The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Distributed solar power for millions of the world’s poor

Barefoot Power’s products are brightening up the lives of those with limited or no access to grid power.  Products range from single desk lamps to complete kits for use by homes, clinics and schools. With good links to microfinance organisations and exceptional customer care, Barefoot has sold more than 400,000 lanterns and lighting kits to two million rural poor in Africa,Asia Pacific, India and the Americas. 

Solar power pioneer wins global green energy award, PR Wire 1 June 12,  A company specialising in providing affordable solar power products to remote rural communities has won a coveted Ashden Award for its work in Africa.

Barefoot Power was awarded some £20,000 in prize money at a prestigious ceremony in London this evening after joining other Award winners at a meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House in the morning.

The Ashden judges said: “With its astonishing sales figures, Barefoot is a fantastic example of a market-led solution to bringing renewable electricity to Africa’s rural poor. Through its network of micro-entrepreneurs it is overcoming the barriers of how to access remote communities and how to make solar power affordable.” Continue reading


June 1, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised, Reference | Leave a comment

The safest management of nuclear plants is to close them – former Japanese P.M.

In his testimony, Mr Kan said Japan’s plant safety was inadequate because the energy policy had been hijacked by the ”nuclear village” – the power companies and pro-nuclear regulators and researchers that worked to promote the industry. 

”Experiencing the accident convinced me that the best way to make nuclear plants safe is not to rely on them, but rather, to get rid of them.”

Nuclear plants ‘far too risky’ for Japan Tokyo May 30, 2012 IN AN unusually stark warning during last year’s nuclear crisis, Japan’s then prime minister told a parliamentary inquiry the country should discard nuclear power as being too dangerous, saying the Fukushima accident had pushed the country to the brink of ”national collapse”.

In testimony to a panel investigating the government’s handling of the nuclear disaster, Naoto Kan also warned that the powerful nuclear industry was trying to push Japan back towards nuclear power, despite ”showing no remorse” for the accident.
Mr Kan’s testimony was the most closely watched of the six-month inquiry, which was launched by lawmakers who felt an earlier investigation by the government had papered over problems. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s real role is to PROMOTE nuclear power

Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission HUFFINGTON POST,  Karl Grossman, 05/30/2012“…  The resignation last week of the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is another demonstration of the bankrupt basis of the NRC. Gregory Jaczko repeatedly called for the NRC to apply “lessons learned” from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in Japan. And, for that, the nuclear industry — quite successfully — went after him fiercely.

The New York Times, in an editorial over the weekend , said that President Obama’s choice to replace Jaczko, Allison Macfarlane, “will need to be as independent and aggressive as Dr. Jaczko.”

That misses the institutional point.

The NRC was created in 1974 when Congress abolished the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission after deciding that the AEC’s dual missions of promoting and at the same time regulating nuclear power were deemed a conflict of interest. The AEC was replaced by the NRC, which was to regulate nuclear power, and a Department of Energy was later formed to advocate for it.

However, the same extreme pro-nuclear culture of the AEC continued on at the NRC. It has partnered with the DOE in promoting nuclear power.

Indeed, neither the AEC, in its more than 25 years, nor the NRC, in its nearly 30 years, ever denied an application for a construction or operating license for a nuclear power plant anywhere, anytime in the United States.

The NRC is a rubberstamp for the nuclear industry. “NRC stands for Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission,” says Kevin Kamps of the organization Beyond Nuclear. And it isn’t that Jaczko opposed nuclear power. “Greg is not anti-nuclear, but he’s pro-nuclear in a smart and considered way,” says Christopher Paine , director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Reference, safety, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s dazzling success with small scale solar energy

the really meaningful story starts with a different number: 189.24 GWh. That’s the amount of electrical energy generated from more than a million PV solar systems spread all over the country on that record day. Not only was this almost 14% of Friday’s total electricity consumption in Germany, it was also, actually, not that unusual.

For the last couple of weeks, the output of PV solar peaked within an inch of the 20 GW line several times, and it never peaked very low throughout the month. The lowest peak load was 8 GW, while the average peak load of PV solar was 16 GW. So, it seems that solar is not as unreliable as conventional wisdom and media outlets often lead people to believe. Because I can tell you that we didn’t have 4 weeks straight of sunshine here in Germany, that’s for sure.

In-Depth: Germany’s 22 GW Solar Energy Record Clean Technica, MAY 31, 2012 BY THOMAS Last Friday, on the 25th of May 2012, Germany set a new world solar energy record in photovoltaic solar energy: 22.4 GW of photovoltaic energy on the grid covering over 30% of all energy demand! That’s the equivalent of 20 huge conventional fossil or nuclear power plants. This is clearly amazing news that made headlines around the world and was accompanied by either praise or the typical anti-solar bickering that is rather dominant in big media outlets even today (or especially today).

The latter didn’t mind even using this incredible clean energy accomplishment to repeat the usual ignorant talking points, disinformation, or flat out lies. Unfortunately, those news pieces and early articles praising the event didn’t fully exploit the opportunity to explain the true significance of having so much solar energy in the energy mix, especially when looking at the technological developments and opportunities of the coming years. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

America’s CIA helped to ‘con’ the Japanese public into accepting nuclear power

the media mogul worked with the CIA to promote nuclear power.

Mr. Shoriki, backed by the CIA, used his influence to publish articles in the Yomiuri that extolled the virtues of nuclear power

Japan’s Nuclear Industry: The CIA Link, WSJ,  By Eleanor Warnock, June 1, 2012, “…….In the 15 months since the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan’s relationship with nuclear power has changed dramatically…….  all 50 of its plants remain offline. Restarting reactors — a step the government says is necessary to support the economy — is proving to be politically tricky as a skeptical public questions the safety of atomic energy.

Rewind almost 60 years and the government had a similar problem: how to persuade the public to support its ambition to become a nuclear nation only nine years after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

According to one Japanese university professor, that ambition was achieved with help from an unlikely source: the CIA.  Tetsuo Arima, a researcher at Waseda University in Tokyo, told JRT he discovered in the U.S. National Archives a trove of declassified CIA files that
showed how one man, Matsutaro Shoriki, was instrumental in jumpstarting Japan’s nascent nuclear industry. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

It’s OK, America, – in an Indian nuclear disaster, the supplier won’t be liable

Nuclear reactor supplier cannot be held for damages, says NPCIL Chairman, The Hindu, M. RAMESH CHENNAI, JUNE 1: The point whether the equipment supplier is liable for damages or not if something goes wrong in a nuclear power plant and results in a disaster has been a subject of intense debate in India.

Would it be the power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India or the equipment (reactor) supplier like GE or Westinghouse, who should pay up?

In an interview to Business Line, Mr S.K. Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, who incidentally relinquished his position on Thursday after serving the corporation as CMD for eight long years, explains why it equipment supplier cannot be held liable to pay.

It may be surprising that somebody should say “it is me, and not him, who is liable to pay”, but Mr Jain says that the reactor supplier cannot legally be held responsible….. Mr Jain said that the supplier will be liable for any ‘malafide defect’ in the design.

But what about non-malafide defect? Mr Jain said that even if there was something wrong with the ‘containment’, “six or seven more things would have to go wrong” for a disaster to occur, which are all “outside the control of the supplier”.

June 1, 2012 Posted by | India, Legal | Leave a comment

Distributed solar energy, and distributed energy storage

In-Depth: Germany’s 22 GW Solar Energy Record Clean Technica, MAY 31, 2012 BY THOMAS“…….Millions of Batteries in Buildings — Utopian? …… it is very easy to show that it’s just a matter of time until the combination of energy storage for homes with rooftop solar energy and/or small-wind becomes viable and even profitable.

Today, there are still about 6.4 million oil tanks in homes and buildings all over Germany storing energy in the form heating oil. Installing such a tank costs several thousand Euros today. So, why shouldn’t independent power producers start putting up new forms of energy storage in the same numbers as soon as it makes economic sense?

How would 6 million home storage systems change the energy system? Well, 6 million 10 kW / 25 kWh would mean a distributed storage system with 60 GW maximum output/input and 150 GWh of capacity. That’s already enough storage for 10% of the current daily consumption, more than enough to power all German households through the night. It’s also coming a long way to fill the gap between renewable baseload power (hydro and biomass) and variable sources like wind and solar.

That 10-kW/25-kWh battery is not fiction by the way. It’s quite similar to the battery pack that powers the Nissan Leaf right now, Just one battery that will soon reach production volumes in the hundreds of thousands as factories in Japan, Europe, and the US crank up production by 2013.

It’s true that the $15,000 price tag for the battery is too high right now. But, since all kinds of competitors are investing in this market, economics of scale, innovation and optimization will certainly reduce the cost of such batteries in the coming years. In the case of multi-kWh batteries, this development is a lot more obvious than what happened with the price for solar cells just 7 years ago. The fall of prices surprised many analysts back then. Today, prices for solar cells are 70%-80% cheaper than what they were in 2007, putting the cost of solar systems well below $2 per Watt in Germany…. ..

June 1, 2012 Posted by | energy storage, Germany, Reference | Leave a comment

New NRC chair Allison Macfarlane likely to be ‘crucified’ if she pursues nuclear safety

Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission HUFFINGTON POST,  Karl Grossman, 05/30/2012“… “……..A “Petition for Rulemaking to Improve Emergency Planning Regulations ” was brought to the NRC in February by the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and 37 safe-energy and environmental groups. It declared that “the real-world experience of the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters … were more severe and affected a much larger geographical area than provided for in NRC regulations” and asked, among other things, for the NRC to expand its current 10-mile evacuation planning zone around nuclear plants. “Waiting to see how bad an emergency gets before expanding evacuation … is not a plan of action, it is a recipe for disaster and an abdication of responsibility.” The likely NRC response? No.

On that issue, the nuclear industry was extremely upset that Jaczko, after the Fukushima accident began, advised U.S. citizens within 50 miles of the exploding nuclear complex to evacuate. It sought to continue the myth that 10 miles were fine.

As for the proposed new chair of the NRC, Allison Macfarlane, if she seeks to push safety, as theNew York Times thinks she can, she would be crucified — just like Jaczko.

The solution? Abolish the Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission — and shut down every nuclear power plant in the U.S. They provide just 20 percent of our electricity and this could be substituted for with electricity generated by safe, clean, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind — without the loss of lives.

June 1, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

“Malicious” anti nuclear nun gets some support from top military man

last week some of her views gained traction from a surprise and formidable source, retired General James Cartwright, the former Vice Chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff who also used to oversee the entire American nuclear arsenal.

Recently, Sister Anne and the other Bangor 5 appealed their conviction for “willfully and maliciously” destroying federal property by cutting through the fences on the Kitsap-Bangor naval base. The five defended their actions by claiming they were upholding international humanitarian law which deems nuclear weapons illegal. 

A Malicious Nun? HUFFINGTON POST, Helen Young,  05/31/2012  There are many words that come to mind to describe Sister Anne Montgomery, and her work but “malicious” is certainly not one of them. Sister Anne, an 85-year-old Roman Catholic nun from the Society of the Sacred Heart who once taught students in Spanish Harlem and high school dropouts in Albany, also spent years working for Christian Peacemakers, an ecumenical anti-war group.

She has put her life on the line in some of the world’s most war-torn regions, including the Balkans in the 1990’s, the Middle East, and more recently in Iraq. Her life has been devoted to working for peace and on nuclear disarmament.

It’s not work for the fainthearted. This diminutive woman, who is still razor sharp in her thinking, and who barely weighs 90 pounds soaking wet, has spent more than three years in prison because of her non- violent protests against nuclear weapons. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s famous new nuclear reactors – a money pit

Watchdog: New nuclear plant will exceed budget, Online Athens, By RAY HENRY   – Associated Press, May 31, 2012 ATLANTA — A state monitor said he believes Southern Co. will exceed its $6.1 billion budget to build a first-of-its-kind nuclear plant, according to a report released Thursday.

The warning from nuclear engineer William Jacobs. Jr. was his bluntest assessment yet on the possibility that Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power will need more money to construct two more nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta. Cost overruns plagued the industry during the last round of nuclear construction years ago. The 2.4 million
customers of Georgia Power ultimately pay for the building costs.

“In my opinion, the Company will need to request an increase in the certified cost and a change in the certified schedule to a later completion date,” said Jacobs, who was hired by the state’s Public Service Commission to monitor construction progress….

.. The report marked a change in tone for Jacobs. When asked in written testimony whether the plant could be built on budget and schedule, he simply answered, “No.” In previous reports, Jacobs had said Southern Co. faced “significant challenges” sticking to its budget…..

June 1, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Vogtle nuclear reactor construction getting later and later

Southern’s Nuclear Reactors May Be Delayed, Monitor Says, Bloomberg, By Julie Johnsson – May 31, 2012  Southern Co. (SO)’s new nuclear reactors face delays that may boost costs beyond the $14 billion budgeted, an independent construction monitor said.

The reactors, due to be completed in 2016 and 2017, are already running seven-and-a-half months late and could be set back further by “additional potential delays recently identified” by Southern’s construction partners, William Jacobs said in testimony filed on the Georgia Public Service (PEG) Commission’s website today.

Jacobs said the latest delays stem from improperly installed rebar and a design issue, the details of which were redacted from his testimony to protect trade secrets .

Southern and the three co-owners of the Vogtle nuclear construction, 26 miles southeast of Augusta, Georgia, “face significant challenges in maintaining the project forecast at or below” the budget approved by Georgia  regulators, Jacobs said. “A possible schedule delay as discussed above would impact the financing cost of the project.”…..

June 1, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission weakening the rules on nuclear safety

“successful implementation of existing mitigation measures can prevent reactor core damage or delay or reduce offsite releases of radioactive material.”    Tell that to the people impacted by Chernobyl and Fukushima.

 the NRC is holding a meeting with DOE and the industry’s Electric Power Research Institute on extending licenses to 80 years. Consider the reliability of an 80-year-old car….

Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission HUFFINGTON POST,  Karl Grossman, 05/30/2012“……..At the NRC in recent months a move has begun to negate what has been its benchmark analysis on the impacts of nuclear plant accidents. “Calculation Reactor Accident Consequences 2,” referred to as the CRAC-2 report. Issued in 1982, it projects the impacts from a meltdown with a breach of containment at every nuclear plant in the U.S. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | Reference, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Californian tuna found to have Fukushima radiation

Fukushima radiation fear in Californian tuna, Radio Australia 30 May 2012Mark Doman Low levels of radiation have shown up in bluefin tuna off the US coast and experts believe it may have originated from a tsunami-damaged Japanese power plant. The discovery may lead to an international monitoring system for radioactive fish products. Continue reading

June 1, 2012 Posted by | oceans, USA | Leave a comment