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Cameron is Fracking M.A.D. – 38 Degrees petition

This weekend saw yet another official report calling for action on climate change – and an urgent end to our reliance on coal, oil and gas. [1] But right now, David Cameron is pulling out all the stops to make sure dirty fracking goes ahead in the UK.

Image source ; http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-cameron-fracking-mess-overstates-2142311

He’s recklessly stepping up the UK’s investment in it, by giving tax breaks to fracking companies and buying off councils. [2] He’s even trying to change trespass laws so it’s harder to oppose fracking near you.

But it’s not working. And that’s because of people power. Public support is at a low, local councils are refusing to be bought off and local opposition is making it tough for fracking companies to start drilling. [3]

The momentum is with us now. So let’s get ahead of it and unite the tidal wave of opposition from across the UK. How? Let’s start with a petition – we need to show in numbers how many people want a frack free future – to ramp up the pressure David Cameron is feeling right now.

Will you sign the petition now? It’ll only take a minute:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/sign-now-for-a-frack-free-uk

In this dash for shale gas and dirty oil, David Cameron is ignoring the real threats of climate change: its impact on the world’s poorest people, our wildlife and our natural environment.

And the claims Cameron and the fracking industry are making about the benefits of fracking are being torn apart. As for Cameron’s argument that fracking will make us better off, the government’s own energy advisor says it’ll do nothing to reduce our energy bills. [4]

A huge petition signed by thousands of people is exactly what we need to demonstrate that people simply don’t want fracking in the UK. [5] But that’s just the first step. Together we can deliver the petition to every MP, and make sure fracking is a top priority for every one of them in the run up to the election.

We’ve joined forces with our friends at Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to build a huge people powered petition that no one can ignore. It’s already got more than 100,000 signatures. Can we make it 200,000 today?

Will you sign the petition now? Please click here:
https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/sign-now-for-a-frack-free-uk

Media coverage below;

Continue reading

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Building of Chernobyl’s nuclear reactor tomb delayed again

Chernobyl Sarcophagus Jeapordised by Crisis in Ukraine, Sourceable, 15 April 14, The political crisis in Ukraine is severely hampering efforts to build a new radioactive containment structure over the site of the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. Efforts to build an immense steel mausoleum to house the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown site are being stymied by the Ukrainian crisis, as channels of funding dry up amidst the country’s political upheaval.

chernobyl-cover

Work on the New Safe Confinement arch (NSC) project first commenced in 2010, with the goal of containing the radioactive contamination produced by Chernobyl for at least a century into the future.

While the project was originally scheduled for completion by 2015, Ukrainian officials now concede that it will be impossible to meet the original timeline as a result of political turmoil, while others question whether or not construction will ever be completed.

The Ukrainian government and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are footing the hefty $2.1 billion bill for the project. The political crisis in Ukraine has left the country starved of cash, however, while also scaring off donor nations and foreign investors.

“In our financial analysis we are of course making the working assumption that it will not receive any money from Ukraine in the near term,” said Vince Novak, director of nuclear safety at the EBRD to trade publication NuclearEngineering……….http://sourceable.net/chernobyl-sarcophagus-jeapordised-by-crisis-in-ukraine/

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Belarus | Leave a comment

Ukraine crisis: a good opportunity for USA to put even more nuclear missile bases in Europe?

missile-risingAfter Ukraine, Countries That Border Russia Start Thinking About Nuclear Deterrents, NewsWeek, By  / April 15, 2014“………In a new report, Doran and several co-authors, including The Economist’s Europe editor Edward Lucas, argue that since Russia violated international treaties by annexing Crimea, NATO can renege on its promise not to base nuclear weapons in former Warsaw Pact states……

“The people who’ve been arguing for a continued role for nuclear weapons are milking the [Ukraine] crisis for all it’s worth,” says Hans Kristensen, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Nuclear Information Project. ….
In response to the Crimea crisis, the U.S. has temporarily moved fighter planes from their base in Aviano, Italy, to Poland, while U.S. Army and Navy units are being deployed to the Baltic states. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has asked NATO to station 10,000 troops on its soil. But no European government has publicly said it wants a new nuclear base, and because nuclear installations are supposed to be secret, they’re unlikely to do so. Koziej notes, “In nuclear deterrence, the most important aspect is keeping your adversary in the dark about your plans, so it’s best not to talk about where it would be suitable to base U.S. nuclear weapons.” http://mag.newsweek.com/2014/04/25/ukraine-countries-border-russia-start-thinking-nuclear.html

April 16, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The West arranges to allow Israel to take part in nuclear trade

exclamation-Smflag-IsraelInternational nuclear body to curry favor with Israel: Exposed Press TV, 15 April 14 The US and some European allies seek deeper nuclear ties with Israel and other non-members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a confidential paper reveals. Israel which by policy does not confirm its estimated stockpile of 80 or more nuclear warheads, is the first on the list, according to the report…….The paper also outlined different types of “possible benefits the NSG could consider granting” an entity that is even not in the 48-member group.

These could include sharing of information, access to NSG meetings and “facilitated export arrangements,” suggesting possible access to some nuclear trade with NSG members.

Israel, the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, is widely known to have between 200 and 400 nuclear warheads.

The Israeli regime rejects all the regulatory international nuclear agreements — the NPT in particular — and refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspections.http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/04/15/358676/nuclear-body-to-curry-favor-with-israel/

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Israel, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Germany’s renewable energy output lowers European electricity prices

flag-EUflag_germanyElectricity Prices Fall In Europe As German Renewable Energy Output Increases http://www.triplepundit.com/2014/04/electricity-prices-fall-europe-german-renewable-energy-increases/  Gina-Marie Cheeseman | Tuesday April 15th, 2014  For the fifth consecutive month, electricity prices in countries neighboring Germany have decreased, recently released Platts data reveals, due in large part to increased solar and wind generation in Germany.

The Platts Continental Power Index (CONT), described as a “demand-weighted base load average of day-ahead contracts assessed in Germany, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands,” dropped steadily in early 2014. The index decreased to €35.06 (or about $48.50) per megawatt hour in March, an 18 percent drop from February. Overall, the index is down by more than 39 percent since peaking at €50.50/MWh in November of last year.

“A mid-March surge in German wind output followed seven days of peak solar output, which rose above 20 gigawatts (GW) to a new monthly record of 23 GW on March 20,” Andreas Franke, Platts managing editor of European power and gas said in a news release.

“German power prices for March 16 delivery turned negative as wind power output rose above 24 GW combined with stronger solar production,” Franke continued. “Further along the curve, German year-ahead power prices fell below €34/MWh in March for the first time in more than nine years as the price CO2 fell drastically and coal prices retreated.”

Germany currently gets about 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy, and the goal is to increase that number to at least 80 percent by 2050. German wind and solar output for the first three months of 2014 increased by 40 percent — or 6.5 terawatt-hours — compared with last year, according to the Platts data. Wind power increased 31 percent from the first quarter of 2013, while solar power increased 74 percent from more than a year earlier. Germany’s combined wind and solar portfolio is more than 70 gigawatts, making them the country’s largest sources of power when measured by installed capacity.

Germany-1013-renew

Data for the past three years from the Fraunhofer Institute shows that wind and solar power generation increased, while energy generation from natural gas fired power plants decreased significantly. Solar and wind power generation in Germany in 2013 increased by 36 percent in export surplus from 2012 levels. Photovoltaic power also increased by 44 percent from 2011 to 2012.

Reuters reported last week that German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a reform measure for the country’s renewable energy law. The reform measure “will slow the growth of green energy…and force new investors in green power to take some risk,” according to Reuters. The German government wants to keep electricity affordable while allowing the renewable energy sector to grow. And growth in renewables is something that the government wants. Under the reform measure, the government wants to increase renewable energy generation to 40 to 45 percent of total electricity production by 2025 and 55 to 60 percent by 2035.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, Germany, renewable | 1 Comment

Strong reasons why UK should abandon Trident nuclear weapons system

flag-UKFive interesting stories about Trident http://www.leftfootforward.org/2014/04/five-interesting-stories-about-trident/

By ANDREW GIBSON | Published: APRIL 15, 2014 he fate of the UK’s nuclear weapon system will be decided in the next few years. Whether to renew Trident and what defensive posture to take will be the subjects of internal party debates when manifesto writing, when preparing for the NPT Review Conference in 2015 and when Parliament votes on the ‘Main Gate’ decision on Trident replacement in 2016. But there have been some interesting stories about Trident in the press of late. Here are just a few:

 1. Strikes at Faslane

In March, hundreds of workers at the Faslane naval base staged theirfirst walkout in 42 years, following negotiations over pay. Faslane is home to the UK’s Vanguard-class nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines. The Scotsman reported that employees responsible for fitting out boats and loading weapons were involved in the action. The Unite union said that further stoppages were planned, as well as a work to rule and ban on overtime.

2. Top Tory says No James Arbuthnot, veteran chairman of the Defence Select Committee, has publicly questioned the logic of replacing Trident. In a recent interview with the Guardian he stated, “Nuclear deterrence does not provide the certainty that it seemed to in the past. It’s not an insurance policy, it is a potential booby trap.”

Despite voting for replacement in 2007, Arbuthnot referred to Trident at the time as ‘of doubtful usefulness’.

3. Resignations at AWE Burghfield

In January, junior defence minister Anna Soubry confirmed that 44 Ministry of Defence Police officers based at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Burghfield were subject to a major misconduct investigation. AWE Burghfield hosts facilities in which the UK’s nuclear weapons are built and maintained. Seven officers resigned during the course of the investigation, with some media reporting that a number had missed patrols due to being ‘asleep’.

4. UK’s youth disapprove

A recent ComRes survey suggests that younger people are opposed to like-for-like Trident replacement. Of the respondents, only 19 per cent of those aged 18-35 supported renewing Trident at its current size and capacity (this compared to 33 per cent of over 35s). The poll was commissioned by WMD Awareness, who launched this campaign last week to get the UK’s youth debating nuclear weapons.

5. Radioactive leaks in Caithness

In March, Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond demanded an apology for failing to be informed for over two years about problems with a submarine test reactor. This was in response to defence secretary Philip Hammond’s confirmation that “low levels of radioactivity were detected in a prototype core” at the Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment at Dounreay, Caithness, in 2012. These kinds of spats suggest nuclear defence will continue to be an issue in the Scottish independence campaign.

The above stories touch on some major problems with Trident: it’s unpopular, politically contentious, and the system relies on shaky security arrangements. Anyone for abandoning it?

April 16, 2014 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Renewable energy an effective, relatively cheap, weapon against global warming

UN Touts Ambitious (But Cheap) Investment in Renewable Energy Epoch Times, By news.mongabay.com | April 15, 2014 The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final reportfrom the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables. While this isn’t exactly surprising, the new report finds that an ambitious green revolution would shave only 2-4 percent off total economic growth over the century, a figure that doesn’t take into account the economic benefits of shifting to clean energies.

“There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual,” Ottmar Edenhofer, a co-chair of the IPCC’s Working Group III, said. The IPCC’s Working Group III was responsible for the new report, which focuses on climate change mitigation; the first report explored the science behind current warming, while the second reported on the impacts.

graph-Climate-Action_vs_Ina

The new report finds that global society must more than triple investment in green energies by 2050 in order to have a reasonable chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a goal agreed on by the world’s governments. However such a revolution–which would need to cut emissions to near zero by 2100–need not break the bank as some critics of climate change action have warned in the past.

“It is actually affordable to do it and people are not going to have to sacrifice their aspirations about improved standards of living,” co-chair Jim Skea told the Guardian. “It is not a hair-shirt change of lifestyle at all that is being envisaged and there is space for poorer countries to develop too.” According to the report, ambitious mitigation of climate change would reduce global economic growth–set at around 1.6 to 3 percent–by just 0.06 percent over the century. Moreover this analysis doesn’t take into effect the economic pluses of clean energy, such as reduced air and water pollution, new jobs, increased efficiency, and greater stability for energy prices.

“The loss in consumption is relatively modest,” the chairman of the IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, told the Associated Press.

The report finds that this shift would reduce profits for the coal and oil industries, though may not hurt gas in the near-term; in fact, fossil fuel investments would need to drop by around $30 billion annually. Not surprisingly, lobbying from the powerful fossil fuel industry has proven one of the largest obstacles to governments taking bolder action on greenhouse gas emissions……..

according to the IPCC, the bulk of emissions reductions must come from a sped-up and scaled-up clean energy revolution and a phase-out of fossil fuels.

The IPCC, the world’s global authority on the science of climate change, releases new reports every six years meant to guide current negotiations over the global crisis. Nations are set to sign a new treaty on tackling global climate change in 2015….http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/621996-un-touts-ambitious-but-cheap-investment-in-renewable-energy/?photo=2

April 16, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, renewable | 1 Comment

No more delays can be tolerated, to clean up Hanford’s radioactive pollution

Hanford-waste-tanksNo more ‘wait and see’ at Hanford nuclear sitehttp://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/04/no_more_wait_and_see_at_hanfor.html By Brett VandenHeuvel Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson took a stand against the Department of Energy’s “wait and see” approach toward the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear site. Looking out for the best interest of the Northwest, they unveiled a plan to improve accountability of the cleanup of Hanford.  Gov. Inslee created a deadline for Energy that requires waste is removed from leaky single-shell tanks by 2040 (26 years might seem like a long time, but beats not having a deadline at all) and presented a schedule to complete the waste treatment plant.

At the same time, Energy released a counterplan, full of empty promises, that doesn’t protect northwest communities or the Columbia River from the dangers of Hanford’s nuclear waste.  Hanford is the most contaminated site in the western hemisphere, where the federal government produced plutonium to fuel our nation’s Cold War nuclear arsenal. Energy wants to develop milestones for cleanup on a rolling basis as technical issues are resolved.

We don’t have time to waste on Energy’s “wait and see” approach.  Residents of the Tri-Cities depend on the Columbia River, just downstream from the Hanford nuclear site, for their drinking water.  This area of the Columbia River, known as the Hanford reach, is the most productive spawning ground for endangered Chinook salmon on the Columbia River, producing 52 million juveniles every year. Public lands bordering the reach are home to 48 rare, threatened or endangered species. Leaving pollution in the leaking tanks, to slowly seep into the Columbia River, puts the water supply and salmon at risk.

And Energy doesn’t have a good track record when it comes dealing with the public’s concern in a timely fashion.  For example, more than a year ago, Energy revealed that a double shell tank, AY-102, was leaking nuclear waste.  They don’t plan to begin removing waste for two more years.  That’s three years while we wait to see whether the tank can withstand the heat and corrosion of the waste inside.
Their plan fails to protect public health and was so inconsistent with public sentiment that Washington issued an administrative order requiring pumping of nuclear waste from AY-102 by September 2014.

Just days later, noxious gases at the tank farm sent workers to the hospital.  The Hanford Advisory Board and watchdog groups like Columbia Riverkeeper and Hanford Challenge have brought concerns about worker safety at the tank farms to Energy’s attention.  But it is obvious Energy is not taking the necessary steps to watch over their contractors and protect employees.

It seems like common sense: Energy needs to take more aggressive action to immobilize Hanford’s nuclear waste and to protect workers, tribes, citizens of the Northwest, and the environment.  Later this month, we all have an opportunity and a responsibility to give the Energy our two cents about Hanford cleanup and to encourage Washington state to hold the Energy accountable for keeping nuclear waste out of the Columbia River.  The Hanford State of the Site meetings are scheduled for 6pm April 16 at the Portland Doubletree and April 17 at the Hood River Best Western. See you there.

Brett VandenHeuvel is executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Death and disease among uranium workers in Rio Tinto’s mines

uranium-oreUranium workers dying after time at Namibia mine, report warns http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/15/uranium-workers-dying-cancer-rio-tinto-namibia-mine

Miners who dug ore to supply the military found to be dying of cancers and other illnesses at Rio Tinto’s Rössing mine  Miners who dug uranium ore that supplied the British and US military in the 1970s with the raw material for bombs and civil nuclear power are reported to be dying of cancers and unexplained illnesses after working in one of Africa‘s largest mines.

A study based on questionnaires of current and former workers at the giant Rio Tinto-owned Rössing uranium mine in Namibia says that everyone questioned was aware of people who are now suffering lung infections and unknown illnesses thought to be linked to their work.

The mine, in the Namib desert, produces around 7% of the world’s uranium but was operated with rudimentary safety when it opened in 1976. “People get sick. We are seeing it in people that have worked for Rössing for a long time. They just go back and die after working at Rössing,” one man told researchers working with Earthlife Namibia and the Labour Resource and Research Institute.

The study, which is expected to be published this week, accepts that working conditions in the mine have greatly improved but says that all workers questioned said that they were exposed to high levels of dust.

“Two current workers are on sick leave since 2000 and 2003. One worked as a laboratory technician for 24 years and claims to have proof he was radiated,” says a summary of the paper seen by the Guardian.

Rössing, which mines millions of tonnes of rock a year to extract uranium, employs more than 1,500 people. “Most workers stated that they are not informed about their health conditions and do not know if they have been exposed to radiation or not. Some workers said they consulted a private doctor to get a second opinion,” say the authors.

“The older workers all said they know miners dying of cancers and other illnesses. Many of these are now retired and many have already died of cancers,” says the report.

Aerial view of the discharge channels from Rössing, the world’s largest opencast uranium mine. Photograph: Yann Arthus-Bertrand/CorbisA spokesman for Rio Tinto said that Rössing has been recognised by independent consultants as one of the world’s safest mines. “The health and safety of our employees is the top priority. We have health management systems in place to make sure that everyone goes home safe and healthy every day. Effective controls ensure that radiation exposures to employees are kept well below the Rössing standard for occupational radiation exposure.

“The company keeps detailed records of the health status of its workforce from the day of employment to the day they leave the company. It therefore does not need to speculate on health issues of its employees.”

One former worker said: “Yes, I have cancer now. In the beginning they [Rio Tinto] did not want to give money for the treatment but later when they referred me to a doctor for an operation they gave me money for treatment.”

“Doctors were told not to inform us with our results or tell our illness. They only supply you with medications when you are totally finished up or about to die,” said another.

During the first years of operation, Rössing operated with a migrant labour system which the International Commission of Jurists declared illegal and said was similar to slavery. Black workers lived on the mine premises and were exposed to dust and radiation 24 hours a day and the mine became the focus for protests by anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear groups.

Shares in the mine are owned 69% by UK-based Rio Tinto, and 15% by the government of Iran. The Namibian government has denied supplying Iran with Namibian uranium which could be used for nuclear weapons.

The Erongo region is home to Rössing mine, the oldest and third-largest producer of uranium in the world. The mine sustains the small satellite town (population 7,600) of Arandis, which is visible near the top of the image. Photograph: ALI/EO-1/NASA“Uranium companies generally deny that workers get sick because of exposure to radiation. They blame the bad health conditions to unhealthy lifestyles such as eating habits, tobacco smoking and alcohol,” says the study.

Former Rössing mineworkers and people from communities adversely affected by Rio Tinto mines in west Papua, Madagascar, Namibia, Mongolia and the US will petition Rio Tinto shareholders at Tuesday’s annual meeting in London.

“Rio Tinto is enormous. Its history of attacks on workers’ rights, and environmental destruction has had a particularly damaging impact across the world,” said Richard Solly, co-ordinator of LondonMining Network, an alliance of human rights, development, environmental and solidarity groups.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | AFRICA, health, South Africa, Uranium | 1 Comment

The danger of a nuclear Saudi Arabia

The risks of a nuclear Saudi Arabia April 7, 2014 by Nick Butler”……….The issue is set out in an excellent new paper for the Belfer Center at Harvard by Olli Heinonen and Simon Henderson. The Saudis’ explanation of their newfound interest in nuclear technology is that they want to use it to produce electric power and to converse oil supplies which can be exported. There is a core of truth in this of course – Saudi Arabia’s domestic oil consumption is rising inexorably and is now more than 3m barrels a day. But, of course, this is exactly the argument used by Iran for its own nuclear research.

Heinonen and Henderson believe the Saudis are preparing the way and giving themselves the option of being able to move beyond civil nuclear power to the point where they could within a matter of months produce some form of weapon. The country undoubtedly has the money to buy whatever is needed and they have close and dangerous allies within Pakistan, a country which is already a nuclear state. Scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency is minimal (bizarrely the organisation spends more money monitoring Jordan) and the Saudis could go a long way down the path to nuclear capability without it becoming obvious until very late in the day.

The prospect of nuclear weapons in the hands of the fragile government of Saudi Arabia is bad enough. The country is fundamentally unstable – held together only by force and by the flow of oil money to an ever growing number of citizens who high expectations and low productivity. But equally concerning is that any further conflict in the region – even at a level below the nuclear threshold – could shake the global energy economy to its foundations……..” http://blogs.ft.com/nick-butler/2014/04/07/the-risks-of-a-nuclear-saudi-arabia/

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Clean up Hanford nuclear waste – strong directive from Yakama Nation

indigenousYakama Nation Tells DOE to Clean Up Nuclear Waste By Michelle Tolson YAKAMA NATION, Washington State, U.S. , Apr 14 2014 (IPS) – The Department of Energy (DOE), politicians and CEOs were discussing how to warn generations 125,000 years in the future about the radioactive waste at Hanford Nuclear Reservation, considered the most polluted site in the U.S., when Native American anti-nuclear activist Russell Jim interrupted their musings: “We’ll tell them.”

 He tells IPS “they looked around and saw me. I said, ‘We’ve been here since the beginning of time, so we will be here then.’ That was when they knew they’d have a fight on their hands.” With his long braids, the 78-year-old director of the Environmental Restoration & Waste Management Programme (ERWM) for the Yakama tribes cuts a striking figure, sitting calmly in his office located on the arid lands of his sovereign nation.

The Yakama Reservation in southeast Washington has 1.2 million acres with 10,000 federally recognised tribal members and an estimated 12,000 feral horses roaming the desert steppe. Down from the 12 million acres ceded by force to the U.S. government in 1855, it is just 20 miles west from the Hanford nuclear site.

Though the nuclear arms race ended in 1989, radioactive waste is the legacy of the various sites of the former Manhattan Project spread across the U.S.

While the Yakama have successfully protected their sacred fishing grounds from becoming a repository for nuclear waste from other project sites by invoking the treaty of 1855 which promises access to their “usual and accustomed places,” Hanford is far from clean, though the DOE promised to restore the land.

“The DOE is trying to reclassify the waste as ‘low activity.’ They are trying to leave it here and bury it in shallow pits. Scientists are saying that it needs to be buried deep under the ground,” Jim explains.

Tom Carpenter of Hanford Challenge watchdog group tells IPS “it is a battle for Washington State and the tribes to get the feds to keep their promise to remove the waste. There are 42 miles of trenches that are 15 feet wide and 20 feet deep full of boxes, crates and vials of waste in unlined trenches.”

There are a further 177 underground tanks of radioactive waste and six are leaking. Waste is supposed to be moved within 24 hours from leak detection or whenever is “practicable” but the contractors say there is not enough space.

Three whistleblowers working on the cleanup raised concerns and were fired. Closely followed by a local news station, it is an issue that is largely neglected by mainstream media and the Yakama’s fight seems all but ignored. “We used to have a media person on staff but the DOE says there is no need as ‘everything is going fine,” says Russell Jim. His department lost 80 percent of its funding in 2012 after cutbacks. His tribe doesn’t fund ERWM, the DOE does. “The DOE crapped it up, so they should pay for it.”

But everything is not fine. With radioactive groundwater plumes making their way toward the river, the Yakama and watchdog groups says it is an emergency. Some plumes are just 400 yards from the river where the tribe accesses Hanford Reach monument, according to treaty rights.

Hanford Reach nature reserve, a buffer zone for the site, is the Columbia’s largest spawning grounds for wild fall Chinook salmon

Washington State reports highly toxic radioactive contamination from uranium, strontium 90 and chromium in the ground water has already entered the Columbia River.

“There are about 150 groundwater ‘upwellings’ in the gravel of the Columbia River coming from Hanford that young salmon swim around,” explains Russell Jim………..

“The DOE tells congress the river corridor is clean. It’s not clean but they are afraid of damages being filed against them.” A cancer survivor, Jim’s tribe received no compensation for damages from radioactive releases from 1944 to 1971 into the Columbia as high as 6,300,000 curies of Neptunium-239……….

teven G. Gilbert, a toxicologist with Physicians for Social Responsbility, tells IPS there is a lack transparency and data on the Hanford cleanup. “It is a huge problem,” he says, adding that contaminated groundwater at Hanford still interacts with the Columbia River, based on water levels.

Though eight of the nine nuclear reactors next to the river were decommissioned, the 1,175-megawatt Energy Northwest Energy power plant is still functioning

“Many people don’t know there is a live nuclear reactor on the Columbia. It’s the same style as Fukushima,” Gilbert explains.

In the middle of the fight are the tribes, which are sovereign nations. Russell Jim says they are often erroneously described as “stakeholders” when they are separate governments.

“We were the only tribe to take on the nuclear issue and testify at the 1980 Senate subcommittee. In 1982 we immediately filed for affected tribe status. The Umatilla and the Nez Perce tribes later joined.”,,,,,,,,http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/04/yakama-nation-tells-doe-clean-nuclear-waste/

April 16, 2014 Posted by | indigenous issues, USA | 1 Comment

#IHeartRenewables Week Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22)

#IHeartRenewables Week — Celebrate Earth Day & Renewable Energy http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/15/iheartrenewables-week-way-celebrating-earth-day-wind-power/ By David Ward

It is the week before Earth Day (Tuesday, April 22) and we are asking American wind power supporters to share why they love wind energy on Twitter and Facebook.

Similar to our #iheartwind week a couple months back, we are asking supporters to use the#iheartrenewables hashtag to tell your followers, your friends, everyone why you love wind power in the spirit of celebrating Earth Day and all the successes wind power has achieved so far.

You can participate in many ways, including:

  1. Simply telling everyone why you love wind power and other renewables. For ex: #iheartrenewables b/c U.S. #windpower avoids enough carbon dioxide emissions a year to take the equivalent of 17 million cars off the road!
  2. Taking a picture of yourself at a wind farm
  3. Taking a picture of yourself at work, at home, or anywhere and holding up a sign for why you “heart” renewables.
  4. You can even tell us why you support federal policy, like the Production Tax Credit or PTC, that encourages American wind power’s growth.
  5. There are a number of ways you can creatively show your support!

Some of our friends over at @SEIA, @ACORE, and elsewhere will be joining in on the fun as well.

Iberdrola Renewables already kicked things off with their tweet below of a wind farm using the #iheartrenewables hashtag. You can post @AWEA on Twitter by using our handle @AWEA. You can find our Twitter page here:

https://twitter.com/AWEA

You can post on AWEA’s Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/AmericanWindEnergyAssociation

Interested in telling your elected officials why love wind power year-round?  Sign up to receive updates from AWEA’s Power of Wind advocacy network.

Also, don’t forget that WINDPOWER 2014 is happening May 5–8 this year in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s not too late to sign-up!

April 16, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Australia, under PM Abbott is now an active Climate Change Denier

Abbott-shhhhAustralia Remains Silent Amid Global Warming And Calls For Renewable Energy Use http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/548241/20140415/australia-global-warning-climate-change-tony-abbott.htm By Reissa Su | April 15, 2014 
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is known as a World Heritage site and the worsening effects of climate change have sparked fears that it would soon be destroyed and die. Recent scientific studies have shown a significant loss of coral cover in the past 27 years. The damage to corals is caused by climate change, storms and the increasing population of crown of thorns starfish.  Reducing the number of the starfish species is the key factor to restore coral cover based on research studies.

Despite the mounting fears, climate scientists observed Australia may not be fully committed to battle out climate change. According to reports, Australia is one of the biggest and most active “climate change deniers” in the world. While the United Nations‘ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is encouraging countries to do their part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Australia is focusing on coal which is considered the biggest contributor to the ozone’s destruction. Continue reading

April 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

South Africa’s growth in renewable energy

Africa: South Africa to Procure Still More Renewable Energy http://allafrica.com/stories/201404151599.html15 APRIL 2014 South Africa’s Department of Energy is to increase the amount of energy it will be procuring under the third window of its renewable energy programme for independent power producers, Energy Minister Ben Martins announced on Tuesday.

In November, the department signed agreements with 17 new preferred bidders in the third round of the programme, following the signing off of 47 projects in the first and second rounds, bringing to 64 the total number of renewable energy projects approved by the government since December 2011.

Once they are all operational, the 64 projects – representing foreign and domestic investment of over R100-billion – will add around 3 900 megawatts (MW) of wind, solar photovoltaic and concentrating solar power to South Africa’s energy mix.

On Tuesday, Martins said in a statement that this department would be allocating additional megawatts to the third window of the programme, thus including additional bidders, due to the increasingly competitive pricing offered by the round three bids.

Business Day reported in November that the average price offered for power generated from wind – which received the bulk of the third-round allocation – had dropped from R11.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) in the first round to R6.65/kWh in the third round.

“The department will, in this regard, follow due procurement process to include additional bidders under window 3,” Martins said, giving no further specifics.

He added that submissions for the fourth window of the programme, which entails the procurement of a further 1 000 MW of renewable energy, was on track to close in August. The programme has five windows altogether.

While renewable energy accounted for less than 1% of South Africa’s energy mix in 2012, this is expected to reach 12% by 2020. According to research released in October by analysts Frost & Sullivan, this would place South Africa in the “global top 15 countries” with regard to the implementation of renewable energy projects.

Announcing the latest 17 preferred bidders in November, Martins noted that South Africa was currently rated as the 12th most attractive investment destination for renewable energy.

“This bodes very well for South Africa, as the programme has achieved international acclaim for fairness, transparency and certainty of programme,” Martins said, adding that there had been a progressive increase in the local content and job creation numbers offered by the bidders.

The department’s director-general, Nelly Magubane, said that some bidders had exceeded the local content requirement of no less than 40%, with some indicating that their projects would involve up to 56% local content.

Martins said the energy sector was expected to play a major role in creating green sector jobs, developing skills and transferring technology into South Africa’s economy.

April 16, 2014 Posted by | renewable, South Africa | Leave a comment

Employment boost for South Africa due to renewable energy projects

Green energy IPPs create 14 000 jobs http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/green-energy-ipps-create-14-000-jobs-1.1675332 April 14 2014  Independent power producers (IPPs) using renewable energy had created about 14 000 jobs over the past three years, Energy Minister Ben Martins said on Friday. “One of the imperatives of government is to ensure that all departments assist in job creation. Through the independent power producers programme, more than 14 000 have been created,” Martins said following a summit with 61 IPPs. “At the meeting, we acknowledged and expressed appreciation of the fact that to date more than R100 billion has been invested into this particular sector.” IPPs are entities which either own and or operate facilities that generate electric power. They then sell the power to a utility, central government buyer or to end users. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Eskom and the Public Investment Corporation. Diplomats representing Denmark, Spain, Germany, Norway, and the UK were also present at the Pretoria meeting. Martins said the IPP project had brought significant direct foreign investment. – Sapa

April 16, 2014 Posted by | employment, renewable, South Africa | Leave a comment