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Climate change, hot summers, having a bad effect on nuclear power plants

US, European nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change: study Phys Og, June 3, 2012 Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River’s water was too warm to use it for cooling.
A study by European and University of Washington scientists published today in Nature Climate Change projects that in the next 50 years warmer water and lower flows will lead to more such power disruptions. The authors predict that thermoelectric power generating capacity from 2031 to 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the U.S. and 6 to 19 percent in Europe due to lack of cooling water. The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation—complete or almost-total shutdowns—is projected to almost triple. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Summer days doubling solar electricity output in Britain

Weatherwatch: long days of sunshine double electricity output http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2012/jun/03/weatherwatch-sunshine-solar-power?newsfeed=true Paul Brown  3 June 2012  The last nine days of May saw a record production of solar power in Britain. The clear dry air meant sunlight was strong, more than doubling the daily average electricity output. Long hours of daylight are currently giving the thousands of households that invested in solar power under the original high level of subsidy considerable income. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

UK govt trying to sneak in subsidies for nuclear power, against EU rules

The main new nuclear subsidy will come via so-called contracts-for-difference (CFDs), which allow utilities to claim a top-up from energy bill payers if the electricity price falls below an agreed “strike” price. 

Currently, state subsidy for nuclear would contravene EC competition rules.

 “I think we’re near the end game now and I will be interested to see whether the government has the nerve to abandon nuclear completely or whether it will force through a couple of reactors to save face.”

Is there a UK nuclear power plan B? Guardian UK, Damian Carrington, 1 June 12, The government won’t say, despite ploughing on with a subsidy policy that grows more absurd with every new revelation Is the government conducting contingency planning for a scenario in which no new nuclear plants are commissioned in the UK in next few years?

You would think it is a vital question, given the nation’s binding climate change targets, all the old nuclear and coal plants that will close shortly and rising energy bills. New nuclear reactors are essential to solving all these problems, say ministers, yet utilities such as E.on, RWE and SSE have all abandoned their nuclear plans as uninvestable and the sector’s cheerleader EDF has put its plans on hold.

But the Department for Energy and Climate Change would not tell me if they were developing contingency plans. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons for Israel submarines

Israeli subs can carry nuclear weapons’ By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL, JERUSALEM POST  06/04/2012 ‘Der Spiegel’ claims that German-supplied Dolphin fleet has second-strike capability.BERLIN – The German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Sunday that German-manufactured Dolphin-class submarines delivered to the Israel
Navy can be equipped with technology for carrying nuclear warheads.

Over the years there has been a swirl of German media reports about the nuclear capability of Israel’s submarines, ever since the shipment of the first Dolphins arrived in the late 1990s.

In an article in Der Spiegel titled “Made in Germany,” experts from Israel and Germany confirmed that the “ships are armed with nuclear warheads. And Berlin has long been aware of that.”…… http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=272562

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Solar energy projects for India’s rural areas

Solar energy to be promoted in Varanasi   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/varanasi/Solar-energy-to-be-promoted-in-Varanasi/articleshow/13767724.cms  Binay Singh, TNN | Jun 3, 2012,  VARANASI: With the announcement of a budgetary provision of Rs 100 crore for promoting solar energy projects particularly in the rural areas of the state the authorities of New and renewable Energy Development Agency (NEDA) are optimistic about further promotion and use of solar energy in the region. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, India | 1 Comment

Solar panel that follows the sun

includes video  Heliowatcher allows solar panels to track the sun  http://www.earthtechling.com/2012/06/heliowatcher-allows-solar-panels-to-track-the-sun/   4 June 12, They’re called solar panels for a reason: they need the sun in order to generate electricity. Whether we’re talking about pocket-sized, portable solar chargers or massive rooftop arrays, direct sunlight is the must-have ingredient on which all other elements of solar-energy production depends.

You might think that simply placing solar panels on a rooftop or balcony free from shade would be enough. Except there’s that small matter of Earth rotating on its axis. So throughout the day, the sun moves across the sky, cutting into the efficiency of fixed panels. But what if the panels could automatically change their position to follow the sun and enjoy an uninterrupted flow of direct sunlight? Two electrical engineering students at Cornell are currently testing just such a technology, and it looks promising.

Solar panel that follows the sun

As this review points out , HelioWatcher’s design is simple and effective: “The base is mounted like a Lazy Susan, able to pivot on the horizontal plane. The bottom edge of the solar panel is mounted with two door hinges, with a motorized screw jack used to raise and lower it.” Using a GPS module and magnetometer, the HelioWatcher  allows the user to place the system anywhere in the world without any calibration. The HelioWatcher then calculates what the sun’s current location is and orients the panel to the appropriate angle. It also utilizes a quadrature of light-detecting diodes to correct for short-term light obstruction, such as clouds or shade.

This system is a vast improvement over other solar tracking systems that adjust position based on either a predetermined algorithm or light detection. Instead HelioWatcher combines elements of both technologies to leverage the guaranteed accuracy of a geospatial algorithm while also correcting for local or short-term changes, such as cloud cover or shade. Here’s a video, prepared by the two students, that explains the system:

June 4, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Rapid growth in renewable energy jobs

Renewable Energy Sector Employs Over 5 Million  http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=3234  4 June 12, by Energy Matters According to a recent UN report, the number of renewable energy jobs doubled globally between 2007 and 2011 and millions more will be employed in the sector over the next 20 years.

The shift to a greener global economy could see an additional 15 to 60 million additional job over the next two decades according to a study led by the Green Jobs Initiative; a UN International Labour Organization (ILO) project. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, employment, renewable | Leave a comment

Sun providing heaps of electricity for Massachusetts

Solar power hot all over Cape, state Jun 3 – McClatchy-Tribune Regional News – Patrick Cassidy Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. Solar in Massachusetts is on fire. Over the past two years, capacity from photovoltaic panels across the state has more than quadrupled from 25 to 115 megawatts, enough to power about 115,000 homes, according to figures provided by state energy officials and energy information websites. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

UK govt secretly trying to weaken European Union’s climate regulations

Leaked documents reveal UK fight to dilute EU green energy targets Allegations of coalition hypocrisy over green issues as critics say documents show UK has caved in to fossil fuel lobbyists, Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent guardian.co.uk,   3 June 2012 The government has been trying to water down key environmental regulations in Brussels despite trumpeting its commitment to green issues at home, leaked documents show.

The papers, seen by the Guardian, reveal British officials repeatedly trying to prevent the adoption of European Union rules on energy efficiency, curtailing the proposals and making them voluntary rather than mandatory in many cases. In addition, the UK has tried repeatedly to ensure that the EU does not adopt a new target for renewable energy generation. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

USA designed Stuxnet, but now itself vulnerable to cyber attack

More cyber attacks for the US in Stuxnet fallout, IT News, By Juha Saarinen on Jun 3, 2012 Anti-virus industry spectacularly failed. Political analysts have forecast potential consequences for the United States after confirmation emerged of its involvement in the creation of the Stuxnet malware that attacked Iranian uranium enrichment facilities.

The New York Times piece released last week revealed direct involvement by US President Barack Obama in ordering the creation and spread of the malware to the Iranian facilities, which largely succeeded before the virus was discovered outside of the country.

But the United States, seen as one of the most vulnerable countries to “cyber-attacks” due to its heavy reliance on computers, could become highly prone to similar attacks in future as retaliation to its actions. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

Ways to make renewable energy competitive in USA

Two financial mechanisms that have driven investment in traditional energy projects — real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships — could, with some help from Washington, be extended to renewable energy projects to lower their cost and make America’s energy future cleaner, cheaper — and more democratic

How to Make Renewable Energy Competitive, NYT By FELIX MORMANN and DAN REICHER June 1, 2012 STANFORD, Calif.Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.

These tax incentives, and the Congressional battle over extending them for wind projects beyond the end of this year, mean that other, more powerful policies to promote renewables are not getting the attention they deserve. If renewable energy is going to become fully competitive and a significant source of energy in the United States, then further technological innovation must be accompanied by financial innovation so that clean energy sources gain access to the same low-cost capital that traditional energy sources like coal and natural gas enjoy. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

The latest dirty lie – gas energy called “clean” and eligible as “renewable”

The EU governments fast one is a clear victory for the European natural gas lobby, according to The Guardian. “The insertion of gas energy as a low-carbon energy into an EU programme follows more [than] 18 months of intensive lobbying by the European gas industry, which is attempting to rebrand itself as a green alternative to nuclear and coal, and as lower cost than renewable forms of power such as wind and sun.”

EU Pulls an €80B Fast One; Natural Gas to be Eligible for Renewable Energy Subsidies http://cleantechnica.com/2012/06/03/eu-pulls-an-e80b-fast-one-natural-gas-to-be-eligible-for-renewable-energy-subsidies/  JUNE 3, 2012 BY ANDREW Clean Technica   The power and influence of fossil fuel dollars over politicians and political processes never ceases to amaze. In the latest illustration of just how much sway the fossil fuel lobby has over governments around the world, the European Union (EU) is likely to divert €80 billion of funds earmarked specifically for development of innovative renewable energy sources to the development of natural gas power plants. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | EUROPE, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Radiation in Japan’s foodstuffs – the invisible hazard

Unlike harmful iodine 131, which disappears in matter of days, caesium 137 has a “half-life” of 30 years and lingers even longer.

Radioactive discharge from the crippled power station fell directly on crops and vegetables, and worked its way into the food chain when fish or animals in affected areas consumed contaminated plants.

Japan’s invisible enemy within TOKYO, Malaysian Insider,  June 2 — Before March 11, 2011, procuring food for an average Japanese household was a pretty straight-forward affair.

Following long-established traditions, a housewife — it is, still, almost always a woman in charge — did her best to ensure that every product brought to the table could be traced to Japanese soil or waters. This, it was widely held, was the best way to avoid eating fish, meat
or produce tainted with dangerous contaminants. Chinese imports were to be avoided whenever possible.
The accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, unleashed by a devastating earthquake and tsunami, shattered this age-old faith in the purity of Japanese produce. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | environment, Japan | Leave a comment

China against North Korea having nuclear weapons

Chinese paper urges Beijing to oppose N. Korea’s nuclear power claim, SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap)– A leading Chinese newspaper has urged Beijing to oppose North Korea’s nuclear power status proclaimed in its revised constitution.

The Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper under the People’s Daily, said in its June 2 editorial that any legalization of North Korea’s possession of nuclear weapons can stimulate South Korea and Japan, and prod Taiwan to demand its right to nuclear arms,
triggering a chain reaction of nuclear armament in Northeast Asia……
The Global Times editorial is the first unofficial response from China, as the Beijing government has kept mum on the issue so far. Continue reading

June 4, 2012 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Burma gives up nuclear ambitions

Myanmar abandons nuclear project, Today Online, Jun 03, 2012 SINGAPORE – Myanmar has abandoned research on a nuclear programme that never progressed very far, and has stepped back from close military and political ties with North Korea, said Myanmar’s defence minister yesterday.

News reports two years ago indicated Myanmar obtained technology for enriching uranium from North Korea along with parts for a nuclear weapons programme. The reports were based on interviews with an army major who was involved in the programme and defected with files he said documented the project….. http://www.todayonline.com/World/EDC120603-0000009/Myanmar-abandons-nuclear-project

June 4, 2012 Posted by | Burma, weapons and war | Leave a comment