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Environmental Hazard and Risk

Environmental Hazard and Risk
1- imagine that you work for a company making small (<300 MWe) modular nuclear reactors. You have received an enquiry from the government of a small Mediterranean island state (Malta) about the potential for introducing nuclear power generation to their energy mix. Summaries what you think the risk and benefits would be, and then explain what research you would recommend prior to any new legislation and planning processes, in order to gain an understanding of the likely public attitude to nuclear energy generation in Malta.
2- How can a knowledgeof Earth processes help in the mitigation of natural hazards? In your answer discuss two case studies chosen from the following:
? Earthquakes (including tsunamis).
? Volcanoes
? Isotactic change.
3- A local authority is seeking planning permission to site a new waste to energy incineration plant in a disused railway depot. As an environmental consultant you have been contracted by the authority to coordinate an “Environmental Impact Assessment” for this project. Explain how you think the process should work, who might be involved, what sort of risk the project might present and how these should be communicated, and what steps could be taken to try and ensure a positive view of the proposal in the local community.
4- Natural hazard may have deep impacts on the socio-political structure of a region/country. Provide the details of hazard events and their impacts, attempting to explain the mechanisms behind the natural hazards, the disasters and analyse the types of recovery.
5- You are working for a company that has developed a new dietary sweetener. In preparing for regulatory authorization for use in food products, what type of information would you need to compile in order to conduct a human health risk assessment? If the sweetener was manufactured abroad and shipped in significant quantities as concentrate, what other sorts of information might you need to prepare an ecological risk assessment for the event of a spill?
September 2011
Answer one question:
1- Imagine that you work a major energy provider operating in a small island state that does not currently use nuclear power to generate electricity. You have been asked to brief senior management on whether nuclear power should be explored for future expansion of electricity generating infrastructure. In your answer describe:
? The risk.
? The benefits.
? Some research that you would recommend in order to gain an understanding of the likely public attitude to nuclear energy and how it might influence policy and planning.

2- Processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle are critical to the understanding of some natural geological hazards. Explain why this is so, using example from at least two of the following processes:
• Earthquakes (including tsunamis).
• Volcanoes.
• Isotactic change.

3- A Water Utility company is seeking planning permission to develop a desalination plant in a coastal area close to a large city to supplement natural freshwater sources, which are under pressure. As an environmental consultant you have been contracted by the local planning authority to coordinate an “Environmental Impact Assessment” fro this project. Explain how you think the process should work, including:
A. Who might be involved?
B. What sort of risk the project might present.
C. How these should be communicated.
D. What steps could be taken to try and ensure a positive view of the proposal in the local community.
4- Natural hazards may have deep impacts on the socio-political structure of a region/country. Provide the details of one or two hazard events and their impacts, attempting to explain:
A. The physical mechanisms benefit these natural hazards.
B. The risks these processes present.
C. The types and processes of recovery that might follow events.
5- You work for a company that has developed a new chemical that improves stain removal when used in combination with laundry detergents. In preparing for regulatory authorization for use as an additive in laundry detergents what type of information would you need to compile in order to conduct an ecological risk assessment? What additional information might be required by a health protection agency to convince them that the additive posed no risk to human babies and children?
1-2012

1-Should national governments reassess the value of nuclear electricity generation in the aftermath of the Fukushima-Daichi event following the Japanese Earthquake Tsunami on March 11th 2011? What are the advantages of nuclear power and what evidence is there that nuclear power poses an unacceptable risk to civil society in developed nations? Is absence of such evidence enough to ensure a mandate to continue using nuclear power?

2- Explain the importance of geohazards to human population?

3- A large airline company is applying to a local authority for planning permission to build a large bio-fuel processing plant – to use plasma-arc or standard gasification technology to convert biomass waste into liquid jet fuel for use in the airlines aircraft. Assuming that this proposal would demand an “Environmental Impact Assessment” (EIA) explain:
? How the EIA process works.
? Who might be considered relevant stakeholders.
? What sort of risks the project might present.
? How these should be communicated.
? What steps could be taken to try and ensure a positive view of the proposal in the local community.

4- What are the three factors contributing to the amplitude of a natural disaster? Explain the role of the ratchet effect. Provide examples one from archaeology and one from the last centuries.

6- You are working for a non-European company that manufactures novel epoxy resins used in construction of wind turbine blades. What piece of regulation would control your access to the European market, what type of information would you need to compile in order to conduct.
? Ecological risk assessment.
? Human health risk assessment for the employees for the turbine blade manufacturers for the chemical(s) used in the resin.

Are there any possibilities for using data for one part of the process (eg the human health risk assessment) to inform/support the other part (i.e. ecological risk assessment)?
August 2012

1- Nuclear power generation has recently been restarted in Japan, following the complete shutdown in the sftermath of the Fukushima-Daichi event following the Japanese Earthquake Tsunami on March 11th2011. This has been met by a high level of public protest in opposition to nuclear power.
? What environmental and human health risk does nuclear power generation present?
? What advantages of nuclear power generation should these risks be balanced against?
? Is the Japanese decision to return to nuclear power generation justified given the risks, and should we expect similar levels of opposition to development of new nuclear in the UK?

2- Explain how plate tectonic processes in the Earth’s crust and mantle lead to natural hazards, and discuss the reasons why geographic location of such hazards is so critical to human populations. In your answer you should focus on the importance of subduction zones, and isostatic changes in the Earth’s crust and upper mantle.
3- A renewable energy company is proposing a new onshore wind farm in area of outstanding natural beauty. The planning process will involve completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Explain the following:
How the EIA process works.
? Who might be considered relevant stakeholders.
? What sort of risks the project might present.
? How these should be communicated.
? What steps could be taken to try and ensure a positive a positive view of the proposal in the local community.

4- What are natural hazards, disasters, the ratchet effect, catastrophes, collapse and recovery in relation to society? Illustrate by detailed examples of past and present societies.

5- A new chemical ‘Slikon’ has been developed for making clothing waterproof. The producers must register the chemical under the European REACH regulations. What sort of data is required to estimate the potential risks that production and use of the chemical may present to:
? Human health.
? Environmental health.

What are the fundamental differences between the ecological risk assessment, and human health risk assessments that must be performed?
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