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A Sense of Urgency as a Spur to Climate Action

We must act quickly and effectively while we still have a fighting chance. There is no more time for delay.

Feeling the Touch of the Goad: A Sense of Urgency as a Spur to Climate Action TruthOut , 05 October 2014 10:12By Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi “……..Too much is at risk for us to proceed on the hypothesis that climate change might be a false alarm. If we fail to take the momentous steps required of us, we risk losing nothing less than the Earth as we have known it, along with the human civilization that has evolved on its surface over thousands of years. We risk making huge tracts of the planet virtually uninhabitable. We risk condemning small island-nations to rising seas and more violent typhoons. We risk turning verdant land abundant with crops – our grain belts and rice bowls – into barren deserts. We risk mass extinctions, famines, droughts and floods, unpredictable epidemics and large-scale deaths. And we risk kindling more ethnic, religious and cross-border strife, thereby creating more climate refugees, more mass migrations, and more destructive eruptions of terrorism.


The second factor that should provoke the sense of urgency and raise it exponentially is the recognition that the window of opportunity is closing. We may be about to lose our chance to avert the worst. Continue reading


October 6, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Movement in European policy makers to overturn approval for UK’s Hinkley Point nuclear power plan

flag-EUOpposition builds to UK nuclear project in EU executive -sources 

* European Commissioners expected to vote on Oct. 8

* Britain has not been forced to make big changes

* Critics predict legal protest if decision approved

UK-subsidyBy Barbara Lewis and Foo Yun Chee  BRUSSELS, Oct 3 (Reuters) – A landmark deal to use British taxpayers’ money to build a 16 billion pound ($25.6 billion)nuclear power station has triggered opposition from a quarter of EU policy-makers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator, EU sources said………

critics say it breaches EU law over when government funding is allowed, and representatives of the renewable industry have threatened to bring legal action against the Commission if the Hinkley Point plan is approved.

An internal meeting of senior Commission staff on Monday will examine the decision, and the college of 28 Commissioners including President Jose Manuel Barroso is expected to hold a closed-door vote on Wednesday.

Five separate sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said seven Commissioners opposed approval of the Hinkley Point funding, and although that would not be enough to block it, it was an unusually high level of opposition.

One source said the number could rise, because there are still a few days left before the vote, and predicted a delay.

“They should make more effort to accommodate objections,” one of the sources said, referring to the department of Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, which has managed the case………

The case is a benchmark for EU member states on both sides of the debate as EU countries such as Germany phase out nuclear and seek to replace it with renewable power, while nations such as Poland, like Britain, favour nuclear…….

Britain classes nuclear as well as renewable power as carbon-free, although opponents of nuclear say it cannot be regarded as an environmental solution because it creates radioactive nuclear waste.

They also say there is no justification for funding an expensive and mature technology, when subsidies are being taken away for renewable energy, which is becoming more and more commercially competitive.

“They are rolling out the red carpet for nuclear and waving a red card for renewables,” Claude Turmes, a Luxembourg member of the Green party in the European Parliament, told Reuters.

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia is scheduled to leave office at the end of October, and sources said he felt he could not leave the Hinkley Point decision for his successor.

Environmental campaigners say he had no right to leave his successor to tackle the aftermath of a hasty conclusion.

“If the deal is approved, the outgoing Commission will be leaving Brussels in a getaway car after the heist of the century,” said Andrea Carta, EU legal adviser to campaign group Greenpeace. “Taxpayers would be left paying for one of the most expensive power stations in the world.” (1 US dollar = 0.6262 British pound) (editing by Jane Baird)

October 6, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | 1 Comment

Plot by ISIS to seize Iran’s nuclear secrets

flag-IranReport: ISIS plots to seize Iran’s nuclear secrets Arabiya News  Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group is planning on seizing Tehran’s nuclear secrets and urging its fighters to plan for war with Iran, UK weekly newspaper The Sunday Times reported.

The group urged its members to help them reach their ambitions in a manifesto which was allegedly written by Abdullah Ahmed al-Meshedani, a member of the group’s highly secretive six-man war cabinet.

In the document, which has been examined by western security officials – who believe it to be authentic – Meshedani wrote that ISIS is aims to get hold of nuclear weapons with the help of Russia, to whom it will offer access to gas fields it controls in Iraq’s Anbar province in return for the Kremlin to give up “Iran and its nuclear program and hands over its secrets.”

The manifesto said that Moscow would also have to abandon support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and back the Gulf States against Iran. The document also includes 70 different plans to launch a new campaign of ethnic cleansing aimed at consolidating the new “Islamic Caliphate,” stripping Shiite Iran of “all its power” and destroying the Shiite authorities in Iraq.

ISIS considers Shiite Muslims as traitors and accuses them of “perverting” Islam in the same manifesto, which called for the assassination of Iranian diplomats, businessmen and teachers as well as Iraqi military chiefs, Shiite officials and Iranian-backed militias fighting for the Iraqi government.

The document, which is believed to be a policy manifesto prepared for senior members of ISIS, was supposedly obtained in March by an Iraqi special forces unit during a raid on the home of an ISIS commander.

October 6, 2014 Posted by | Iran, MIDDLE EAST, secrets,lies and civil liberties | 1 Comment

Austria to take legal action against EU approval for UK’s Hinkley nuclear power plant?

justiceflag-EUAustria says will sue if EU regulator clears UK nuclear plant plan  VIENNA Sun Oct 5, 2014  (Reuters) – Austria will take the European Commission to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if it approves Britain’s plans for a 16 billion-pound nuclear power plant, a spokesman for the chancellor said on Sunday.

The deal to pay a guaranteed price for the power produced in the plant faces opposition from a quarter of EU policymakers, who want to overturn approval from the top European regulator. A vote is expected on Wednesday. The project, to be built by French utility EDF (EDF.PA) at Hinkley Point in southwest England, is crucial for Britain’s plan to replace a fifth of its ageing nuclear power and coalplants over the coming decade while reducing carbon emissions. France sees it as a major export contract that will boost its nuclear industry.

But Austria’s chancellor Werner Faymann and vice-chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner sent a letter to the European Commission’s president Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday saying Austria would “reserve” the right to take legal steps should the project gain a stamp of approval in Brussels.

“Should the EU Commission undertake this step, then it must expect a lawsuit at the highest court,” said Faymann, whose country prides itself in supporting green energy.

“Alternative forms of energy are worthy of subsidies, not nuclear energy,” he was quoted as saying by his spokesman. European Union state aid regulators are set to clear the plans for Hinkley Point, a European Commission official said last month.

Under the plan, Britain would be allowed to offer EDF a guaranteed power price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt-hour for 35 years, more than twice the current market rate.

“Hinkley Point … would set a negative precedence to open this type of subsidy for nuclear energy. The EU-Commission must prevent this, if not it must expect a lawsuit from Austria at the European Court of Justice,” Mitterlehner said.

(Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

October 6, 2014 Posted by | EUROPE, Legal | Leave a comment

Safety of Hinkley Point nuclear plan in question – shrouded in secrecy

The nuclear industry still has its secrets

The cold war may be over but many players are far from open or transparent in their dealings The Guardian, Sunday 5 October 2014 One of the nuclear industry’s promises for the future is that it will turn its back on its cold war past and be more open and transparent about its dealings. So news last week that at least two of the officials assessing the safety case for new reactors at Hinkley Point C were on the pension roll of the scheme’s developers, EDF, was not encouraging.

The design assessment of the new European pressurised reactor (EPR) developed by EDF and its nuclear specialist Areva is important, because it is key to determining whether the public accepts the safety of Hinkley. It is disturbing that the few detailed answers obtained about who exactly undertook that review had to come by way of a Freedom of Information request, not by an immediate and voluntary statement from the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)………

  • Unsurprisingly, independent experts question how thorough the oversight really was – and whether a whole load of problems have been parked to one side to be tackled later on. A senior inspector at the Finnish nuclear regulator STUK, which has been struggling for much longer to assess an EPR reactor for a domestic plant, says pointedly: “I don’t know how they (the ONR) did it so fast.”



  • secrets-lies
  • And for such fast movers, it is odd that the ONR could not provide data on whether any of its inspectors had previously worked for EDF or Areva on the groundsbecause the files were in “deep storage”. That excuse would not have passed muster during the cold war.

October 6, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Wind and solar generation racing ahead, nuclear energy slowing

sun-championWind & Solar Energy Generation Capacities Both Catching Up With Nuclear, Clean Technica October 5th, 2014 by James Ayre  Renewables have been capturing a larger and larger portion of the total global energy infrastructure pie, while the portion nuclear energy has not just been stagnating but actually shrinking somewhat, as noted by a new Vital Signs report from Worldwatch Institute.

More interesting than that observation, though, is the fact that solar and wind energy have been gaining fast on nuclear — and are now, more or less, on the same trajectory that nuclear power was on in the 1970s and 1980s, in its heyday.


So, it looks like that “nuclear renaissance” that some analysts have been babbling about for the last several years will have to wait for at least another couple of years — or, more likely, forever. Solar and wind energy will no doubt continue growing at a fair rate (at the least) in the years to come.

Here are some of the exacts: nuclear’s share of total global power production has steadily declined from a peak of 17.6% in 1996 to 10.8% in 2013. And renewables have increased their share from 18.7% in 2000 to 22.7% in 2012. Continue reading

October 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

China launches long range test missile, in effort to catch up with USA’s nuclear arsenal

missile-envyflag-ChinaChina Launches Test Missile Capable of Carrying Nuclear Warheads to Europe and US New missile system places London and US east coast under the crosshairs of China’s military .International Business Times By Mark Piggott October 5, 2014 China has successfully launched a test missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead 10,000km – meaning the whole of Europe and parts of the US is within its range.
“We continue to monitor China’smilitary modernization, including its missile tests”
– Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia O Smith

The Dongfeng missile can be fired from mobile launchers capable of traversing rough terrain, meaning they can be easily moved and hidden from detection by spy satellites.

China launched the missile on 26 September. The Pentagon confirmed the launch it took place.

Although refusing to provide details, Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia O Smith told the Washington Free Beacon: “We continue to monitor China’s military modernization, including its missile tests.”…..

It is estimated that China only has around 250 nuclear warheads, compared with the 2,104 operational warheads operated by the US.

Major General Yao Yunzhu, China’s director of the Center of America-China Defense Relations for the Academy of Military Science, said in a letter to the Pacific Forum of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, that China still lags behind the US in terms of nuclear weapons.

“The Ballistic Missile Defense systems that the US and its allies have deployed, or are planning to deploy, are capable of intercepting Chinese nuclear weapons launched for retaliation after it has already been attacked, thus potentially negating the deterrence effect of the Chinese nuclear arsenal,” said Yunzhu.

Retired Peoples’ Liberation Army general Xu Guangyu told the South China Morning Post: “Beijing just wants to increase China’s military might and its nuclear strategic threat. It’s not really targeting the US or other countries.

“China needs to conduct intensive weapons tests and military drills because the (US-led build-up) now in the Asia-Pacific area is not good for Beijing………,.”

October 6, 2014 Posted by | China, weapons and war | 1 Comment

France’s Energy Dept ponders on costs of keeping old nuclear plants going: renewables may be cheaper

nukes-sad-flag-franceFrance to weigh costs of maintaining older plants in nuclear policy  PARIS Sun Oct 5, 2014 Oct 5 (Reuters) – France’s energy minister said on Sunday that the cost of maintaining older reactors would be factored into any decision on the future size of its large and aging nuclear power fleet.

The government already plans to shut the Fessenheim plant on the German border as part of a pledge to bring down atomic energy to 50 percent of French power output by 2025 from the current 75 percent, the highest share in the world.

But it has skirted the issue of whether to extend the operating life of its 58 nuclear reactors, which state-owned utility would like to prolong from 40 years to up to 60 years.

“Investments in reactors at the oldest plants don’t last forever. You then have to re-invest and that is very expensive,” Energy Minister Segolene Royal told France 3 television.

“If it costs a lot more to carry out maintenance to make older plants secure, it would be better to build renewable energy installations,” she said.

France, like other European countries, faces rising costs to maintain a nuclear fleet with an average age of about 30 years. EDF has estimated that extending the life of the plants would cost 55 billion euros.

About half of its reactors are due to reach the current 40-year limit during the 2020s. French nuclear watchdog ASN has said it will give an initial opinion on the issue next year. Royal is steering through parliament an energy transition bill that introduces a cap on nuclear power production, which would force EDF to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1,600 megawatt Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

She said this week the government could choose to close another site than Fessenheim but dismissed as “fanciful” a 5 billion euro estimate made by two parliamentarians for the cost of closing Fessenheim. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Michel Rose; editing by Jane Baird)

October 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

International Atomic Energy Agency defined six types of nuclear wastes

Nuclear waste is going nowhere slowly  03 OCT 2014 ANSIE VICENTESARAH WILD  Generations from now, there will still be no-go areas storing radioactive by-products of nuclear power production. ……….

wastes-1Six ways to neutralise nuclear excess

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s guidelines published in 2009 define six different types of nuclear waste, each with its own suggested disposal method, determined by how dangerous the waste is to humans and the environment, how much heat it generates, and its reaction to water and temperature.

  • Exempt waste” does not require any protection and is simply disposed of like other rubbish;
  • “Very low-level waste”, typically soil and rubble with low levels of radioactivity, is disposed of in landfills;
  • “Very short-lived waste” is first shielded and then stored, usually in a purpose-built building, to decay by itself over a few years;
  • “Low-level waste” needs a few hundred years to be considered safe and is buried near the surface once it has been encased in concrete or metal and shielded;
  • “Intermediate-level waste” needs time but no heat protection, and consists mainly of the cladding and resins used in nuclear plants, and contaminated materials that come from decommissioned nuclear reactors. It is generally covered in concrete or bitumen and buried in the region of 10 to hundreds of metres underground; and
  • “High-level waste”, such as spent fuel rods, remains radioactive for tens of thousands of years and generates its own heat. It can be stored on site, as it is at Koeberg or Pelindaba. The United States and Russia vitrify the waste (mix it with glass particles), clad it in concrete, shield it with lead or water and bury it, sometimes kilometres underground, in a process called “deep geological disposal”. – Ansie Vicente

October 6, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, wastes | 1 Comment

Small Modular Nuclear reactors irrelevant to climate needs, and COSTLY

text-SMRsNuclear Power Costs Billions More Than Promised By Epoch Times | October 1, 2014 “……Smaller Scale Other types of power plants are at risk of time and cost overruns as well, but experts say nuclear plants are particularly vulnerable to this problem. They require an enormous investment upfront and take longer to bring on line.

For the past 50 years, the nuclear industry has pushed for bigger units in an effort to spread costs over a larger number of kilowatt hours. But some are calling to shrink the scale with small modular reactors: compact, factory-fabricated designs that require less initial investment, and are easier to assemble than conventional units.

The United States has approved small reactor designs, but Bradford is not impressed.

“There really is no basis for optimism,” he said. “The only cost studies—they hardly even deserve the name studies. They’re provided by the vendors.”

Schneider said these smaller reactors might be a better fit for the changing electricity market, which increasingly favors a horizontally integrated system and a more eclectic approach to energy generation.

“It’s hard to imagine a huge plant whatever the source, but especially nuclear in such a new environment,” he said. “But it’s very clear the biggest problem the nuclear industry has besides cost is the time factor. Small modular reactors will not be available for a long time—for decades. We need solutions in the short term—the next 20 years.”

“It’s very interesting to see the Financial Times reporting about the U.S. market saying that wind and solar can now compete without subsidies with gas. Where is nuclear in that comparison? And that is now, not something that we have to develop over decades.”

October 6, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Experts paid by EDF were involved in safety review of Hinkley Point nuclear plan!

conflict-of-interestflag-UKConflict of interest concerns over EDF’s Hinkley nuclear project approval   and   The Guardian, Thursday 2 October 2014

Experts involved in safety review were receiving company’s pensions, documents reveal Nuclear experts receiving EDF pensions were involved in the official safety review of the company’s planned Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, sparking concerns about a conflict of interest over the approval of the project.

The involvement senior executive grade officers at the Office of Nuclear Regulation (ONR) made it “very difficult” for the regulator to take a critical eye, warned another independent industry consultant.

The revelations, obtained via a series of freedom of information (FoI) requests, raise wider concerns about the use of consultants due to a lack of experienced staff inside the ONR and come a week after the Hinkley project got a go-ahead from the European competition directorate for a proposed UK subsidy scheme.

Building new reactors is a key part of the coalition’s plan to keep the lights on in the medium term when old coal and atomic power plants are coming to the end of their lives.

EDF, the French state energy group, plans to use a new European pressurised reactor (EPR) design for the Somerset plant that was successfully submitted for approval to the ONR, a statutory body which boasts of holding the nuclear industry to account on behalf of the public.

But the standards of the safety and regulatory sign-off of the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has been called into question by experts, who believe the construction will run over budget or fail.

Critics argue that vital safety issues highlighted in the regulatory process were ignored, which may have happened to ensure the project’s approval met the deadline set out by the UK government. Continue reading

October 6, 2014 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

UK campaigners call on European Commissioner to disallow Hinkley nuclear deal

protest-Hinkley-CCampaigners bid to block EU deal over Hinkley  By WMNA Greenwood  | October 03, 2014 Campaigners opposed to a new £16 billion nuclear plant on the Somerset coast have written to the European Commissioner for Competition in a bid to derail the project.

Last month, the country’s first new nuclear power station in a generation – at Hinkley Point – cleared a major hurdle after an agreement was reached between the European Commission and Whitehall.

But the news angered and dismayed opponents, including the Green Party, the Stop Hinkley Group and Greenpeace UK, who vowed that the fight against the EDF plant would go on.

Stop Hinkley have now written to competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia, corr who is in charge of state aid, urging him to reconsider and claiming that the subsidy deal had been “stitched up without any sort of competitive process”.

 “Surely the job of the European Competition Commissioner is to make sure taxpayers’ and electricity consumers’ money is spent on the most cost effective measures to reduce carbon emissions and provide energy security,” Valerie Davey, the group’s treasurer, wrote.

“If Hinkley Point C had been subjected to a proper competitive process it couldn’t possibly have progressed beyond the drawing board. “There are many far most cost effective ways to provide the heat and light we need in the UK at the same time as reducing carbon emissions.

“Please urgently reconsider this decision, and order the UK Government to subject the Hinkley proposals to a proper competitive process. “If you don’t you will be allowing UK consumers to be saddled with eye-wateringly high electricity bills for decades to come.”…….

EDF is still finalising its investment plans. Major backing has come from abroad with China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Corporation investing 35-40%, EDF Energy 45-50% and Areva 10%…….

October 6, 2014 Posted by | opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Lois Gibbs, who exposed Love Canal pollution scandal, speaks out on nuclear wastes

wastesFlag-USANobel Prize nominee in STL, talks nuclear waste Grant Bissell, KSDK7:40 p.m. CDT October 4, 2014 ST. LOUIS – A Nobel Peace Prize nominee was in St. Louis Saturday to talk about nuclear waste that’s contaminated parts of our area.

Lois Gibbs is known for her extensive activism at Love Canal, a nuclear waste site in New York. On Saturday, she spoke at a community meeting in Maryland Heights organizers say was centered on educating people about the radioactive West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek.

“Of all of the site’s I’ve visited, and I’ve visited tons of sites across this country in the last 33 years, this is by far the worst,” Gibbs said of West Lake.

The landfill is owned by Republic Services and contains World War II-era nuclear waste. It’s adjacent to the Bridgeton Landfill, which has had an underground smoldering event for years.

“How do they expect families to live with that kind of terrible fact?” Gibbs said.

The activist is helping amplify the calls to remove the waste from West Lake.

“We’ve got to make the people in this community safe. That should be Republic’s number one goal right now,” said Chuck Stiles, the assistant director of the Teamsters Solid Waste Division.

Many of the people at the meeting either live near the West Lake Landfill or Coldwater Creek. The waterway streams through parts of north St. Louis County and was contaminated by the same waste as West Lake. Hundreds of people who grew up near the creek have developed illnesses they believe are related to exposure to the waste………

A coalition called Just Moms STL has started petitions to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the St. Louis County Council to have the waste removed from the West Lake Landfill.

October 6, 2014 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

USA uses ‘asteroid’ threat as excuse to hoard nuclear weapons

atomic-bomb-lFlag-USAUS is Hoarding Nuclear Weapons for a Real ‘Armageddon’, Nature World News By Brian Stallard, 2 Oct 14 Government auditors were recently looking into why exactly the United States is falling behind in disarming itself of its old nuclear weapon surplus, and they stumbled upon an unusual excuse: asteroid defense.

According to a report detailing an audit of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) conducted earlier this year, US officials are hoarding some of its enriched uranium components – canned subassemblies (CSAs) – just in case they need to pull a real-world recreation of scenes straight out of the movieArmageddon.

NNSA officials told us that CSAs associated with a certain warhead indicated as excess in the 2012 Production and Planning Directive and being retained in an indeterminate state pending senior-level government evaluation of their use in planetary defense against earthbound asteroids,” the report reads.

And while the NNSA had initially scheduled these same “excess” CSAs to be dissembled by 2015, they have since been identified as an “irreplaceable national asset.”

If there’s anything Hollywood ever put on the silver screen that could actually happen, Armageddon certainly wouldn’t be on the top of the list. However, NASA has confirmed in past studies that if a dangerous asteroid were safely broken into smaller pieces, it could be rendered harmless, as these smaller bits would just burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. …….

critics of this nuclear defense idea are saying its fantastical and potentially just a facade.

Jay Melos, a planetary studies expert at Purdue University, recently told The Wall Street Journal that this all may just be “an excuse for keeping the nuclear arsenal together.”…

October 6, 2014 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Challenge for UK politicians – to be for. or against, renewable energy

There’s jobs and growth in renewables, as well as the clean electricity we desperately need to tackle climate change. We just need a clear path to get there.

sunflag-UKWhat the UK coalition is doing on solar power and why you should care
There’s jobs and growth in renewables, we just need a clear path to get there 
Last week the government announced some big changes to the support schemes for solar power.

Some of these were expected, others less so. But what do they mean for the industry, and for the UK’s renewable energy transition?

Renewables in the UK have been growing strongly, but people are getting nervous about the future. The mood music from government is inconsistent, ranging from cautiously positive to downright hostile, and it is not going unnoticed. The UK has fallen to seventh in the Ernst and Young index of most attractive renewable energy markets.

There are plenty of other places to invest, and with Asia blazing ahead, there is a real risk that the UK finds itself left on the margins.

This will cost us jobs, investments, and make decarbonisation more difficult and expensive. It means that we will simply end up buying in expertise and technology from the rest of the world, rather than developing it ourselves. It will delay the huge benefits in energy security a renewable system would bring.

In that context yesterday’s changes are a mixed bag. The bad news is the confirmation that the Renewable Obligation will be closed to large scale solar. Continue reading

October 6, 2014 Posted by | general | Leave a comment