The Anonymous Widower

Geothermal Power And The New Island Of Surtsey

I was on a tour which was called the South Shore Safari. The first real stop was in an area of geothermal power stations, which gave good views of the new island of Surtsey

I can remember the formation of the island of Surtsey being shown on the television in 1963. It was a well-reported news story of the time.

Geothermal power is important in Iceland and contributes nearly 600 MW of electricity, which makes up about thirty percent of what they need. The Icelanders have by no means fully developed the maximum amount of power available, but they do generate a lot of hot water to heat Reykjavik and other towns. For comparison, our large nuclear power station, Sizewell B generates 1,200 MW.

I think the geothermal power station we saw is Nesjavellir. Wikipedia says this about the capacity of the power station.

Plans for utilizing the Nesjavellir area for geothermal power and water heating began in 1947, when some boreholes were drilled to evaluate the area’s potential for power generation. Research continued from 1965 to 1986. In 1987, the construction of the plant began, and the cornerstone was laid in May 1990. The station produces approximately 120 MW of electrical power; it also delivers around 1,100 litres (290 US gal) of hot water (82-85°C) per second, servicing the space heating and hot water needs of the Greater Reykjavík Area.

I woiuld have loved to have a tour of the power station.

What surprised me about geothermal power, was that the Phillipines are very large users of the technology, which is described as a geothermal success story in this article in Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, twenty seven percent of their power comes from geothermal sources.

I suppose the only drawback with geothermal power is that for the generation of large amounts of energy, you are generally in an area prone to volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

It may seem strange, but even in Cornwall, a company is trying to use geothermal energy to generate electricity. Read about the United Downs project on Wikipedia. Whether it will ever work as planned, will be down to the skill of the engineers and probably the will of politicians.


July 13, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blackpool Suffers A Couple Of Tremors

This report on the BBC says that Blackpool has been shaken by a couple of earthquakes.

They must have been really major, as BBC Breakfast isn’t reporting the tremors this morning. Perhaps, they couldn’t find a reporter and film crew, who wanted to go!

I wonder though how many people believe this is all down to fracking? I did check comments on a report in a tabloid and there were a few comments, suggesting that the anti-frackers will blame fracking.

August 26, 2013 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

The Real Iranian Problem

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a lecture at the Geological Society of London about earthquakes. One thing said, was that Tehran is due a very large and damaging quake, because of the way they have developed the city.

Then in Cambridge last week, I had an Iranian taxi-driver and when I told him this, he said that most people in the city believe it and are incensed that their money is spent on unwanted vanity projects by the corrupt Iranian government. It was one of the reasons why he left Iran.

The Turkey/Iran area has always been earthquake-prone. And always will be. Remember Bam.  The Wikipedia article pointed to, says some interesting things about Iran’s policy, including possibly moving the capital.

The Times today is saying that it can’t import the grain it needs because of sanctions stopping it being paid for. The sanctions are linked to non-compliance with international nuclear regulations.   The nuclear regulations were in part put in place as a quid quo pro for American assistance over the Bam earthquake.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

A Real Honeymoon from Hell

This is documented in The Times today.  A couple called Svanström had to endure.

  • The blizzard of the century in Munich
  • A monsoon in Bali
  • Bushfires in Perth
  • Floods in Queensland
  • The EArthquake in Christchurch
  • The earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

C and I had a dreadful honeymoon and we suvived.  according to the report, these Swedes are still getting along well.

    April 6, 2011 Posted by | Transport, World | , | Leave a comment

    Paranoid About Japan’s Nuclear Plants

    Everybody seems to be paranoid about Japan’s nuclear power stations.

    I’ve been over several nuclear power stations.  Would I be worred to live anywhere near any of them? Possibly, but only one that was in the United States that was a site in a very restricted position.  I believe it has since been decommissioned. Look at these pictures by Sizewell.  But these two stations were built in an area with little population and no earthquakes.

    Properly designed, built and managed, we should have little worry about nuclear power plants.  What we should worry about though is chemical plants and other industrial processes, which are close to centres of population.

    Japan has built nuclear and chemical plants in areas with high seismic activity.  I suspect that they won’t be doing so in the future.  But what will that do for the Japanese economy?

    March 14, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , | Leave a comment

    Life Follows Art

    The Great Wave off Kanagawa is an iconic Japanese painting and as Ben Macintyre said in The TImes yesterday, it offers a grim reflection of reality.

    March 13, 2011 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

    The Earth Bites Back

    This was the title of a lunchtime lecture at University College London on March 3rd. Professor Bill Mcguire argued that we’d see a lot more natural disasters, as the earth responded to our treatment of it. 

    And now we’ve had two major earthquakes in a short space of time in Christchurch and now Japan.

    They may not be connected, but it doesn’t man that we should let up in our efforts to cut carbon emissions and other practices that damage our environment.

    March 11, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , , | 1 Comment

    Mad Mullah Science

    I almost gave myself a hernia laughing at this story on the BBC.  Apparently, according to one Iranian cleric, promiscuous women cause earthquakes.  Here’s the first few paragraphs.

    Promiscuous women are responsible for earthquakes, a senior Iranian cleric has said.

    Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi told worshippers in Tehran last Friday that they had to stick to strict codes of modesty to protect themselves.

    “Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes,” he said.

    Tens of thousands of people have died in Iran earthquakes in the last decade.

    It gives a whole new meaning to “Did the earth move for you?”

    What a load of old rubbish.

    On a serious side, according to PeopleQuake, Iran will be very short of people, as Iranian women have decided that giving birth to children in such a country is not a good idea for their lot.  The birthrate is well below that needed to sustain the population.

    Perhaps the Mad Mullah could read some science from some of the many educated people in his country.

    April 20, 2010 Posted by | News | , , | 2 Comments