新概念英语Lesson 43 Our Developing World我们发展中的世界

Faith in controlled nuclear fission is now being shown by the construction of atomic power
stations. In Britain, Calder Hall on the coast of Cumberland first made its contribution to the
National Electricity grid in 1957. Subsequently a chain of nuclear power stations was planned. Of
necessity they are sited near the coasts or tidal water because of the need of much water for cooling
and a certain discharge of possible radioactive effluent. Atomic power is associated in the public
mind with the destructive force of atom bombs and partly for this reason, though it is claimed that
there is no danger to be associated with atomic power stations, they are being sited away from
populous centres.
The present position is that the three main sources of power are coal, oil and water power. We
sometimes refer to electricity ,gas or petrol as if they were the actual source of power , forgetting
that electricity must be generated by the consumption of coal or oil or by the utilization of water
power, whilst coke,gas and petrol are examples of secondary fuels by which coal and oil may be
more effectively used.
Where alternative sources of power are available there are some marked contrasts in handling. The
bulk and weight of coal required in the majority of manufacturing industries is large in comparison
with the bulk and weight of other raw materials. This is not always true--was with the manufacture
of pig iron and steel from low-grade iron ores-- but it did lead to the concentration of industrial
developments on the coal-fields, a phenomenon well seen in such countries as Britain where the
Industrial Revolution came before the days of oil or electricity. Coal being a solid must be
distributed mainly by rail or water.
By way of contrast oil can be transported large distances by pipeline but overseas movement has
involved building of large numbers of tankers, including now some of the largest vessels afloat.
Unless suitable on other grounds oilfields have not become industrial regions; on the contrary the
oil industry is marked by a certain amount of smell and an element of danger, hence the siting of
refineries at a distance from population centres. It is not always realized that the owners of
pipelines can handle the oil of different customers, sending it through at different, periods.
Natural gas can also be transported large distances by pipe. Early in 1959 Britain received the
first ship cargo of natural gas----liquefied for the purpose of transport.