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Climate change and war: twin threats that exacerbate each other

In the military…. Armed forces have to respond swiftly and cannot wait until the proof is all there, which is why climate is now a risk factor in their planning.

The Pentagon agrees. “Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty and conflict,”

text-relevantIs climate change fuelling war?, Japan Times,  AFP-JIJI FEB 11, 2015 PARIS – For years, scientists and security analysts have warned that global warming looms as a potential source of war and unrest. Storms, droughts, floods and spells of extreme heat or exceptional cold — all can destroy wealth, ravage harvests, force people off land, exacerbate ancient rivalries and unleash a fight for resources, they say. These factors are predicted to become more severe as carbon emissions interfere with Earth’s climate system.

Some argue there is evidence that man-made warming is already a driver in some conflicts. Continue reading

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February 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Mission Impossible at Fukushima as nuclear fuel is melting down daily

Fukushima-deformed--structuJapan Official: Fuel from Fukushima reactors is “melting down daily” — AP: No way of confirming melted fuel is at bottom of containment vessels — Tepco Adviser: “Schedule for decommissioning the plant is pure supposition” — The Economist: This is ‘Mission Impossible’ (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/japan-official-fuel-fukushima-reactors-melting-down-daily-ap-confirming-melted-fuel-bottom-containment-vessels-tepco-adviser-schedule-decommissioning-plant-pure-supposition?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Associated Press
, Feb 6, 2015 (emphasis added): A snake-like robot designed to examine the inside of one of three melted reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is ready to begin its expedition… Using information gathered by the robot [TEPCO] plans to repair the damaged chambers enough so they can be filled with water… It is expected to enter the Unit 1 reactor as early as April… Expectations for the robot probe are high after earlier efforts at assessment produced limited success… After its trip, technicians plan to store the robot in a shielded box because of its extremely high radioactivity, and it will not be reused… Computer simulations indicate that all of the fuel rods in the Unit 1 reactor probably melted and fell to the bottom of the containment chamber, but until now there has been no way of confirming that… Because of the reactor damage, large volumes of cooling water continue to leak from them, causing contamination and hampering the plant’s cleanup process.

Wall St. Journal, Feb 6, 2015: For the first time since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, engineers working for [TEPCO] could soon get their first view of nuclear fuel and debris around the melted-down reactors. It is widely believed that during the meltdowns of reactors No. 1-3… the overheated nuclear fuel also flowed out into the reactor vessels… Extracting the nuclear fuel and debris is the mostimportant task involved in decommissioning… But nobody knows what state these deadly materials are in–even the radiation around the buildings storing the reactors is far too high for people to withstand… Now it is ready to examine the fuel and debris, perhaps as soon as April, with the help of a new robot…

The Economist, Feb 7, 2015: Mission impossible; An industrial clean-up without precedent – The stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is the world’s most complex and costly industrial clean-up… TEPCO’s early guess was that decommissioning would take 30-40 years. That is certainly optimistic. Engineers are grappling with problems with little precedent… Last October the utility pushed back the start of this removal work by five years, to 2025. Dale Klein, [Tepco adviser and former NRC chairman] says that the schedule for decommissioning the plant is pure supposition until engineers figure out how to remove all the fuel.

Taro Yamamoto, member of the Diet of Japan — House of Councillors representing Tokyo, published Feb 5, 2015: “In Fukushima, each reactor has about 90 tons [90,000 kg or ~200,000 lbs] of uranium. These are melting down daily.”

Watch Yamamoto’s interview here

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

UK government bullying Austria over UK subsidies to the nuclear industry?

nuclear-lobby-&-critcsflag-UKDiplomatic row with Austria over EDF nuclear power station escalates http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/diplomatic-row-with-austria-over-edf-nuclear-power-station-escalates-10040309.html  MARK LEFTLY Author Biography ASSOCIATE BUSINESS EDITOR THURSDAY 12 FEBRUARY 2015 The UK will take “every opportunity to sue or damage Austria” if Vienna does not drop a legal challenge to the construction of a £24.5bn nuclear power station in Somerset, according to a leaked memo.

Austria is staunchly anti-nuclear and will soon formalise an appeal against the EU’s decision to allow the UK government to pay subsidies to the French energy giant EDF to build Hinkley Point C, the first in a new generation of civil reactors.

According to the memo, written by the deputy Austrian ambassador in London, Christoph Weidinger, this has sparked a diplomatic row that could “escalate” when Vienna submits its appeal.

The memo says that a senior Foreign Office official, Vijay Rangarajan, threatened three legal counter-challenges to Austria’s energy practices, a move environmental campaigners at Greenpeace blasted as “bullying”.

Details of the exchange, which occurred last month, come as David Cameron is due to meet the Austrian chancellor, Werner Faymann, at a summit  in Brussels today.

Warning that the Austrian challenge will have “negative effects on bilateral relations, because there would be strength of feeling, up to the PM”, the UK is said to have demanded a meeting to explain the damage that Austria could face.

Mr Weidinger said that the UK will complain that Austria’s decision to make electricity distributors mark the source of electricity on bills, allowing householders to snub any energy originating from nuclear stations, violated internal market rules.

Mr Rangarajan is alleged to have warned that the UK will also investigate whether Austria’s challenge to the EDF deal violates an existing treaty and will try to force Austria to take a larger share of electricity from sustainable sources than its European neighbours.

The subisdy deal, which EDF wanted before it risked billions building the plant, involves the UK guaranteeing the French a minimum price for every unit of electricity generated from Hinkley.

The memo states: “The UK has obviously started, including the use of the UK Embassy in Vienna… with systematic preparation of counter measures to damage Austria.”

David Lowry, an environmental consultant, said: “It’s extraordinary that the Foreign Office has gone to this level of diplomatic incident in order to protect the unsustainable.”

A Whitehall source said the UK there was no “bullying” involved. A government spokeswoman said: “We have no reason to believe that Austria, or any other party, is preparing a case which has any merit.”

February 13, 2015 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

EDF’s financial problems delay decision on proposed new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point

Hinkley-nuclear-power-plantEDF Energy delays Hinkley Point nuclear decision French power firm’s plans to build first British atomic reactors in almost 30 years suffers further setback Guardian, , 13 feb 15 The timetable surrounding the construction of Britain’s first new atomic reactors in almost 30 years has once again been blown off course, its developer, EDF Energy, has admitted. The setback came as the French-owned generator and supply company reported a 25% slump in operating profits for 2014 to £863m, which it blamed on challenging market conditions.

EDF had originally promised to tie up a new deal with financial backers and then take a final investment decision on the proposed new plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset by the middle of last year. This date was later revised to March 2015.

But in a new statement, the largely state-owned energy group said a final investment decision might only be possible in a matter of months, and it had still not finalised talks with Chinese financial backers……….

Meanwhile, there is growing speculation that Chinese investors are hardening the terms under which they would be willing to help underwrite some of the cost of the new plant. China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear Power Corporation are expected to be minority shareholders in the project, but are also pushing for commitments to build and operate their own plant at Bradwell in Essex.

EDF has declined to confirm that it too is trying to limit the financial damage through compensation from the UK government should there be a successful legal challenge in the European courts by Austria to the UK subsidy arrangement.

Critics of the £24.5bn nuclear programme in Somerset have highlighted the industry’s poor track record for constructing facilities on time and on budget. They have questioned whether Hinkley Point C reactors would able to meet their timetable of opening for operations in 2023.

EDF has already run into problems with a new project at Flamanville in Normandy, while another project in Finland, the European pressurised reactor, which uses the same design as Hinkley, is also massively behind its original timetable.

Financial problems at its French design partner, Areva, have not helped the sense of uncertainty surrounding EDF’s nuclear ambitions,……http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/12/edf-energy-delays-hinkley-point-nuclear-decision

February 13, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | 1 Comment

Japan unable to stop highly radioactive waste from flowing out of Fukushima reactors

Pacific-Ocean-drainJapan TV: Failure at Fukushima — Cement not stopping highly contaminated nuclear waste from flowing out of reactor buildings — IAEA: Radioactive releases from plant into ocean “a challenging issue” — Officials: Don’t know what to do next, or how this will affect whole ‘decommissioning’ project (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/japan-tv-failure-fukushima-cement-stopping-highly-contaminated-nuclear-waste-flowing-reactor-buildings-iaea-radioactive-releases-plant-ocean-challenging-issue-officials-dont-next-will-affect?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

NHK World transcript excerpts, Feb. 9, 2015: Managers of Japan’s damaged nuclear plant are facing another delay in dealing with a major source of contamination. They’re working on blocking the flow of radioactive water from reactor buildings to underground tunnels. TEPCO officials met with members of the Nuclear Regulation Authority [which] approved a plan to delay the project… Workers were supposed to remove the highly radioactive water… and after that they would have filled in the tunnels with cement. However, efforts to block the flow of water failed. Engineers need to fill in some gaps that may be left in the area where the tunnels and reactor buildings meet. The setback will likely affect a second project to build an ice wall around the 4 damaged reactor buildings. Tepco officials say they’re already 2 weeks to a month behind schedule on that work.

NHK, Feb. 9, 2015: The workers poured cement into the tunnels while draining contaminated water. But blocking the water was not successful as it continued to flow through the buildings… They say they do not yet know how the latest delay will affect the whole decommissioning project. They are still studying the next steps they need to take.

Kyodo News, Feb 2, 2015: … the project to build a huge underground ice wall — a key measure to prevent radioactive water from further building up at the site — and other operations will likely be delayed by up to a month, it added…TEPCO initially planned to finish constructing the 1.5-kilometer frozen wall around the buildings housing the Nos. 1 to 4 reactors…by the end of next month.

Al Jazeera, Feb 9, 2015: The UN’s nuclear watchdog* says contaminated water leaking from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is still “a challenging issue”. The IAEA is reviewing work to decommission the plant… Tepco is criticized with its handling of radioactive water leaks into the Pacific Ocean.

* IAEA the “UN’s nuclear watchdog”? CNNABCHarvard researchers, and even the UN itself, say yes. Perhaps they should consult with the head of the IAEA on the matter: “I have tried to address some widespread misconceptions in the media about the IAEA’s role in nuclear safety… we are not a ‘nuclear safety watchdog’.” A Bloomberg report on the IAEA notes, “The agency’s safety division garnered little respect in US diplomatic cables that describedthe department as a marketing channel for countries seeking to sell atomic technologyThe IAEA’s own mission [is] to promote atomic power.

Watch: NHK | Al Jazeera | Tepco PR video

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

The battle by Indigenous Canadians against the uranium industry

the National Academies of Sciences have found conclusively that any exposure to ionizing radiation will increase the risks of developing cancer.

Calls for baseline and epidemiological health studies on the impacts of uranium mining and milling on nearby communities have gone unanswered by both government and industry since the 1970s. 

nuke-indigenousIndigenous Canadians Are Fighting the Uranium Mining Industry, VICE February 11, 2015 by Michael Toledano On November 22, 2014, a small group of Dene trappers called the Northern Trappers Alliance set up a checkpoint on Saskatchewan’s Highway 955, allowing locals to pass while blockading the industrial traffic of tar sands and uranium exploration companies. On December 1, officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police descended on the site with an injunction from the province and forcibly dismantled the blockade.

Eighty days later, the trappers remain camped on the side of the highway in weather that has routinely dipped below -40 C. They are constructing a permanent cabin on the site that will be a meeting place for Dene people and northern land defenders.

“We want industry to get the hell out of here and stop this killing,” said Don Montgrand, who has been at the encampment since day one and was named as one of its leaders on the police injunction. “We want this industry to get the hell out before we lose any more people here. We lose kids, adults, teenagers.”

“They’re willing to stay as long as it takes to get the point across that any of this kind of development is not going to be welcomed,” said Candyce Paul, the alliance’s spokesperson and a member of the anti-nuclear Committee for the Future Generations. “It’s indefinite.”

“We don’t want to become a sacrifice zone. That’s where we see ourselves heading.”

The trappers say an unprecedented rise in cancer is the legacy of contamination from nearby uranium mines. With significant tar sands and uranium deposits in their area, the trappers are developing a long-term strategy to halt the industrial growth threatening to deform their surroundings and scare away the wildlife they depend on for food, income, and culture.

About an hour north of the alliance’s location, a recent discovery by Fission Uranium Corp. could lead to the development of one of the world’s largest high-grade uranium mines.

Further north, abandoned and decommissioned uranium mines already host millions of tons of radioactive dust (also known as tailings) that must be isolated from the surrounding environment for millennia, while no cleanup plans exist for the legacy of severe and widespread watershed contamination that is synonymous with Uranium City, Saskatchewan. To the east, “an integrated uranium corridor spreading over 250 kilometers” hosts the largest high-grade uranium mines and mills in the world, with their own stockpiles of radioactive tailings and a decades-long history of radioactive spills…….

The province is looking to indigenous lands in the north for new bitumen and mineral mines, a high-level nuclear waste dump site, and the construction of nuclear reactors to encourage “environmentally responsible” tar sands extraction by exporting energy to Alberta.

“We know the government really doesn’t care about the northern people. They would rather see us move out of our region,” Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Canada, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

More approvals still needed for restart of two Japanese nuclear reactors

flag-japanTwo more Japan nuclear reactors get safety clearance TOKYO Thu Feb 12, 2015 (Reuters) Japan’s atomic regulator on Thursday cleared a second set of reactors for restart, another step towards returning the country to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster of 2011 led to the shutdown of all units.

Two reactors at the Takahama nuclear station operated by Kansai Electric Power, Japan’s most nuclear-reliant utility before Fukushima, passed the basic standards for operation, Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) commissioners said at a meeting.

They must still get approval from the NRA on design upgrades and go through operational checks, as well as get the greenlight from local authorities to restart……..

Japan’s public remains opposed to atomic power, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has been pushing to restart nuclear reactors that meet strict rules set after the Fukushima disaster. http://in.reuters.com/article/2015/02/12/japan-nuclear-restarts-idINKBN0LG07C20150212

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Obama – Modi discussions resulted in no deal for USA nuclear salesmen

The same stumbling block over parallel safeguards in perpetuity has held up India’s conclusion of nuclear deals with Japan and Australia

market-disappointedIndia’s bitter experience over the 1984 gas leak from an American-owned Bhopal city plant that killed about as many people as the Fukushima disaster. Indeed, Japan’s dual liability laws, which indemnify suppliers and make plant operators exclusively liable, should serve as a sobering lesson for India: GE built or designed all the three Fukushima reactors that suffered core meltdowns in 2011, yet the U.S. firm went scot-free, despite a fundamental design deficiency in the reactors.

With complex legal, pricing and other issues still pending, the deal’s commercialization is anything but imminent. In fact, the two sides are yet to sign the administrative arrangements, which they announced had been “finalized.”

It is an open question whether the deal will ever yield substantive energy benefits for India, given the exorbitant price of foreign-origin reactors, the concomitant need for India to heavily subsidize the electricity from such plants, and grassroots safety concerns over the Fukushima-type multi-plant nuclear parks earmarked by India for Westinghouse, GE-Hitachi and Areva, each of which is to sell prototype LWR models presently not in operation anywhere in the world.

The U.S.-India nuclear breakthrough that wasn’t, Japan Times 12 Feb 15 BY BRAHMA CHELLANEY  During U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent India visit, a stalled, decade-old civil nuclear deal took center-stage, with the two sides announcing a breakthrough on the contentious issues blocking its implementation — a development that promised to potentially open the path for a Japan-India nuclear deal. It now appears that the breakthrough was more hype than reality and that there is little prospect of the U.S.-India deal’s early commercialization……..

it has now become apparent that the U.S. and India are still locked in negotiations to tie up loose ends and that the much-trumpeted breakthrough was little more than an effort to project a substantive advance during a presidential visit rich in pageantry and symbolism. Obama was the chief guest at India’s Jan. 26 Republic Day parade, a year after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had that honor.

While claiming a breakthrough, neither side released any details, including on how another sticking point had been resolved: a U.S. demand that New Delhi accept nuclear-material tracking and accounting arrangements Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | India, marketing, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

India’s Nuclear Liability Law is a major deterrent to USA Nuclear companies

market-disappointedfor the U.S., the “right to recourse” clause remains a major deterrent.
India will continue to rely on its own law covering nuclear liability, which it blankly refuses to “dilute,” as officials told the U.S. energy dialogue delegation in March.
India’s Nuclear Liability Law: Breakthrough for Russia, Stalemate Endures for U.S. http://www.powermag.com/indias-nuclear-liability-law-breakthrough-for-russia-stalemate-endures-for-u-s/  05/01/2014 | Sonal Patel India and Russia on Apr. 1 said they had devised a significant deal that will allow the first import of nuclear reactors in India, despite India’s 2010-passed nuclear liability law that allows nuclear power plant operators to hold a supplier responsible for an accident if the cause is blamed on equipment defects.

The law has stalled the implementation of deals for new reactors that India signed with the U.S., Russia, and France in 2008, when the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) allowed India to import nuclear fuel technology without being a member of the multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation. India said the breakthrough deal with Russia reached this April after four years of negotiations takes into account the liability law when pricing four more Russian reactors meant for India’s Kundankulam plant in Tamil Nadu (each of which is valued at $2.5 billion) as well as four or six other VVER-1200 units planned for Haripur, West Bengal. The deal essentially calls for India’s public sector General Insurance Co. to evaluate each component of the Russian reactors and prescribe a 20-year insurance premium it will charge to cover Russia’s liability for an accident.

Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom reportedly has indemnity from any liability arising from an accident at the VVER-1000s at Kundankulam Unit 1 (Figure 2), which attained criticality in July 2013 and is expected to come online later this year, and Unit 2, expected to be operational in October 2014. Observers note that contracts for those plants were signed in 1998, before India’s domestic liability legislation had even been contemplated.

Before Indian legislation on civil nuclear liability—The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill—finally passed both houses of parliament in August 2010, exempting suppliers from all liability had been India’s typical practice, starting in 1962, when India signed its first nuclear cooperation agreement with the U.S. to allow General Electric to supply two 200-MW reactors to India’s Tarapur site. The practice of liability exemption was modeled on America’s own 1957-passed nuclear liability law, the Price Anderson Act, and went on to extend indemnity protection to Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. for two reactors in Rajasthan in 1965, and later to Russia. Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | India, Legal, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Risky Radioactive Trash Shipments Would be Terrorist Targets 

Public Citizen outlined five key objections to the plan, most of which were raised by Texas’s own Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) last year:

radiation-truck1. Waste shipments would be targets for sabotage or blackmail by terrorists. TCEQ noted that the waste is more vulnerable to accidents or attacks while in transit than if left it where it is, because security is lighter then and fewer radiation shields would be available. Shipments from reactors around the country — passing through dozens of population centers — could last over 24 years. The Energy Dept. estimates that there would be about 10,700 shipments if done by rail; about 53,000 shipments (others say 100,000) if done by truck.

2. WCS would have only limited liability, while the public would be put at risk from transport accidents, leaks and terrorism.

3. So-called “short-term” storage may become permanent — an unearned trophy for the nuclear industry. The complex scientific analysis required for any permanent waste site would take about 10 years and has not been done.

4. The WCS site is too close to the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water to eight states.

safety-symbol-SmFlag-USAHigh-Level Rad Waste Dump Called “All Risk and No Reward for Texas” http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/02/11/high-level-rad-waste-dump-called-all-risk-and-no-reward-for-texas/
by JOHN LAFORGE

A high-level radioactive waste “parking lot” — proposed for West Texas — poses both terrible and unnecessary risks for people throughout the country — Texas in particular — and should not be built.

That’s the position of a coalition of public interest groups that declared its opposition to the plan February 9. Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

AREVA joins US Waste firm to cash in on radioactive trash storage

areva-medusa1AREVA and WCS Sign Agreement for Independent Interim Used Nuclear Fuel Storage Site http://www.newswiretoday.com/news/150345/   NewswireToday – /newswire/ – Paris, Ile-de-France, France, 2015/02/10 – AREVA has signed an agreement with Waste Control Specialists LLC (WCS) to assist with their license application and environmental report for the construction of an interim used nuclear fuel storage facility – WCSTexas.com / AREVA.com.

WCS filed a letter of intent on February 6, 2015 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stating their intention to seek a license to operate an offsite Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation at their 14,000-acre facility in Andrews, TX.

WCS filed a letter of intent on February 6, 2015 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) stating their intention to seek a license to operate an offsite Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation at their 14,000-acre facility in Andrews, TX.

“AREVA is pleased to provide WCS with its licensing experience and global expertise for the safe storage, transport andmoney-in-nuclear--wastes management of used nuclear fuel,” said David Jones, senior vice president, of AREVA’s Back End division, North America. “This initiative, which already has the consent of local stakeholders, will deliver an economically viable option for used fuel management while more permanent solutions are addressed.”

AREVA (areva.com) is a global leader in the transportation and storage of used nuclear fuel. More than 40% of American utilities use AREVA’s advanced NUHOMS® horizontal storage technology. The group has already sold 900 storage canisters in the U.S., making it the leading supplier for this solution.

 

February 13, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Fossil fuel lobby rattled by the rapid rise of the divestment movement

the long-term prospects for the fossil fuel industry look uncertain at the very least. But don’t take my word for it, thepresident of the World Bank and the governor of the Bank of England have among others warned of the risk posed to fossil fuel assets by climate change action.

The divestment movement does not seek to financially bankrupt the vastly wealthy fossil fuel industry. Instead, the campaign is aiming for moral bankruptcy and is supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who testifies to the power of divestment in helping defeat apartheid in South Africa.

With their opponents now taking the threat of divestment seriously, the campaigners will be hoping to they are another step closer to the final stage of Ghandi’s analysis: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

fossil-fuel-fightback-1Fossil fuel lobby goes on the attack against divestment movement Guardian,   12 Feb 15 The speed at which the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing seems to have rattled its opponents in the coal and oil lobbies “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you,” said Mahatma Gandhi. The climate change campaign to divest from fossil fuels seems to be moving through those stages at express speed, with a sudden barrage of attacks from the coal and oil lobbies ahead of its global divestment day on Valentine’s day.

The speed is appropriate given that the campaign, which argues the fossil fuel industry is a danger to both the climate and investors’ capital, is the fastest growing divestment campaign yet seen, moving quicker than those against tobacco and apartheid. It’s moving fast in the financial world too, with one finance executive calling it “one of the fastest-moving debates I think I’ve seen in my 30 years in markets”. Continue reading

February 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Refuting the climate denialists’ conspiracy theories on global warming

climate-changeFiddling with global warming conspiracy theories while Rome burns  The latest global warming conspiracy theory of ‘fiddling with the data’ is nonsense. Guardian, , 12 Feb 15 It shouldn’t need to be said, but the Earth really is warming. Air and oceantemperatures are rising fast, ice is melting across the planet, ecosystems are shiftingsea levels are rising, and so on.

The latest zombie climate myth to rise from the dead involves the oldest form of global warming denial. It’s a conspiracy theory that the Earth isn’t really warming; rather, fraudulent climate scientists are “fiddling” with the data to introduce a false warming trend…..

In reality climate scientists process the raw temperature data for very good reasons. Sometimes temperature monitoring station locations move. Sometimes the time of day at which they’re read changes. Sometimes changes are made to the instruments themselves. In each case, if adjustments aren’t made, then biases will be included in the data that don’t reflect actual changes in temperatures.

Richard Muller at UC Berkeley was skeptical that climate scientists were doing all these adjustments correctly, so he assembled the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) team to check the data for themselves. The biggest initial financial contribution to the project came from the Koch brothers.

As Muller discusses in the video below [see original article] , his team confirmed that the Earth’s surface temperatures are warming. In fact, BEST finds that NASA, NOAA, and the UK Met Office have slightly underestimated the warming over the past 15 years…..

This particular conspiracy theory is an old one, but it’s easy to understand its origins. Certain groups have an ideological opposition to the government policies that would solve the global warming problem. If the problem doesn’t exist because scientists are fudging the data, then voilà, those distasteful policies aren’t necessary.

Global warming denial can usually be traced back to this sort of ideological bias. That’s why contrarian attempts at scientific arguments like Booker’s are so poor,contradictory, and transparently wrong. These myths are just a means to an end; that end being the opposition to climate policies. Any argument that seems to justify that climate opposition will suffice, no matter how flimsy.

Unfortunately, the problem we face is a real one. Scientists only make adjustments to the data where they’re scientifically justified. The accuracy of those adjustments has been confirmed over and over and over again. And the adjustments slightly reduce the long-term global warming trend. Moreover, even if you distrust it, “fiddling” with data doesn’t make ice melt or sea levels rise. Nature’s thermometers register global warming too…….

As a society we’ve usually been smart enough to acknowledge the dangers we face and take action to mitigate them, even with environmental threats. When people resort to conspiracy theories and slip into denial, it’s time to stop listening to them and instead look for serious voices who are trying to find palatable solutions to the problemhttp://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/feb/11/fiddling-with-global-warming-conspiracies-while-rome-burns

Climate change is the one massive and unrelentlingly growing threat to life on this planet. However the threat from nuclear war and nuclear accidents is an equal threat, and could even bring rapid climate change.

Some new converts to the idea of climate change are the proponents of the nuclear industry, who claim, (quite incorrectly) to have the cure for climate change. In fact, to go down the “nuclear power cure” route, is to give the fossil fuel industries more time, while we all wait for this spurious cure 

February 13, 2015 Posted by | climate change, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy + Storage a better option for Ontario than Nuclear Power

Is nuclear refurbishment Ontario’s best option?, Corporate Knights, BY TYLER HAMILTON FEBRUARY 11, 2015 A renewables and energy storage combo could do the job and shouldn’t be ignored, a Navius Research analysis argues. ances are slim that shiny new nuclear plants will be built in Ontario. High upfront costs and a history of delays and cost overruns are among the reasons “new builds” will likely never happen in the province.

But there remains widespread debate over plans to refurbish existing reactors at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Clarington, about an hour east of Toronto.

Ontario Power Generation, the province-owned electricity generator, is determined to rebuild the cores of four reactors at the Darlington site. Together, the four reactors represent about 3,500 megawatts of generating capacity and refurbishing them will extend their lives by about 30 years.

The utility estimates the project will carry a final price tag of $12.9 billion once completed a little over a decade from now. Is that a deal for Ontario ratepayers, or is there a better, less risky, and just as climate-friendly alternative?

Let’s put aside the standard anti-nuclear talking points about the risk of a Fukushima-style accident or the challenges and unknown costs involved with storing highly toxic nuclear waste far into the future. A new case study done by Vancouver-based Navius Research calls into question the wisdom of Ontario’s refurbishment plan in a world where solar power and energy storage costs are falling dramatically.

The Navius report, using a detailed model of Ontario’s electricity system that accounts for the current mix and performance of energy generation, simulated the grid for a full year under a variety of different conditions to see how it would respond.

It found that renewables in combination with the right amount of energy storage – in this case, compressed air energy storage (CAES) – and a small amount of natural gas generation would result in “equivalent GHGs and quite similar electricity system costs” compared to nuclear refurbishment……..

the findings are compelling enough that it should give Ontario pause before taking the plunge with Darlington, …….http://www.corporateknights.com/channels/utilities-energy/nuclear-refurbishment-ontarios-best-option/

February 13, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, renewable | Leave a comment

Despite safety concerns, China resuming construction of nuclear plants 

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, 12 Feb 15 BEIJING–Facing growing energy demands and struggling against air pollution, China this year plans to resume full-scale construction of nuclear power plants for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011.

The country’s target is to triple the electricity generation capacity of its nuclear power plants to 58 gigawatts by 2020. That figure would approach the level of France, whose current nuclear generation capacity is second only to that of the United States.

But the variety of reactors that China wants to fire up has raised concerns that workers and engineers will be ill-prepared if a disaster strikes………

In November 2014, China’s National Development and Reform Commission applied to the Standing Committee of the State Council for permission to build six nuclear reactors in the coastal area of Shidao Bay and other regions. The six include China’s first domestically produced third-generation reactors and new-type reactors with little actual operating experience.

Some government officials are cautious about approving the application…….

In China, three major state-run operators of nuclear power plants have adopted separate technologies from the United States, France and Russia. The various types of reactors and technologies used in China have sparked concerns about safety at the nuclear plants.

In addition, workers at nuclear plants in China have had little experience in dealing with emergencies. Critics also say that the nurturing of nuclear engineers in the country is not keeping pace with the rapid increase in the number of nuclear reactors.

(This article was written by Nozomu Hayashi and Tokuhiko Saito.) http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201502120074

February 13, 2015 Posted by | China, safety | Leave a comment