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Recycling is one way to manage rare earths responsibly

Recycling Rare Earths Stop Lynas, 11 July 12, “…….We know that human induced climate change is a fact. Solutions to cut carbon emissions include energy efficiency, hybrid cars and renewable technologies like wind power which all need rare earths. But it is a dangerous path we are on when we continue with the ‘business as usual’ moto – instead we must continue to challenge the influence of governments and corporations that do not take people’s needs into account by protecting human rights and the environment for future generations.

One partial solution to the negative impacts of rare earth mining and processing would be to reduce consumption and increase the reuse and recycling rates of rare earth elements. Currently the recycling rate for most rare earth metals is around 1% or less . Japan is exploring increased recycling of rare earths  fromelectronic waste . If the price of the final materials included the true social and environmental costs of rare earth mining, the incentive to recycle and dig up less would increase.

We must be concerned not only with how our use of rare earths contributes to their depletion, but also how pollution from the production, processing and use of rare earths should be considered in the context of our use – particularly because rare earths are recyclable.           http://stoplynas.org/recycle-rare-earths/

July 11, 2012 Posted by | RARE EARTHS, Uranium | Leave a comment

Environmental and financial benefits of recycling rare earths

The Recycling Cost-Benefit Equation One of the benefits of recycling rare earth metals from batteries is that a supply of recycled lanthanum should be more reliable than relying on virgin Chinese sources. Recycling also uses less energy and
emits less carbon dioxide than mining. The economics are less firm, but Caffarey said there is a financial justification for recycling rare earths.

Recycling rare earth metals from batteries American Recycler News, by Mark Henricks, July 12, Toyota has sold nearly 3 million Prius hybrid-drive automobiles, each of which contains a battery pack that has more than 20 lbs. of an exotic metal called lanthanum. Lanthanum, like most of the 17 so-called rare earth elements, primarily comes from China, which has recently tightened export quotas. Special properties of rare earth metals make them highly useful for batteries, magnets and electric motors, and China wants to reserve them for its domestic industries.

Tension between rising demand for lanthanum, which has been infrequently used in products before now, and uncertain supply has created growing interest in finding ways to recycle the millions of batteries that will be coming out of hybrid and plug-in electric cars using nickel-metal hydride batteries. There are plenty of precedents. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, RARE EARTHS, Uranium | Leave a comment

Britain looks at dubious technical “fixes” for its radioactive pile at Sellafield

It is the task of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) to clean all this up. The plans are to pay the French company Areva, who have proved their technology works, to build a new mixed oxide fuel (MOX) plant.
The other option is to let the US-Japanese GE-Hitachi build a new fast PRISM reactor on the site to burn the plutonium and produce electricity. This is a more elegant engineering option but the reactor is totally unproven and is decades away from completion.

Sellafield: The dangers of Britain’s nuclear dustbin RT, 10 July, 2012“…….Cold war legacy   Behind the razor wire, security guards and public relations campaigns,
Sellafield is home to some of the most radioactive buildings in Europe.
The UK has the largest stockpile of Plutonium anywhere in the world and it’s all stored at Sellafield. Plutonium is used for the manufacture of nuclear weapons and is extremely radioactive with a half-life of 25,000 years. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, technology, UK, wastes | Leave a comment

New nuclear power plants – Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina – just gobbling up money!

The plants burning natural gas are far cheaper to build than nuclear power plants…..….

Building costs rise at US nuclear sites Bloomberg, By Ray Henry on July 10, 2012 ATLANTA (AP) — America’s first new nuclear plants in more than a decade are costing billions more to build and sometimes taking longer to deliver than planned, problems that could chill the industry’s hopes for a jumpstart to the nation’s new nuclear age.

Licensing delay charges, soaring construction expenses and installation glitches as mundane as misshapen metal bars have driven up the costs of three plants in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, from hundreds of millions to as much as $2 billion, according to an Associated Press analysis of public records and regulatory filings.

Those problems, along with jangled nerves from last year’s meltdown in Japan and the lure of cheap natural gas, could discourage utilities from sinking cash into new reactors, experts said. The building slowdown would be another blow to the so-called nuclear renaissance, Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | business and costs, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

The underestimated dangers at Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory

Nuclear Weapons Lab Underestimates Risk of Radiation Leak, Study Finds, Project on Government Oversight (POGO) By MIA STEINLE, 10 July 12,  One of the nation’s main nuclear weapons labs has sharply underestimated the amount of radiation that could leak from the facility as a result of an earthquake, according to a federal advisory panel.

The radiation could be more than four times as intense as the Los Alamos National Laboratory predicted in a safety analysis last year, according to a recent report  by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

An community solar energy scheme is paying off

How a community solar scheme is turning sunshine into dollars REneweconomy, By  on 11 July 2012 Rocky Mountain Institute Years ago, a Basalt native Paul Spencer set out to build an off-grid home not far from RMI’s Snowmass office. Through the process of designing and building his house, he developed a passion for real estate, and became well versed in renewable energy technologies. He began looking into the option of a green development in the Roaring Fork Valley: super-efficient homes powered by renewable energy.

But, due to trees shading the proposed building sites, rooftop solar didn’t work. Instead, Spencer proposed to build a shared solar array that would power the neighborhood. While the development didn’t go through, the community solar concept remained.

Now, Spencer is the president and founder of Carbondale-based Clean Energy Collective (CEC) an LLC that builds, operates, and maintains community-based clean energy facilities, currently all solar PV……..

Here’s how it works:  Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Secrecy surrounding laser uranium enrichment technology, with its risks of nuclear weapons spread

Commercialization of the SILEX technology has sparked concerns of nuclear proliferation. Arms control advocates fear that commercialization could lead other countries to follow suit, raising concerns about the technology falling into the wrong hands.

Uranium enrichment plant meeting to be closed to public Star News, By Wayne Faulkner  July 10, 2012  The last major review before a revolutionary laser uranium enrichment plant could be built in Castle Hayne will take place behind closed doors.

The unusual step in closing the hearing Wednesday is because the discussions will include non-public information about GE Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment but also the sensitive technology that would be used at the plant, said David McIntyre, spokesman for the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission.

The hearing, before a panel of administrative judges at the NRC’s headquarters in Maryland, is being conducted by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, which then would make recommendations to the NRC for possible approval of a 40-year license to operate the plant….
The NRC on Feb. 29 approved the plant’s environmental-impact statement.

There will be no more public comment about the plant or technology, McIntyre said.

The facility on GE’s Castle Hayne campus near the intersection of Interstate 140 and Castle Hayne Road would be the nation’s first laser-based commercial uranium enrichment operation, using an Australian technology called SILEX, or Separation of Isotopes by Laser
Excitation. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Never mind Iran; NO COUNTRY can be trusted with nuclear weapons

The notion that Iran can’t be trusted with such a weapon obscures a larger point: given their power to destroy life on a monumental scale, no individual and no government can ultimately be trusted with the bomb.

The only way to be safe from nuclear weapons is to get rid of them – not just the Iranian one that doesn’t yet exist, but all of them. It’s a daunting task. It’s also a subject that’s out of the news and off anyone’s agenda at the moment, but if it is ever to be achieved, we at least need to start talking about it. Soon.

Beyond nuclear denial, Aljazeera,   William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, a TomDispatch regular, and the author of Prophets of War: Lockheed Martin and the Making of the Military-Industrial Complex. 
How a world-ending weapon disappeared from our consciousness, but not our planet.  : 10 Jul 2012  There was a time when nuclear weapons were a significant part of our national conversation. Addressing the issue of potential atomic annihilation was once described  by nuclear theorist Herman Kahn as “thinking about the unthinkable”, but that didn’t keep us from thinking, talking, fantasising, worrying about it, or putting images of possible nuclear nightmares (often transmuted to invading aliens or outer space) endlessly on screen.

Now, on a planet still overstocked with city-busting, world-ending weaponry, in which almost 67 years have passed since a nuclear weapon was last used, the only nuke that Americans regularly hear about is one that doesn’t exist: Iran’s. The nearly 20,000  nuclear weapons on missiles, planes and submarines possessed by Russia, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China, Israel, Pakistan, India and North Korea are barely mentioned in what passes for press coverage of the nuclear issue. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | 2 WORLD, history | Leave a comment

Big nuclear powers annoyed at the idea of ASEAN nuclear free zone treaty

 Nuclear-armed countries will try to make things difficult because, simply put, they don’t want any restrictions on the option of transporting weapons material anywhere. They will obfuscate, delay, harangue and act superior, but don’t let that derail a good treaty.

Asean nuclear stance irks bigger powers
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/opinion/Asean-nuclear-stance-irks-bigger-powers-30185870.html  Ken Albertsen,  Chiang Rai. July 11, 2012   Critics bash Asean for its habit of holding meetings that usually wind up accomplishing not much more than playing golf, staying and eating at fancy resorts, and receiving nice shirts from host countries.

Now, with news from its most recent meeting, as reported in The Nation – “Nuclear states shun Asean treaty” – it appears the grouping is endeavouring to do something worthwhile.

Regarding Asean’s attempts to hammer out a treaty that forbids the transport or use of nuclear weapons or materials in Southeast Asia, my message to Asean reps is: Stick with it!

Don’t be disheartened by resistance from representatives of nuclear-armed countries. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Book claims that Israel’s Mossad killed Iranian nuclear scientists

Israeli agents assassinated Iranian scientists Jerusalem Post, By YAAKOV LAPPIN07/11/2012 New book says foreign mercenaries not behind attacks; Co-author to ‘Post:’ Targeted killings damaged Tehran’s nuclear program. The shadowy men on motorcycles who were behind the assassinations of four Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years were Mossad agents, not foreign mercenaries, according to a new book on the history of Israeli intelligenceservices.

The book, co-authored by veteran Israeli intelligence correspondent Yossi Melman and CBS journalist Dan Raviv, is called Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars, (Levant Book). It was published this week…….

Both ex-Mossad chief Meir Dagan – who apparently oversaw much of what occurred in Iran – and former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin have warned against a current military strike on Iran, with Diskin going as far as accusing Prime MinisterBinyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of being “messianic.”…… http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=277016

July 11, 2012 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment

Tsunami affected areas can redevelop with renewable energy

The goal of the Kesen project is to generate at least 50 percent of the region’s electricity through solar and other renewable-energy sources

Rice paddies that were inundated with seawater in March 2011 can yield more profit if they’re covered with solar panels than if they’re rehabilitated as agricultural land.

Tsunami Cities Fight Nuclear Elites To Create Green Jobs By Stuart Biggs – Jul 10, 2012  Bloomberg  Rikuzentakata, like many cities on Japan ’s rugged northeast Pacific coast, was in decline even before last year’s tsunami killed 1,700 of its 24,000 inhabitants and destroyed most of its downtown buildings.

With two-thirds of the remaining residents homeless, Mayor Futoshi Toba questioned whether the city could recover, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its August issue. Damage to infrastructure and the economy, he said, would force people to move away to find jobs. Sixteen months later, the city is trying to rebuild in a way that Toba says would reinvent the region and provide a model to overcome obstacles that have hobbled the Japanese economy for more than 20 years: the fastest-aging population in the developed world, loss of manufacturing competitiveness toChina  and South Korea  and reliance on imported fossil fuels.

Rikuzentakata is part of a government program to create one of the country’s first so-called ecocities.

They would be smaller and more self-sufficient and would lower costs through technology and create new jobs in renewable energy to replace those lost to the decline of agriculture and fisheries……. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Btitain’s dilemma of its massive stockpile of plutonium at Sellafield

Sellafield is where all storage of radioactive materials and nuclear reprocessing in the UK takes place. It was once at the heart of plutonium manufacturing for the British atomic weapons program. Despite the controversy that surrounds the plant, there are plans to build new reactors at Sellafield. The government has approved initial plans to build a fast PRISM reactor on the site. Most locals are against it. They want the UK government to commission a safety study into Sellafield’s effects on the health of the local population.

A study in the 1980’s found that over ten times the national average of childhood Leukaemia’s occurred near Sellafield. Thirty families tried to take the company who then ran the site to court and lost. “There has never been a proper investigation into the environmental impact of the plant and there should be.”

Sellafield: The dangers of Britain’s nuclear dustbin RT, 10 July, 2012 Britain’s nuclear industry is again the center of controversy. The UK has the biggest stockpile of Plutonium in the world, but there are no definite plans for how to get rid of it – and the delays are costing the UK taxpayer billions.
A record number of radioactive particles have been found on beaches near the Sellafield nuclear plant, in North West England. The authorities who run it admit it’s the most radioactive place in Western Europe but insist it’s safe. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | - plutonium, UK | Leave a comment

Jordan’s nuclear and uranium programmes not economically viable

lawmakers and activists cast doubt over the economic feasibility of the nuclear drive, accusing the JAEC of deliberately underestimating reactor construction costs to “mislead public opinion”.

Participants also called into question the country’s uranium mining ambitions, claiming that the feasibility studies carried out by French firm AREVA, which is currently carrying out an exploration of uranium deposits in the central region, have revealed that the Kingdom’s
reserves are “commercially unviable”.

Nuclear programme ‘in violation of parliamentary motion’ [Jordan Times, Amman] By Taylor Luck,   July 10–AMMAN– Lawmakers and activists have called on the government to suspend the country’s nuclear programme, accusing officials of violating a parliamentary motion calling for halting the project. Continue reading

July 11, 2012 Posted by | Jordan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment