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Safe and reliable Wind and Solar Energy Investments

piggy-ban-renewablesInvestment firms buying renewable energy developments Sandiego Source, By JUSTIN DOOM , Bloomberg NewsWednesday, February 19, 2014 NEW YORK– Hedge funds and private equity firms from D.E. Shaw & Co. to KKR & Co. are ramping up their investments in renewable energy projects.

D.E. Shaw, the $30 billion hedge fund manager, bought stakes in five California solar plants in July and is co-developing a wind farm off Rhode Island Wind farms and industrial-scale solar plants typically have decades-long deals, known as power purchase agreements, to sell electricity to utilities.

D.E. Shaw is betting those contracts make renewable energy as safe and reliable as, say, conventional utility bonds have always been regarded, said Bryan Martin, a managing director at the New York-based firm. Continue reading

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Female astronauts at greater danger from space radiation

EU scientists set out to tackle radiation-related gender issues in space, Cordis, [Date: 2014-02-19] Why are there more men than women in space? The answer might not be as straightforward as you first think. According to physiological models used by NASA, female astronauts have a lower threshold for space radiation than their male counterparts, meaning opportunities for space exploration are more limited for them.

Radiation exposure from a long time spent in deep space or on the surface of certain planets is thought to cause an increase in the probability of developing cancer. According to NASA, the added risk of a male developing cancer on a 1 000-day Mars mission lies somewhere between 1 percent and 19 percent. The odds are worse for women. In fact, because of breasts and ovaries, the risk to female astronauts is nearly double the risk to males. This means that while all astronauts are somewhat are limited in the missions they can fly, the limitations on female astronauts are far harsher. …….http://cordis.europa.eu/news/rcn/36454_en.html

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s cheaper to close nuclear power plants, yet USA govt doing secretive loan guarantee deal

US govt ‘to OK money for nuclear plant’ Sky News, Wednesday February 19, 2014 The US Energy Department is poised to approve $US6.5 billion ($A7.22 billion) in federal loan guarantees for the first nuclear power plants built from scratch in the country in more than three decades.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was expected to announce final approval of the deal at a speech on Wednesday, a day before he visits the $US14 billion Vogtle nuclear plant now under construction in eastern Georgia.

Three government officials familiar with the deal confirmed its details on Tuesday.

They asked not to be identified because the deal has not been made public. Atlanta-based Southern Co is building the plant with several partners about 50km southeast of Augusta, Georgia.

The project is widely considered a major test of whether the industry can build nuclear plants without the endemic delays and cost overruns that plagued earlier rounds of building in the 1970s.

Vogtle was originally estimated to cost around $US14 billion, but government monitors have warned the final cost is likely to be higher.

The Energy Department tentatively approved an $US8.3 billion loan guarantee for the project in 2010 as part of President Barack Obama’s pledge to expand nuclear power and other energy sources……

The once-expected nuclear power boom has been plagued by a series of problems, from the prolonged economic downturn to a sharp drop in natural gas prices and the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan.

Owners of at least four nuclear reactors have shuttered plants in recent months or announced plans to do so, including California’s troubled San Onofre nuclear plant.

Utilities have decided it is cheaper to close plants rather than spend big money fixing them and risk the uncertainty of safety reviews. http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=951537

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Nuclear loan guarantees not a good deal for tax-payers

U.S. Government Will Back Loans For Nuclear Power by MARILYN GEEWAX, NPR

February 19, 2014 Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a multibillion-dollar loan guarantee Wednesday for building nuclear reactors in Georgia, underscoring the White House’s plan for an “all of the above” energy strategy.
The two reactors will be the first built in this country in nearly three decades…….Moniz said he would finalize the loans on Thursday during a trip to Georgia.

The announcement brought quick criticism from some environmentalists. In a statement, Katherine Fuchs of Friends of the Earth pointed to a nuclear disaster in Japan. “Fewer than three years have passed since the tragedy at Fukushima demonstrated that nuclear reactors can never be safe. Yet the president and energy secretary are ignoring its lessons,” Fuchs said……

This particular effort to help nuclear energy has been pending since February 2010 when the White House gave conditional approval for loan guarantees for a nuclear power project in Waynesboro, Ga.
When the deal is finalized Thursday, Georgia Power and Oglethorpe Power will receive a combined $6.5 billion in loan guarantees to finish building the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion. A third Vogtle partner, Municipal Electric Association of Georgia, has yet to complete the steps for a proposed $1.8 billion guarantee………

Closing the deals on Thursday will mark “a major milestone in the administration’s commitment to jump-start the U.S. nuclear power industry,” Moniz said.

But Fuchs said the loan guarantees are not a good deal for taxpayers because “nuclear reactors are too risky to finance, too slow to build and too dangerous to be part of a meaningful energy solution.”…….http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/02/19/279630881/u-s-government-will-back-loans-for-nuclear-power

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

China could quickly move to a renewable energy future

Groundbreaking analysis shows China’s renewable energy future within reach Washington, D.C. WWF 19 Feb 14 – By embracing conservation measures and renewable energy, China can transition to an 80 percent renewable electric power system by 2050 at far less cost than continuing to rely on coal, according to a new report from WWF-US.

As a result, China’s carbon emissions from power generation could be 90 percent less than currently projected levels in 2050 without compromising the reliability of the electric grid or slowing economic growth.

The China’s Future Generation report was prepared by the Energy Transition Research Institute (Entri) for WWF and uses robust computer modeling to simulate four scenarios based on today’s proven technology: a Baseline, High Efficiency, High Renewables, and Low-Carbon Mix scenario. To develop its findings, Entri examines China’s electricity supply and demand on an hour-by-hour basis through 2050 using its advanced China Grid Model.

“By fully embracing energy conservation, efficiency and renewables, China has the potential to demonstrate to the world that economic growth is possible while sharply reducing the emissions that drive unhealthy air pollution and climate change,” said WWF’s China Climate and Energy Program Director Lunyan Lu. “This research shows that with strong political will, China can prosper while eliminating coal from its power mix within the next 30 years.”

In addition to ramping up development of renewable power sources, the world’s most populous and energy-hungry nation will need to simultaneously pursue aggressive energy efficiency initiatives to reduce electricity demand. These efficiencies, including bold standards for appliances and industrial equipment, can reduce annual power consumption in 2050 by almost half, which would set the gold standard for these products globally and make the shift to a renewables-based power system possible……..

The report can be downloaded at http://www.worldwildlife.org/ChinaEnergyand will be released as part of a Wilson Center China Environment Forum event at 9:00 Eastern on February 19. The event will be webcast live at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/moving-beyond-coal-shifting-china-path-toward-100-renewable-electricity-2050.    http://wwf.panda.org/?216412/China-renewables-report

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

USA’s secret underground nuclear weapons complex

Training For Underground Warfare At A Nuclear Weapons Complex Gizmodo,  19  FEB 14 In the early, angst-filled days of the Cold War, miners starting carving the insides out of a hill between Dallas and Austin, Texas. The workers didn’t know what they were building, but — at 7000 acres — it was huge. At that point in time, it was only known as “Project 76″.

This secret underground base was the US Army’s only nuclear weapons storage facility called Killeen Base, and it remains an active training facility. After construction started in 1947, US Army engineers carved tunnels out of the solid rock hillside; these became 6m wide corridors with 9m ceilings. It was all reinforced with concrete and sealed off with heavy steel doors. They even installed steel rails in various rooms to accommodate overhead cranes.

Because it was just one of seven atomic weapons storage facilities in the United States, Killeen Base was specifically located so that it would be too far inland for a quick hit by Soviet ground forces…….http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/02/training-for-underground-warfare-at-a-nuclear-weapons-complex-in-texas/

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The over-riding danger in space travel – radiation

Calculated Risks: How Radiation Rules Manned Mars Exploration SPACE.com Sheyna E. Gifford, MD, Astrobiology Magazine   |   February 18, 2014 Nearly everything we know about the radiation exposure on a trip to Mars we have learned in the past 200 days.

For much longer, we have known that space is a risky place to be, radiation being one of many reasons. We believed that once our explorers safely landed on the surface of Mars, the planet would provide shielding from the ravages of radiation. We didn’t how much, or how little, until very recently. Radiation and its variations impact not only the planning of human and robotic missions, but also the search for life taking place right now.

The first-ever radiation readings from the surface of another planet were published last month in the journal Science. The take-home lesson, as well as the getting-there lesson and the staying-there lesson, is this: don’t forget to pack your shielding. [Mars Radiation Threat to Astronauts Explained (Infographic)]

“Radiation is the one environmental characteristic that we don’t have a lot of experience with on Earth because we’re protected by our magnetosphere and relatively thick atmosphere. But it’s a daily fact of life on Mars,” said Don Hassler, the lead author on the paper, “Mars’ Surface Radiation Environment Measured with the Mars Science Laboratory’s Curiosity Rover.” …….

n open space, human beings continuously contend with intense solar and cosmic background radiation. Solar energetic particles (SEPs) and galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) turn a trip to Mars into a six-month radiation shower.

The Mars rover Curiosity has allowed us to finally calculate an average dose over the 180-day journey. It is approximately 300 mSv, the equivalent of 24 CAT scans. In just getting to Mars, an explorer would be exposed to more than 15 times an annual radiation limit for a worker in a nuclear power plant……..

In the future, what we’ve learned from RAD will be used to better look for life on the surface, to design suits and habitats, to plan extravehicular activities. Because of what we have learned, we can begin to establish weather prediction systems. We can tell explorers that there is an increased risk of cancer associated with a trip to Mars (approximately 5 percent over a lifetime).

In these ways, radiation rules the past, present and future of effective planetary exploration. Thanks to RAD measurements and the resulting analysis, we can begin to write a survival guide for life on Mars.http://www.space.com/24731-mars-radiation-curiosity-rover.html

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Uranium mining again threatening Southern Utah’s land and water

Uranium Mining in Southern Utah — Again? Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, 14  Feb 14, Scarred landscapes, contaminated water, and deadly gases are current reminders of the historic uranium mining and milling operations in southeastern Utah.  Now a Canadian mining corporation, Energy Fuels, is proposing to significantly expand its overall mining operation to increase ore production at its Daneros uranium mine in southeastern Utah. The Daneros uranium mine, located in the heart of the Colorado Plateau, is surrounded by large expanses of spectacular wild lands.

Located five miles west of Natural Bridges National Monument, the uranium mine expansion is also near Cedar Mesa’s Grand Gulch, the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area, and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area’s Lake Powell.  These are areas enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors from Utah and around the world, many of whom spend time camping, hiking, and enjoying scenic tours on the public lands surrounding the proposed mine site. Tell the BLM to protect the clean air, scarce water resources, dark night skies, and wilderness-caliber lands rather than approving more speculative and pollution-generating uranium mining. – See more at: http://www.suwa.org/2014/02/14/uranium-mining-in-southern-utah-again/#sthash.xD1anqHa.dpuf

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Amid Toxic Waste, a Navajo Village Could Lose Its Land

The Navajo E.P.A., which is an arm of the tribe’s own government, for years has been calling for a widespread cleanup of abandoned mines. Stephen Etsitty, the executive director of the agency, said he was hopeful that progress was finally being made, but acknowledged that the scope and technical complexity of the operation at Red Water Pond Road was unprecedented.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/us/nestled-amid-toxic-waste-a-navajo-village-faces-losing-its-land-forever.html?_r=1

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ukraine, 16 Nuclear Reactors in a State of Turmoil – Pressure Grows on EU to Hit Ukraine Reginme with Sanctions

Baku, Fineko/abc.az. Ukrainian revolution has finally resulted in a new phenomenon for the world – civil war in nuclear-weapon state.

Yesterday’s events in Kiev and Ukrainian regions leave no other choice for U.S. and Russia, as the guarantors of territorial integrity and stability of this state, except bringing their troops into the territory of Ukraine. They have no other chance to provide security for the nuclear sites in Ukraine and first of all for the largest in Europe Zaporozhskaya nuclear power plant.

Already yesterday extreme right radicals in Kiev started to set fire to the administrative and public buildings with the people inside, as they associated those buildings with the existing power. Moreover, they didn’t let people to leave the burning buildings or put out the fire. At least 2 people died as a result of such actions.

Radicals also started to seize police departments and their arsenal. Unless miracle happens, already today armed hostilities will start in Kiev and other Ukrainian cities.

Continue reading

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Office of the Prosecutor, Iwaki Branch, Fukushima Japan: Support Mari Takenouchi and Radiation Protection

“Perhaps because everyone believes people telling them on television that everything is fine, they don’t seem so worried,” 281 Antinuke told Reuters.“I hope by leaving my art I can remind people that we’re not safe at all … and that they will do something to protect themselves.”

“We don’t know what will happen in the future, whether children will get cancer or leukemia,” he said. “So I want to keep making noise and making a fuss.”

“The nuclear accident allowed us to realize that Japan had hidden a lot of things,” he said. “I want to make images that express doubts about what’s going on in politics – like a label that says ‘This is happening, pay attention’!”  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/11/30/1259294/-Masked-Artist-Forces-Japanese-to-Think-About-Fukushima

Why this is important!!

Mari is facing charges stemming from speaking out on radiation in Japan and advocacy for families relocating children out of the areas contaminated by radioactivity from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactor site, operated by TEPCO. Radioactivity continues to leave that site. It is well established that while lower levels of exposure to radioactivity lowers risk, the greatest hazard from radiation comes when children are exposed, raising the risk of cancer manifold over their entire lives.

The group ETHOS in Japan supports the decision by some to stay and live in contaminated areas. Sadly, some of these families feel they have no choice due to economics and other factors. Certainly young children have no choice. ETHOS advocates monitoring radioactivity, but well established science supports Mari’s views that there is no safe dose of radiation and that children need to be protected. We support open discussion, access to information and free choice. We ask the Prosecutor to agree that writing and speaking about these issues are not a crime.

Please Stand With Mari as she stands for precaution, protection and the rights of children to a healthy future. THANK YOU.

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Office_of_the_Prosecutor_Iwaki_Branch_Fukushima_Japan_Support_Mari_Takenouchi_and_Radiation_Protection/?copy

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

UK anti-nuclear energy activists – will have to be “monitored” carefully after Fukushima – Courtesy of STRATFOR/tempora/prism – use TOR Browser people!

For London, the issue ultimately is one of energy independence. British reserves of North Sea natural gas – which in 2008 supplied the United Kingdom with 45 percent of its electricity generation – are dwindling, going from 760 bcm at the end of 1998 to 340 bcm at the end of 2008. The
United Kingdom will increasingly have to rely on imports from Norway to satisfy its natural gas needs. Nonetheless, importing natural gas from Norway is far different than importing it from Russia, which means that nuclear energy is less of a national security issue for the United
Kingdom than it may be for other European countries. This means that the United Kingdom has alternatives to nuclear power, which casts the fate of the nuclear industry in the United Kingdom into doubt. Despite the strong interparty consensus on the issue, therefore, the United Kingdom remains a country where public opinion – and anti-nuclear energy activists – will have to be “monitored” carefully to gauge which way the country will go following the Fukushima incident.

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/13/1346076_nuclear-power-in-europe-after-fukushima-a-special-report-.html

Nuclear Power in Europe after Fukushima: A Special Report

 

Released on 2012-10-18 17:00 GMT

 

Email-ID 1346076
Date 2011-03-16 01:33:45
From noreply@stratfor.com
To allstratfor@stratfor.com

Stratfor logo
Nuclear Power in Europe after Fukushima: A Special Report

March 16, 2011 | 0026 GMT
Nuclear Power in Europe after Fukushima: A Special Report
RALPH ORLOWSKI/Getty Images
The Emsland nuclear power plant in Lingen, Germany, in 2010
Related Special Topic Page
* Japanese Earthquake: Full Coverage

The 27 countries in the European Union derived 31 percent of their
electricity needs and 14.6 of their primary energy consumption from
nuclear power in 2010. In roughly the last eight years, there has been a
considerable momentum on the Continent to boost that capacity. Countries
that had halted the construction of new reactors (Germany and Sweden) or
effectively abandoned nuclear power altogether (Italy and Poland) had
been considering reversing their moratoriums, phase-outs and outright
bans.

Three factors spurred the momentum toward a nuclear Renaissance in
Europe: Almost 25 years of accident-free nuclear industry since the
Chernobyl disaster in 1986; technological improvements in the design of
reactors; and a geopolitical impetus to wrestle the Continent from the
grip of Russian energy exports following a number of politically
motivated Russian natural gas cutoffs. There has also been a concerted
push by Europe’s indigenous nuclear energy industry to open up the
potential EU market of 400 million people for the sale of its latest
generation of nuclear reactors.

The March 11 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake in Japan and its subsequent
effect on the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear power plants has
dampened – and even ended – enthusiasm for nuclear power in some
European nations, however.

The combination of the powerful earthquake and massive tsunami that hit
Japan’s Pacific Coast where the two affected power plants were situated
sparked the nuclear crisis in Japan. The Fukushima accident is still
ongoing and developing. It is at this point assumed that the reactors in
the nuclear plants in question were shut down immediately following the
seismic activity, as they were designed to. The onsite backup generators
that were supposed to cool down the core also shut down about an hour
after the earthquake, however. The leading theory is that they were
damaged by the subsequent tsunami.

Nuclear Power in Europe after Fukushima: A Special Report
(click here to enlarge image)

Europe is un likely to see an earthquake of similar proportions and even
less likely to see a similar tsunami. Even so, a tradition of
anti-nuclear industry activism in a number of European countries and
contemporary political dynamics could engender a move against a European
nuclear revival post-Fukushima. It is important to emphasize that not
all European countries are similarly situated. France and Germany, for
example, approach nuclear energy from diametrically opposed
perspectives. In France, the nuclear power industry – and military
capacity it spawned – for decades has been perceived as a guarantor of
French independence and global relevance, whereas in Germany, nuclear
power has negative connotations due to the country’s nearly 50-year
status as the likely nuclear battlefield between the Cold War
superpowers. Environmental movements accordingly have evolved along
different lines, and national psyches approach nuclear power from
starkly different perspectives.

The European countries below are listed from most to least likely to see
plans for nuclear projects altered in the wake of the Fukushima
accident.

Germany

Continue reading

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Nuclear detectors in the USA, a $4 billion rip off just before the Fukushima disaster – information courtesy of Stratfor

“We are mindful of getting something delivered that has a credible basis for the implementation plan that follows,” Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute told the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs committee

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/15/1575221_nuclear-detectors-a-4-billion-bust-gao-says-.html

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The e-mails date between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

Nuclear detectors a $4 billion bust, GAO says

Released on 2013-11-15 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 1575221
Date 2010-09-16 16:23:18
From sean.noonan@stratfor.com
To ct@stratfor.com

Nuclear detectors a $4 billion bust, GAO says
By Jeff Stein September 16, 2010; 5:05 AM ET
http:=
//blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/09/nuclear_bomb_detectors_a_4_bil.h=
tml?wprss=3Dspy-talk

The Department of Homeland Security spent billions of dollars on machines to intercept nuclear terrorists that were too big for border inspection lanes, the Government Accountabiity Office reported Wednesday.

Why? Because during the first year or more of the program,the auditors said, the two DHS units involved — the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office and Customs and Border Protection — had few discussions about operating requirements at ports of entry.

officials said they made it clear to DNDO, the report= said, that they did not want the [nuclear detecting] machines because they would not fit in primary inspections lanes and would slow down the flow of commerce through these lanes and cause significant delays.

Software for the Cargo Advanced Automated Radiography Systems, CAARS, as they are called, also was not up to snuff, the GAO said. Or as the
auditors put it, key part of the machine needed to identify
shielded nuclear materials automatically  did not mature at a
rapid enough = pace to warrant acquisition and deployment.

Moreover, DHS budget proposals also hide the actual status of the
program, the GAO said.

For example, the fiscal years 2010 and 2011 DHS budget
justifications both cited that an ongoing CAARS testing campaign would lead to a cost-benefit analysis,” the report said. “However, DNDO officials told GAO that when they cancelled the acquisition part of the program in 2007, they also decided not to conduct any associated cost benefit analysis.

The leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee, Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Susan Collins, R-Maine,
slammed the department for not having a strategic plan to develop
critical technology that could prevent a nuclear terrorist attack on the
U.S., the Associated Press reported.

“We’re not happy or satisfied with progress on the whole nuclear detection
architecture,” Lieberman said.

DHS nuclear detection program has been troubled for years,
having spent more than $4 billion since 2003 with nothing to show for it.

DHS said it’s working on it.

“We are mindful of getting something delivered that has a credible basis
for the implementation plan that follows,” Homeland Security Deputy
Secretary Jane Holl Lute told the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs committee, the AP reported.

Sean Noonan

Tactical Analyst

Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

http://www.stratfor.com

February 21, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment