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China accused of rushing bridge opening
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 7, 2011

Chinese officials have been accused of rushing construction of the world's longest sea bridge to open for the Communist Party's 90th anniversary, with nuts left unfastened, state media said Thursday.

In the haste to finish the bridge before the July 1 celebrations, nuts on guard rails were in place but not fastened on a roughly 15-metre section of the 36.5-kilometre (22.7-mile) Jiaozhou Bay Bridge, the Global Times said.

The lighting system also had not been installed before it opened on June 30 and it would take at least two months to finish all the bridge's features, state-run China Central Television reported earlier this week.

"Time was running out," a construction worker told state television as he tightened nuts on the guard rails.

The Global Times newspaper quoted Han Bin, a bridge expert at Beijing Jiaotong University, saying: "In order to present a gift for July 1, some works were unable to be finished before the bridge rushed to open to traffic."

"If accidents occur and hit the guard rails, problems might rise."

The dates for openings of major infrastructure projects in China often coincide with the anniversary of the ruling Communist Party on July 1 or the October 1 National Day to showcase the government's achievements.

Despite the rush, the chief engineer for the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge insisted the structure was safe and ready for traffic, the official Xinhua news agency said Wednesday.

"The status of secondary features does not affect the main project or the opening of the bridge," Shao Xinpeng was quoted saying, adding the lighting system was only aesthetic.

Internet users were not convinced, accusing engineers and local authorities of putting propaganda ahead of safety as they posted video and photos of the yet to be completed bridge online.

"Infrastructure projects opened earlier than scheduled for window-dressing could lead to chaos and even horrible disasters, which are not rare," one web user said in a post on Weibo, a popular twitter-like microblogging service.

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New material could control temperatures
Ningbo, China (UPI) Jul 7, 2011 - Chinese researchers say a material that can retain and release heat for specific temperature requirements could mean lower costs to heat and cool buildings.

Scientists at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China believe the new material, which could be used in existing structures as well as new builds, could offer considerable energy savings.

The non-deformed energy storage phase change material has the advantage of a larger energy storage capacity with faster thermal response than existing materials and could be cheaply manufactured, a university release said Thursday.

If, for example, the desired temperature in a room is 71 degrees Fahrenheit, the material can be made to absorb any excess heat above that temperature, researchers said.

The heat-regulating material could be applied anywhere, from walls and roofs to wallpaper, they said.

"The construction industry produces more carbon emissions than any other industry in the world -- even more than aviation," UNNC researcher Jo Darkwa said.

"In China, the building sector is one of the highest energy consuming sectors, accounting for about 30 per cent of total energy usage and also a significant proportion of pollutant emissions.

"This material, if widely used, could make a major impact in the world's efforts to reduce carbon emission," he said.

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Recycling: A new source of indispensible 'rare earth' materials
Washington DC (SPX) Jul 05, 2011
That axiom of sustainability "recycle and reuse" could help ease concerns about a reliable supply of substances, indispensible for a modern technological society, that are produced almost exclusively in the Peoples' Republic of China. That's the conclusion of a study on these so-called "rare earth" elements in the ACS journal Environmental Science and Technology. Xiaoyue Du and Thoma ... read more

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