RFG 2018 Conference

critical issues

Geological Society statement following Government announcements on shale gas

Shale gas can be extracted safely provided that best practice is rigorously applied under an appropriate regulatory regime which addresses environmental and societal concerns. The technology to explore for and extract shale gas is well established. Before exploration and production proceed, baseline surveys should be carried out to establish natural levels of micro-seismicity and the presence of methane in soils and near-surface aquifers. These data are necessary if the extraction of shale gas is to be effectively regulated and is to command public confidence.

There is significant shale gas resource beneath the surface of the UK, although the extent of that resource and how much of it can be extracted economically is unknown at present. The Government has indicated that it sees shale gas as contributing to our future energy mix. This is a political decision, on which the Geological Society does not have a view. If shale gas usage were to substitute for the burning of coal there would be a potentially beneficial reduction in CO2 emissions as we move to a low carbon economy. However, our continuing dependence on fossil fuels, of whatever form, over the coming decades will only be compatible with avoiding potentially dangerous global environmental change if the resulting carbon emissions are abated. It is therefore important to demonstrate carbon capture and storage (CCS) at commercial scale urgently and to ensure its widespread and rapid implementation. Read more in this position statement.

Implementing Geological Disposal: A Framework for the Long-term Management of Higher Activity Radioactive Waste

The UK government has today published a White Paper setting out a revised process for siting and implementing a geological disposal facility (GDF) for radioactive waste. Over the past 18 months, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been reviewing the previous siting process, and has consulted widely.  During this review, the Geological Society has provided evidence to two consultations, and has taken part in workshops and meetings with other stakeholders, to help ensure that geoscience is used and communicated as effectively as possible in the new siting and implementation process. Read more in this position statement.

Biosecurity Position Statement

Recent acts of terrorism have caused each of us to reevaluate the way we do nearly everything. This is of itself a good thing. New researchable needs, changes in personal and professional priorities, and a heightened awareness of certain values, can all lead to renewed creativity and energy. It is vital to channel these challenges into productivity and progress while protecting against the threat of bioterrorism. In late November, several officers of our societies attended the Council of Scientific Society Presidents meeting in Washington DC. As you might guess, terrorism and specifically bio-terrorism was high on the agenda. Along with other current officers of scientific societies from across the country, we were asked to brainstorm what our societies could do to help combat and defend against terrorism. Much discussion and many ideas surfaced.

Critical and Strategic Minerals Importance to the U.S. Economy

The availability of critical and strategic minerals and mineral materials are essential to industrialized nations like the United States and to the industrialization of developing nations for economic growth, national security, telecommunications, conventional and renewable energy technologies as well as the manufacturing and agricultural supply chain.

Mineral Products and Metals that make LED Light Bulbs

LEDs are small light sources that become illuminated by the movement of electrons through a semiconductor. LED colors are caused by different semiconductor materials. LEDs are made of soda-lime glass, similar to that used throughout the glass industry for bottles and other common products. Phosphor-based LEDs are the most popular for manufacturing high-intensity white LEDs.

What's in a Hybrid Car?

Hybrid cars use twice as much copper as non-hybrid cars. The U.S. possess the largest non-China rare earth resource in the world at the Mountain Pass Mine, located in California. The glass in vehicle windows contains trona and feldspar. Carpeting contains boron and limestone. Steel-belted tires contain mica, sulfur, beryllium, cobalt, and zinc and copper (brass). The majority of lead consumed in the United States is produced from recycled lead-acid batteries. The recycling rate of lead contained in lead-acid batteries in the United States is estimated to be about 96%. Lead-acid batteries are used in most micro-hybrid vehicles that have automatic stop-start functionality to cut engine power when the vehicle is idling. New designs that significantly improve the performance of lead-acid batteries are being tested for future use in hybrid electric vehicles.

What's in a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb?

CFLs are known as compact fluorescent lights or compact fluorescent light bulbs. In a CFL, an electric current is driven through a glass tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating (called phosphor) on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light.

What's That Disc Made Of?

The discs are made of plastics and metals. The largest ingredient is polycarbonate plastic derived from oil. Can be processed from oil drilling or mined from oil sand or oil shale. The most important part of the disc is the thin metal layer that reflects laser beams used to read the information on the disc. Most discs are thrown into landfills because people are not aware that they can be recycled.

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