The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Former head of Brazil’s nuclear company will face trial

Judge accepts charges filed against former head of Brazil nuclear power firm Fox News, 3 Sept 15 SAO PAULO –  A federal judge Thursday accepted the charges filed by prosecutors against the former head of Eletronuclear, the state-owned company that operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, for his suspected role in a bribery scandal.

Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva will face trial for allegedly taking 4.5 million reals ($1.22 million) in bribes from construction companies for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Judge Sergio Fernando Moro said in a statement that he also accepted the charges filed against 14 others, including Flavio David Barra, the top energy executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez and da Silva’s daughter, Ana Cristina Toniolo…….

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Police asks prosecutors to charge former head of Brazil’s nuclear power on corruption

corruptionPolice ask that charges be filed against former head of Brazil’s nuclear power company SAO PAULO –  Police say they have asked prosecutors to file charges against the former head of Eletronuclear, the state-owned company that operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, for his suspected role in a bribery scandal.

A federal police spokesman who was not authorized to be quoted by name said late Thursday that the department wants prosecutors to charge Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva with money laundering and corruption for allegedly taking as much as $10 million in bribes from construction companies for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Da Silva was taken into custody in late July and one week later stepped down as Eletronuclear’s chief executive officer.

The spokesman said the department also wants charges filed against Flavio David Barra, the top energy executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez and da Silva’s daughter Ana Cristina Toniolo for their suspected roles in the scheme. Da Silva, his daughter and Barra have denied any wrongdoing.

During Brazil’s military regime from 1964-1985, the retired navy admiral and nuclear engineer headed Brazil’s secret program to master the technology needed to transform uranium into fuel to generate electric power in nuclear plants. Da Silva also oversaw the ongoing project to build a nuclear powered submarine.

The request for charges to be filed come as police and prosecutors try to determine whether a kickback scheme engulfing state-run oil company Petrobras extends to other state firms, including electric utilities company Eletrobras, of which Eletronuclear is a subsidiary.

Prosecutors have said the scheme involved roughly $2 billion in bribes and other illegal funds. Some of that money was allegedly funneled back to the ruling Workers’ Party and its allies’ campaign coffers. It also allegedly included the payment of bribes to Petrobras executives in return for inflated contracts.

For Alexandre Barros, a political risk consultant with the Brasilia-based firm Early Warning, the Eletronuclear case shows that Petrobras-like corruption and kickback schemes are “probably present in other state-run companies.”

“Schemes like these have long been part of our culture and I think other similar schemes start emerging all over the place”, Barros said  “My big fear is that the armed forces may start feeling uneasy,” he added, without elaborating.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Corruption scandal may halt Brazil’s nuclear power programme

corruptionIldo Sauer, a nuclear physicist who worked under Pinheiro in the late 1980s, says Brazil’s nuclear program is too expensive and has been co-opted by politicians and major construction and engineering firms.

“The problem is the lobbyists who see nuclear as a chance to build expensive megaprojects with little regard for cost,” said Sauer, a former head of natural gas at Petrobras. “It’s no longer about science or energy. It’s about politics and money, and that brings corruption.

Brazil Nuclear Leader’s Arrest May Stymie Atomic Ambitions Reuters, VOA, July 30, 2015  RIO DE JANEIRO— The arrest of the longtime head of Brazil’s nuclear energy utility on corruption charges could disrupt a plan to revive Brazilian nuclear ambitions whose roots go back to its atomic-bomb program in the 1980s. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Refrigeration, air-conditioning done cheaply by solar cooling system

Solar cooling system keeps water at 9 degrees Celsius for up to three months April 2, 2015 Source: Investigación y Desarrollo

Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost,  it is now possible with new technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system.

Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost, it is now possible with Mexican technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system designed by Susana Elvia Toledo Flores.

The prototype developed in the Research Department in Zeolites, at the Institute of Science of the Meritorious University of Puebla (BUAP), in center Mexico, works 24 hours and keeps the cold for up to three months.

The researcher developed the prototype in the Black Mountain Range of the state, where she has achieve to maintain water at nine degrees Celsius “with that temperature we can cool food, though the goal is to get as low as five, with this fish can be preserved without denaturing its proteins.”

The BUAP design is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and environmentally beneficial. “Normal cooling systems use chlorofluorocarbon chemicals that destroy the ozone layer and contribute to greenhouse gases, ours is friendly to the environment,” explains Toledo Flores.

It works with solar radiation and the cooling is achieved by means of a thermodynamic adsorption-desorption cycle lasting 24 hours. Methanol is used as a refrigerant and as zeolite (mineral) as an adsorbent.

Toledo Flores says the system has two stages, during the day “warming, desorption and the period of condensation happens. Solar energy heats the zeolite and increases the methanol vapor pressure, the refrigerant is condensed and stored in a tank flowing to the evaporator. ”

Overnight the cooling process is achieved, adsorption and evaporation period is performed. “The adsorbent bed temperature decreases after sunset, therefore, the refrigerant pressure is reduced and evaporates while the absorbent is cooled. During this period the coolant begins to evaporate and is again adsorbed by zeolite generating cooling temperatures of five degrees Celsius. The adsorption process continues all night until morning. ”

The equipment is composed of a solar collector, adsorbent bed, condenser and evaporator. To build it, the researcher calculates the amount of water to be cooled, thereby knows how many zeolite to use. She also considers the room temperature, in this case of 20 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, the system “is not only designed to cool foods. It may also serve as an air conditioning, for example, in communities like Tecali de Herrera, Puebla, where there are areas without electricity and the system could adapt well to preserve their foods and medicine, bringing them better quality of life,” says Toledo Flores.

The project was presented at the International Congress of Solar Energy at Germany.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo

April 4, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

100% renewable energy powered Costa Rica for first 75 days of 2015

Costa Rica powered 100% by renewables for first 75 days of 2015 By  on 19 March 2015 The Latin American country of Costa Rica has achieved the milestone of generating 100 per cent of its energy from renewable resources, with a combination of hydropower and geothermal for 75 days in a row, the the state-owned Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said.

Boosted by good rains at four of he country’s main hydroelectric plants, ICE said that, according to National Electric System figures, it had not been necessary to use hydrocarbons to supply the country’s grid at all in 2015, for the months of January, February and so far in March.

“With these (rain) conditions and the reserves accumulated to date, the ICE estimates that the downward trend in rates for all consumers will continue in the second quarter,” the power agency was quoted as saying in the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Of course, Costa Rica already has an outstanding record on efficient, clean and cheap electricity generation, ranking No. 2 in Latin America for providing a household coverage rate of 99.4 per cent at some of the region’s lowest prices.

According to the transnational institute, 250kWh would be enough satisfy the monthly needs of low- and middle-income Costa Rican households, at a cost of around 7 per cent of the minimum salary.

And their record on renewables is very good too. The country generated as much as 80 per cent of its electricity from hydro power as recently as last year – although recent droughts had led to the back-up use of diesel fuel.

And in 2010 it was reported that about 13 per cent of the Latin American nation’s energy came from geothermal.

Now, Costa Rica is in the process of adding several big new geothermal plants, after a $US958 million proposal was approved by the government in mid-2014.

The project, which is being co-funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency and the European Investment Bank, is expected to be located in Guanacaste near Rincón de la Vieja.

The first plants are expected to generate about 55MW and cost around $333 million to build. Two other 50MW plants will be built as well, about 40km from the Pailas II plants.

Once operational, it is expected the plants could generate electricity at about five cents per kilowatt-hour.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Chile getting extreme UV radiation with increased risk of skin cancers

Rising UV radiation prompts skin cancer fears in Chile Santiago – Cancer experts in Chile are warning people to limit their exposure to the sun as dangerously high levels of ultraviolet radiation are expected over the next few months.

A recently released report indicates the a hole in the ozone layer, which is normally situated over Antarctica, is moving towards the South American country.

Chilean’s might have to stay indoors this summer as experts warn that the country will be blasted by extremely high levels of ultraviolet radiation.

According to a study from Chile’s national cancer corporation, or Conac, the massive hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica is moving closer towards the South American country.

Conac’s Doctor Ernesto Gramsch says the rise in radiation levels is alarming. In October, UV levels were 175 higher than they were in October of last year, which was 10 or 15% higher than the year before that. So this year it’s been a little higher, almost 30% higher than in previous years.”

Gramsch says that rise is also due to shifts in climatic wind patterns which have thinned out ozone gases over Chile in recent years. And with less protection from harmful UV rays, the number of skin cancer cases are on the rise.

Dr Cecilia Orlandi says she has seen the number of patients double since 2000.

“The number of skin cancer cases has been increasing, which yes, we can detect at a fairly early stage. But cancers from epithelioma basal cells and squamous cells have been increasing as well, and those are directly related to exposure to ultraviolet rays A and B”, Said Orlandi.

Outside Chileans are bracing for a harsh summer.

But according to a recent United Nations report, a ray of hope is slowly emerging. Moves to tackle climate change have resulted in the ozone layer finally starting to recover, with estimates that it will be back at 1980 levels by 2050.

November 26, 2014 Posted by | health, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Brazil becoming world’s top market for biopower

Brazil To Overtake US As Leading Market In Renewable Energy Metric By @DionRabouin IBT, on November 16 2014  Brazil will surpass the United States as the world’s top market for biopower, research firm GlobalDatareported. The U.S. remains the world’s global biopower leader for now, but Brazil is expected to increase its countrywide biopower installed capacity from 11.51 gigawatts (GW) in 2013 to an estimated 17.1 GW by 2018, to become the world’s premier market.

Biopower, also known as biomass power or bioenergy, is the use of any organic material to generate electricity. The U.S. has long been the global leader, but the report suggests outdated infrastructure and a bloated existing capacity that has saturated the market will lead to Americans being overtaken in four years’ time……

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Brazil, renewable | Leave a comment

56 prominent individuals across the globe write to oppose nuclear energy for Bolivia

Protest-No!Open Letter to Evo Morales about nuclear energy Carwil without Borders,  November 9, 2014  Re-posting from Breaking the Nuclear Chain (en) and Julio Lumbreras (es)…

Dear Evo Morales,

First of all we would like to emphasize that those who sign this letter consider themselves to be friends of the Bolivian people. We applaud what your government has done over the years for the welfare of the people of Bolivia, for the recovery of control over your natural resources as well as for social justice and the redistribution of wealth. We also support the strong stance you and your government have taken on the protection of the environment, with the institution of the Day of Mother Earth and the acts against the exploitation of food resources for purposes other than the nourishment of the people. Moreover, we have been fighting for years, in our countries and internationally, against military and civilian nuclear energy.

In this light, as friends, we have been surprised by the announcement of your government’s plans to start the process of building a nuclear plant in Bolivia.

We believe this to be a move in the wrong direction and we wish to explain why in the following few points. Continue reading

November 10, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Southern Hemisphere has record levels of ultraviolet radiation

Extreme levels of UV radiation in Arequipa, Peru This Week, By Agnes Rivera, 8 Nov 14  The coming months will bring the levels up to 16, the highest in the world……..According to the Regional Health Management of Environmental Health residents in Arequipa should take extra precaution this season towards UV protection.

Executive director of said agency, Zacarías Madariaga, warns that during the months of November and December, Peru’s southern region could reach radiation levels of 16, which would be the highest in the world.


“Usually the high rates are 12 and 14. However, at this time of year there are extreme levels,” says Madariaga, as quote

November 8, 2014 Posted by | health, radiation, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

The Soviet-Cuba nuclear reactor that could have been USA’s nightmare

see-this.way Abandoned Communist Nuclear Reactor That Could Have Killed Us All (Great pictures) Gizmodo 10 Oct 14
Ashley Feinberg  Just 90 miles off the tip of Florida lies a half-baked, abandoned relic of the Cold War-era arms race—what was once going to be a joint Cuban-Soviet nuclear reactor. And thank god it never panned out. Because not only do we now have these incredible shots from photographer Darmon Richter, but every last aspect of this thing would have been a total and utter disaster………the whole project spent nearly a decade in limbo, until finally, in 2000, Fidel Castro told Vladamir Putin that he was done with the two countries’ former joint-dream. Now, the power plant at Juragua was officially little more than a testament to what could have been—which is a very good thing. Because as it turns out, “what could have been” basically entailed wildly dangerous conditions and potentially a whole mess of destruction.

It wouldn’t just be Cuba and the US facing a fallout threat, though. All of Central America and the Caribbean could have been directly at risk of radiation in the (relatively likely) event of an accident. And even if everything had gone according to plan, Cuba still would have been faced with the problem of dealing with the inevitable nuclear waste—because as it stands, the itty bitty island of Cuba would have had no suitable place to dispose of it. In which case, off to the ocean it’d go……..
In addition to being poorly built, even if there was a problem on the horizon, workers would have absolutely no idea until it was too late; Cuba had no preventative method of monitoring radioactivity levels. So if/when disaster did strike, South Florida would have less than a day before toxic materials reached its shore. And everyone within an 18-mile radius of the accidentwould effectively find themselves in a so-called “dead zone”—an area in which nothing could possibly survive.
Even the project’s own engineers had grave concerns about what it was they were being asked to build. In 1994, an engineer-turned-Soviet-defector essentially called the reactor a tragedy waiting to happen.
If the Cold War hadn’t ended when it did, these frightening possibilities may very well have become a nightmarish reality.

October 10, 2014 Posted by | history, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Chile forms the top market for renewable energy

Chilean geography makes nation the top market for renewable energy, Chicago Tribune
By Matt Craze, Bloomberg News,Bloomberg SANTIAGO, Chile 
— With the sunniest desert on Earth, a windswept coast and limited fossil fuel supplies, northern Chile has become the world’s top market for renewable energy.

The government of President Michelle Bachelet has approved 76 solar and wind projects since taking power March 11. Renewable energy developers are pursuing contracts to deliver electricity to mines run by by companies including Anglo American and BHP Billiton, which consume a third of the country’s power.

 Renewable energy is now cheaper than electricity sold on Chile’s spot market, and with global demand for copper expected to increase, so will the need for power at mines in the remote Atacama desert. The wind and solar projects that have been approved will require as much as $7 billion to complete.

“Chile is the market with the highest level of activity in the world,” Ben Warren, head of Ernst & Young’s renewables team, said in a telephone interview from London………

“Despite being a small market we attracted all of the players because we have significant growth rates,” Finat said. “We have clear economic rules and political stability. And there is a gigantic amount of untapped renewable energy resources.”

October 8, 2014 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

A solar energy powerhouse is developing fast: it’s Chile

sunChile An Emerging Solar PV Powerhouse Chile installed 150MW of solar panels in the first quarter of this year and has a further 380MW of PV under construction.

  According to GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook, Q2 2014; the 150MW tally is triple the amount that any Latin American country has ever installed in a single quarter.
A major contributor to the impressive first quarter total was SunEdison’s 50.7 MW San Andres solar farm; the largest merchant solar plant in Latin America to date. SunEdison recently announced it has sold a majority stake in the facility to a group of investors.
GTM Research forecasts Chile will install 244 megawatts of PV this year; some of which support the nation’s energy-hungry mining industry. Last year, Chile’s renewable energy capacity jumped 40 percent to just over one gigawatt. The nation’s renewable energy target demands utilities source 20 percent of their power from renewable sources – excluding hydro – by 2025.
GTM Research considers Latin America to be the “global frontier” for unsubsidized solar markets. 
“With high insolation levels and growing demand, it is positioned to be one of the most attractive regions on the planet for solar development.” 
Chile has a population of more than 17 million. According to Wikipedia, its electricity generation sector relies mainly on hydro-electric power (33% of installed capacity as of May, 2012), oil (13%), gas (30%) and coal (20%). Much of its fossil fuel is imported.
The nation’s newly elected president, Michelle Bachelet, this week announced a proposed carbon tax. Under the proposal, thermal power plants with a generation capacity of at least 50 megawatts will pay a tax of $5 per metric tonne of carbon dioxide emitted. The carbon tax would be the first to be implemented in South America.

April 10, 2014 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Argentina says that Falkland Islands are a NATO nuclear base

Falklands a NATO nuclear base: Argentina SMH, April 3, 2014 Buenos Aires: Argentine President Cristina Kirchner has claimed that the Falkland Islands serve as a nuclear base for the NATO alliance in the South Atlantic.

Argentina, which calls the archipelago the Malvinas, claims the British overseas possession as its own, and fought a brief but bloody war for it in 1982. The islands, she said on Wednesday, “constitute a NATO military nuclear base in the South Atlantic – this is the truth that they can’t continue to hide”. She alleged the archipelago is “among the most militarised areas in the world”, saying some 1500 soldiers and 2000 civilian military personnel are stationed there amid a population of just 1000. Ms Kirchner, who has a track record of controversial statements about the islands, said the British military manages its entire South Atlantic deployment and its electronic intelligence systems from there. Britain called the claims “wholly false” and said UK forces numbers have declined to the “minimum necessary to defend the Islands”……….

April 5, 2014 Posted by | politics international, SOUTH AMERICA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hospital access blocked as 6 alleged thieves probably exposed to radiation

Federal police blocked access Friday to hospital where the six were held

Mexico Police Block Hospital Where 6 May Have Radiation Exposure In Wake Of Theft HUFFINGTON POST, By ADRIANA GOMEZ LICON and E. EDUARDO CASTILLO 12/06/13 06:MEXICO CITY (AP) — Six people being tested for possible radiation exposure in a hospital in central Mexico are suspects in the theft of highly radioactive cobalt-60, a government official said Friday.

The official said the six were arrested Thursday and taken to the general hospital in Pachuca for observation and testing for radiation exposure.Once they are cleared, they will be turned over to federal authorities in connection with the case of a cargo truck stolen Monday at gunpoint that was carrying the extremely dangerous material.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press. He did not specify how the six were allegedly involved in the theft.

Hidalgo state Health Minister Pedro Luis Noble said Friday that the six suffered from skin irritations and dizziness, but that none are in grave condition and may be released soon. Only one was vomiting, a sign of radiation poisoning……..

The atomic energy agency said the cobalt has an activity of 3,000 curies, or Category 1, meaning “it would probably be fatal to be close to this amount of unshielded radioactive material for a period in the range of a few minutes to an hour.”

But Mexican officials said that the thieves seemed to have targeted the cargo truck with moveable platform and crane, and likely didn’t know about the dangerous cargo. The government official would not give details or location of Thursday’s arrest nor names or ages of the suspects…….

The material was from obsolete radiation therapy equipment at a hospital in the northern city of Tijuana and was being transported to nuclear waste facility in the state of Mexico, which borders Mexico City.

Authorities maintained a 500-meter (yard) cordon around the site where the cobalt-60 still remains in the state of Mexico and continued to work Friday to extract it safely, said Juan Eibenschutz, director general of Mexico’s National Commission of Nuclear Safety and Safeguards.

“It’s quite an operation and it is in the process of being planned,” he said. “It’s highly radioactive, so you cannot just go over and pick it up. It’s going to take a while to pick it up.”

Federal police blocked access Friday to hospital where the six were held.

December 10, 2013 Posted by | incidents, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Most of Nicaragua’s energy now comes from renewable sources

renewable_energyWinds of Change: Nicaragua’s renewable energy revolution   By Tim Rogers / Nicaragua Dispatch November 3, 2013 Nicaragua remains one of the most attractive countries in Latin America for investment in renewable energies, according to “Climatescope 2013,” an annual report and index measuring the ability of 26 nations to foster low-carbon energy growth.

The report, produced by the Inter-American Development Bank and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, ranks Nicaragua third in the region––and first in Central America––for its “high penetration of renewable energies in the country’s energy matrix and the important influx of investment (in renewable energies) in proportion to the small size of its economy.” Nicaragua, which ranked second to Brazil in last year’s inaugural report, ceded the number two spot to Chile in this year’s index, but continued to show its potential to compete with larger economies in the region.

According to the Climatescope 2013, Nicaragua’s installed capacity for renewable energies reached 36% last year, up from around 30% the year before. Nicaragua’s Ministry of Energy and Mines says that percentage has since grown to around 52% in 2013, meaning most of the country’s energy is now provided by renewable sources (compared to only 20% six years ago). Nicaragua last year attracted $292 million investment in additional renewable energy production, as the country seeks to shift its energy matrix to 92% renewable by 2016……..

November 4, 2013 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,059 other followers