Utility Week

Utility Week 28th November 2014

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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UtILItY WeeK | 28th November - 4th December 2014 | 31 Community Disconnector Editor: ellen bennett, t: 01342 332084, e: ellen.bennett@fav-house.com; News editor: Jillian Ambrose, t: 01342 332061, e: jillian.ambrose@fav-house.com; Associate news editor: mathew beech, t: 01342 332082, e: mathew.beech@fav-house.com; Insights editor: Jane Gray, t: 01342 332087, e: jane.gray@fav-house.com; Research analyst: vidhu Dutt, t: 01342 332026, e: vidhu.dutt@fav-house.com; Reporter: Lucinda Dann, t: 01342 332083; Production editor: Paul Newton, e: paul.newton@fav-house.com; Business development manager: Ed Roberts, t: 01342 332067, e: ed.roberts@fav-house.com; Sales executive: Hayley Cronin, t: 01342 332077, e: hayley.cronin@fav-house.com; Publisher: Amanda barnes, e: amanda.barnes@fav-house.com. General enquiries: 01342 332000; Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, Overseas £689 per year, t: 020 8955 7045. ISSN: 1356-5532. Registered as a newspaper at the Post Office. Printed by: Buxton Press, Palace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6AE. Published by: Faversham house Ltd, Windsor court, Wood Street, east Grinstead, West Sussex rh19 1UZ Holding back the years We oen chastise ourselves, and others, for short-term thinking. Be it banking or climate change, us pesky humans seem unable to take a long-term view of things. Well, that's certainly not something scientists involved in early construction work for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility in Nevada, USA, could be accused of, according to American science magazine Method Quarterly. The facility's 40km of tunnels were to house high-level nuclear waste over almost unimaginable timescales of tens of thousands of years. One of the problems that presents is how to communicate the relevant safety messages to future genera- tions. Aer all, modern humans only strolled out of Africa some 10,000 years ago, and things change over time. Ask the quickly forgotten souls of Pompeii. But America being a can-do sort of nation, they don't know the meaning of the words 'can't be done', or indeed 'pointless to try', so they set a group of sci- entists, linguists and experts in non-verbal communications the job of imagining how we might communicate to future genera- tions not to go messing about in the deep storage silos. Among the ideas they came up with were establishing an 'atomic priesthood' to keep people away from the place with enduring religious hoodoo, the planting Disconnector of scary folklore tales about the 'dangerous special place', and monumental architecture. The pièce de résistance was a specially bred cat that would change colour if it received a dangerous dose of radiation, thus alerting the locals to a leak. Oh, and a nursery rhyme implanted in the present to ring down the ages that would remind people to leg it if the cat did change colour. There are so many ridiculous suppositions here that there is little need for Disconnector to list them, but really you need look no further than the idea that you will ever get a cat to do something useful. The Obama administration abandoned the Yucca Mountain project in 2010. Sherlock hound Dogs, on the other hand, are useful for almost anything. From guiding the blind to delivering tiny barrels of whisky to those caught in snowstorms, there is lit- tle a dog cannot be trained to do with encouragement and treats. A new one on Disconnector, though, is the ability to sniff out fatbergs, those sometimes huge masses of oil, fat and grease that congeal underground and cause sewers to back up and flood people's homes. Southern Water is employing an ex-police dog, Hector the bloodhound, to detect blockages below the ground on its sewer network by sniffing air gaps at ground level. Nine-stone Hector has previously been used to search for missing children and on- the-run criminals, but now he and his owner, former police dog handler Steve Williams, are employed as 'fat detectives' to hunt out some of the 17,000 fatbergs that plague Southern's network every year. Sinking feeling Nothing dates faster than visions of the future, they say. In Disconnector's youth, all the talk was of monorails and impossibly high skyscrapers. The only direction was up. How different today. Perhaps with global warming hovering in our peripheral vision, the skies have become less promising territory for mankind, and rather than up, we're looking down, back to the sea from whence we came. A few weeks ago on this page we looked at one London architect's idea for a floating house that would harness tidal energy. Last week, Japanese construction firm Shimizu Corp went one better and proposed an entire underwater city able to accommodate 5,000 people. According to the company, Ocean Spiral could be a reality within just a couple of decades. The sci-fi structure would be divided into sections and anchored to the seabed where "scientists would explore ways to excavate energy resources". That sounds straightforward enough. 3,580 Average circulation Jan–Dec 2013 Subscriptions: UK £577 per year, overseas £689 per year fhcustomerservices@ abacusemedia.com Mark Johnston @mark_johnston [Dull interlude.] So is this a commercial conference or an EC conference? Dead-tree goodie bag can be left behind. #energyunion #it2014eu Tara Connolly @taraconnollyGP Buzek calls for the reindustrialisation of Europe #EnergyUnion Great, but which industries and how clean will their energy source be? 3WhitehallPlace @3WhitehallPlace Today Ed is in Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellen Bogen by the Sea to look dead butch in a helmet Jonathan Graham @enerjg All energy policies must be examined through the 'Daily Mail test' to ensure their necessary success, says Mike Foster of @energyutilities Aunty Fracker @Aunty_Fracker Proof at last that @FrackingRegs has no experience dears – he thinks you *dig* for oil and gas. That'd be coal, bless xxx CABenergy @CABenergy Smart grids presenter says we need to con- sult public on distribution network strategies. Not sure about that one, it's technical stuff! James Beard @JamesBeardWWF Second day at @wwf_uk. Geeked out a bit during the environmental induction. 410 solar panels on the roof and 20 boreholes in the ground :) REA @REAssociation "The UK must pursue #renewables, can't rely on gas and can be leaders in #marine energy" – @NinaSkorupska #energyresilience Christian Hunt @chr1stianh I love scientific press releases sometimes. Obviously after the flowery first few paragraphs it gets down to brass tacks Kelvin Ross @kelvinross68 Tim Yeo: "If #coal industry was exposed to same scrutiny as #nuclear it would have closed down 100 years ago." #newbuild14 Top Tweets

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