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In dismal uranium market, Rio Tinto cuts back, slashes jobs

graph-down-uraniumNamibia’s Roessing uranium mine to slash jobs Global Post, 1 Mar 13, The Roessing uranium mine in Namibia, a unit of British mining giant Rio Tinto, said Friday it plans to cut 17 percent of its workforce due to slowing demand for nuclear fuel…. As with many other uranium producers, Roessing is buckling under low metal prices and reduced demand, the company’s managing director Chris Salisbury told reporters.

“Since the Japanese tsunami in 2011, uranium demand has remained depressed and the uranium price has fallen by more than 36 percent,” he said.

Japan shut down its nuclear power plants after the tsunami destroyed the Fukushima nuclear plant, and a number of other countries including Germany have also signalled they plan to reduce or phase out their facilities.

“With the utility sector in Japan essentially shutdown, there is little prospect of a turnaround in the near term,” he added.

At the same time electricity and water costs have gone up…. Roessing Uranium Limited is owned 68.6 percent by British mining giant Rio Tinto and is one of two operating uranium mines in Namibia. .

March 2, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, Namibia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Subsidies to fossil fuel industries – $620 billion, but to renewables, only $88 billion

dollar-2Fossil Fuel Subsidies Eclipsed $620 Billion in 2011, by Energy Matters, 2 March 13, Globally, governments provided more than USD$620 billion to subsidize fossil fuel energy in 2011 and just $88 billion went to subsidies for renewable energy.    According to the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), $131 billion in subsidies went to coal, gas and oil consumed specifically for electricity generation.

“Through these subsidies, governments cut the prices people paid for fossil energy by nearly a quarter – encouraging waste and hindering efforts to stabilize climate.”……

“Clearly, the deck is stacked against renewables,” says the report. EPI sourced its data from the International Energy Agency’s Fossil Fuel Subsidy Database.

While subsidisation of renewable energy is often criticised, it’s often forgotten the fossil fuel industry has been riding the subsidy gravy train for decades – and its not as though it needs the degree of support it enjoys. The EPI points out Royal Dutch Shell , ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillip collectively raked in $137 billion in profits in 2012.

The International Energy Agency estimates state phasing out all fossil fuel consumption subsidies by 2020 would slash carbon dioxide emissions in that year by close to 2 gigatons.

The Earth Policy Institute (EPI) was founded in 2001 by Lester Brown, the founder and former president of the Worldwatch Institute, to provide a plan of a sustainable future along with a roadmap of how to get from here to there.

March 2, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics | Leave a comment

Ontario shutting down coal fired power, going for renewables

Ontario to add renewable energy, shut coal-fired power plants Mar 1,
2013     (Reuters) – Ontario’s power grid operator expects more than
3,200 megawatts (MW) of renewable capacity to be connected to the
transmission system, while the province’s remaining coal-fired plants
will shut over the next 18 months.
In a report published on Thursday, the Independent Electricity
System Operator (IESO) said the renewable capacity
includes the Canadian province’s first two transmission grid-connected
solar projects.
By August 2014, the IESO said total wind and solar generation
connected to the transmission and distribution systems is expected to
reach about 6,800 MW.
“Integrating renewable resources into Ontario’s changing supply
mix has been a learning process for both us and the renewable
generators,” Bruce Campbell, IESO Vice-President of Resource
Integration, said in the release.
“Everything we’ve learned will be applied in the coming months as
wind and solar gain even more prominence on the grid,” he

March 2, 2013 Posted by | Canada, renewable | Leave a comment

Elderly Australians ill due to extreme heat – solar air-conditioning is the answer

Solar-air-conditioningGrandparents Carking It In The Heat? Install Renewable Energy!, Clean Technica March 1, 2013 Ronald Brakels
World temperatures are rising, resulting in increasing mortality from heat stress. Or to put it another way, more people are dropping dead because it’s too damn hot. Unfortunately this is nothing new in Australia. Dropping dead from damn hotness has always been popular in these parts. Here in South Australia about 75 people currently die from it each year.
But as our population gets older and we slowly cook the planet, the number of deaths from it being too damn hot has the potential to sky-rocket.
One of the factors in Australia contributing to old people carking it in the heat has been increases in electricity prices. Apparently some old people are too price sensitive to turn on the air conditioner even when the temperature approaches the too hot to live limit. But a much bigger problem is that as people age they tend to lose the ability to tell that it’s too damn hot and so can pass into suffering from heat stress without realizing it. And then there are elderly people living in poverty who can’t afford electricity to run the air conditioner………

Other people building wind turbines or installing solar on their roofs can push down electricity prices for everyone and help prevent old people from dying when it’s too damn hot, but an excellent way to keep down electricity prices for the elderly is to put solar panels on the roofs of any old people whom you’d like to see continue to shuffle around on this mortal coil.

Rooftop solar is especially good for powering air conditioners as it produces the most electricity on hot, cloudless, summer days. It is particularly good for air conditioning when it faces west, or partially west, as then it can produce plenty of power all through the afternoon. It will produce less electricity when it’s cloudy, but it’s not so hot when it’s cloudy, so that’s not a real problem. And sure, it can still be hot after the sun goes down, but that’s not such a big deal if the house is already cool. No one is likely to die from it being too damn hot if they turn off their air conditioner at sunset.

For most Australians the feed-in tariff for new solar is now about 8 cents a kilowatt-hour. This means it will cost a person with a couple of kilowatts or more of rooftop solar perhaps 18 cents an hour to run a room air conditioner in a heat wave. Considering that ice-cream cones can cost $7.50 here, that’s a pretty good deal and only the most price sensitive of Australians would be too cheap to turn on the air conditioner at that cost.

March 2, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, renewable | Leave a comment

Secretive and dodgy company Glencore traded with Iran nuclear company

Glencore traded with Iranian nuclear firm, The Independent NIKHIL
KUMAR , NEW YORK  01 MARCH 2013 Glencore, the London-listed Swiss
commodities giant, supplied thousands of tonnes of alumina to an
Iranian company with links to the country’s controversial nuclear
Glencore supplied the raw material to the Iranian Aluminium Company
(IAC), which was hit by European Union sanctions in December for
allegedly supplying aluminium metal to Iran Centrifuge Technology Co.
(ICTC), a subsidiary of the body responsible for Iran’s nuclear
The deal was part of a barter arrangement – where goods are swapped
for other goods ….

March 2, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Big obstacles to South Africa’s ambitious nuclear power plan

No clear path to ambitious nuclear goal. Mail & Guardian, Africa 01 MAR 2013  LYNLEY DONNELLY,,,,,,,Eskom, which the state named as owner and operator for the proposed nuclear programme, is being hampered by labour strife at the construction site of the new Medupi coal-fired power station. Strikes are threatening the delivery time of Medupi, which was expected to bring its first unit online later this year.

Guenon also expressed misgivings about the government’s ambitious localisation plans for the nuclear programme. It would be very difficult to meet high localisation levels, if government opted to build one nuclear plant given the stringent certification and regulatory requirements vendors, suppliers and other companies involved in the nuclear industry were required to meet; as well as the need for qualified labour, particularly technicians and artisans……

It is estimated that the procurement and construction of the six new power stations envisaged will cost between R400-billion and R1-trillion. …..

the very high capital costs of nuclear procurement is a concern for policymakers. The national planning commission has called for the nuclear programme to be reviewed to ensure its financial feasibility……

key to the success of a nuclear programme, particularly one that ensured successful localisation, was the issue of affordability. The minister of finance would not sign off on something that the country’s balance sheet could not sustain,..

March 2, 2013 Posted by | politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

NASA scientists find third radiation belt around Earth

Third radiation belt discovered around Earth, Telegraph UK,
 A previously unknown belt of radiation surrounded Earth for several
weeks last year, Nasa scientists have discovered. By Nick Collins,
Science Correspondent
 01 Mar 2013 “……Nicky Fox, Van Allen Probes deputy project
scientist at the Johns Hopkins University, said: “We thought we knew
the radiation belts, but we don’t. The advances in technology and
detection made by NASA in this mission already have had an almost
immediate impact on basic science.”

March 2, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Radiation in space mucking up Curiosity Mars rover’s technology

Space radiation possible cause of Mars rover glitch By  WILLIAM
HARWOOD /  CBS NEWS/ March 1, 2013,    Space radiation may be to blame
for corrupted memory used by the Curiosity Mars rover’s flight
computer, resulting in software glitches that interrupted the flow of
science data Wednesday and prompted ground controllers to switch over
to a redundant computer Thursday, NASA officials

March 2, 2013 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

50 Soviet Union atomic bombs missing

read-this-wayLawyer’s second book chronicles missing nuclear bombs Seacoastonline, By Elizabeth Dinan March 01, 2013  PORTSMOUTH — After the collapse of the former Soviet Union, Portsmouth attorney Bob Shaines was living in the post-communist country as a U. S. Defense Department consultant when he learned that 50 Russian, 10-kiloton, suitcase-sized, plutonium bombs were unaccounted for.

“The bombs, he said, “were small enough to be transported by diplomatic pouch and designed to give the Soviets a potential retaliatory weapon in the event of a nuclear war by placing them at various sites in Western cities.”

The missing bombs, and efforts by a global task force to find them, lays the foundation for Shaines’ new book, “Secrets In A Time of Peace.” He calls the book a memoir, but says it’s fiction, though based on actual events, real people, and personal experiences from his time living in Russia between 1991 and 1996……

March 2, 2013 Posted by | resources - print | Leave a comment