The Problem With Renewable Energy (and how we’re fixing it)

For a few hours in May 2016, for the first time in more than a century, Britain was burning zero coal to generate electricity. None at all. All the coal-fired power plants were turned off. And this here is one of the reasons why. Welcome to the Griffin Wind Farm in Scotland. 68 turbines, more […]

Neckarwestheim and the End of the World: Citation Needed 1×06

Today’s show is sponsored by Marilyn Manson’s Fancy Dancin’. This is the Technical Difficulties. We are playing Citation Needed. I have an almost-randomly selected article from Wikipedia in front of me and these folks can’t see it. Every fact they get right is a point and a ding [DING], and there’s a special prize for […]

Containing the Worst Nuclear Disaster in History: Chernobyl’s New Confinement Structure

This is how you contain the worst nuclear disaster in humanity’s history. This is the New Safe Confinement structure, at Reactor 4 at Chernobyl. In 1986, the nuclear power plant here exploded — and that is a sentence you never ever want to hear. The local area was evacuated, and it won’t be safe to […]

Disney Could Go Nuclear If They Wanted To

If you’ve been following my videos for the last couple of weeks you will know that I am at Disney World. It’s not that they’ve sponsored me or anything, it is just where I happen to be on holiday. Now, I’ve been avoiding Disney trivia because, you know, it’s a little bit boring after a […]

The Nuclear Reactor Run By Students

– A nuclear reactor run by undergraduate students at a liberal arts college sounds like an interesting idea, but it’s real and it’s been here at Reed College in Portland, Oregon for 50 years. And, yeah, we’re gonna put a camera in it. Go for it. – The Reed Research Reactor is a TRIGA reactor, […]

Inside The Tunnels That Will Store Nuclear Waste For 100,000 Years

– There’s an urban legend that when grave-robbers found their way to ancient Egyptian tombs, there were warnings they ignored. “Do not open this tomb. “Do not steal the riches inside. “You will be cursed and you will die.” It’s not true. Not just the curses aren’t real, but those warnings were just an urban […]

The Nuclear Reactor In The Middle Of London

This is the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The World Heritage listed site that most Americans and let’s be honest, most Brits, know as “that place that got blown up in Thor 2”. But that blowing up would have been a heck of a lot different if it’d happened a couple of decades earlier. […]

Power, Politics and Pragmatism: The British National Grid

Here, below London, 32km of new tunnels are nearly finished. But these aren’t for people: they’re for power. Cables carrying 400,000 volts will run through here, supporting the city as it keeps growing and keeps demanding more and more electricity. This project cost a billion pounds, all to keep the lights on. So how did […]

The World’s First Solar Powered Train

– When I heard that there was a 100% solar powered train in the world, I thought: that’s a ridiculous idea. Of course solar power isn’t enough to move a massive, heavy train. There isn’t even a practical solar powered car on the market, and yet, here it is. Welcome to Byron Bay, Australia, home […]

The Solar Power Towers of Southern Spain

These are the solar power towers of southern Spain. This is one of the sunniest parts of Europe, and these were two of the first solar towers ever built. Almost 2,000 heliostats, movable mirrors, constantly reflect the sun onto the towers, heating up water into steam, and powering a turbine to generate electricity. And if […]