The Transportation Department announced Thursday it was withdrawing part of a Trump-era rule that blocked states from setting their own tough car pollution standards, reversing actions by the Trump administration that weakened California’s ability to fight climate change.
The newly proposed rule change, which will be subject to a 30-day comment period, would restore California’s authority to set fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and SUVs, and to require car companies to sell more electric vehicles.
The agency’s action Thursday suggested the Biden administration was laying the groundwork to eventually reinstate California’s legal waiver, which was granted by the Obama administration under the authority of the 1970 Clean Air Act. The waiver had allowed the state to set stricter auto emission and fuel efficiency rules than even the federal government. That power was widely considered one of the state’s most effective weapons in the fight against climate change and air pollution.
Trump revoked California’s waiver in 2019 shortly before his administration issued a new set of fuel economy and emissions rules that were significantly weaker than the Obama standards. The change also affected the District of Columbia and the 13 states that follow California’s tighter standards.
California and nearly two dozen other states sued the administration, challenging the decision. Major auto manufacturers, including General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota, joined the lawsuit on Trump’s side in an effort to block the state’s tough fuel economy rules. They quickly abandoned the cause after President Joe Biden was elected.
“The Trump administration should never have challenged California’s legal authority to set our own vehicle emission standards,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement. “The Clean Air Act clearly gives us the right to protect the air Californians breathe and I want to thank the Biden administration for dropping this frivolous challenge.”
Biden administration proposes restoring California’s right to set car pollution rules (2021, April 23)
retrieved 24 April 2021
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The Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research(KSTAR), a superconducting fusion device also known as the Korean artificial sun, set the new world record as it succeeded in maintaining the high temperature plasma for 20 seconds with an ion temperature over 100 million degrees.
On November 24(Tuesday), the KSTAR Research Center at the Korea Institute of Fusion Energy (KEF) announced that in a joint research with the Seoul National University (SNU) and Columbia University of the United States, it succeeded in continuous operation of plasma for 20 seconds with an ion-temperature higher than 100 million degrees, which is one of the core conditions of nuclear fusion in the 2020 KSTAR Plasma Campaign
It is an achievement to extend the 8 second plasma operation time during the 2019 KSTAR Plasma Campaign by more than 2 times. In its 2018 experiment, the KSTAR reached the plasma ion temperature of 100 million degrees for the first time (retention time: about 1.5 seconds)
To re-create fusion reactions that occur in the sun on Earth, hydrogen isotopes must be placed inside a fusion device like KSTAR to create a plasma state where ions and electrons are separated, and ions must be heated and maintained at high temperatures.
So far, there have been other fusion devices that have briefly managed plasma at temperatures of 100 million degrees or higher. None of them broke the barrier of maintaining the operation for 10 seconds or longer. It is the operational limit of normal-conducting device and it was difficult maintain a stable plasma state in the fusion device at such high temperatures for a long time.
In its 2020 experiment, the KSTAR improved the performance of the Internal Transport Barrier(ITB) mode, one of the next generation plasma operation modes developed last year and succeeded in maintaining the plasma state for a long period of time, overcoming the existing limits of the ultra-high-temperature plasma operation.
Director Si-Woo Yoon of the KSTAR Research Center at the KFE explained, “The technologies required for long operations of 100 million- plasma are the key to the realization of fusion energy, and the KSTAR’s success in maintaining the high-temperature plasma for 20 seconds will be an important turning point in the race for securing the technologies for the long high-performance plasma operation, a critical component of a commercial nuclear fusion reactor in the future.”
“The success of the KSTAR experiment in the long, high-temperature operation by overcoming some drawbacks of the ITB modes brings us a step closer to the development of technologies for realization of nuclear fusion energy,” added Yong-Su Na, professor at the department of Nuclear Engineering, SNU, who has been jointly conducting the research on the KSTAR plasma operation.
Dr. Young-Seok Park of Columbia University who contributed to the creation of the high temperature plasma said “We are honored to be involved in such an important achievement made in KSTAR. The 100 million-degree ion temperature achieved by enabling efficient core plasma heating for such a long duration demonstrated the unique capability of the superconducting KSTAR device, and will be acknowledged as a compelling basis for high performance, steady state fusion plasmas.”
The KSTAR began operating the device last August and plans to continue its plasma generation experiment until December 10, conducting a total of 110 plasma experiments that include high-performance plasma operation and plasma disruption mitigation experiments, which are joint research experiments with domestic and overseas research organizations.
In addition to the success in high temperature plasma operation, the KSTAR Research Center conducts experiments on a variety of topics, including ITER researches, designed to solve complex problems in fusion research during the remainder of the experiment period.
The KSTAR is going to share its key experiment outcomes in 2020 including this success with fusion researchers across the world in the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference which will be held in May.
The final goal of the KSTAR is to succeed in a continuous operation of 300 seconds with an ion temperature higher than 100 million degrees by 2025.
KFE President Suk Jae Yoo stated, “I am so glad to announce the new launch of the KFE as an independent research organization of Korea. The KFE will continue its tradition of under-taking challenging researches to achieve the goal of mankind: the realization of nuclear fusion energy,” he continued.
As of November 20, 2020, the KFE, formerly the National Fusion Research Institute, an affiliated organization of the Korea Basic Science Institute, was re-launched as an independent research organization.
National Research Council of Science & Technology
Korean artificial sun sets the new world record of 20-sec-long operation at 100 million degrees (2020, December 24)
retrieved 24 December 2020
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