Sandy dealt two serious blows to the gasoline and diesel supply system in New York and New Jersey. The storm shut down a large number of the petroleum terminals in the region. Those are the massive storage tanks that hold gasoline so tanker trucks can pick it up and take it to gas stations. Some of these terminals were damaged, while others just lost power. The storm also shut down the major pipeline that brings gasoline from the Gulf Coast. So even when fuel stations get their power back, they will have a hard time getting gasoline they need. Experts say it could be days or weeks before things return to normal.
An army of electrical workers is squirming through the tunnels beneath New York City, checking transformers, cables and power systems. And though it'll likely take days to get everything back online, experts say the storm would have damaged aboveground infrastructure even more drastically.
Sandy, which knocked out power to some 8 million people in 18 states, painted a bull's-eye on the oldest and most fragile part of the nation's power grid. Engineering experts say the grid is inherently vulnerable even as damaging weather events seem to be occurring more frequently.
Pepco got raked over the coals this summer for their relatively slow response to outages caused by a derecho storm. The utility's president says they see Sandy coming and are much more prepared this time.
The world's most powerful laser beams are going to be built in Europe. Scientists say that a blast from them could destroy nuclear waste in seconds — meaning it wouldn't have to be stored for centuries.
Growing algae as a source of fuel could consume vast amounts of water and fertilizer, according to a study by the National Academy of Sciences. There's also a risk that the energy required to produce these fuels would make them impractical. These daunting technical problems need to be overcome if the nation wants to turn to algae fuels as a substitute for gasoline.
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