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[经济学人] [2007.09.06] Energy: Nuclear power's new age

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发表于 2010-4-28 21:50 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
第一次下水,大家多踩踩!


Energy


Nuclear power's new age
核能的第二春
Sep 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition



A nuclear revival is welcome so long as the industry does not repeat its old mistakes
只要核工业不重蹈覆辙,核能将会重获新生




IN MARCH 1986 this newspaper celebrated “The Charm of Nuclear Power” on its cover. The timing wasn't great. The following month, an accident at a reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine spread radioactivity over Europe and despair in the Western world's nuclear industry.
在1986年3月,我报在封面上称赞了“核能的迷人魅力”,然而造物弄人,在一个月之后,乌克兰切尔诺贝利的核反应装置发生事故,把放射性物质扩散到整个欧洲并打击了西方世界的核工业。


Some countries never lost their enthusiasm for nuclear power. It provides three-quarters of French electricity. Developing countries have continued to build nuclear plants apace. But elsewhere in the West, Chernobyl, along with the accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, sent the industry into a decline. The public got scared. The regulatory environment tightened, raising costs. Billions were spent bailing out lossmaking nuclear-power companies. The industry became a byword for mendacity, secrecy and profligacy with taxpayers' money. For two decades neither governments nor bankers wanted to touch it.
一些国家从来没有放弃对核能的执热追求,在法国,核能提供了四分之三的电能。一些发展中国家也仍在雨后春笋般的修建核电站。但是在西方的其他地方,在1979年宾夕法尼亚州的三英里岛核电站发生泄漏事故之后的切尔诺贝利核电站泄漏事故将核电打入了冷宫。这一做法很令公众吃惊,由于环境的管理措施严格以及成本的上升,数十亿美元的财力被投入到亏损的核电公司之中,核工业从此成为欺骗、隐瞒和浪费纳税人钱财的笑柄,此后的20年中,无论是政府还是银行都不愿涉足这一行业。


Now nuclear power has a second chance. Its revival is most visible in America (see article), where power companies are preparing to flood the Nuclear Regulatory Commission with applications to build new plants. But the tide seems to be turning in other countries, too. Finland is building a reactor. The British government is preparing the way for new planning regulations. In Australia, which has plenty of uranium but no reactors, the prime minister, John Howard, says nuclear power is “inevitable”.
现在,核能有了第二次机会,它在美国的复苏是显而易见的:很多电力公司拿着建造新核电站的申请蜂拥至美国核能管理委员会办理审批手续,并且在其他国家这种现象也在出现。芬兰建造了一个核反应堆;英国政府也在制定新的(核能利用)计划管理规定;在澳大利亚这个铀燃料十分丰富却没有核反应堆的国家,他们总理霍华德也说:开发利用核能是“不可避免的”。


Managed properly, a nuclear revival could be a good thing. But the industry and the governments keen to promote it look like repeating some of the mistakes that gave it a bad name in the first place.
如果管理得好的话,核能的复苏将是一件好事,但是核工业和政府部门却像核能利用之初一样热衷于推动核能,这看起来似乎重犯了曾经给核能带来污名的错误。


It's going nuclear's way
核能的开发利用正在步入正轨
Geopolitics, technology (see article), economics and the environment are all changing in nuclear power's favour. Western governments are concerned that most of the world's oil and gas is in the hands of hostile or shaky governments. Much of the nuclear industry's raw material, uranium, by contrast, is conveniently located in friendly places such as Australia and Canada.
在核能的新一轮的复兴中,地缘政治、技术、经济和环境都已经发生了变化。西方国家政府都对那些掌握在敌对国家和不稳定国家手中的石油和天然气垂涎三尺。然而大部分的核材料——铀,相比之下都蕴藏在我们的友好国家(当然是站在英美人的角度说的,:lol 译者注)如澳大利亚和加拿大。


Simpler designs cut maintenance and repair costs. Shut-downs are now far less frequent, so that a typical station in America is now online 90% of the time, up from less than 50% in the 1970s. New “passive safety” features can shut a reactor down in an emergency without the need for human intervention. Handling waste may get easier. America plans to embrace a new approach in which the most radioactive portion of the waste from conventional nuclear power stations is isolated and burned in “fast” reactors.
由于更简单的设计减少了保养和维修费用,关停核电站已经非常少见了,以至于美国一家有代表性的核电站现在90%的时间都在发电上网,相比于七十年代50%的发电上网率高出了很多。新的“被动安全”装置的特征是:能在紧急情况不需要人干预的情况下关停核反应堆。(新的核电站)处理燃料废弃物变得更加简单,美国计划研究出一种新的方法,通过这种方法可以把传统的核电站所产生的大部分放射性的物质分离并在“快速”反应装置里面反应掉。


Technology has thus improved nuclear's economics. So has the squeeze on fossil fuels. Nuclear power stations are hugely expensive to build but very cheap to run. Gas-fired power stations—the bulk of new build in the 1980s and 1990s—are the reverse. Since gas provides the extra power needed when demand rises, the gas price sets the electricity price. Costly gas has therefore made existing nuclear plants tremendously profitable.
技术促进了核能利用的经济性,对化石燃料的提取也是一样。核电站建造时非常昂贵但是运行时却非常经济。燃气电厂(比如80年代和90年代大批建造的)却相反。既然当用电需求上升时天然气提供了额外的电力需求,那么天然气的价格决定了电价,相比昂贵的天然气而言,一些已建的核电站则利润丰厚。


The latest boost to nuclear has come from climate change. Nuclear power offers the possibility of large quantities of baseload electricity that is cleaner than coal, more secure than gas and more reliable than wind. And if cars switch from oil to electricity, the demand for power generated from carbon-free sources will increase still further. The industry's image is thus turning from black to green.
最近的大批核电站的建造是因为气候异常,核电为电力系统提供了大量基荷的可能性比火电大、而且比火电更加清洁、比燃气发电更加安全、比风电更加可靠。如果汽车由石油驱动改为电驱动的话,对于碳素燃料所产生的电能的需求将会增长许多。电力行业的在人们心目中的形象将由黑色变为绿色。


Nuclear power's moral makeover has divided its enemies. Some environmentalists retain their antipathy to it, but green gurus such as James Lovelock, Stewart Brand and Patrick Moore have changed their minds and embraced it. Public opinion, confused about how best to save the planet, seems to be coming round. A recent British poll showed 30% of the population against nuclear power, compared with 60% three years ago. An American poll in March this year showed 50% in favour of expanding nuclear power, up from 44% in 2001.

对核电正面的外部的宣传分散了其反对者的注意力。虽然一些环境学家仍然对其非常反感,但是绿色的环保主义者像詹姆斯•拉弗洛克、斯坦沃特•布朗德和帕特里克•摩尔已经改变了他们的观念并开始拥护核电。公众关于如何能最大限度地挽救我们的星球的的呼吁已经再度来临。英国最近的一项民意测试表明30%的人反对核电,然而在三年前却有60%人反对。今年4月美国的一项测试显示50%的人支持开发核电,比2001年44%的支持率相比有所提高。


Fear of fission
对化石燃料的恐惧
Yet the economics of nuclear still look uncertain. That's partly because its green virtues do not show up in its costs, since fossil-fuel power generation does not pay for the environmental damage it does. But it is also because nuclear combines huge fixed costs with political risk. Companies fear that, after they have invested billions in a plant, the political tide will turn once more and bankrupt them. Investors therefore remain nervous.
核能的经济性仍然是未知数。部分原因是因为其绿色环保的优点并不表明其成本低廉,而化石燃料能不需要为其所造成的环境破坏买单。由于核能的固定成本在很大的程度上与政治风险有关,因此核电公司对此非常恐惧,倘若在他们对一个核电厂投资了数十亿美元之后一旦政治风向的改变了,这将会使他们倾家荡产。投资者对此仍然非常担心。


How, then, to get new plants built? America's solution is to lard the industry with money. That is the wrong answer.
怎样来建造新的核电站?美国的做法是用钱来砸,这是一个错误的做法。

Nuclear and other clean energy sources do indeed deserve a hand from governments—but through a carbon tax which reflects the benefits of clean energy, not through subsidies to cover political risk. Exposure to public nervousness is a cost of doing business in the nuclear industry, just as exposure to volatile prices is a cost in the gas industry.
核能和其他清洁的能源一样非常需要政府的支持——但是仅仅通过一种减免清洁能源税款而不通过对其所可能遇到的政治风险进行补贴的这种做法(是远远不够的)。使公众产生紧张心理是核电行业的经营者所面临的另一种成本,就像天然气行业所面临的天然气价格经常反复无常一样。

It may be that fears of nuclear power are overblown: after all, the UN figure of around 4,000 eventual deaths as a result of the Chernobyl accident is lower than the official annual death-rate in Chinese coal mines. Yet there are good reasons for public concern. Nuclear waste is difficult to dispose of. More civil nuclear technology around the world increases the chance of weapons proliferation. Terrorists could attack plants or steal nuclear fuel. Voters will support nuclear power only if they believe that governments and the nuclear industry are doing their best to limit those risks, and that such risks are small enough to be worth taking in the interests of cheap, clean energy.
公众对于核能的恐惧似乎风头已过:毕竟,联合国的统计数字表明其尔诺贝利核电站使得4000人丧生,这个数字比中国官方公布的每年死于矿难的人数还要少(真令我们中国人汗的,不过还好,咱最不缺的就是人:lol )。然而这也是公众所关注的原因。核废弃物很难处理,全球范围内更多的核技术的广泛使用将会使得核扩散的机率增加,恐怖主义组织可能会对核电站或者窃取核燃料。支持者支持核电仅仅是因为他们相信政府和核工业部门尽他们最大的努力来减少这种风险,并且为了获得廉价清洁的能源,这点小小的风险就显得微不足道了。

One of the reasons why the public turned against nuclear power last time round is that it found itself bailing the industry out. It would be wrong, not just for taxpayers but also for the industry, to set up another lot of cosy deals with governments. The nuclear industry needs to persuade people that it is clean, cheap and safe enough to rely on without a government crutch. If it can't, it doesn't deserve a second chance.
上次公众转而对于核电持支持态度其中的一个原因就是核电已经把自己从困境中拯救了出来。这是错误的,不仅是因为纳税人更是因为核工业本身,在与政府交涉中处理得很好。核电需要使人们相信核能是清洁的、廉价并且安全的,即使没有政府的支持也是足以值得信任的,如果做不到这一点,就会错失其发展的第二次良机。
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发表于 2010-4-28 21:55 | 显示全部楼层
MARCH 1986   1986年3月?

执热追求   笔误

sent the industry into a decline 使得核工业化进程陷入低谷

Three Mile Island   应该是地名

Billions 数十亿

second chance  第二次的机会

化石然料  笔误

还有几个长句子的理解也有点问题,楼主再斟酌一下。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:00 | 显示全部楼层
Three Mile Island   应该为:“三英里岛”,本人实在是孤陋寡闻,不好意思,第一次发稿。以后发稿之前一定好好检查。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:05 | 显示全部楼层
But elsewhere in the West, Chernobyl, along with the accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, sent the industry into a decline.
但是在西方,1979年,距事故地点切尔诺贝利3000英里之外的宾夕法尼亚州限制核工业发展

但是在西方,切尔诺贝利和1979年发生在宾夕法尼亚的三里岛事故,使核工业陷入低谷。

三里岛事故是切尔诺贝利之前发生的一起严重核泄露事故。

billions该是数十亿,而不是数百万。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:10 | 显示全部楼层
可以在原文修改,点"编辑"键
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:15 | 显示全部楼层
But elsewhere in the West, Chernobyl, along with the accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania in 1979, sent the industry into a decline.
但是在西方,1979年,距事故地点切尔诺贝利3000英里之外 ...

的确是个大的错误,谢谢指正!我已在原文中改过来了。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:20 | 显示全部楼层
lz辛苦
但是。您最后的那个笑脸实在让我觉得不舒服。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:25 | 显示全部楼层
SURVEY: THE BRAIN
Who do you think you are?
你认识自己吗?


Dec 19th 2006
From The Economist print edition
Modern neuroscience, says Geoffrey Carr, is groping towards the answer to the oldest question of all: who am I?
乔夫雷•卡尔说:现代神经科学正在寻求最古老的问题的答案——我到底是谁?

ON SEPTEMBER 13th 1848 a navvy called Phineas Gage was helping to build a railway in Vermont. As gang foreman, he had the job of setting explosive charges to blast a path through the hills near a town called Cavendish. While he was tamping down one of the charges with an iron bar, it went off prematurely, driving the bar clean through his head.


在1848年9月13日,一个叫做菲尼斯•盖奇的挖土工人正在美国佛蒙特州修建一条铁路工地上施工,作为这帮工人的领班,他负责在小镇卡文迪什附近的山中埋设用来炸出一条通过此镇的小道所用的炸药。当他用铁条封住一个埋设了炸药的装药口时,炸药提前爆炸了,炸药把铁条炸飞并直刺入他的头部。

Accidents on construction projects happen all the time. The reason that people remember Gage's is that he survived it. Or, rather, his body survived it. For the Gage that returned to work was not the Gage who had stuck the tamping rod into that explosive-filled hole. Before, he had been a sober, industrious individual, well respected and destined for success. Afterwards, he was a foul-mouthed drunkard, a drifter and a failure. His identity had been changed in a specific way by specific damage to a specific part of his brain.

建筑工程工地上的事故从来就没有停止过,但人们之所以还记得盖奇的原因是因为他从这次事故中奇迹般的活过来了,更确切的说是他的身体活过来了。我们所指的回到工地继续工作的盖奇已经不是那个受到装药孔封口铁条刺伤的盖奇了。在此之前,他还是一个从不饮酒过量的、勤奋的人;但是事故发生后就变成了一个满口污言秽语的酒鬼、一个流浪汉、一个失败的人。他的品性已经由于一种特别的事故通过特别的方式伤害到了他大脑的特定的地方而改变了。

Gage's accident was intriguing because it cast light on the question of dualism(注1). This is the idea that although the mind—the self—inhabits the brain, it nevertheless has an existence of its own and thus should not be equated with the brain. The sudden change Gage underwent suggested that brain and mind are not independent. If the essence of individuality can be changed by a physical accident, it implies that the brain is a mechanism which generates the self, rather than merely an organ which houses it. This observation moves the question “who am I?” from the realm of philosophy into the realm of science.

盖奇的事故激起了人们的好奇心,因为这件事阐明了二元论。尽管思维存在于大脑之中,他仍然独立的存在并不等同于大脑。盖奇所经历的这种突然的变故意味着大脑和思维并不是相互独立的。如果一次外界的物理的伤害都能改变人性的本质的话,这将意味着大脑是一个能产生自我改变的机械装置而不仅仅是储藏脑细胞的器官。这样的观测结果把“我是谁?”这个问题从哲学领域迁移到了科学领域。

Thirteen years after the incident in Cavendish, a French neurologist called Paul Broca systematised the study of [how brain damage affects the mind ]with the discovery that certain sorts of speech defect are the result of damage to part of the brain called the left temporal lobe(see article for a refresher course on brain anatomy and function). Local brain damage of this sort is known to neurologists as a lesion. Studying it therefore became known as the lesion method.

在卡文迪什镇的这次事故发生第13年后,一位名叫保尔•布罗卡的法国神经学家做了些研究。在研究中,他利用了“某些种类的语言障碍就是因为伤害到了被称作左脑小叶的结果”的科学发现,把关于“大脑损伤是如何影响人的智力的”研究成果进行了系统的分类。像这种的局部大脑损伤被神经学家称之为机能障碍,研究机能障碍的方法因此被称为机能障碍法。

Broca's new method was taken up quickly. All sorts of strange neurological symptoms are now explained by specific brain damage. For example, an inability to perceive movement even though the individual can see stationary objects results from damage to part of the temporal lobe, and an inability to recognise faces is caused by damage to the fusiform gyrus. No one now questions the idea that particular parts of the brain specialise in particular activities.

布罗卡的新方法很快被广泛的推广,所有种类的神经方面怪异的症状现在都能用特定的部位的脑损伤来解释。例如,不能感知运动的病人的病因(即使他可以看见静止的物体)是由于他的部分脑小叶受到损伤的结果;不能识别人的面相的病人的病因是因为纺锤形脑垂体受到损伤的结果。现在,已经没有人对大脑特定的部位控制着人体特定的活动这一认识提出质疑。

Broca's revolution, though, is incomplete. On the face of things, its discoveries might have meant the end of dualism, but the world was not quite ready to embrace the mechanical explanation of self that the work of Broca and his successors implied. For much of the 20th century, a watered-down version of dualism based on the idea of the psyche prevailed. The distinction that psychiatry drew between neurological and psychiatric illness implied that there was a psyche (whisper not the word soul) that could somehow go wrong independently of physical symptoms in the brain.

布罗卡的革命尽管不是全面的,从表面上看,他的发现可能意味着二元论的终结,但是世界并不准备完全接受对于布罗卡及其后继者所做工作的机械的解释。在20世纪的大部分时间里,一个淡化了的二元论版本建立在心理学流行状况的基础之上。神经学和神经病学的之间的区别暗示着存在一种心理,这种心理能让大脑中的心理症状不明原因的独立的犯错。

When that idea was challenged by the effectiveness of physical drugs, such as antidepressants, in treating psychiatric illness, dualism returned in a different guise. Many people, most of whom would not regard themselves as dualists, think of the brain as being like a computer, and the mind as being like a piece of software that runs on that computer. But this analogy, too, is flawed. You do not have to do much damage to a computer to stop it being able to run programs. Yet as the case of Gage and numerous subsequent individuals has shown, the self can plod on, albeit changed, after quite radical brain damage.

当这种想法遭到诸如抗抑郁的药、治疗心理疾病的药之类心理药品有效性的挑战时,二元论(注1)似乎换了一种不同的伪装重现了。很多不认为自己是二元主义者的人也认为大脑像一部机器,而思维则像一件件在电脑上运行的软件。但是这种类比也是有缺陷的,你不必为了使电脑丧失运行程序的能力而对电脑进行破坏。像盖奇这样的例子以及大量的随后的病例已经表明:在对大脑进行根本性的损伤之后,尽管有所改变,但其自身最终还会缓慢的恢复过来。

The self in action
行为中的自我


Broca's heirs, though, now have a range of new techniques with which to investigate the question. The best-known is a way of scanning the brain called functional magnetic-resonance imaging (fMRI). What makes it so powerful is that it records activity as well as anatomy. It can, if you like to put it that way, see the self in action. All you need to do is put someone inside an fMRI machine, give them a task to do and see which bits of the brain light up.

布罗卡的后继者尽管现在有了一些新的技术来应对这些问题,其中最著名的一种是扫描大脑的的技能型磁共振成像技术(fMRI)。这种技术如此有效是因为它不仅记录了解剖内容还记录了人体活动。如果按照其功能运行的话,它能检测到人体自身活动,你所要做的只是把人放入技能型磁共振成像技术机内,让机器运行并且观测大脑哪个部分在工作。

Naturally, the revolution in neuroscience brought about by this new technology has its critics. They point out that big conclusions are often drawn from small samples, that the changes in activity observed by fMRI are indirect (the technique measures blood flow and oxygen consumption rather than the electrical activity of nerve cells) and that the resolution is poor (individual points in an fMRI picture represent two or three cubic millimetres of brain tissue, which means hundreds of thousands of nerve cells). All these criticisms are justified. But these are early days. In science, time tells. The good studies are repeated and make the textbooks. The bad ones cannot be replicated and vanish down the memory hole.


神经科学方面的新技术所带来革命的同时也受到一些人的批判。他们指出:往往小的事例能得出大的结论,技能型磁共振成像技术(fMRI)所发现的人体的活动的改变是间接的(这种技术是测量血液流动和含氧量而不是测量神经细胞微电流活动)并且所得出的结论不是很有说服力的(一张技能型磁共振成像技术图所描出的独立的点代表2或3立方毫米的脑组织,这意味着成百上千的神经细胞)。所有的这些批判经证明是不无道理的,但是这些都还处于早期阶段。科学告诉我们:好的研究成果已经重复过许多次并且已经作为教材,差的则因为不能重现而被记忆所遗忘。

Modern neuroscience has taken many directions, and this survey will not attempt to look at all of them. Instead, it will concentrate on four areas that may shed light on individual identity: the study of the emotions; the nature of memory; the ways that brains interact with each other; and the vexed question of what, exactly, consciouness is.

现代神经科学有很多研究方向,并且这种调查研究不会兼顾到所有的方向,所以我们只专注于四个可能阐明个体特性的研究领域:情感的的研究;记忆的本质;大脑之间的交流方法以及让人头疼的意识是什么这四个研究领域。

Such science is very much work in progress. Indeed, it is science of a type that would have been familiar to Broca and his contemporaries, for in many cases the researchers have only the haziest idea of where they are going. In the 19th century, when scientists were feeling their way towards big concepts such as the laws of thermodynamics, electromagnetics and the periodic table without really knowing what they were looking for, that was normal. These days there seem to be fewer new big concepts around, and experiments are often conducted in the expectation of particular results. But neuroscience is one area where big concepts certainly remain to be discovered. And when they are, they are likely to upend humanity's understanding of itself.

这种科学需要大量的工作才能取得进步,更是一种本应该对于布罗卡和他当代的后继者来说相当熟悉的一门科学。但在许多情况下,研究者对于他们的发展方向只有极其朦胧的认识。在19世纪,科学家们在没有意识到他们的研究目的的情况下而发现了诸如热电学定理、电磁学和元素周期表之类大的科学定理是很正常的。最近几年,世界上还没有发现的大的科学定理似乎越来越少,而且实验者又经常怀着对特殊结果的期望进行实验。但是神经科学仍然是一个期待着大的科学发现的研究领域。当这一发现付诸实际时,这将很可能是人类对神经科学认知的一次颠覆。

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注1:翻译为二元论不是很贴切,请各位提出更贴切的翻译。
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发表于 2010-4-28 22:30 | 显示全部楼层
不好意思马上面的文章发错位置了
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