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As Iran nuclear deal about to be implemented, wrangling continues

Iran nuclear deal: Implementation nears, but the sparring continues, Yahoo News, 18 Dec 15 Iran is moving faster than expected, the US says, raising the possibility of sanctions relief in January. But hard-line rhetoric persists on both sides. Just over five months since Iran and six world powers reached a landmark nuclear deal that was heralded as a historic choice of diplomacy over war, the tough rhetoric and frequent posturing that marked years of bitter negotiations persist.

News headlines remain full of claims and counter-claims linked to the accord – which limits Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for rolling back crippling economic sanctions – on issues as diverse as Iranian missile tests and American visa waivers.

And the battle between proponents and detractors has not abated: Those who struck the deal on both sides appear determined to fulfill its obligations even as hard-line opponents try to slow it down or halt it altogether.

US officials say Iran is moving faster than expected to dismantle key elements of its nuclear program, and Secretary of State John Kerry wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that Iran was taking steps in a “verifiable” way, and that “suspension of sanctions … is appropriate.”

That may mean first easing sanctions in January, much earlier than initial predictions of middle to late spring.

In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is fulfilling all its commitments and told Iranians that sanctions would be lifted in just over a month. He invited Iranians abroad and foreign companies to come and “profit from this opportunity,” and said “the way will be opened to greater cooperation with the world.”

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, told Reuters on Wednesday that, “If everything goes well, it is not impossible,” that the deal’s Implementation Day – when IAEA verification and lifting of sanctions take place simultaneously – could happen by the end of January.

How much progress has been made since the deal’s signing, and what potential pitfalls remain? Some questions and answers.

Q: What are the most recent signs of progress?

US officials say Iran has already dismantled 5,000 of its 19,000-plus centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium, and expect that the remaining 8,000 or so still due to be mothballed will be put in storage in coming weeks.

Iranian officials say they will also complete in coming weeks reconfiguration of the heavy water reactor at Arak, pouring concrete into its core and ensuring that the upgraded reactor will not produce weapons-grade plutonium – a separate possible pathway to a bomb.

Iran is also expected to ship 25,000 pounds of low-enriched uranium out of the country by the end of December. That move “alone will dramatically lengthen Iran’s breakout time” if it wanted to build a bomb, according to Stephen Mull, the senior US official in charge of implementing the deal, speaking on Thursday.

“The fact that they are doing it rather [more] quickly than many expected, I think we have a challenge to make sure that every step is verified perfectly,” Mr. Mull said at the Atlantic Council in Washington, shortly after testifying before the Senate. “There are a lot of moving pieces that we will have to stay on top of in the coming weeks.”

What about allegations of Iran’s past weapons work?

The IAEA on Tuesday formally ended its 13-year investigation into possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear work, endorsing a “final assessment” that paves the way for the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, to proceed.

The IAEA concluded that Iran had carried out a “range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” in an organized way until 2003, and ad hoc up to 2009. Those activities, it said, “did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies.”

Critics and backers of the deal recognize that result to be a partial fudge: Some questions asked by the IAEA were not fully answered by Iran – which has always denied any nuclear weapons effort – and yet the July deal requires the case be closed on Iran’s past activities, as it now has been…….

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Climate Change: brief news 24 December

Nations urged to improve climate pledges by April 2017
Date UN shuts book for signing Paris agreement is the moment for world to show it’s cutting carbon faster, says Dutch thinktank

After Paris accord, most US Republicans back action on climate.
A majority of U.S. Republicans who had heard of the international climate deal in Paris said they support working with other countries to curb global warming and were willing to take steps to do so, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday.

Eric Doherty: Will Trudeau’s infrastructure billions worsen climate crisis?
Given Trudeau’s statements on the seriousness of the climate crisis, you might expect that the multi-billion dollar infrastructure program he ran on in the election would already be targeted to reduce carbon pollution. You would be wrong.

Andrew C. Revkin: As documents show wider oil industry knowledge of CO2 climate impacts, a “take it back” proposal.
Documents show widespread awareness among industry scientists and trade association representatives of potential climate risks from a buildup of CO2. Now what?

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Shenzhen landslide part of a worrying trend of unsafe infractructure in developing countries

Is the Shenzhen landslide the first of many more? This is the first time experts know of a slide of construction waste, but it fits a pattern of catastrophes that have become endemic to developing countries, Guardian, , 23 Dec 15, The deadly landslide that buried part of the southern Chinese city of Shenzhenbeneath a tide of red mud on Monday may be a devastating new consequence of China’s urban explosion, an expert has warned.

The destruction of 94 acres of the Guangming New District, which had sprung from the rice paddies in just a few decades, was sudden but a long time in coming. Even as the the neighbourhoods and factories were being built, the mountain of refuse that would destroy it all was piling up.

Professor Dave Petley, pro-vice chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of East Anglia , said Shenzhen was the first time he had heard of a slide of construction waste. Almost always this type of accident can be traced back to the slag heaps of the mining industry. The government would now be scrambling to establish whether this was a one-off incident, or the first of more to come.

“To me, this is completely new,” he said. “Huge amounts of construction debris is being generated in China. This is being stored somewhere. Are there other dumps like this one? I don’t know the answer to that, but I think the Chinese authorities will need to know that pretty quickly.”

But while Shenzhen could set a dangerous new precedent, it fits a familiar pattern of landslide catastrophes that have become almost endemic to a group of developing countries where progress often trumps safety.

“These sort of waste-flow slides are depressingly frequent and entirely preventable. We repeatedly see big piles of man-made waste sliding and engulfing populations. Far more people are killed than people generally realise,” said Petley.

In the first major global survey of its kind, Petley recorded 2,620 fatal landslides and 32,322 deaths from 2004-2010. That’s 4,617 people buried alive every year. Just three weeks ago, more than 100 jade miners in Burma were buried as they slept in their quarters by a wall of sludge.

“More than 70% of landslides that kill people have an element of human cause,” he said. Although he added that it was difficult to say whether or not more fatal accidents were occurring today because the historical data is very poor……..

Particularly badly affected are China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This is in part because of the density of the population and the topography – steep, crowded Himalayan slopes are of course more prone than level plains.

The Asian region is experiencing the most rapid proliferation of urban humanity in history. The great sprawl of China’s cities has welcomed 500 million new people in the past three decades. Infrastructure is being thrown up with unmatched ferocity and deadly landslides are a direct result. In many Asian countries, said Nadim, “the biggest threat of landslide is human activity”.

“There is a tendency that if the area is being newly developed and there is construction, which has such a high tempo that it is almost impossible to control, that you get these human-triggered slides,” he said.

Accidents do not necessarily occur because of a lack of engineering expertise, said Nadim. “In China, they have more landslide experts than all the EU countries combined.” But in the mad rush for progress, corners get cut and too many people look the other way. Reports from Shenzhen indicate the government had been aware of the problem for years and banned builders from dumping waste on the mountain that gave way on Monday. But they were ignored. According to reports, trucks were still piling it up last week.

“There is a really high correlation between the corruption index and natural disasters,” he said. “People just want to make high profit with cheap solutions that cost them nothing.”

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Is nuclear power really an answer to climate change?

globalnuke Nuclear Power – The Solution to Future Energy and Climate Challenges?  Huffington Post, : 23/12/2015    Physicist with a deep interest in sustainability, energy and climate issues 

Nuclear power is often touted as being an important tool in the array of measures needed to help prevent climate change. Some environmentalists and climate scientistshave recently been gaining attention because of their support for nuclear power as a tool for helping reduce our CO2 emissions. However, even though the goal of dramatically reducing CO2 emissions is critically important, there are still many reasons to be skeptical of nuclear power as the solution for creating a long-term sustainable energy system…….important economic issues with respect to nuclear power. Nearly all technologies decrease in cost as we gain experience and as the scale of installation increases. We have seen this most dramatically in the case of solar photovoltaics over the past decade, a technology for which costs have dropped by 80-90% from where they were a few years ago. Nuclear power may be the only counterexample to this pattern (see here and here). There has been a steady increase in the cost of building nuclear power plants over time, partly due to the need for redundant and complex safety measures.

Adding nuclear power is now significantly more expensive than most alternatives, including wind power. New plants to be built in England are receiving a 35-year government price guarantee to the power companies that is twice the current cost of electricity there. The European project to build relatively inexpensive reactors with substantially reduced construction times in France and Finland has not worked out that way at all. Likewise, plants being built in Georgia can take advantage of several billion dollars in federal government loan guarantees and work with guaranteed rate-hikes to recover whatever costs are incurred in construction. Finally, in the U.S. there is a federal program that limits costs to the nuclear power industry in case of accidents, a kind of insurance for which we the taxpayers will cover costs for which no private insurer would ever take the risk.

Germany made a decision to exit nuclear power within a decade, by which time the country will be providing 35-40% of its electricity from renewables. In the US we are in an even stronger position to both increase energy efficiency, since we use more energy for the same economic output than other industrialized countries, and at the same time take advantage of our vast renewable energy resources. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has provided scenarios for reaching 80% renewable energy electricity by the middle of the century, the same goal that Germany has for its power system. However, in a power system with a high penetration of renewables, nuclear power is poorly suited for providing the flexible complementary generation capacity that will be necessary. Furthermore, as renewables gain greater penetration, there will be less and less need for what is conventionally known as baseload power, those sources running 24/7. One secondary consequence of this dynamic is that the economics of nuclear power become even worse if the plants are restricted in the number of hours they are required to operate.

The issue of nuclear waste disposal, which has not yet been satisfactorily resolved, has not even been mentioned yet. In addition, there is no other energy source about which we must continually fear the slightest human error. …….

Fundamentally, a sustainable energy system cannot be one that raises fears of societal dislocation, catastrophic accidents or the spread of weapons as a by-product. It is also hard to reconcile sustainability in a global sense with a technology that results in a few countries, the nuclear powers, determining which other countries may or may not have access to the technology. Most importantly, a sustainable energy system cannot be one that leaves its waste to be cleaned up by future generations – especially when other options do exist.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Indonesian govt taking action over over deadly forest fires

climate-changeIndonesia takes unprecedented move to punish firms over deadly forest fires, ABC News, 22 Dec 15 

Indonesia has announced it is punishing more than 20 companies for starting deadly forest fires that killed 19 people.

Three companies have been shut down permanently after having their licences revoked over their role in the blazes that choked vast expanses of South-East Asia with acrid haze and cost Indonesia $16 billion.

It is the first time the Government has revoked company licences over forest fires, an annual occurrence caused by slash-and-burn land clearance.

Indonesia smoke 15

The Environment Ministry also froze the operations of 14 companies and said they face closure if they do not meet the Government’s demands over fire prevention.

Several other companies have been given a strong warning and will be put under close supervision……..

December 23, 2015 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Excavation planned – removal of NUMEC nuclear waste dump in Parks Township

wastes-1NUMEC nuclear waste dump in Parks Township will be excavated

 The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 defines Special Nuclear Material as “plutonium, uranium-233, or uranium enriched in the isotopes uranium-233 or uranium-235.”

According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Special Nuclear Material is only “mildly radioactive” but can include fissile material — uranium-233, uranium-235 and plutonium-239 — that, in concentrated form, can be the primary ingredients of nuclear explosives.

Oscar-wastesBy Mary Ann Thomas, Dec. 22, 2015 After finding more complex radioactive contamination than expected in 2011 at the nuclear waste dump in Parks Township, the Army Corps of Engineers announced Tuesday it will stay the course for a $350 million project to dig up and remove 36,000 tons of waste.

The Corps shut down the cleanup four years ago after unearthing more highly radioactive nuclear materials that required special handling, escalating cleanup costs.

The defunct Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. and successors, the Atlantic Richfield Co. and Babcock & Wilcox disposed of uranium, plutonium and other hazardous materials at the 44-acre, Armstrong county, site from 1960 until the early 1970s. With plants in Parks and Apollo, those companies produced fuel for Navy nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants and other government entities.

The Corps will release its request for proposals from contractors and likely name a new cleanup company in 2017. The contractor will develop new plans and start digging again in 2018. The waste will then be shipped out of state.

The project is expected to finish between 2026 and 2028  :

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Toyota chief leaves Tokyo Olympic committee

Toyota head resigns from logo-Tokyo-Olympics By MARI YAMAGUCHI, TOKYO (AP) — The head of Toyota Motor Corp. stepped down Monday as vice president of the organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as organizers acknowledged the cost of hosting the games will be far higher than originally thought.

The committee said that Akio Toyoda is expected to be replaced by the president of Panasonic, Kazuhiro Tsuga.

Toyoda is also a member of the Japanese business federation’s committee for the Olympics. Organizers said Toyoda may have been concerned about serving on both committees, as the Olympic body is seeking support from the business community.

 Toyota Motor is a major sponsor of the Olympics.

Mr. Toyoda might have tried to sort out his roles,” Tokyo organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.

Toyoda said in a statement that he decided to reorganize his roles to intensify his efforts to encourage business support for the 2020 Games. He said he is “looking forward to forging even closer ties between the organizing committee and Japan’s business community.”

Also Monday, Muto said the cost of the games will be much higher than the original estimate of just over 300 billion yen ($2.5 billion), though he did not give a specific figure, saying officials are still sorting out and compiling cost estimates.

Muto denied recent media reports that the latest overall cost estimate has soared to 1.8 trillion yen ($15 billion), saying comparing numbers without specific breakdowns is “inappropriate.”…..

Toyoda’s sudden resignation and the confirmation of rising costs are the latest in a series of setbacks for the Olympic preparations. Japan had to scrap its original plans for the main stadium because of soaring costs, and then faced a plagiarism scandal over the logo for the games. ….

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

True innovation is in renewables, not nuclear fission: example Amsterdam’s solar road

solar road Netherlands 15Solar road beats nuclear follies  Following president Zuma’s disastrous finance minister shell game, Cabinet’s approval for starting the trillion rand nuclear procurement programme sans an initial cost-benefit analysis and evidence of the Gupta family’s growing investment in South African uranium mining, does anyone still believe that the government’s plan to build a fleet of new atomic power plants has anything at all to do with sound economics, securing the country’s long-term electricity supply or moving us to a low-carbon way of doing things that will help to mitigate the effects of climate change?

I don’t think so. Financial profits for strategically connected corporates and attractive kick-backs for well-placed and well-pliable politicians and their entourage are the real reasons why the powers that be refuse to alter their nuclear power course despite noisy opposition from all corners.

This is especially shameful for a country that has all of the prerequisites required to become a global leader in renewable energy production and that certainly doesn’t need to expose itself to the high costs, poor safety record, persistent environmental problems and outdated technology of the nuclear industry.

The really innovative break-throughs are not happening inside nuclear fission reactors these days, but in renewables. Take the example of the world’s first solar road. Last year, a Dutch consortium installed a bicycle path in suburban Amsterdam that captures the energy contained in sunlight and turns it into electricity. Paved with ordinary silicon solar panels which are protected by a concrete frame and sandwiched between layers of strong, tempered safety glass, the path can happily handle everyday road traffic. The power generated when the sun shines is fed into the grid, just as with more conventional solar installations.

Since then, the performance of the ‘SolaRoad’ has been carefully monitored and it turns out to be even more efficient than its creators had first expected. The experimental pilot project is a mere 70 metres long at the moment, but in the first six months of operation it generated more than 3000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. That’s enough to supply a single-person Dutch household for a year, or, as SolaRoad spokesperson Sten de Wit explains, “to power an electric scooter to drive 2.5 times around the world”.

Of course, the project wasn’t cheap to construct, costing many times the amount of a comparable roof-top solar panel installation. As such, the prototype doesn’t make any economic sense at this stage and perhaps it never will. It may, however, turn into something much bigger in the long-run, for instance by powering the smart traffic management systems and the self-driving electric vehicles of the future.

My point is this: the world is going solar and renewable in all sorts of innovative ways. This is the area where real change is happening right now. Given the wealth of year-round sunshine we receive, South Africa ought to be spearheading this revolution.

We shouldn’t be wasting time and money we don’t have on a dangerous, dying and polluting dinosaur technology. Groundbreaking improvements are happening in the field of renewable energy on a daily basis. The nuclear energy industry, by contrast, still hasn’t solved one of its most basic problems after decades of trying: where and how to securely store the radioactive waste it produces for long enough to make it safe.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Iran to get 2 new nuclear reactors from Russia

Russian-BearRussia to build new nuclear units in Iran Sky News , Wednesday, 23 December 2015 Russia will reportedly begin building two nuclear power plant units in Iran next week under a deal signed in Moscow last year between subsidiaries of the two countries’ state atomic agencies.

A Mehr news agency report quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, who appeared to be referring to extension of the Bushehr nuclear power station, designed and built by Russia.

Iran already runs one Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr, and Russia signed a deal with Iran in November last year to build up to eight more reactors in the country…….

The Bushehr plant itself was never considered by diplomats and experts to be a serious nuclear proliferation risk.

Other aspects of Iran’s nuclear programme seen as having potential to develop weapons, such as its uranium enrichment activity and a heavy water reactor, will be curbed under a deal Iran reached with big powers in July including Russia.

The Islamic Republic will see international sanctions on its oil-based economy lifted in return.– Seiran.html#sthash.lYfi4p5l.dpuf

December 23, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Potential for solar energy to rapidly develop innovative technologies

sun-championSolar power has lots of headroom to make it stronger, cheaper and global, Climate Wire, Umair Irfan, E&E reporter, December 17, 2015

First of a two-part series. Read part two here.

On paper, the amount of sunlight hitting the Earth in one hour could fulfill humanity’s energy needs for a year, an equation that’s hard to ignore.

However, harnessing more of this vast potential remains a major challenge, since the sun has to compete with coal, oil and natural gas — fuels that are abundant and cheap and retain substantial political support in many parts of the world, including the United States……

Though policy and market forces drive the spread of all forms of energy, for solar power, improving the technology remains an open frontier. To this end, researchers are looking at where they can improve the devices that turns the sun’s rays into electricity in hopes of staving off diminishing returns in performance……

Besides bringing efficiency up, the other main research thrust is drawing prices down. The biggest driver for solar energy deployment is cost, according to many analysts, and that’s what drove the sector’s blossoming over the past few years.

“The industry has achieved a hundredfold decrease in prices,” Kurtz said. “There is opportunity to bring those prices down even more.”

The race to lighter, thinner and more concentrated

Much of this price drop has come from economies of scale and a drop in prices of semiconductors. “In general, the semiconductor is the most expensive part of the module,” she said.

The majority of the world’s solar panels use polycrystalline silicon as their semiconductor. For a long time, solar panels using this material were costly, until Chinese manufacturers flooded the market around 2010…….

Earlier this year, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a 322-page study titled “The Future of Solar Energy.” Among its key findings, authors reported that silicon photovoltaics are a mature technology but they have intrinsic performance limits, so public research dollars should go toward breakthrough technologies instead of incremental gains…….

“Efficiency is helpful because any gain in efficiency helps reduce all area-related costs (glass, racking, roof/land space, installation labor, etc.) but it is not the only way of addressing costs,” said Justin Baca, senior director of research for the Solar Energy Industries Association, in an email. “The efficiency question is a science question, but most solutions to solar challenges right now are engineering and regulatory solutions.”

In the competition for the next generation of clean energy, Kurtz said it’s not a winner-take-all race. The market may still have room for all of these strategies. “These different photovoltaic products also have different characteristics,” she said. “I think it’s a mistake to focus on the winners and losers.”

Tomorrow: What the solar market wants.

Twitter: @umairfan Email:

December 23, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

UK govt prioritising nuclear, gas, oil, but removing support for renewables

Government U-turn on renewables shows gas, oil and nuclear are still favourites

renewable-blinkers-onflag-UKNow is not the time to pull the plug on supporting renewable energy. A few years of vital subsidies cannot make up for a century of support for fossil fuels. Guardian, Alasdair Cameron, 20 Dec 15

The entire global energy system is undergoing a clean revolution. The old certainties of centralised power and fossil fuels are falling apart before our eyes. In Paris last week world leaders set legally binding targets to decarbonise their economies in order to keep temperature rises at a maximum of 2C. The future is almost here.

It’s a future that is necessary and one that presents the economic opportunity of the century. Bloomberg NEFs New Energy Outlook for 2015 estimates that renewables alone will see more than $8tn of investment in the coming years with $3.7tn in solar alone.
Until recently the UK seemed to understand this, however imperfectly. In the second quarter of this year, the UK got 25% of its electricity from renewables and is aiming for 30% by 2020. The last two governments deserve credit for that.

Costs have fallen, with the latest ground-mounted solar and onshore wind now cheaper than new nuclear , and offshore wind – where the UK is a world leader – is not far behind.

But with the industry on the cusp of the mainstream, the last six months have seen a radical, dangerous U-turn from the government. Onshore wind and large solar have seen support removed and applications blocked through planning; the climate change levyexemption was removed from renewable electricity scheme; the zero carbon homes target and energy efficiency schemes have been scrapped; the Green Investment Bank is threatened with privatisation, tax relief has been removed from community schemes. And on, and on, and on.

The government’s line is that it’s time to pull the plug on supporting renewable energy – as if a few years of vital subsidies can make up for a century of economic and infrastructural support for fossil fuels. Renewable energy, like most industries, needs some government support to get going, and to realise the best results. Think of the tax breaksand research grants still given to oil and gas, the direct subsidies for nuclear, the publicly-funded roads that facilitate cars, or the national space programmes that eventually brought us the mobile phone.

The argument that this U-turn is about protecting consumers’ bills simply does not hold. Cuts to rooftop solar announced on Thursday will save just 0.9% off a yearly bill, by 2020.

Many of the alternatives the government is turning to are actually more expensive than renewables – Hinkley Point C would cost consumers twice the current wholesale price of electricity. And the single best thing that would cut bills – insulating homes – has seen just about all public support scrapped.

Contrast the rhetoric on renewables with the huge support for fracking and nuclear and it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the government has its favourites.. …

December 23, 2015 Posted by | politics, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Fukui governor intends to consent to nuclear power restart, but court injunction still holds

Fukui governor to give consent for nuclear plant restart   Japan Today, DEC. 21, 2015 – FUKUI —

Fukui Gov Issei Nishikawa will soon give his consent for the restart of two nuclear reactors in the prefecture on the Sea of Japan coast, sources close to the matter said Sunday, as the central government seeks to bring more reactors back online after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

The governor will visit the site of the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co’s Takahama plant on Monday to check safety measures before expressing his consent, they said. The governor’s consent is necessary to restart the reactors…….

In the talks, Hayashi said the central government will tackle issues such as nuclear accidents and decommissioning “with responsibility.” The minister also said the government plans to hold symposiums and other events across Japan to gain public support for the restart of nuclear reactors.

Nishikawa welcomed such measures by the central government and said he will make a decision that would “win the trust of the residents of the prefecture.”…..

However, a court injunction in April has banned Kansai Electric from reactivating the Takahama units over safety concerns. The Fukui District Court will make a decision Thursday on an objection filed by the utility over the injunction.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

Threat to Russia of USA’s tactical nuclear weapons in Europe

U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe threaten Russia – Putin

It’s a bigger threat to Russia than Russian weapons are a threat to the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in an interview U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are a bigger threat to Russia than Russian weapons are a threat to the United States, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.

“U.S. tactical nuclear weapons have always been there [on the planes] after WWII, after America became a nuclear power. They are simply modernizing them now,” the president said in an interview in a documentary, “World Order,” of the Rossiya-1 (VGTRK) television channel.

“Indeed, this is a dangerous thing now. Why? Because our tactical nuclear weapons are not strategic for the United States, they cannot reach their territory, while U.S. tactical nuclear weapons in Europe can reach our territory. In this sense, they are strategic for us and they are posing a bigger threat to us than our strategic nuclear weapons,” the president said.

December 23, 2015 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Turning contaminated Hanford Nuclear Reservation into a tourist site!

Most polluted US nuclear weapons building site plans for influx of tourists, Guardian 20 Dec 15 
Hanford Nuclear Reservation, country’s newest national park and home to the world’s first full-sized nuclear reactor, prepares for expanded crowds. 
Thousands of people are expected next year to tour the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home of the world’s first full-sized nuclear reactor and the most polluted US nuclear weapons production site.

Hanford, near Richland, about 200 miles east of Seattle in south-central Washington state, is the newest national park.

Visitors will not, however, be allowed anywhere near the country’s largest collection of toxic radioactive waste.

“Everything is clean and perfectly safe,” said Colleen French, the US Department of Energy’s program manager for Hanford. “Any radioactive materials are miles away.”

The Manhattan Project national historical park, signed into existence in November, also includes sites at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project is the name for the US effort to build an atomic bomb during the second world war.

At Hanford, the main attractions will be B Reactor and the ghost towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, which were evacuated by the government to make room for the Manhattan Project………

Nine reactors were built at Hanford and operated during the Cold War. That work created more than 56m gallons of radioactive waste that the government still spends more than $1bn a year to maintain and clean up……..

December 23, 2015 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

December 23 Energy News



¶ Scotland is celebrating early success in meeting its green energy targets. The original plan was for 50% of its gross electricity consumption to come from renewable sources by 2015. However new figures show the country got to a level of 49.7% from renewable sources in 2014. [Business Green]

EDF Energy Renewables Fallago Rig wind farm EDF Energy Renewables Fallago Rig wind farm

¶ The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation signed an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India to source electricity from solar power projects. The DMRC intends to source around 1,000 million kWh of electricity every year, and a project of 500-MW capacity has been planned for that. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Transport for London has unveiled plans for nearly one third of the city’s buses on B20 green diesel made from waste cooking oil by March 2016. They explained that two bus operators, Stagecoach and Metroline, have signed deals with Argent…

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December 23, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment