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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Solar panels installed in a big way in Philippines business centres

Businessmen tap the power of the sun, Manila Standard, By Alena Mae S. Flores | Dec. 20, 2014 Solar technology is now shining in the Philippines, as some businessmen began to install solar panels on rooftops of schools, office buildings and even shopping malls, seven years after the passage of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Law. This year alone, the industry saw a significant number of solar rooftop projects installed, a feat that has not been immediately felt after the passage of the law, which promotes the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and mini-hydro projects.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla expects renewable energy projects including solar rooftop installations to pick up next year, heralding the golden age of renewable energy in the country. Petilla says solar rooftop capacity will continue to increase in 2015, amid the strong interest from schools, commercial and industrial projects and even government offices.

world'slargest-solar-mall

“You can never tell how many institutions are going to be included because it depends on the size of each project. Because of so many interests for solar technology at the moment, some of them are already moving on their own even without our initiative,” Petilla says.

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines estimates the potential market for solar rooftop projects at $450 million yearly, based on 50,000 households or a tenth of the half a million constructions yearly, with average solar panel installations of 2 kilowatts each.

Solar rooftop installations are expected to  reach 2.5 megawatts by end-2014, as more homeowners and enterprises realize the opportunities to save money and mitigate climate change by harnessing sunlight to power homes and offices.

ECCP says with the continued drop in system prices, solar energy is approaching grid parity, opening the way for more solar rooftop installations.

“Vast installation of solar panels on rooftops of households, commercial buildings and industrial facilities could help safeguard the country’s energy security over the long term. Rooftop solar panels could be a viable solution for the Philippines given its high solar irradiation level,” ECCP says.

The Philippine Solar Power Alliance earlier estimated that the country has an untapped solar rooftop potential of about 300 MW.

One company, Propmech Corp., recently installed a solar-rooftop project at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila that will enable the school to save as much as 20 percent in electricity cost.

“We are prioritizing schools for solar projects because of the reason they more open to the public than private companies, other institutions can freely go to them to learn about solar panels,” Petilla says.

St. Scholastica’s joins the rank of other schools such as Manuel L. Quezon University, Mapua Institute of Technology and La Consolaction College-Manila, in utilizing renewable energy.

St. Scholastica’s St. Cecilla’s Hall has been turned into a 96-kilowatt solar power plant that can generate 38.88 percent of the hall’s daily energy needs.  The amount will greatly reduce St. Scholastica’s monthly electricity expenses…………….

Solar applications have also long been used as off-grid solutions in rural and remote areas in the country.

Solar systems can also power basic necessities such as lighting, water pumping, communications and a variety of livelihood activities that immediately improve the lives of Filipinos in areas where electricity from the grid is not readily available. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/12/20/businessmen-tap-the-power-of-the-sun/

December 22, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, Philippines | Leave a comment

Vienna Conference supports Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons,

goliath-&-Marshall-IslesThe Marshall Islands case, which has received worldwide attention and support from many different organisations, is often referred to as “David vs. Goliath”…..: “The Marshall Islands is a small, gutsy country. It is not a country that will be bullied, nor is it one that will give up.

Civil Society Support for Marshall Islands Against Nuclear Weapons, truthout, Friday, 12 December 2014 10:00By Julia RainerInter Press Service Vienna – Ahead of the Dec. 8-9 Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons, activists from all over the world came together in the Austrian capital to participate in a civil society forum organised by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) on Dec. 6 and 7.

One pressing issue discussed was the Marshall Islands’ lawsuit against the United States and eight other nuclear-weapon nations that was filed at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in April 2014, denouncing the over 60 nuclear tests that were conducted on the small island state’s territory between 1946 and 1958.

The location was chosen not only because it was an isolated part of the world but also because at the time it was also a Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands governed by the United States. Self-government was achieved in 1979, and full sovereignty in 1986.

The people of the Marshall Islands were neither informed nor asked for their consent and for a long period did not realise the harm that the testing would bring to the local communities. Continue reading

December 13, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Latin America and Caribbean ripe for renewable energy growth

Renewable Energy Growth Opportunities In Latin America & Caribbean Clean Technica, December 12th, 2014 by  The renewable energy focus has slowly been shifting away from traditional national powerhouses in Europe and North America towards developing nations, primarily across the Southern Hemisphere. A new report published by the Worldwatch Institute has analysed the particular market barriers and growth pathways available for two specific regions, Latin America and the Caribbean, and found that renewable energy growth could address significant economic, social, and environmental challenges.

The report, Study on the Development of the Renewable Energy Market in Latin America and the Caribbean, published Wednesday, was designed to identify renewable energy growth opportunities and barriers, and offer up specific methods to overcome these challenges.

“Our goal was to prepare a concise and comprehensive report on the current status of, and powerful drivers for, renewable energy in the LAC region,” says Alexander Ochs, Worldwatch’s Director of Climate and Energy and the project leader.

“We identify key technology, market, and policy barriers, as well as concrete instruments to overcome them. Because of the region’s high vulnerability to extreme weather events, we specifically address the energy sector’s climate change adaptation needs. And we provide a clear set of recommendations to multilateral banks for how to best fulfil their important role in supporting renewable energy development and deployment.”

Of particular interest were the particular opportunities to address key economic, social, and environmental challenges that investing in renewables will provide Latin America and the Caribbean. The authors of the report identified several such challenges, including:

  • Achieving universal access to electricity
  • Meeting future electricity demand
  • Transforming the electricity system
  • Mitigating and adapting to climate change
As the report’s authors note, “renewables are increasingly the most economic option for new generation capacity, especially for countries that depend on fuel oil for power generation, such as many in Central America and the Caribbean.”………

The report claims that, even dismissing large-scale hydro, Latin America and the Caribbean have the potential to generate more than 78,000 TWh of electricity from renewable energy sources, enough to meet the region’s current and future energy needs many times over.

“The falling prices of renewables, their abundance, their complementarity, and their reliability today make renewable energy an economically favorable alternative to all conventional technologies in almost all countries of the region—if there is open and fair competition,” says Ochs. “But in many places, existing policies still support fossil fuels, and additional hindrances often exist, including social, market, and finance barriers. Governments have a responsibility to address these, and multilateral banks have important tools to support them.” http://cleantechnica.com/2014/12/12/renewable-energy-growth-opportunities-latin-america-caribbean/

December 13, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Anglican priest on the hypocrisy of rich countries’ apathy about climate change effects on Pacific Islanders

Joseph,-Keith-Angl-Dean-of-Anglican priest shames climate change “hypocrites” after witnessing sinking Solomon Islands 105.7 ABC Darwin  By Emilia Terzon The Anglican Dean of Darwin, Keith Joseph, was living and working on the Solomon Islands when he realised the world was slowly drowning.

“In that time, I could see with my own eyes the damage being done,” he said.

“And I could also see the effect [climate change] was having on my friends, their lives, and indeed their culture and futures.”……..

He said it was undeniable that the ongoing problems being experienced by his former parish were linked to climate change and rising sea levels.

“Firstly, it is affecting island groups across the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Secondly, I’m willing to trust 97 per cent of the scientific evidence and advice,” he said.

“If you were sick and went to 30 doctors and 29 said you’ve got cancer and give up smoking and one said it’s not a problem, what are you going to do?

“It’s the same with climate change. The scientific evidence is in.”

Mr Joseph’s comments follow a report by the world’s top scientists for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on Sunday.

The report warns about climate change’s severe and irreversible impacts and links the burning of fossil fuels to greenhouse gas levels being at their highest in 800,000 years.

Mr Joseph said it made him feel “guilty” that humble communities in the Solomon Islands were facing problems due to carbon emissions by those in richer countries……….

He said there was a “strong Christian argument for looking after the environment” and that the earth was a gift from God that should be looked after. “I do think that appeals to other spiritual traditions. The Aboriginals knew well that the land was their birthright to hand on to others,” he said.

“Sadly, I can’t see much political impetus for [stopping climate change]. There seems no great will to change the way we live or to move away from a coal-based economy.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-04/anglican-priest-speaks-out-about-climate-change/5865438

November 6, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

For centuries to come, ice sheets will keep melting

we cannot ignore it, because the sheer volume of land ice on Earth is enormous – equivalent to more than 65m of global sea level rise; Greenland alone accounts for 6 to 7m, West Antarctica for some 5-6m, and East Antarctica for the remainder. These melting ice sheets will dominate major sea level changes for centuries to come.

ice-sheets-melting

Why ice sheets will keep melting for centuries to come,Skeptical Science By Eelco Rohling, University of Southampton 17 Oct 14    Ice sheets respond slowly to changes in climate, because they are so massive that they themselves dominate the climate conditions over and around them. But once they start flowing faster towards the shore and melting into the ocean the process takes centuries to reverse. Ice sheets are nature’s freight trains: tough to start moving, even harder to stop. Continue reading

October 18, 2014 Posted by | climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Fukushima radiation is just one of the many nails in the Pacific Ocean coffin

Pacific-Ocean-drainNuclear Conspiracies And Pacific Radiation Activist Post, Richard Wilcox, PhD  September 10, 2014 “…….Final Nail?  Fukushima may be one of the nails in the Pacific Ocean coffin but it is not the only one. Many speculate that the Pacific Ocean is dying or that Fukushima is even “an extinction level event.” It may be true the Earth is reaching its breaking point and decades of over-fishing and pollution have profoundly damaged the world’s oceans, but the cause is not only from Fukushima. How do you attribute marine die-offs occurring around the world when not enough of Fukushima’s radiation has reached that far, and there are many other sources of pollutants in those regions?

One mistake the alternative media analysts are making is that they are confusing the huge amount of radiation presently on site at Fukushima versus the amount that was released from the accident and has since leaked out.

There is no question that the amount of nuclear inventory at Fukushima, a site placed on a weak soil foundation and prone to earthquakes and tsunami, is terrifyingly huge:

The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (14).

But that material has not yet dispersed, therefore the ocean die-offs now cannot be blamed on harm that could potentially occur in the future. ……….

Richard Wilcox is a Tokyo-based teacher and writer who holds a Ph.D. in environmental studies and is a regular contributor to the world’s leading website exposing the Fukushima nuclear disaster,Rense.com. He is also a contributor to Activist Post. He is a contributing editor and writer to the book: Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization? (2014). His radio interviews and articles are archived at http://wilcoxrb99.wordpress.com and he can be reached by email for radio or internet podcast interviews to discuss the Fukushima crisis at wilcoxrb2013@gmail.com.    http://www.activistpost.com/2014/09/nuclear-conspiracies-and-pacific.html

September 11, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, oceans | Leave a comment

Largest hybrid renewable energy project unveiled in Jamaica

“World’s largest” hybrid renewable energy project unveiled in Jamaica (incl video)  Gizmag, By Stu Robarts July 18, 2014 Generating renewable electricity at home or in commercial buildings is becoming increasingly viable. WindStream Technologies has installed what it says is the world’s largest wind-solar hybrid array on an office roof in Kingston, Jamaica. The array is expected to generate over 106,000 kWh annually.

The increasing trends towards renewable and distributed energy generation are reflected by other recent “world’s largest” projects. In January, theworld’s largest solar bridge was completed in London, the world’s largest solar-thermal plant became fully operational the following month, and Jaguar finished installing the world’s largest rooftop solar array in April.

The array is expected to generate 25kW of wind power and 55kW of solar power. Windstream says it will return its investment within four years and will produce savings of around US$2 million over the course of its estimated 25-year lifespan.

MFG’s installation is a part of an effort by Jamaica’s sole energy provider, Jamaica Public Service, to make the capability for producing renewable energy more widely available. The electricity generated can either be used and stored off-grid or fed back into the grid.http://www.gizmag.com/windstream-wind-solar-hybrid-jamaica/33013/

July 19, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Russia’s huge nuclear waste dumps in Arctic seas

wastes-1Russia announces enormous finds of radioactive waste and nuclear reactors in Arctic seas August 28, 2012 by  Enormous quantities of decommissioned Russian nuclear reactors and radioactive waste were dumped into the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia over a course of decades, according to documents given to Norwegian officials by Russian authorities and published in Norwegian media. “…..The catalogue of waste dumped at sea by the Soviets, according to documents seen by Bellona, and which were today released by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten, includes some 17,000 containers of radioactive waste, 19 ships containing radioactive waste, 14 nuclear reactors, including five that still contain spent nuclear fuel; 735 other pieces of radiactively contaminated heavy machinery, and the K-27 nuclear submarine with its two reactors loaded with nuclear fuel.

Bellona’s two decades on the case

“Bellona has worked with this issue since 1992 when we first revealed the dangerous nuclear waste laying at the bottom of the Kara Sea,” said Bellona President Frederic Hauge.

He acknowledged, however, that a precise accounting from the Russian side could hardly be expected given Russia’s own ignorance of the extent of the dumped radioactive waste………

Making way for oil exploration

Bellona’s Igor Kurdrik, an expert on Russian naval nuclear waste, said that, “We know that the Russians have an interest in oil exploration in this area. They therefore want to know were the radioactive waste is so they can clean it up before they beging oil recovery operations.” He cautiously praised the openness of the Russian report given to Norway and that Norway would be taking part in the waste charting expedition.

Bellona thinks that Russia has passed its report to Norway as a veiled cry for help, as the exent of the problem is far too great for Moscow to handle on its own.

The most crucial find missing

Kudrik said that one of the most critical pieces of information missing from the report released to the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority was the presence of the K-27 nuclear submarine, which was scuttled in 50 meters of water with its two reactors filled with spent nuclear fuel in in Stepovogo Bay in the Kara Sea in 1981.

Information that the reactors about the K-27 could reachieve criticality and explode was released at the Bellona-Rosatom seminar in February…….http://bellona.org/news/uncategorized/2012-08-russia-announces-enormous-finds-of-radioactive-waste-and-nuclear-reactors-in-arctic-seas

 

July 2, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, Russia, wastes | Leave a comment

Award for Tokelau as it pioneers large solar power arrays

solar rooftop arrayTokelau Wins EECA Renewable Energy Award http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4326  29 May 14, The Pacific territory of Tokelau has been named the 2014 EECA Renewable Energy Award winner for its solar efforts.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) is a New Zealand government agency that supports energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of renewable energy in New Zealand and its Territories.

Like many island nations, Tokelau has in the past relied heavily on expensive and polluting diesel generators for electricity supply.
Thanks to the Tokelau Renewable Energy Project, three large solar panel arrays arrays are now operating on Tokelau’s three atolls, some powered by SMA inverters. The project was completed last year.

These solar farms are now providing 90% of Tokelau’s electricity needs and place it among the world’s top nations for renewably-sourced electricity. Harvesting the sun’s energy is expected to save Tokelau roughly NZD $900,000 (~ AUD $824,500) per year in diesel costs.

The Tokelau Renewable Energy Project (TREP) was a joint undertaking between the Government of Tokelau and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Island communities such as Tokelau, with few energy alternatives, are ideal sites for solar-generated electricity,” EECA Chief Executive Mike Underhill.

“This project showed immense vision and drive from the leaders and communities of Tokelau. They are showing other Pacific nations the way – as well as highlighting to the world the need for more renewable energy and less carbon-intensive fossil fuels.”

Solar power represents so much more to Tokelau than just a stable, clean electricity supply. It’s a flagship for the battle against climate change and a signal to the world.

At their highest point, the islands rise around 2 metres above sea level. Tokelau is a nation in the front-line of the effects of climate change – and it is already experiencing the effects of rising seas. It is believed Tokelau could be the first nation to disappear under the waves unless dramatic action is taken to rein in carbon emissions.

May 30, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, OCEANIA, renewable | 1 Comment

The Marshall Islands Nuclear Zero Lawsuit deserves all our support

justiceThe Nuclear Zero Lawsuits: Who will speak for the people? http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/206271-the-nuclear-zero-lawsuits-who-will-speak-for-the-people#ixzz3216oOGyg  By Jody Williams and Robert Dodge, M.D. 16 May 14, The U.N. just concluded the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Preparatory Committee with representatives from the 189 signatory nations and of civil society. The meeting was in preparation for next year’s NPT conference and to discuss the current status of fulfilling the obligations under the treaty and in particular, the mandate of the nuclear weapons states for global disarmament. The outcome was a continued foot dragging by the nuclear states motivating a demand for meaningful steps and progress toward disarmament by the other 184 nations in view of current international events.

Recent scientific studies by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War on the humanitarian consequences of limited nuclear war have shed additional light on the danger these weapons pose.  Describing a hypothetical conflict between India and Pakistan using less than ½ of 1 percent of the global nuclear arsenals, the studies confirm 2 billion people would be at risk of dying due to global climatic change.

Combined with recent scandals involving U.S. ICBM missile controllers and a growing accounting of nuclear mishaps and near misses in our nuclear forces over the years, the sense of urgency for disarmament is greater than ever. It has become a question of who will step forward and speak for humanity.

On April 24, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) filed the Nuclear Zero Lawsuits in the International Court of Justice against all nine nuclear-armed nations, as well as against the United States in U.S. Federal District Court. RMI claims that the nuclear weapon states are in breach of Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which entered into force 16,121 days prior to the filing. In this David vs. Goliath action this tiny island nation has found the voice to speak on behalf of the world and the other nations signatory to the Treaty.

The case for the Nuclear Zero Lawsuit comes directly from the NPT where Article VI states: “Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.”

This was the grand bargain that convinced many non-nuclear weapon states to sign the treaty and agree not to develop nuclear weapons of their own. Forty-four years later, with no meaningful negotiations on the horizon and no end in sight to the “step-by-step” process heralded by the permanent five members of the UN Security Council (P5), the RMI has stepped in to change the discourse on nuclear disarmament.

RMI is seeking declaratory relief from the courts that will compel the leaders of the Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) to initiate good-faith negotiations for an end to the nuclear arms race and to nuclear disarmament. They are challenging the leaders of the NWS to answer, on the record, why 44 years have passed and nuclear arsenals continue to be modernized, national security strategies continue to place nuclear weapons at the top of the list, and the P5 don’t even expect to have a “Glossary of Key Nuclear Terms” to talk about nuclear disarmament until 2015.

In addition to the five Nuclear Weapon States named in the NPT, the lawsuit also includes the four nuclear weapon states that are not parties to the NPT – Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea – which, RMI argues, are bound to Article VI obligations under customary international law.

The RMI is a small sovereign nation, among the smallest in the world. However, their courage could not be greater. Having been a testing ground for 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, the Marshall Islanders have seen their land, sea and people poisoned from radiation. These tests had an equivalent explosive force greater than 1.5 Hiroshima bombs being detonated daily for 12 years.  The Marshall Islanders paid a heavy price in terms of their health and well-being for these destructive tests. They have experienced firsthand the horrible destruction caused by nuclear weapons and those that possess them. They are willing to stand up to the nine nuclear giants and say, “Never again. We have seen the destructive impact of these horrific weapons and vow to do all we can so the world never sees such atrocities again.”

The RMI does not act alone in this action. A consortium of NGOs working to highlight the legal and moral issues involved in the Nuclear Zero Lawsuit has come together around the world coordinated by the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation in Santa Barbara.  Respecting the courage of the plaintiff in bringing these lawsuits against some of the most powerful nations in the world they have developed a call to action.

The consortium urges everyone to join them by raising your voice in support of the Nuclear Zero Lawsuit. Go to www.nuclearzero.org, where you can read more about the lawsuits and sign the petition encouraging leaders of the Nuclear Weapon States to begin good-faith negotiations.

Williams received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the International Committee to Ban Landmines (ICBL) and is chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Dodge is a family physician on the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and Physicians for Social Responsibility Los Angeles. PSR is the U.S. affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. 

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/206271-the-nuclear-zero-lawsuits-who-will-speak-for-the-people#ixzz3216oOGyg

Continue reading

May 17, 2014 Posted by | Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Militarising the Pacific – “island people are better radiation test subjects than mice are”

In a 1956 Atomic Energy Commission meeting, Merril Eisenbud, director of the AEC Health and Safety Laboratory, described the Marshallese thus: “While it is true that these people do not live, I would say, the way Westerners do, civilized people, it is nevertheless also true that these people are more like us than the mice.”.

Bikini-atom-bomb
weapons1The Militarized Pacific: An Anniversary Without End  14 May 2014  By Jon LetmanTruthout
 | Op-Ed  March 1, the 60th anniversary of the Castle Bravo test – a nuclear detonation over a thousand times more powerful than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – has come and gone. Predictably, major decadal events, like a 15-megaton explosion over a Micronesian atoll, garner fleeting attention, but it’s all the days between the anniversaries that tell the real story of those who live with the impacts.

For the people of the Marshall Islands, where Enewetak, Bikini and neighboring atolls were irradiated and rendered uninhabitable by 67 nuclear tests between 1946 and 1958, the brief anniversary recognition only underscores what little attention the Marshallese and, in a broader sense, millions of peoples of the Asia-Pacific are given by the US government and public……..

places like the US-backed naval base being built on South Korea’s Jeju island and the enormous military testing and training ranges in the Northern Mariana Islands (larger than much of the western United States) receive almost no attention. Names like Pagan, Rongelap and Kwajalein are scarcely known in the country that uses these islands for its own military testing……..

increased levels and types of cancers in the Marshall Islands, based on National Cancer Institute (NCI) research and firsthand accounts by Marshallese, are the result of nuclear testing. Continue reading

May 15, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, radiation, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

THe significance of the Marshall Islands lawsuit against the 5 nuclear weapons nations

 the importance of the lawsuit is based on its ability to highlight the emergence of a new politics of nuclear disarmament, a politics that challenges the very legitimacy and legality of nuclear weapons possession.

justiceThe import of the Marshall Islands nuclear lawsuit Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Avner CohenLily Vaccaro 8 May 14, The tiny Republic of the Marshall Islands recently filed an extraordinary lawsuit at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, suing all nine nuclear weapons possessors for failing to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The legal basis of the case is derived from Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which obligates the five nuclear weapons states under the treaty (the United States, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, France, and the People’s Republic of China) “to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament.” 

The lawsuit also charges the four nuclear weapons states outside of the NPT—including one, Israel, which has never even acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons—with violating international customary law. But is this lawsuit more than a publicity gimmick? How seriously should it be taken? What does it tells us about current international nonproliferation regime?

It is easy, of course, to dismiss the lawsuit as an exercise in futility, or at best an act of moral inspiration that will have almost no political impact on the real world. Continue reading

May 9, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Island goes 100% renewable energy – a world first

This Island Is The First In The World To Be Powered Fully By Wind And Water BY ARI PHILLIPS MAY 1, 2014 THE SMALLEST AND SOUTHERNMOST OF SPAIN’S CANARY ISLANDS IS ABOUT TO MAKE AN OUTSIZED MARK ON THE PATH TOWARD A MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY-POWERED FUTURE. HTTP://THINKPROGRESS.ORG/CLIMATE/2014/05/01/3433002/SPANISH-ISLAND-RENEWABLE-ENERGY/

With the opening of a new wind farm next month, El Hierro, population just over 10,000, will become the first island in the world to be fully energy self-sufficient through combined wind and water power. The five wind turbines will provide 11.5 megawatts of power, enough to meet the demand of the population and the desalination plants on this small crop of land off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean.

When the wind isn’t blowing, hydropower will fill the void. When the wind is blowing, power will be used to pump water into a reservoir in a volcanic crater about 2,300 feet above sea level. Then when power is needed, that water will be released down to a lower reservoir and used to generate electricity on the way. This process is known as pump-storage hydroelectricity, and is used in many other countries across the globe — including the world’s largest outside of Washington, D.C.

“This system guarantees us a supply of electricity,” said the director of the Gorona del Viento wind power plant, Juan Manuel Quintero.

With the $75 million project set to come online, El Hierro will no longer have to rely on costly and dirty diesel generators for electricity — although it will maintain an oil power station just in case. According to Phys.org, the island’s transition to renewable energy will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20,600 tons per year and save the island from using 40,000 barrels of oil a year.

Other islands are taking advantage of renewable resources to become wind- and solar-powered, but El Hierro is believed to be the first to do so exclusively with wind and hydro power and without having any connection to an outside electricity grid.

May 2, 2014 Posted by | OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

New Zealand helps Pacific island nations go solar

flag-New-ZealandNZ Lends A Solar Helping Hand In Pacific Nations http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4277   New Zealand is supporting the construction of the Pacific’s largest solar panel array in Samoa and also providing a helping hand for other Pacific Nations to pursue clean energy.

   According to New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, the country is working in partnership with the Government of Samoa, the European Union and the Asia Development Bank to increase renewable energy in Samoa. 
   
Part of the project includes the construction of 2.2 MW installation at the Apia Sports Complex, a smaller array on the rooftop of one of the gymnasiums at the Complex; plus another solar power system in Salelologa, Savaii.
   
“Renewable energy is a strong focus of New Zealand’s support to developing countries. The investments in Samoa reflect commitments made at the Pacific Energy Summit in Auckland last year,” Mr McCully said.
  Elsewhere in the Pacific, New Zealand has been assisting in Tuvalu where 95 percent of electricity is currently gained from diesel generation. 
   
New Zealand has funded the construction of four small scale solar-hybrid systems on the Islands of Niutao, Nanumanga, Nanumea and Vaitupu; which will provide 90 per cent of the islands’ electricity needs and improve continuity of service.
  
Last week, New Zealand also entered into a partnership with the European Union (EU), and Tuvalu to continue this work
  “This in an excellent example of New Zealand’s cooperation with the EU on renewable energy and the sort of practical projects we can deliver in partnership with Pacific countries,” Mr McCully says.
  
On Kiribati’s Kiritimati Island, which also has a heavy reliance on imported diesel fuel for electricity generation, New Zealand and the EU have entered into an agreement to allow for greater technical cooperation relating to renewable energy project development on the island.
   
Many Pacific nations are low-lying and particularly threatened by sea level rises spurred on by global warming; so the shift from fossil fuels is as much about survival and setting an example for the rest of the world to follow as it is about saving money.

April 28, 2014 Posted by | decentralised, New Zealand, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Renewable energy in Pacific Islands – promoted by New Zealand and European Union

New Zealand, EU push ahead with renewable energy initiatives in Pacific http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=213961 Apr 22,2014 WELLINGTON, (Xinhua) — A joint New Zealand-European Union (EU) mission will tour four Pacific island countries this week to assess progress on renewable energy projects, New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully announced Tuesday.

 The tour follows up on the Pacific Energy Summit in New Zealand in March last year and the launch of the European Union-New Zealand Energy Access Partnership to fund renewable energy projects in the region.   The summit’s aim was to move Pacific nations closer to achieving 50 percent of their electricity from renewable means and 635 million NZ dollars (545.02 million U.S. dollars) was secured for Pacific energy projects.

“This mission is an opportunity to see the progress being made on renewable energy initiatives in Samoa, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and the Cook Islands, and to meet with the Pacific governments and organizations to discuss opportunities for further cooperation,” McCully said in a statement. “Representatives from the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the International Renewable Energy Agency are also joining the mission to gain further insight into the potential for sustainable energy across the Pacific,” he said.

“Renewable energy is a strong focus of our support to developing countries and we are committed to working with partners like the European Union to deliver clean, safe and reliable energy projects.”

European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, who will accompany McCully on the mission, said the EU projects included solar panels installed to renewable provide electricity in Apia, extending the availability of reliable electricity with solar panels for Tuvalu’ s outer islands, and agreeing with the Asian Development Bank to construct six photovoltaic power plants in the Cook Islands.

In Kiribati, Piebalgs would also launch a barge that would protect Tarawa’s beaches from silt build-up and open a laboratory dedicated to monitoring and responding to environmental diseases.

Both projects were necessary to mitigate the effects of climate change in Kiribati, Piebalgs said in a statement.

April 23, 2014 Posted by | New Zealand, OCEANIA, renewable | Leave a comment

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