. 83.
2007 [Online] Available at; Energy White Paper Supporting Documents, Department of Trade and Industry
2007 [Online] Available at; The Future of Nuclear Power: Consultation Document, Department of Trade and Industry
Hearst Magazines (1957). Popular Mechanics. Vol. 107. No. 4. pp. 258.
Meeting Energy Demand. Nuclear Power.
Walter C Patterson. (1982). Nuclear power. 2nd ed.
Roy M Harrison & R E Hester. (2011). Nuclear Power and The Environment. Cambridge: RSC Publishing.
Felix A Ferrit. (2006). Integration of Alternative Sources of Energy. Hoboken : John Wiley & Sons
Patrick Wintour & David Adam. (2006) The Guardian. Blair presses the nuclear button.