nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Hanford nuclear waste tank allowed to keep leaking radioactively for over a year. No problem?

Hanford-waste-tanksNuclear waste tank OK’d to keep leaking for 1 year News 5  Sep 30, 2014 By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS Associated Press SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – A new deal allows a radioactive waste storage tank to continue leaking for more than a year before its contents are pumped out at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation’s most polluted nuclear site.

The deal to pump nuclear waste tank AY-102, announced late Monday, is between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Under the deal, pumping of the double-walled tank would not begin until 2016, and it would take a year to complete.

The deal has outraged critics of Hanford, which for decades made plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons.

“Every day this tank leaks creates additional dangers,” said Gerry Pollet, executive director of Heart of America Northwest, a long-time Hanford watchdog group. “Federal and state laws require that leaking tanks of any toxic waste must be emptied immediately. The Energy Department should not get special dispensation just because Hanford officials failed to take action over the past three years to have equipment in place to remove the wastes or to plan to build new storage tanks.”

Plutonium production created a huge volume of nuclear waste at Hanford, and the site is now engaged in cleaning up the nation’s largest collection of nuclear waste. The most dangerous wastes are stored in 177 giant underground tanks. The sprawling site is near Richland in south-central Washington.

Several of the older single-walled tanks at Hanford have leaked. But Tank AY-102 is the only newer double-walled tank believed to be leaking. The Energy Department said the leak is between the walls of the giant tank and has not reached the environment……….http://www.wkrg.com/story/26667570/nuclear-waste-tank-okd-to-keep-leaking-for-1-year

October 1, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Cancers from 1945 atomic bomb test now being studied by National Cancer Institute

cancer_cellsNational Cancer Institute to study radiation doses, cancer risks from 1945 atomic bomb test  Star Tribune,  SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN , Associated Press   September 29, 2014

They are visiting the state this week and conducting in-depth interviews with several residents to learn more about the lifestyles and diets of people who were living in New Mexico around the time of the atomic detonation at the Trinity Site.

The team is particularly interested in filling in gaps when it comes to Native American and Hispanic populations and any links to fallout radiation exposure and food and water contamination.

Dr. Steven Simon, the project’s lead investigator, said Monday that the information about diet and lifestyle will help his team more accurately project radiation doses from the fallout. “Using those dose estimates, we will then project an estimate of the excess cancers related to Trinity above the number that would have occurred in the absence of the test,” Simon said.

The study also takes into account already published data on the radioactive fallout from the blast.

The research team has done similar work in Nevada, the Marshall Islands and Kazakhstan………

A previous study done by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that exposure rates near the Trinity Site were thousands of times higher that currently allowed. However, that research didn’t take into account internal exposure……..http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/277500451.html

October 1, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) reaffirm their opposition to uranium mining on their land

nuke-indigenousQuebec and Labrador First Nations draw the line against uranium By: Henry Lazenby 27 Sep 2014 TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – At a workshop on uranium development hosted by the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) on Friday, First Nations from across the region reaffirmed their opposition to uranium development on their territories and throughout Quebec.

In March 2013, the AFNQL passed a resolution inviting its members to voice their opposition to uranium development and to declare a blanket rejection of the uranium exploration and exploitation on all First Nation territories. This followed a resolution adopted by the Grand Council of the Crees in August 2012 declaring a permanent moratorium on uranium development in Cree territory.

“The exploration and exploitation of uranium constitute major and irreversible threats to our population, our territories and the resources they contain. As First Nations, we have a sacred duty to protect our territories and ensure the sustainable development of our natural resources,” Timiskaming First Nation Chief Terence McBride said.

“Our experience here today has clearly demonstrated that the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador are united in our opposition to uranium development in our territories. We strongly encourage all the First Nations and citizens in Quebec to clearly and publicly express their opposition to uranium development,” Cree Nation Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come added.

In March 2013, Quebec’s Minister of the Environment announced a moratorium on uranium exploration or mining permits until the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) had completed hearings on the uranium industry in Quebec and provided recommendations to the Minister. The BAPE’S mandate began in May.

This week, the BAPE completed the second phase of its inquiry, during which it heard from various ministries, experts and industry representatives on a number of topics relating to uranium and its associated risks. The third phase of the BAPE hearings were scheduled to start in November, at which time members of the public would have the opportunity to make oral and written submissions to the BAPE.

Anyone wishing to make submissions must file a notice of intention, available on the BAPE website, by October 16.

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues, Uranium | Leave a comment

Former Japanese Prime Ministers forget their differences – join in opposing nuclear power

logo-NO-nuclear-Smflag-japanTwo former Japanese prime ministers take anti-nuclear stance to stage at rock festivahttp://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-30/two-former-japanese-prime-ministers-take-anti-nuclear-stance-to/5777958  30 Sep 2014,

Two former prime ministerial foes who became anti-nuclear campaigners in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima crisis joined a rock festival event in Tokyo on Monday that brought together musicians opposed to nuclear power.

“We must create a country where nuclear power generation is zero. Let’s develop our country without nuclear power,” shouted charismatic former leader Junichiro Koizumi from the festival stage, hosted by renowned musician Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Mr Koizumi told reporters that an “unexpected event could happen anytime” at nuclear power plants in Japan, touching on the recent volcanic eruption of Mt Ontake in central Japan which occurred without warning and killed dozens of climbers.

In Japan, earthquakes, tsunami and volcanic eruptions could occur in various locations. It’s a country not allowed to have nuclear power plants,” he said.

Morihiro Hosokawa, another former prime minister, said he felt hope in his anti-nuclear campaigning as he saw the eyes of youths at the festival “twinkling”.

The former leaders from opposite sides of politics have teamed up over the past year to push for all of Japan’s 48 domestic nuclear reactors to stay offline.

The prime minister at the time of the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima meltdown, Naoto Kan, also attended an anti-nuclear protest on Sunday, rallying against the imminent restart of two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant.

Mr Kan became an anti-nuclear activist upon stepping down as prime minister in September 2011.

The government of Shinzo Abe is pushing for the resumption of reactors that clear new safety requirements introduced in the wake of the Fukushima accident.

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Shambles of Japan’s plans for evacuation after the next nuclear accident

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanNot nearly enough buses for mass exodus after nuclear accident THE ASAHI SHIMBUN  by Masanobu Higashiyama and Hiroki Koike.27 Sept 14  The gargantuan task of moving residents in a nuclear crisis will fall on chartered buses, according to the local governments’ evacuation plans.

The problem is there may not be nearly enough vehicles to move huge numbers of people to safety.

Some prefectures already realize they would be lucky to assemble just half the number of buses for the job.

There is also opposition from bus companies, which say they will not subject their drivers to hazardous radiation risks.

In a 10-kilometer radius of Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture, which has passed safety checks for a restart, surveys show that local governments can charter only one-fourth of buses that would be needed to evacuate residents.

Although the prefecture plans to sign an agreement with the prefectural association of bus companies to preferentially charter vehicles, a local bus drivers’ union said it will oppose the plan unless safety measures for drivers are mapped out.

According to evacuation plans submitted by Satsuma-Sendai, the city hosting the nuclear plant, and surrounding municipalities within a 30-km radius of the plant, people who need nursing care and others without family cars will have to evacuate by bus……..

In addition to the lack of buses, the void of safety measures to prevent bus drivers from being exposed to radiation during an evacuation casts a shadow on plans by local governments to use chartered buses.

Central government guidelines stipulate that ordinary people such as bus drivers must not be exposed to more than 1 millisievert of radiation annually in normal situations. However, there are no measures in place to deal with those who are exposed to higher readings.http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201409270012

In addition, rules for distributing potassium iodide tablets to protect against thyroid cancer due to radiation have yet to be devised……..

During an Aug. 29 news conference, Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida asked if it is realistic for residents to rely on chartered private buses in a case of a nuclear disaster. The prefecture hosts Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

“Is it possible to make drivers from private bus companies work in areas that are highly contaminated with radiation?” Izumida asked.

Officials at Fukushima Prefecture’s Nuclear Power Safety Division said they had not confirmed reports that bus companies refused to send vehicles due to concern for drivers’ safety during evacuation procedures for the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But some trucks transporting relief goods did refuse to enter areas that were highly contaminated with radiation, according to the officials.

“A private company can face legal charges if its employees are exposed to radiation because of work orders,” said an official of Niigata Prefecture. “Even if we sign an agreement with bus companies, it will not ensure the efficacy of such an evacuation plan.”

October 1, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Hypocrisy of U.S. Congress increasing nuclear warheads despite accidents at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

hypocrisyCongress pushes nuclear expansion despite accidents at weapons lab  Caty Enders in New York  theguardian.com, Tuesday 30 September 2014

Weapons watchdog says government’s position ‘increasingly hypocritical’ as US prepares to increase production of warheads in spite of safety and environmental concerns

This month, the Department of Energy released its initial findings into one of the worst American nuclear accidents since the end of the cold war. On February 14, a 52-gallon drum containing radioactive waste from nuclear weapons production exploded at a storage facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico, exposing 22 workers to radioactivity and leading to the closure of the facility. In its preliminary briefing, the DOE recommended a 7,000-point checklist that must be met in order to reopen the facility and indicated that congressional support for the plan was strong, despite a price tag that would likely run into the billions of dollars.

The closing of the facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation’s only such repository, has caused a storage backup of radioactive materials at a time when Congress and the Department of Defense, together with New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), are gearing up to dramatically increase production of nuclear weapons cores to numbers not seen since the cold war. In a report to Congress last month, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) outlined specific recommendations for a nuclear production plan under which as many as 80 explosive plutonium cores – 3.5in spheres that trigger an atomic bomb – would be created per year by 2030.

The Los Alamos proposal, which aims to increase plutonium core production at the nuclear facility thirtyfold from 2013 levels, leaves various environmental, fiscal, and political questions unanswered.

Los Alamos, which the CRS report cites as the only plausible place for the slated nuclear expansion, happens to have a staggeringly poor history of safeguarding war-grade nuclear materials. A federal study last month found the nuclear facility unprepared to respond to emergencies; environmental violations abound; and a former employee was recentlysentenced to a year in federal prison for trying to sell nuclear secrets to the Venezuelan government.

The plan, which has already been quietly adopted in broad terms by the House and Senate armed services committees as part of the 2015Defense Authorization Act, is expected to contribute an estimated $355bn for nuclear weapons development over the next decade. The spending would seem to stand in stark contrast to President Obama’s stated position on nuclear weapons…….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/29/congress-nuclear-weapons-new-mexico-radioactivity

October 1, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

British anti nuclear protest delegation heads for Japan

Nuclear protesters head for Japan to tell Hitachi to ‘stay away from Anglesey’ Wales Online, Sep 29, 2014  By 

Groups warn planned new station would be a terror target and house toxic waste for 150 years. Anti-nuclear campaigners are to fly to Japan to spell out their opposition to Hitachi’s plans to build a new £8bn atomic energy plant on Anglesey.

Activists from Greenpeace, CND Cymru, Cymdeithas yr Iaith (Welsh Language Society) and PAWB (People Against Wylfa B), will meet Japanese politicians and visit the city of Tomioka where all 160,000 people were evacuated following the 2011 explosions in Fukushima.

The delegation will meet evacuees and those involved in rehabilitation work…….. PAWB spokesman Dr Carl Clowes said the new station could be a target for terrorists and would see highly toxic waste kept on the site for 150 years.

Dr Clowes, who also warned of the cultural, linguistic and housing implications of an influx of 6,000 construction workers, added: “Tourism will be another casualty with visitors reluctant to come near to the biggest building site in Europe.

“Environmentally, the impact of the new reactors at Wylfa, some 11 times the area of the existing site will be huge, as areas designated as being of major European significance for the environment will be degraded.”

The deputation leave for London on Tuesday afternoon…….

October 1, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, UK | Leave a comment

Australia’s 2013 was brought on by global warming – researchers conclude

heat_waveAustralia’s 2013 heatwave due to climate change, researchers conclude http://www.theage.com.au/environment/australias-2013-heatwave-due-to-climate-change-researchers-conclude-20140930-10o1sj.html September 30, 2014   National political reporter Record temperatures in Australia in 2013 were almost certainly caused by man-made climate change, five separate studies have found.

Researchers from the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University and the University of NSW have concluded it is “virtually impossible” that the heatwaves that hit Australia in 2013 would have occurred were it not for carbon emissions caused by human activity.

The reports have been published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society as part of a global project examining the impact of climate change on extreme weather.

The results, which are the strongest statement yet on the impact of climate change on Australia’s weather patterns, are a wake-up call for the Abbott government a week after it was criticised for failing to take beefed-up emissions reduction targets to a special summit of world leaders in New York.

Five teams of researchers examined the heat that baked Australia for much of 2013, leading to the hottest day, month, spring and summer since records began.

They concluded that the record temperatures for the whole of that year would almost certainly not have occurred without man-made climate change and that the chance of heatwaves occurring was more than 2000 times greater because of human-caused climate change.

Professor David Karoly, one of the authors, said the results mark the first time that researchers had concluded that a specific weather event couldn’t or most likely couldn’t have occurred in Australia without the increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

“The Prime Minister last year said that studies hadn’t been done and the CSIRO cautioned against attributing individual extreme weather events to climate change,” Professor Karoly said.

“Now the studies have been done and the results are very clear.”

The teams of researchers used a variety of computer-based simulations that modelled 20th and early 21st century temperatures.

One set of models factored in natural variations in climate and human influences on climate, while another set showed what temperatures would have looked like without man-made climate change.

Out of 12,500 simulated years, only one result in the latter group produced temperatures higher than those seen in Australia in 2005 – the hottest year before 2013 – and none as hot as 2013.

“There was an increase in the frequency of heatwaves in 2013 and the intensity of heatwaves due to climate change,” Professor Karoly said “It was three times the frequency and two times the intensity.”

October 1, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change | Leave a comment

Rooftop solar becoming an unbeatable rival to old energy generators

Solar costs heading to 4c/kWh, rooftop solar seen “unbeatable” REneweconomy. By  on 30 September 2014 The highly conservative International Energy Agency predicts the cost of solar energy will fall to around 4c/kWh in coming decades as the sun becomes the dominant source of power generation across the world.

As we reported yesterday, the IEA now expects solar to become the biggest single source of energy by 2050 and has now doubled its forecast capacity for solar PV.

Rooftop solar, it says, will now account for one half of the world’s solar PV installations, because as a distributed energy source the technology is “unbeatable”.

On costs, it says all solar technologies will fall dramatically in coming decades, with solar PV falling to as low as 4c/kWh, utility-scale solar to around the same level, and solar thermal with storage will fall to as low as 6.4c/kWh.

As this graph [in original] below shows, the minimum price tends to occur in regions with great sunshine, and it also assumes a low capital cost of around 8%……..

The forecasts from the IEA are not the most dramatic that can be found, but they are significant because the IEA is essentially a conservative organisation that was created in the 1970s to defend developed countries’ access to fossil fuels

It has a history of underestimating the impact of new technologies such as solar, as we pointed out in this article – even though it has doubled its forecast for solar PV deployment in just the last few years. Other agencies, such as IRENA, have a much more bullish forecast for solar……http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/solar-costs-heading-4ckwh-rooftop-solar-seen-unbeatable-74425

October 1, 2014 Posted by | decentralised | Leave a comment

Rolls Royce fined for exposing workers to radiation

Rolls-Royce Fined as Workers Exposed to Radiation 32 Times Limit http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-09-30/rolls-royce-fined-as-workers-exposed-to-radiation-32-times-limit.html  By Jeremy Hodges  Sep 29, 2014 A Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc (RR/) unit must pay more than 375,000 pounds ($607,000) in fines and costs after a screw-sized radioactive capsule exposed workers to radiation 32 times legal levels.

Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations, which manufactures components for submarines, was fined yesterday for breaching safety regulations at a court in Leicester, England, the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive said. The capsule containing Ytterbium-169 used to test welding was lost for about five hours at a Rolls-Royce plant in Derby, the HSE said.

“Gamma radiation emitted by this type of radioactive source is harmful to human health,” David Orr, the HSE’s specialist inspector of radiation, said in an e-mailed statement. “The company failed its duty of care on this occasion, losing control of the source without realizing it.”

The company was investigated by the HSE and the U.K. Environment Agency after the radioactive material was lost for about five hours, exposing workers to radiation levels well above the annual permitted dose of 500 millisieverts, the HSE said.

Workers were exposed to gamma radiation when the capsule became detached from a holder and ended up inside the component being tested, the court was told in the HSE and Environment Agency joint prosecution. Welders working on the component later spotted the capsule and passed it among themselves.

The company pleaded guilty to the charges and said that it has reviewed its procedures to ensure that a similar incident can’t happen again.

“The health and safety of our workforce and the protection of the environment are our highest priorities and a matter which we take very seriously,” Andy Gordon, assurance and improvement director at London-based Rolls-Royce, said in a statement.

The company was ordered to pay a 200,000-pound fine and costs of 176,500 pounds at a hearing yesterday.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.netChristopher Jasper

October 1, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Legal | Leave a comment

American Heart Association advises caution, on radiation risks of heart scans

medical-radiationDoctors should explain to patients radiation risks of heart scans: American Heart Association By Sumit Passary, Tech Times | September 30 The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that doctors should explain radiation risks and benefits of heart scans to patients before conducting the procedure.

The medical industry has witnessed a lot of improvements in the last few decades and heart scans have become a vital tool to detect and treat heart diseases in patients. However, heart scans also increased the radiation exposure on patients. The AHA has issued a statement, which suggests that patients should be aware of the radiation exposure before getting a heart scan…….

Computed tomography, or CT scan, is the most typical medical scanning process for blood vessel and heart imaging. The process involves exposure to radiation. Echocardiography, or ECG, which is the ultrasound imaging process of the heart, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI) does not expose patients to ionizing radiation.

The statement has been published in AHA’s journal Circulation. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/16788/20140930/doctors-should-explain-to-patients-radiation-risks-of-heart-scans-american-heart-association.htm

October 1, 2014 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Secrecy and poor labour conditions at Fukushima nuclear plant

Fukushima-inspectionFukushima Worker: “All sorts of troubles going on in plant”; Officials won’t tell public what really happens — People should worry, it’s not under control — Employees wear disguises over fear of retaliation — Reporter: Tour of plant “was very strange… feels completely dead… not many people” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

NHK
, Sept. 24, 2014 (at 2:15 in): [A Fukushima Daiichi worker’s attorney] warns that the current system could endanger the entire decommissioning process… “Tepco should be held accountable for turning a blind eye. It needs to improve labor conditions, otherwise the situation will make it impossible to secure enough workers to deal with the nuclear accident.” >>Watch the video here

The Guardian, Sept. 9, 2014 (emphasis added):Fukushima fallout continues… [There's an] unprecedented attempt by four Fukushima Daiichi workers to sue the utility for unpaid wages… [T]he four men… wore masks in court for fear of reprisals from their employers… “A year ago, the prime minister told the world that Fukushima was under control. But that’s not the case,” Tsuguo Hirota told Reuters… “It’s becoming a place for amateurs only, and that has to worry anyone who lives near the plant.”… “My health could suffer… I believe there are many people who can’t speak out about this kind of problem,” one of the workers told public broadcaster NHK.

Time Magazine correspondent Hannah Beech, Sept. 7, 2014: Just to get into the plant it –again — it’s like a Hollywood movie… What was very strange about walking into this place is that it feels completely dead. You don’t see that many people moving around. And those people that you do see, there’s not a palpable sense of urgency, but you realize that the work that they’re doing is so important. And they may not be getting the full of backing that they should to be able to do this. >> Full interview here

NPR, March 11, 2014: About 100 out of the 4,000 people working in the plant every day are TEPCO employees. The rest are subcontractors… Workers [are barred from] speaking to the media… I met a TEPCO worker who was on the job when the quake and tsunami hit… and talked in his car… on the condition that we not identify him and disguise his voice. He says it’s well known at the plant that shoddy work is being done… Many problems inside the Fukushima plant go unreported… The worker says that the Japanese government now needs to step in and guarantee the welfare and safety of all the workers…

TEPCO employee at Fukushima Daiichi (at 2:45 in): I’m concerned about my safety… There are things they feel they don’t have to disclose. There are all sorts of troubles going oninside the plant.

Full interview with the anonymous Fukushima worker here http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

September 29, 2014 Posted by | employment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | Leave a comment

The era of clean, free, solar energy is nigh

The coming era of unlimited — and free — clean energy http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/09/19/the-coming-era-of-unlimited-and-free-clean-energy  BVivek Wadhwa September 19  In the 1980s, leading consultants were skeptical about cellular phones.  McKinsey & Company noted that the handsets were heavy, batteries didn’t last long, coverage was patchy, and the cost per minute was exorbitant.  It predicted that in 20 years the total market size would be about 900,000 units, and advised AT&T to pull out.  McKinsey was wrong, of course.  There were more than 100 million cellular phones in use 2000; there are billions now.  Costs have fallen so far that even the poor — all over world — can afford a cellular phone.

The experts are saying the same about solar energy now.  They note that after decades of development, solar power hardly supplies 1 percent of the world’s energy needs.  They say that solar is inefficient, too expensive to install, and unreliable, and will fail without government subsidies.  They too are wrong.  Solar will be as ubiquitous as cellular phones are.

sun-power

Futurist Ray Kurzweil notes that solar power has been doubling every two years for the past 30 years — as costs have been dropping. He says solar energy is only six doublings — or less than 14 years — away from meeting 100 percent of today’s energy needs. Energy usage will keep increasing, so this is a moving target.  But, by Kurzweil’s estimates, inexpensive renewable sources will provide more energy than the world needs in less than 20 years.  Even then, we will be using only one part in 10,000 of the sunlight that falls on the Earth.

In places such as Germany, Spain, Portugal, Australia, and the Southwest United States, residential-scale solar production has already reached “grid parity” with average residential electricity prices.  In other words, it costs no more in the long term to install solar panels than to buy electricity from utility companies.  The prices of solar panels have fallen 75 percent in the past five years alone and will fall much further as the technologies to create them improve and scale of production increases.  By 2020, solar energy will be price-competitive with energy generated from fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis in most parts of the world.  Within the next decade, it will cost a fraction of what fossil fuel-based alternatives do.

It isn’t just solar production that is advancing at a rapid rate; there are also technologies to harness the power of wind, biomass, thermal, tidal, and waste-breakdown energy, and research projects all over the world are working on improving their efficiency and effectiveness.  Wind power, for example, has also come down sharply in price and is now competitive with the cost of new coal-burning power plants in the United States.  It will, without doubt, give solar energy a run for its money.  There will be breakthroughs in many different technologies, and these will accelerate overall progress.

Despite the skepticism of experts and criticism by naysayers, there is little doubt that we are heading into an era of unlimited and almost free clean energy.  This has profound implications.

First, there will be disruption of the entire fossil-fuel industry, starting with utility companies — which will face declining demand and then bankruptcy.  Several of them see the writing on the wall.  The smart ones are embracing solar and wind power.  Others are lobbying to stop the progress of solar power — at all costs.  Witness how groups in Oklahoma persuaded lawmakers to approve a surcharge on solar installations; the limited victory that groups backed by the Koch brothers won in Arizona to impose a $5 per month surcharge; and the battles being waged in other states.  They are fighting a losing battle, however, because the advances aren’t confined to the United States. Countries such as Germany, China, and Japan are leading the charge in the adoption of clean energies.  Solar installations still depend on other power sources to supply energy when the sun isn’t shining, but battery-storage technologies will improve so much over the next two decades that homes won’t be dependent on the utility companies.  We will go from debating incentives for installing clean energies to debating subsidies for utility companies to keep their operations going.

Witness how groups in Oklahoma persuaded lawmakers to approve a surcharge on solar installations; the limited victory that groups backed by the Koch brothers won in Arizona to impose a $5 per month surcharge; and the battles being waged in other states.  They are fighting a losing battle, however, because the advances aren’t confined to the United States. Countries such as Germany, China, and Japan are leading the charge in the adoption of clean energies.  Solar installations still depend on other power sources to supply energy when the sun isn’t shining, but battery-storage technologies will improve so much over the next two decades that homes won’t be dependent on the utility companies.  We will go from debating incentives for installing clean energies to debating subsidies for utility companies to keep their operations going.

Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University. His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Japan’s secret nuclear weapons program, helped by USA


Japan had a dual use nuclear program. The public program was to develop and provide unlimited energy for the country. But there was also a secret component, an undeclared nuclear weapons program that would allow Japan to amass enough nuclear material and technology to become a major nuclear power on short notice.

That secret effort was hidden in a nuclear power program that by March 11, 2011– the day the earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – had amassed 70 metric tons of plutonium. Like its use of civilian nuclear power to hide a secret bomb program, Japan used peaceful space exploration as a cover for developing sophisticated nuclear weapons delivery systems.

PuFlag-USAflag-japanUS circumvented laws to help Japan accumulate tons of plutonium  From National Security News Service By Joseph Trento, April 9th, 2012

The United States deliberately allowed Japan access to the United States’ most secret nuclear weapons facilities while it transferred tens of billions of dollars worth of American tax paid research that has allowed Japan to amass 70 tons of weapons grade plutonium since the 1980s, a National Security News Service investigation reveals. These activities repeatedly violated U.S. laws regarding controls of sensitive nuclear materials that could be diverted to weapons programs in Japan. The NSNS investigation found that the United States has known about a secret nuclear weapons program in Japan since the 1960s, according to CIA reports. Continue reading

September 29, 2014 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan, Reference, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The death spiral of fossil fuel electricity: but the utilities are fighting back

“Distributed generation (DG) could be the end of utilities as we know them today,” U.S. investment research firm Morningstar said earlier this year. “Utilities’ centralized network monopolies break down when customers become self-sufficient competitors.”

Romero, the Spanish renewable energy expert, said: “Utility companies know that the future is in renewables, but they’re not going to go down without putting up a fight.”


fossil-fuel-fightback-1From Sydney To Spain, Old Energy Is Doing Everything It Can To Hold Back The Rise Of Solar
, Business Insider Australia TRACY RUCINSKIBYRON KAYE MADRID/SYDNEY (REUTERS) 29 SEPT 14
 

4  – A YEAR AFTER SPAIN, THE SUNNIEST COUNTRY IN EUROPE, ISSUED NOTICE OF A LAW FORCING SOLAR ENERGY-EQUIPPED HOMES AND OFFICES TO PAY A PUNITIVE TAX, ARCHITECT INAKI ALONSO RE-INSTALLED A 250 WATT SOLAR PANEL ON A BEAM OVER HIS MADRID ROOF TERRACE.

“The government wanted people to be afraid to generate their own energy, but they haven’t dared to actually pass the law,” Alonso said as he tightened screws on the panel on a sunny summer day this month. He had removed solar panels from the roof last year.

“We’re tired of being afraid,” he said.

Halfway across the globe, in the “sunshine state” of Queensland, Australia, electrical engineer David Smyth says the war waged by some governments and utilities against “distributed energy”, the term used for power generated by solar panels, is already lost.

“The utilities are in a death spiral,” he told Reuters by telephone while driving between a pub where he helped set up 120 solar panels to cut its $53,000 annual power bill and a galvanizing plant which was also adding solar panels to reduce costs.

In Australia, he said, solar panels have shifted from being a heavily subsidized indulgence for environmentally-conscious households to a pragmatic option for businesses wanting certainty about what their running costs will be next year.

“Not many people are doing it because of emissions or the environment,” Smyth said. “It’s about the cost.” Continue reading

September 29, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

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