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Cone of silence about Fukushima, as Abe prepares for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

But, wait a moment, where’s the corium?

Corium is a lava-like radioactive hot molten mix of a nuclear reactor core formed during a meltdown. The corium is missing at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant No. 2. Nobody knows where it is. Nobody knows! Better yet, or rather worse yet, finding No.2’s melted core is an ongoing challenge of enormous, humongous proportions, kinda like hovering at the edge of a Black Hole. What’s next?

cone-of-silence-FukushimaFukushima – a Hushed Up Catastrophe, CounterPunch, by ROBERT HUNZIKER , OCTOBER 30, 2015 The Fukushima disaster is radiantly exposed in the Pacific Ocean, but as for people behind the disaster, it is treated like the Manhattan Project, circa 1942… Top Secret!

Still, “Its against international law to dump radioactivity into the sea, but that is precisely what is happening on a daily basis,” according to Dr. Keith Baverstock, former regional adviser for Radiation and Public Health, World Health Organization (“WHO”), speaker at the Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on Radiation Protection, October 23, 2015.

As intimated by Dr. Baverstock, inexplicably Fukushima is immune to international law, standards, and conventions, and nobody cares enough to do anything about it.

Surely, nobody intentionally caused the disaster behind the meltdown, similar to a chain reaction of falling dominoes: an earthquake, tsunami, massive flooding, black-outs, loss of power, hydrogen explosions, nuclear meltdown, and four years of highly radioactive water spewing into the Pacific Ocean, and who knows what else or where else?

But, “cause” is not the issue with Fukushima. The issue is whether nuclear power is a satisfactory source of energy, whether it is safe. In that regard, Angela Merkel (61), PhD physics, University of Leipzig and current chancellor of Germany is shutting down all nuclear reactors because of the Fukushima incident. Germany favors renewable sources of energy like solar and wind. Meanwhile, Japan’s PM Abe (61), a graduate in political science from Seikei University, is reopening nuclear power plants as quickly as possible, proving that politics overrides science. Continue reading

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October 31, 2015 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

St Louis County becoming another USA radioactive Sacrifice Zone?

Flag-USASt. Louis Sacrifice Zone: Gov’t’s Secret ‘Catastrophic Event Plan’: Tons Radioactive Waste, 1000s Gallons Tainted Water-Spill, Fires, Before It’s News, October 29, 2015 Thousands of gallons of tainted water spilled Tuesday at the Bridgeton landfill near St. Louis, the second incident in days, as an underground fire could reach radioactive waste dump site in three to six months and seven churches have been set ablaze, increasing the development of another American sacrifice zone. Hundreds recently packed Bridgeton church, demanding to know why St. Louis County silently put an emergency plan for a potential “catastrophic event” at Bridgeton Landfill and adjacent West Lake landfill a year ago. Families are moving, becoming environmental refugees in their own country.

“We are not financially able to uproot our lives, but we’re forced to,” said Tonii Morris, who lives up the street from the Bridgeton landfill. “Staying here is not an option.”

Saturday, a fire broke out near an existing smoldering underground fire that is heading toward an old nuclear waste dump. A sewer pipe connecting Bridgeton Landfill to Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District treatment facilities overflowed, releasing thousands of gallons of sewage Tuesday. These come as churches in the same area are being burned. At least 20 families are no longer waiting for answers or repairs. They are refugees, among the first to be moving, or have moved.

landfill West Lake St Louis

“Tonnage of radiological waste at the Bridgeton-Westlake landfill exceeds Fukushima over 20 fold, and Chernobyl by 163 times. How diluted the Bridgeton nuclear waste is appears unknown,” says Mining Awareness Plus in a comprehensive report, Is the Missouri Landfill Fire a US Chernobyl or Fukushima in the Making?

Saturday afternoon, firefighters rushed to the landfill to extinguish a brush fire. The fire was caused by a faulty switch on an Ameren utility pole inside the landfill’s perimeter fence, Pattonville Fire Protection District’s Battalion Chief Ken Aydelott said. He said a switch overheated, causing hot metal to drop below and ignite the fire. The last small fire at the landfill was in February 2014.

At least 20 families plan to move soon due to the troubled landfills and conflicting reports, according to a questionnaire on a West Lake Facebook page that has grown by 10,000 members in the last month to over 17,000.

Despite officials saying the new leak of tainted water is contained, mothers from North Saint Louis County, outraged about their local landfill on the brink of a nuclear emergency, putting their families at risk, have taken to the streets in protest……..http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2015/10/st-louis-sacrifice-zone-catostrophic-event-plan-coverup-tons-of-radioaactive-waste-1000s-gallons-tainted-water-spill-fires-3235920.html?utm_campaign=&utm_source=https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2F4wD1rKreTN&utm_content=beforeit39snews-floatingtoolbar&utm_medium=twitter&utm_term=http%3A%2F%2Fb4in.info%2Fgoil

October 31, 2015 Posted by | incidents, safety, USA | Leave a comment

Outside Fukushima reactor containment vessel deadly 9.4 sieverts detected

exclamation-Smtext-radiationDeadly 9.4 sieverts detected outside Fukushima reactor 2 containment vessel; checks stop  http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/10/30/national/deadly-9-4-sieverts-detected-outside-fukushima-reactor-2-containment-vessel-checks-stop/#.VjPyu9IrLGj Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation levels of up to 9.4 sieverts per hour have been detected outside a reactor containment vessel at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

People exposed to the maximum radiation dose for some 45 minutes will die. Tepco expects decontamination work to take at least one month.

Sept. 4-25 checks found the extremely high radiation levels at a cell that accommodates a pipe connected to the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the plant, which was devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Tepco said.

The highest contamination was detected on the floor. Details behind the situation are unknown, according to the company. Tepco planned to start in August to check the inside of the containment vessel by using a remote-controlled robot but high radiation levels have stalled the examination.

Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.

October 31, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

USA’s radioactive waste pile-up is ‘constipating’ the nuclear industry

constipationBeyond Yucca Mountain: The present impasse and uncertain future of nuclear waste storage, SNL  By Andrew Coffman Smith, October 28, 2015

“If we don’t clean up the legacy of the past, there won’t be a nuclear future,”declared Mike Simpson, Idaho Congressman and chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, during an Oct. 27 panel discussion on the issue….Thirty-three years after Congress passed the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and several years after the defunding of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage project, America has yet to find a permanent home for its nuclear waste, and a panel of experts said the future of nuclear storage lay with consenting communities.

Simpson said not having a solution for the long term storage of nuclear waste in the U.S. is “constipating” the nuclear energy sector…..

While the House continues to include funding for Yucca Mountain in budget proposals every year, the Senate has instead followed the recommendations of a Blue Ribbon Commission set up in 2010 by President Barack Obama and examined alternatives to Yucca Mountain using a community consent-based approach, said Simpson…..

Simpson said the current refurbishing of New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, has led to a buildup of nuclear waste across the country at the expense of states because the facility cannot receive any more waste until the construction is completed. Simpson said that he expects that a surface facility will be built at WIPP to store the waste until the underground storage facilities at WIPP reopens to store nuclear waste in its deep geological repository.

Simpson also said the challenges faced in getting WIPP’s “relatively small” facility operating gives him great pause as to what will happen when the decision is made to operate the larger waste treatment plant in Hanford, Washington.

“We have to convince the American people that you can clean up this stuff that we have been doing for the last 50 years and the biggest challenge we face and the most eminent threat we face is probably at Hanford,” Simpson said.

Simpson said a third storage site that is in trouble is the Savannah River mixed oxide fuel facility, or MOX, in South Carolina that the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking to shut down. The DOE is seeking to have MOX’s uranium down blended and stored at WIPP or another location. Simpson said the problem with MOX is that the U.S. has an agreement with Russia that requires the existence of MOX and the support of both Russia and New Mexico is needed to transport the nuclear waste at MOX to WIPP…..

One of the things that we heard really pretty consistently across the country was a lack of confidence that the federal government was able or intended to live up to the commitments that it’s already made,” said Brailsford. “Once the waste is somewhere, that ‘somewhere’ has lost a lot of its bargaining power so how are you even going to hold the federal government’s feet to the fire to live up to what it has committed to?”

October 31, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Is the world ignoring the climate catastrophe of Indonesia’s fires?

media-propagandaGovernments ignore issues when the media ignores them.

one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

Indonesia is burning. So why is the world looking away?, Guardian  George Monbiot, 30 Oct 15  A great tract of Earth is on fire and threatened species are being driven out of their habitats. This is a crime against humanity and nature “……A great tract of Earth is on fire. It looks as you might imagine hell to be. The air has turned ochre: visibility in some cities has been reduced to 30 metres. Children are being prepared for evacuation in warships; already some have choked to death. Species are going up in smoke at an untold rate. It is almost certainly the greatest environmental disaster of the 21st century – so far.

Indonesia smoke 15

And the media? It’s talking about the dress the Duchess of Cambridge wore to the James Bond premiere, Donald Trump’s idiocy du jour and who got eliminated from the Halloween episode of Dancing with the Stars. The great debate of the week, dominating the news across much of the world? Sausages: are they really so bad for your health?

What I’m discussing is a barbecue on a different scale. Fire is raging across the 5,000km length of Indonesia. It is surely, on any objective assessment, more important than anything else taking place today. And it shouldn’t require a columnist, writing in the middle of a newspaper, to say so. It should be on everyone’s front page. It is hard to convey the scale of this inferno, but here’s a comparison that might help: it is currently producing more carbon dioxide than the US economy. And in three weeks the fires have released more CO2 than the annual emissions of Germany.

But that doesn’t really capture it. This catastrophe cannot be measured only in parts per million. The fires are destroying treasures as precious and irreplaceable as the archaeological remains being levelled by Isis. Orangutans, clouded leopards, sun bears, gibbons, the Sumatran rhinoceros and Sumatran tiger, these are among the threatened species being driven from much of their range by the flames. But there are thousands, perhaps millions, more.

One of the burning provinces is West Papua, a nation that has been illegally occupied by Indonesia since 1963. I spent six months there when I was 24,investigating some of the factors that have led to this disaster. At the time it was a wonderland, rich with endemic species in every swamp and valley. Who knows how many of those have vanished in the past few weeks? This week I have pored and wept over photos of places I loved that have now been reduced to ash.

Nor do the greenhouse gas emissions capture the impact on the people of these lands. After the last great conflagration, in 1997, there was a missing cohort in Indonesia of 15,000 children under the age of three, attributed to air pollution. This, it seems, is worse. The surgical masks being distributed across the nation will do almost nothing to protect those living in a sunless smog. Members of parliament in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) have had to wear face masksduring debates. The chamber is so foggy that they must have difficulty recognising one another.

It’s not just the trees that are burning. It is the land itself. Much of the forest sits on great domes of peat. When the fires penetrate the earth, they smoulder for weeks, sometimes months, releasing clouds of methane, carbon monoxide, ozone and exotic gases such as ammonium cyanide. The plumes extend for hundreds of miles, causing diplomatic conflicts with neighbouring countries.

Why is this happening? Indonesia’s forests have been fragmented for decades by timber and farming companies. Canals have been cut through the peat to drain and dry it. Plantation companies move in to destroy what remains of the forest to plant monocultures of pulpwood, timber and palm oil. The easiest way to clear the land is to torch it. Every year, this causes disasters. But in an extreme El Niño year like this one, we have a perfect formula for environmental catastrophe……..

Governments ignore issues when the media ignores them. And the media ignores them because … well, there’s a question with a thousand answers, many of which involve power. But one reason is the complete failure of perspective in a de-skilled industry dominated by corporate press releases, photo ops and fashion shoots, where everyone seems to be waiting for everyone else to take a lead. The media makes a collective non-decision to treat this catastrophe as a non-issue, and we all carry on as if it’s not happening.

At the climate summit in Paris in December the media, trapped within the intergovernmental bubble of abstract diplomacy and manufactured drama, will cover the negotiations almost without reference to what is happening elsewhere. The talks will be removed to a realm with which we have no moral contact. And, when the circus moves on, the silence will resume. Is there any other industry that serves its customers so badly?

A fully linked version of this article can be found at monbiot.com http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/30/indonesia-fires-disaster-21st-century-world-media

October 31, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Nobody knows what to do with Fukushima nuclear reactors’ corium – melted fuel

Fukushima – a Hushed Up Catastrophe, CounterPunch, by ROBERT HUNZIKER , OCTOBER 30, 2015 “……..As the situation now stands, what if the corium leaked or leaks into the ground beneath the reactor’s final cement & steel containment vessel, the last line of defense? Answer: Nobody knows because it has never happened before, but the smell test says it can’t be good; in fact, it’s gotta be awful, really awful and deadly out of control, impossible to stop.

Tragically, nobody knows what to do. They really don’t.

Still, here’s what sources claim probably happens when a nuclear meltdown hits pay dirt, immersing into Earth: Some isotopes uncontrollably spread erratically, for example, Cesiun-137, which is deadly toxic to all life forms, and only one of many dangerous isotopes, is water-soluble and makes its way into soils and waters and quickly becomes ubiquitous in the ecosystem; that’s what happens, “ubiquitous in the ecosystem.”

Thereafter, assuming a situation similar to Chernobyl (1986), an exclusion zone is established to keep everybody out due to excessive levels of radiation. But, questions like how big of an exclusion zone and how prolific the underground hot radioactive corium reacts nobody knows how to answer. When Ihor Gramotkin, director of the Chernobyl Power Plant was asked how soon the Chernobyl reactor site would be inhabitable again, he replied: “At least 20,000 years,” Eben Harrell, Apocalypse Today: Visiting Chernobyl, 25 Years Later, Time Magazine, April 26, 2011.

Nevertheless, the Abe government is already moving people back into some of the four-year-old exclusion zones of Fukushima………… http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/30/fukushima-a-hushed-up-catastrophe/

 

October 31, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

2016 GOP presidential field is a hotbed of science denial

Watch 2 GOP Presidential Candidates Call Out Their Party for Denying Science http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2015/10/graham-pataki-climate-change-cnbc-debate Real talk on Flag-USAclimate change and vaccines. —By  | Wed Oct. 28, 2015 Theballot-boxSm—especially when it comes to the most high-profile candidates. Jeb Bush once called himself a global warming “skeptic.” According to one prominent climate scientist, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s declaration that the planet has stopped warming is “a load of claptrap…absolute bunk.” And then there’s Donald Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax” and also used last month’s GOP debate to falsely suggest that vaccines cause autism.

But on Wednesday evening, a couple of long-shot Republican contenders got a chance to set the scientific record straight during CNBC’s debate. “You don’t have to believe that climate change is real,” said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. “I have been to the Antarctic. I have been to Alaska. I am not a scientist, and I’ve got the grades to prove it. But I’ve talked to the climatologists of the world, and 90 percent of them are telling me the greenhouse gas effect is real, that we’re heating up the planet.”

Still, Graham took a thinly veiled shot at President Barack Obama’s climate policies. “I just want a solution that would be good for the economy, that doesn’t destroy it,” he said. (Watch his statements above.)

A few minutes later, former New York Gov. George Pataki delivered an even stronger pro-science statement. “One of the things that troubles me about the Republican Party is too often we question science that everyone accepts,” said Pataki. “I mean, it’s ridiculous that in the 21st century we’re questioning whether or not vaccines are the appropriate way to go. Of course they are. And it’s also not appropriate to think that human activity, putting CO2 into the atmosphere, doesn’t make the Earth warmer—all things being equal. It does. It’s uncontroverted.” Pataki added that the solution to climate change isn’t “big government” and the “EPA shutting down factories,” but rather tax credits to encourage the private sector to develop clean energy.
Of course, Pataki and Graham weren’t on the big stage with the GOP front-runners. They are both polling so poorly that they were relegated to an earlier segment with the other also-rans. That’s too bad—whoever gets the party’s nomination is going to need to hear those sorts of scientific facts.

October 31, 2015 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Trident nuclear deterrent – Scottish Labor to vote on this

flag-ScotlandScottish Labour to vote on abolishing Trident nuclear deterrent, Guardian, , 31 Oct 15 
Delegates back potentially divisive debate at conference on Sunday, as Jeremy Corbyn attacks SNP record 
The Scottish Labour party is to vote on abolishing Britain’s nuclear deterrent after delegates voted heavily in favour of a debate on the Trident missile system.

The decision to debate cancelling Trident’s replacement at Scottish Labour’s annual conference this weekend came as activists applauded calls from Jeremy Corbyn for the party to embrace “the sunshine of socialism”.

On Friday, delegates overwhelmingly backed calls from constituency parties to hold a potentially divisive vote on Trident’s renewal on Sunday: the party’s leadership is split on the issue, with unions and MSPs at loggerheads.

In his first speech to Scottish Labour as leader of the UK party, Corbyn attacked the Scottish National party’s track record in government in the runup to next May’s Holyrood elections, insisting only Labour had a vision for a more equalScotland……..

The Scottish Labour debate on Trident will present party leaders with a significant political challenge whichever way it goes, so they are putting heavy emphasis on the merits of the party reaching an open, democratic decision…….

While delegates to Labour’s UK conference saw Trident as a less important issue, and failed to debate it, scrapping Trident has risen much further up the political agenda on the Scottish left.

Voting to scrap Trident would appeal to many Scottish leftwing voters, helping Labour take on the SNP in the Holyrood elections,……

The wording of the Trident motion will not be finalised until Saturday and it remains unclear whether delegates to the Perth conference will vote to abolish it, but party leaders are bracing themselves for a heavy vote against Trident’s renewal……http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/oct/30/scottish-labour-conference-votes-debate-trident-nuclear-deterrent-renewal

October 31, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerned about cyber security – is making new rules

US readies new rules for nuclear reactors, The Hill By Cory  Bennett – 10/30/15 The government is moving forward with new cybersecurity requirements for nuclear power plants. The rules will require greater reporting of cyber incidents in the hopes of better understanding the digital threats facing nuclear reactors…….

In an effort to get ahead of this threat, the cyber-attack, an independent regulatory agency, on Friday released a new set of reporting requirements. The increased information will aid in the NRC’s “analysis of the reliability and effectiveness” of cybersecurity programs for nuclear power reactors, according to a Federal Register notice.

Heightened awareness of this threat is increasingly important as governments start to target nuclear plants in their burgeoning offensive cyber programs. It’s widely believed the U.S. and Israel were behind a 2010 cyberattack that crippled nearly one-fifth of Iran’s nuclear centrifuges.More recently, South Korea accused North Korea of hacking into one of its nuclear plants. The intrusion exposed sensitive data, but didn’t endanger the plant’s reactors.

A recent report also warned that the nuclear industry is in a “culture of denial” over these hacking risks.

Chatham House, an international affairs think tank, spent 18 months interviewing top nuclear officials and investigating nuclear power plants around the world. The results were not comforting.

“Cybersecurity is still new to many in the nuclear industry,” Caroline Baylon, the report’s author,told the Financial Times earlier this month. “They are really good at safety and, after 9/11, they’ve got really good at physical security. But they have barely grappled with cyber.” Many plants still have control systems linked to the Internet, for example, exposing nuclear reactors to potential digital hijackings.

Overall, the report found 50 cyber incidents at nuclear plants, some of which nearly led to meltdowns. For instance, the safety system at an Alabama nuclear plant was overwhelmed with network traffic, almost triggering a catastrophe……http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/258663-white-house-updates-nuclear-plants-cyber-requirements

October 31, 2015 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

Australia boosting coal industry while it seeks to be co-chair of the Green Climate Fund

Australia bids to co-chair the Green Climate Fund criticised by Tony Abbott, Canberra Times,  October 30, 2015  Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has launched a bid for Australia to co-chair the Green Climate Fund that former prime minister Tony Abbott once criticised as “a Bob Brown bank on an international scale”.

A decision on who the next two co-chairs of the fund will be is expected to be made in Zambia late next week. The co-chair positions are typically held by one developing and one developed country for a period of one year. Fairfax Media has learnt that Ms Bishop first proposed Australia put its name forward to co-chair the fund when Mr Abbott was still prime minister.

Final approval for the bid was not, however, forthcoming until the Liberal Party switched to Malcolm Turnbull last month…….

Greens climate change spokeswoman Larissa Waters, however, said the decision to nominate for the co-chair position was hypocritical given that, in her view, Australia’s estimated fair share contribution should be $350 million annually.

“Australia has no credibility in overseeing the Green Climate Fund when this government is simultaneously trying to open the southern hemisphere’s largest coal mine in Queensland,” she said.

“We are the largest per capita emitter of carbon pollution of any developed country and the Turnbull government’s measly reduction targets will keep it that way.”

The bid comes ahead of a crucial climate conference that will be held in Paris at the end of this year, which Ms Bishop, Environment Minister Greg Hunt and possibly Mr Turnbull will attend. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-bids-to-cochair-the-green-climate-fund-criticised-by-tony-abbott-20151030-gkmvv6.html#ixzz3q5fTp7CX

October 31, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Legal case continues, with USS Reagan sailors ill from Fukushima radiation

Fukushima – a Hushed Up Catastrophe, CounterPunch, by ROBERT HUNZIKER , OCTOBER 30, 2015  “…….  the pro-nuke school of thought should contemplate: Two hundred U.S. sailors of the USS Reagan have a pending lawsuit against TEPCO, et al claiming that young sailors are already experiencing leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removals, brain cancer, brain tumors, testicular cancer, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, thyroid illness, stomach ailments and other complaints unusual in such young adults.

The sailors participated in “Operation Tomodachi,” providing humanitarian relief after the March 11th, 2011 Fukushima disaster based upon assurances that radiation levels were okay.

According to plaintiff’s attorneys, more sailors are in the process of coming on board as a tempest of nuclear radiation aftereffects spreads thru the ranks.

Then, it’s little wonder that Einstein prophetically stated: “The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophes.”

Unparalleled catastrophes, indeed! http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/10/30/fukushima-a-hushed-up-catastrophe/

October 31, 2015 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Small scale solar power opens up big future for millions in Tanzania

“People who have small shops no longer close their shops early because they don’t have electricity. They can now operate until late at night. The availability of solar electricity has helped control immigration of people to urban areas,” says alternative energy specialist Dr Brenda Kazimili at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The government now wants all health centres and dispensaries that are not connected to the grid countrywide to be provided with solar panels.

How Tanzania plans to light up a million homes with solar power, Guardian, , 29 Oct 15, In a country where only 40% of people have access to grid electricity, the government is looking to sunshine to power health centres and homes efore solar panels were installed at Masaki village’s only health centre, doctors, nurses and midwives had to use dim flashlights or the glow from their cellphones to deliver babies and treat night-time emergencies.

In one case in 2010, a man arrived late after a motorcycle accident and needed a wound stitching. As the nurse began the procedure by the light of her torch, she felt a cold slithering sensation against her legs.

A large black snake was moving across the dark, cement floor. The nurse fled, leaving the patient in the dark with the snake.

The work of the centre, which is five hours drive down a dirt track from the capital Dar es Salaam and serves a population of 1.5 million people in surrounding villages, is now transformed by a two kilowatt solar array installed on the roof at a cost of $15,000 (£9,700). And the government wants many more like it.

In February, it launched its One Million Solar Homes initiative to provide the sun’s power to 1m properties by 2017. Off Grid Electric, the Tanzanian company implementing the initiative, says it will provide power to 10% of the country’s homes. Currently, only 40% have access to grid power with access particularly sparse in rural areas.

The challenge across Africa is daunting. ……

Funding for the million homes initiative has come partly from the government’s Rural Energy Agency – which spends $400m a year – and international donors such as the World Bank. And in rural areas, microfinance organisations are now lending to allow householders to by solar panels. The total installation can cost up to $1,000.

“People who have small shops no longer close their shops early because they don’t have electricity. They can now operate until late at night. The availability of solar electricity has helped control immigration of people to urban areas,” says alternative energy specialist Dr Brenda Kazimili at the University of Dar es Salaam.

The government now wants all health centres and dispensaries that are not connected to the grid countrywide to be provided with solar panels.

Back at Masaki village health centre, the changes were much needed. “We’d begged for so long for solar power at this health centre. Life was unbearable here. We faced so many challenges and it was hard to work at night or do tests that required electricity,” said clinical officer Ahmed Mkamba.

“[Now] we have even installed a satellite dish to keep the health workers entertained after work. Mothers no longer have to be sent to far-away health centres to conduct simple tests and health workers don’t have to walk long distances simply to charge mobile phones.”

Health workers use the power from the solar panels (and the battery installed so that they can use the power at night) to run a computer which keeps patient records, to light the centre’s compound which covers about three or four acres of land and to operate HIV/Aids testing equipment. This means that patients no longer need to be sent to the district hospital 28km away.

And says Mkamba: “The lights keep away the snakes.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/oct/29/how-tanzania-plans-to-light-up-a-million-homes-with-solar-power

October 31, 2015 Posted by | AFRICA, decentralised | Leave a comment

United Arab Emirates leading the way on renewable energy

UAE is the example to follow on energy, the National ae,  October 29, 2015 ABU DHABI // The oil-rich countries of the region should follow the UAE’s example in recycling their wealth into renewable energy, the UK’s secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs said.

“The countries of this region have a choice,” said Philip Hammond at Masdar City on Thursday. “They can choose to do very little and hope climate change will not affect them, or take a lead from the UAE, investing in renewable energy and clean technology.”

Also speaking at the event was Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and chairman of Masdar, who said the UAE was committed to significantly increasing its use of renewable energy through the Intended Nationally-Determined Contribution plan it has submitted to the United Nations.

“Within the plan is the UAE’s national target to generate 24 per cent of its electricity from clean energy resources by 2021,” he said.

Mr Hammond praised the UAE’s investment in renewable energy domestically and globally as well as its ambitious plan of increasing its use of it. “Your target to achieve a quarter of your energy from clean sources within six years is bold and impressive,” said Mr Hammond.

While the UAE has the world’s seventh-largest reserves of oil and gas, Mr Hammond said it was to the nation’s credit that it was “already planning for a future beyond oil”.

The talk took place ahead of the global climate summit set to take place in Paris in December.

Mr Hammond said the time to invest in renewable energy was now, as climate change had the potential to significantly impact every country. “Climate change knows no borders and will respect no sovereignty,” he said. “While the UK would suffer from more extreme rainfall, storms and flooding, this region would be at risk from evermore extreme heat, water scarcity and drought.”

Adnan Amin, director general at the Masdar-based International Renewable Energy Agency, said that although significant strides had been made in the sector over the past decade, much more had to be done to prevent the global surface temperature increasing by 2ºC, which some experts said could be the tipping point to major climate change……..http://www.thenational.ae/uae/environment/uae-is-the-example-to-follow-on-energy 

October 31, 2015 Posted by | renewable, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment