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Impressive graphs tell the success story of Germany’s renewable energy

text-renw-GermanyI highly recommend this article. It shows with several excellent graphs, just how successful German counties are being in developing renewable energy and energy efficiency.  The example below is of just one county

One of the most important details being missed by most of those common limited observations is the fact that the renewable energy success of the last decade was mainly driven by some pioneering regions, counties, and municipalities. Those local communities moved forward with conviction, while many others have remained dormant willingly or hindered by state governments that blocked investments by passing arbitrary anti-renewable regulations in favor of conventional power companies.

To showcase what we know about what is at least possible, here are the top 3 out of 295 Landkreise (Counties / administrative districts) in terms of the renewable share in their regional power mix. Most of their success is based on investments during the last 10–15 years based on technology that is now outdated

graph-Germany-county

Germany: 100% renewable energy and beyond http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/germany-100-renewable-energy-and-beyond-78310 By  on 8 July 2013  While many countries still discuss whether or not a 100% renewable energy system – or “just” a 100% renewable electricity supply – is even theoretically possible, Germans seem no longer bothered by such unscientific doubts. To make matters “worse,” some of them (including myself) are even convinced that a transition to a 100% renewable energy system can and should be accomplished within only a few decades’ time.

Some people might find this different perception of the problems we face to overcome the energy crisis of the 21st century so puzzling that they would rather choose to believe that the Germans have simply gone mad. Luckily, nothing could be further from the truth, and I’ve got a few nice examples that might explain the German mindset……

Another popular myth among so called “professional journalists” is that what is happening in Germany is due to on some kind of “big government” program. Obviously, this domestic narrative-driven reporting is not very interested in looking at important details that could explain the big picture. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

Fukushima groundwater has radioactive contamination

water-radiationToxic radiation detected in groundwater at Fukushima nuclear plant  Raw Story France-Presse July 7, 2013  Toxic radioactive substances have once again been detected in groundwater at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, its Japanese operator said on Sunday, the latest in a series of incidents at the tsunami-battered complex.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said tests showed that tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen used in glow-in-the-dark watches, was present at levels 10 times the permitted rate. “From test samples on July 5… we detected a record high 600,000 becquerels per litre” of tritium, 10 times higher than the government guideline of 60,000 becquerels per litre, TEPCO Fukushima-reactor-6said in a statement….

The new readings came after TEPCO said in late June that it had detected the highly toxic strontium-90, a by-product of nuclear fission that can cause bone cancer if ingested, at levels 30 times the permitted rate. At the time it had detected tritium at around eight times the allowed level, or 500,000 becquerels per litre.

The substances, which were released by the meltdowns of reactors at the plant in the aftermath of the huge tsunami of March 2011, were not absorbed by soil and have made their way into underground water.

Subsoil water usually flows out to sea, meaning these two substances could normally make their way into the ocean, possibly affecting marine life and ultimately impacting humans who eat sea creatures…. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/07/07/toxic-radiation-detected-in-groundwater-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant/

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Fukushima 2013 | Leave a comment

Help save the Great Lakes from nuclear waste dumping nearby

sign-thispetition by the Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Dump citizens group is circulating via the internet that can be signed to stop the low and intermediate level dump. The following groups provide more information on how to actively participate in stopping these nuke dumps on the shores of Lake Huron:Save Our Saugeen ShoresCanadian Coalition for Nuclear ResponsibilityNorthwatch andOntario’s Green Future.

Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic

flag-canadaStop the Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Dump  Eco Watch,  Michael Leonardi  July 3, 2013 The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, which is an organization of mayors and other elected officials from more than 100 Great Lakes cities and representing over 16 million Flag-USApeople, came out in opposition to the DGR 1 for low-level and intermediate level waste in May. Seventy seven percent of these mayors voted to oppose the dump at this time, stating that, “When dealing with a resource as valuable as the freshwater here, why take the risk of putting the site so close to the shore. Whatever the geology might be in the location, it just seems to make much more sense to have the site as far away as possible from such a major source of fresh water” and concluding “the limited time to review the record and prepare comments, the limited outreach to the broader Great Lakes and St. Lawrence community, and the consideration of only one site that is one kilometer from Lake Huron leads us to conclude that the project should not move forward at this time.”

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-O

The Michigan State Senate also recently passed a resolution opposing the low and intermediate level nuclear dump and calling for the U.S. congress to intervene to ensure that international agreements are upheld. The resolution also declared that elected officials in Michigan are more engaged in the process to site a dump and that Michigan standards must be adhered to, declaring no dump site of this nature is to be located within ten miles of “Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, the Saint Mary’s River, the Detroit River, the St. Clair River or Lake St. Clair.” Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment

Deep burial a cheaper way than MOX to dispose of plutonium

plutonium238_1Flag-USANuclear waste: DC has ignored a cheaper way to dispose of plutonium — until now Sentinel.com, Douglas Birch & R. Jeffrey Smith The Center for Public Integrity, 7 July 13, 
For the past decade, Washington has known how to dispose of excess U.S. plutonium at a cost estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars less than what the Energy Department is spending on a South Carolina factory meant to transform plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors.

Instead of burning the plutonium, the cheaper alternative mixes it with glass or ceramics and some other materials, so it can be buried deep underground. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | - plutonium, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry executives realise that their business is in decline

dead-horseNuclear power faces uncertain future The shifting economics of energy and Japan’s Fukushima disaster may have squashed the industry’s attempted comeback. Jonathon Berr, MSN Money, 7 July 13,  About a decade or so ago, many Americans were talking about a “Nuclear Renaissance.” The public’s unease about the industry, which dated at least as far back as the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, had begun to fade and new nuclear power plants were being proposed in the U.S. for the first time in decades…..Now, though, optimism surrounding nuclear energy is slipping away, even as President Obama has vowed that 80% of America’s electricity will come from renewable resources by 2035 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions……. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Solar powered plane’s successful flight across America

sunSolar-Powered Plane Lands At JFK in a Sweeping Victory For Renewable Energy http://www.policymic.com/articles/53209/solar-powered-plane-lands-at-jfk-in-a-sweeping-victory-for-renewable-energy  Maggie O’Neil , 7 July 13, Last night, at approximately 11:09 PM, co-pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg safely landed at JFK International Airport on a plane operated by nothing but solar energy.

New York was the final destination of a transcontinental journey that began in San Francisco, followed by Phoenix, then Dallas, then St. Louis, and then Washington, D.C. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

China moves fast towards renewable energy, slows down nuclear program

renewable-energy-pictureflag-ChinaSolar, wind power gain over nuclear power in China, says German official South China Morning Post, Joyce Man in Berlin 8 July 13, German official says solar and wind generation is reaching the market faster than nuclear power under Beijing’s latest five-year plan China’s thinking has shifted increasingly towards renewable energy, which is reaching the market faster than nuclear power, a German environment official has said.

“If you analyse the last 10 years, the thinking in China has shifted more and more towards renewables. I see that renewables are getting to the markets quicker than expected and nuclear energy is getting to the markets slower than expected,” said Karsten Sach, deputy director general for European and international environment policy at the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. He was speaking to the South China Morning Post in Berlin.

Sach emphasised the importance of wind and solar energy: “If you read Chinese projections a decade ago on how nuclear and renewables would develop over the next decade, you would have seen nuclear far ahead of renewables. If you look at what happened and the projections of what will happen in the most recent five-year plan, you see renewables in front of nuclear.

“That’s just the facts and those are sometimes ignored. I don’t comment on Chinese policy. I just see [China is] doing much more on renewables than on nuclear. It’s a very welcome decision, but China has to make its own decision,” the German official said.

Sach said China recognised renewables would form a world market in the future. He said the country understood it could deliver energy in a socially beneficial way, without air pollution, and create jobs in remote areas………. http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1277560/solar-wind-power-gain-over-nuclear-power-china-says-german-official

July 8, 2013 Posted by | China, renewable | Leave a comment

Unsafety at Brown’s Ferry nuclear plant, and a whistleblower’s case

whistleblowerFor Johnson, speaking out has had consequences, as she said she ran up substantial legal bills without expectation of a resolution with TVA. But she became more concerned about the costs of not speaking out.

“I found myself in the position of becoming a whistleblower when TVA management altered root cause reports I authored to subdue their findings,” she said last week. “I hope that bringing this story to public light will force TVA to address the safety significance of altering the findings of teams of engineers and experts for the sake of protecting production and their own bonuses.”

safety-symbol1Browns Ferry: Shrinking the safety margin at Alabama’s largest nuclear plant By Challen Stephens and Brian Lawson, All Alabama 7 July 13

What federal regulators have said in recent years:

• Browns Ferry received a red finding, the federal government’s most serious warning Flag-USAbefore shutdown.

• Browns Ferry failed to notice a blocked low-pressure cooling line.

• Inspectors discovered wider problems with safety culture at Browns Ferry.

What a search of TVA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents also shows:

• The backup low-pressure line also malfunctioned.

• The high-pressure core spray was installed incorrectly.

• The Unit 1 reactor operated for years with overlapping, malfunctioning emergency cooling systems.

What a whistleblower alleges, and paperwork supports:

• TVA ignored or obscured failing safety tests for malfunctioning equipment.

• TVA hurried to install equipment based on managerial bonuses.

What TVA acknowledges in their own paperwork:

• The plant operated for years with a bias toward power production over safety. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | employment, safety, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | 3 Comments

Gathering storm of protest against endangering Great Lakes by radioactive waste

Lake-Huron,-Bruce-County,-OThe Canadian nuclear industry, like its counterparts in nuclearized countries around the world, was born promoting the myth that nuclear energy is safe, green and too cheap to meter

why would anyone consider dumping radioactive poisons that will remain deathly dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years next to such an integral part of the our Great Lakes ecosystem?

Stop the Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Dump  Eco Watch, Michael Leonardi  July 3, 2013“……….More than 500 citizens from across North America gathered at the Southampton, Ontario, flagpole on High Street by the lake. They gathered to voice their opposition to nuke dumps on these beautiful shores and to the continued production of this dangerous and deadly waste. They walked several kilometers through the town and along the beach to heighten awareness and bring attention to this diabolical plan, orchestrated largely in secret by local and national authorities and a deceitful industry, to bury low level, intermediate and high level nuclear waste underground and less than a mile away from this important fresh water source. They gathered to push back against a corrupt political leadership from the local level to the upper levels of dirty energy frontman Stephen Harper’s disastrous national government. They marched to say no to an industry that has been lying and deceiving the public about the dangers of nuclear energy and radiation exposure for decades. They walked to promote real renewable wind and solar energy alternatives.

Surely the question that comes to many is why on Earth would anyone in their right mind consider the shores of Lake Huron for the first permanent nuclear dump in North America? Lake Huron sits to the north of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario and the water of this lake flows southward and eastward, eventually connecting to the Atlantic Ocean through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Great Lakes account for 21 percent of the world’s fresh water resources, Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Canada, water | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste experts reject Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel program

Savannah-River-MOX-plant1Nuclear waste: DC has ignored a cheaper way to dispose of plutonium — until now Sentinel.com, Douglas Birch & R. Jeffrey Smith The Center for Public Integrity, 7 July 13, “………Frank von Hippel, a White House science official in the early 1990’s who chaired a working group on Russia’s weapons plutonium, said he initially supported the MOX plant because the threat was high and MOX was the only solution Russia would support. But Russia’s decision since then to burn its new MOX fuel in reactors that can actually produce more plutonium was the last straw for von Hippel. As a result, he said, the MOX plant “[has] become from my point of view a pretty meaningless program” — one that’s cost billions of dollars so far.

Last May, von Hippel joined three other prominent scientists in a commentary published in Nature, entitled, “Time to Bury Plutonium,” in which they criticized Britain’s draft plans to dispose of its huge stockpile of surplus reactor plutonium by building a new MOX plant of its own. The four authors wrote that MOX programs worldwide have been plagued by extravagant expenses, technology breakdowns and design flaws.

In France, Areva’s recycling of plutonium from spent fuel for MOX adds about $750 million each year to the cost of electricity, according to a French study in 2000 cited by their article. Britain closed its Sellafield MOX plant in 2011, they pointed out, after it operated at just 1 percent of capacity for a decade.
The authors urged the country to “give plutonium immobilization another look … Although the technique has not been demonstrated at full scale, there is substantial literature on how to do it. Immobilization should be easier and cheaper than MOX production.” Von Hippel separately said that according to his calculations, it could be as much as seven times cheaper. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | - plutonium, 2 WORLD, technology | Leave a comment

The dimming prospects for the nuclear industry

nuclear-costs3Exelon, which bills itself as the nation’s “largest competitive power generator,” cited “low natural gas prices and economic and market conditions” that make nuclear construction uneconomical “now and in the foreseeable future.”

Was nuclear the right decision for SCE&G?, Post and Courier, dDoug Pardue, 7 July 13 “…….Ratepayer outrage Robert Johnston buys none of SCE&G’s promise of the billions of dollars in long-range savings from nuclear power.

Johnston is not your normal disgruntled ratepayer. He’s chief strategy officer and executive vice president at The InterTech Group Inc., a North Charleston-based manufacturing conglomerate that also invests in utilities.

Johnston turned rate protester in 2010 when SCE&G tried to win approval for a 10 percent rate increase amid the recession. Johnston helped InterTech make its headquarters building mostly solar-powered, and he added a false roof to his Isle of Palms home so he could place enough solar panels to make his house energy independent.

His monthly electric bill is no longer $400. It’s $9.79. “I’ve effectively fired SCE&G,” he said And that’s what he’d like everyone to do. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Australia’s role in America’s global spying – Snowden reveals this

secret-agent-Aust

Three Latin American countries, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, have now offered Mr Snowden political asylum after European Governments last week denied their airspace to a plane carrying the Bolivian president Evo Morales home from a conference in Moscow after the US State Department alleged that the former US intelligence contractor was on board..

Snowden reveals Australia’s links to US spy web Hume Weekly, By Philip Snowden,-EdwardDorling July 8, 2013, United States intelligence leaker Edward Snowden has provided his first disclosure of Australian involvement in US global surveillance, identifying four facilities in the country that contribute to a key American intelligence collection program.

Classified US National Security Agency maps leaked by Mr Snowden and published by US journalist Glenn Greenwald in the Brazilian O Globo newspaper reveal the locations of dozens of US and allied signals intelligence collection sites that contribute to interception of telecommunications and internet traffic worldwide.

The US Australian Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs and three Australian Signals Directorate facilities: the Shoal Bay Receiving Station near Darwin, the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Facility at Geraldton and the naval communications station HMAS Harman outside Canberra are among contributors to the NSA’s collection program codenamed X-Keyscore.

The New Zealand Government Security Communications Bureau facility at Waihopai near Blenheim also contributes to the program.

X-Keyscore reportedly processes all signals before they are shunted off to various “production lines” that deal with specific issues and the exploitation of different data types for analysis – variously code-named Nucleon (voice), Pinwale (video), Mainway (call records) and Marina (internet records). US intelligence expert William Arkin describes X-Keyscore as a “national Intelligence collection mission system”.

Worldwide web

The documents published by O Globo show that US and allied signals intelligence collection facilities are distributed worldwide, located at US and allied military and other facilities as well as US embassies and consulates. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 3 Comments

India’s nuclear radiation leaks – a national secret

text ionisingDr Subbarao said that BARC, in response to a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court by an NGO in 2005, filed affidavit confirming the presence of radioactivity in the Thane Creek from Dhurva reactor. But they so far have refused to release the any test reports citing it to be a threat to national security. 

Even RTI applications filed by activists have borne little fruit. “After so many complaints, we got access to a few paragraphs of the Chaturvedi report on Jaitapur. People have a right to know how these projects will affect them. Why should it be a national secret?”

flag-indiaRadiation leak a national secret? DNA, Dilnaz Boga  , Jul 7, 2013  Union minister hints at radiation leak, scientists and fishermen confirm ecological damage; but no PIL or RTI query has managed to get BARC to release reports on radiation levels around Thane creek. In the third week of June, while tackling the issue of oil spills along Mumbai’s coast, Union Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanti Natarajan told dna that steps had to be taken to curtail the radioactive waste leaking into Thane Creek from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC).

“Yes, at times radioactive material escapes and ports have to ensure that radiation doesn’t spread to the people and the environment,” Natarajan said.

Going by the past trends, the rare admission from the Union Ministry is possibly the closest the public may get to knowing the truth behind the radiation leak.

Citing national security as the reason, BARC for decades has vehemently refused to make public the weekly test reports on radiation levels around nuclear plants where people reside. The plea of environmentalists and scientists demanding independent investigations by third parties and transparency in testing have also been rejected. Continue reading

July 8, 2013 Posted by | India, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Great Lakes nuclear waste dump: secret deals by government officials and local mayors

secret-dealsflag-canadaStop the Great Lakes Nuclear Waste Dump  Eco Watch,  Michael Leonardi  July 3, 2013 “…….With what is now the world’s largest nuclear power plant steaming away on the shores of Lake Huron and a pile of deadly and poisonous radioactive waste that is decades high and growing, Ontario Power Generation is now pushing to transform Lake Huron into a nuclear sacrifice zone. Their plan is to dig out two, what they call Deep Geological Repositories (DGRs), less than a mile away from the Lake and 680 meters below the surface to bury low level, intermediate-level and high-level radioactive waste permanently in shafts carved out of limestone. This is an experiment that has never been done anywhere else in the world and yet just as the nuclear industry tells us that radiation is harmless, we are to believe that this waste will remain safely out of harms way under the Lake for hundreds of thousands of years to come.

Recently, it has come to light that government officials from local mayors all the way up to the current president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Michael Binder, held secret meetings with an association of nuclear power companies called the Nuclear Waste Management Organization charged with locating a dump site. The meetings were held under the guise of the Deep Geological Repository Community Consultation Advisory Group, which consists of a quorum of eight mayors of communities in Bruce County, from 2005 to the fall of 2012. Many of these meetings took place before the public was even made aware of the possibility of siting a high-level waste dump in Bruce County and while the process for siting the low and intermediate level waste dump was still ongoing.

According to documents uncovered by the local group, Save Our Saugeen Shores, Binder, who is a political appointment of the Harper government and chairs what is supposed to be Canada’s neutral nuclear watchdog, warned participants at a meeting on September 30, 2009, of environmental and anti-nuclear groups who “have the project on their agenda. You haven’t seen anything yet.” It seems that Binder had already made up his mind about the validity of the low and intermediate level waste dump as well, stating he hoped “their next meeting with him would be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the low and intermediate-level waste DGR.”

“Secret meetings between industry, government officials and the nuclear oversight commission are a definite slap in the face to democratic transparency, if not downright illegal,” said Jutta Splettstoesser, a resident and farmer from Kincardine. “The timing of this discussion is troublesome,” says Cheryl Grace, a spokesperson for Save Our Saugeen Shores, the group which accessed the information. “What’s troubling is the secrecy exhibited by the mayors who were elected to serve the public, not the nuclear industry. We can find no evidence that the mayors, meeting as a county council, felt the need to discuss these issues in a public forum. In our own experience with Saugeen Shores council, the council regularly goes around the table and each councillor reports on their activities between council meetings. Mayor Mike Smith, who attended these meetings with the nuclear industry, never saw fit to inform his council and the public about these discussions and meetings. Either that or he did so in a separate secret forum, making all of this even more troubling for our community.”

Fortunately, ground has not yet been broken on either of these ill conceived nuclear waste dumps and resistance is growing as word gets out despite Ontario Power Generation and the Canadian Nuclear industry’s best efforts to keep a lid on the project. Locally, citizens groups plan on challenging the legality of the secret meetings and the collusion demonstrated between the mayors of Bruce County and the nuclear industry prior to public knowledge of the dump siting process.

Any serious political opposition party with a little clout can use the obvious industry bias exhibited by the chair of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission to further expose the Harper government’s marriage to dirty energy. Harper already faces sinking popularity and credibility, protecting the nuclear industry’s profit motives in this case has international ramifications for the health and sustainability of the entire Great Lakes region. Even in the U.S., with all its problems of transparency and nuclear malfeasance, an uncovering of such industry bias by an NRC commissioner as was exhibited by Michael Binder would end in his forced resignation or removal, coupled with criminal prosecution………..” http://ecowatch.com/2013/stop-great-lakes-nuclear-waste-dump/

July 8, 2013 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The nuclear missile interceptor that didn’t intercept

Nuclear missile interceptor fails to hit its target during test launch as US bolsters defenses after North Korea’s weapons tests

  • $214 million practice run against incoming attacks misses its mark
  • Third failure for U.S.’s only defense system against long-range attack

Mail Online, By DAILY MAIL REPORTER, 7 July 2013 A missile designed to destroy nuclear missiles after they have been fired failed to hit its target during a test launch.

The ground-based interceptor missile fired from Vanderberg Air Force Base was supposed to hit a missile launched in the Kwajalein Atoll 4,000 miles away.

It was the third consecutive failure of the Interceptor system, which is managed by Boeing Co, according to defense officials……http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2357864/Nuclear-missile-interceptor-fails-hit-target-test-launch-US-bolsters-defenses-North-Koreas-weapons-tests.html#ixzz2YU83XB6B

July 8, 2013 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment