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Fukushima evacuee Hiroshi Ueno does not want to return to his old house

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – Having settled into a new life with his family outside Fukushima prefecture, Mr Hiroshi Ueno has no intention of returning home.

The 51-year-old, who was a florist in Minamisoma city – around 30km north of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant – now handles data management at a support centre for other evacuees.

His son was 18 and about to start his first job when disaster struck on March 11, 2011. The extended family of 10, including Mr Ueno’s elderly parents and his sister’s family, decided to evacuate the very next day.

At that time, there was no official word from the Japanese government for mass evacuation but many residents feared the worst – a meltdown from the nuclear plant.

“Most of us left our houses without even tidying up our homes which were damaged by the earthquake,” Mr Ueno told The Straits Times.
“No one knew what would happen next.”

They packed only the bare essentials into their car and began their journey as evacuees. Over the next five days, they drove from one place to another before finally arriving at Yonezawa city where they now live. Their former home in Minamisoma had become a no-go zone.

It was only a year later that Mr Ueno and his wife were allowed a brief visit back to retrieve their important documents and other belongings.

“Wearing protective suits, we got on a bus with others who were from the same area,” he said. They were allowed to stay for only two hours and had to wear dosimeters to keep track of  radiation levels.

Five years on, he would rather not return home.

“There are many issues like housing, compensation and security that have yet to be fully resolved.”

Damaged and worn out, the house will soon be demolished for redevelopment. But Mr Ueno will not be returning.

“Even looking at it is painful,” he added. “But for my parents, the house is full of memories… it is something that they couldn’t bear to let go of.”



March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima evacuee Miyuki Satou returns to ground zero – only to serve up piping hot bowls of ramen

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – It was about 2pm on a chilly Tuesday but there were no customers in Ms Miyuki Satou’s makeshift shop next to the Naraha town hall office, where she serves up piping hot bowls of ramen and udon.

The town was evacuated in the aftermath of the triple Tohoku disaster in 2011.

Although Naraha was the first town located entirely within a 20km radius of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant to have its evacuation order lifted in September last year, people have been slow to return. Only 976 of its population of 7,700 have come home – mostly the elderly.

One key reason for this is that families have already rebuilt their lives and bought new homes elsewhere, including Ms Satou’s.

The 51-year-old was a former resident of the coastal town bordering the Pacific Ocean, but now lives with her two daughters who have full-time jobs in the neighbouring Iwaki city.

But her ties with Naraha have led her back to run a food business – one of only two eateries there. Both close at 3pm.

Every day she has about 70 customers – mostly workers tasked with rebuilding the town where black bags of contaminated soil still remain a common sight, or former residents who have come back to visit.

She estimates only 10 per cent of her customers are residents who have moved back home.

“There is really no demand and so there is no point opening late,” she said. “Naraha used to be a much livelier town before the disaster, but now it just feels very lonely.”

It makes no sense for young families to return, when it is more convenient to live near their new workplaces or schools, she added.

But despite the nuclear disaster having changed her life, she offered a moderate take on the use of nuclear power.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has said that Japan “cannot do without nuclear power” and has set a target to have nuclear power make up as much as 22 per cent of the country’s energy needs. Recent attempts to restart reactors elsewhere in the country – halted over public safety concerns following the 2011 disaster – have become entangled in a web of lawsuits.

The use of nuclear energy has split popular opinion in Japan. Ms Satou acknowledged it was a difficult question.

“It is an industry that can create a lot of jobs,” she said. “It will of course be better to use other forms of energy but I don’t think we have found one yet.”

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

High radiation keeps Fukushima evacuee Mitsue Masukura away from home

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – Retiree Mitsue Masukura, 63, who used to live in the coastal town of Namie, knows she will not be returning home anytime soon.

The Japanese government’s target is to declare all areas around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant livable by March next year (2017), except for three towns. Namie is one of the three. Certain parts of the town remain off limits because decontamination works have been suspended given the high radiation dosages.

Residents like Ms Masukura, a former fishmonger, are already allowed to return for only short periods during the day. They are not allowed to stay overnight.

Not that she has any plans to return.

She said: “Even if we move home, there will hardly be any amenities because many of the former merchants have moved out and started new businesses elsewhere.
“Besides, people still do not really feel safe about returning to a town so badly affected by the nuclear fallout.”

Despite official assurances of the contrary, her unwillingness to trust the authorities stems from a case of ‘once bitten, twice shy’.

In the immediate aftermath of the March 11, 2011, disaster, there was poor communication of the situation, and conflicting instructions, which led to a lot of speculation, she said.

“We didn’t know who said what or where we should go,” she said.

As a result, her family of five moved five times from town to town, ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn) to ryokan, before settling in their current temporary living quarters in Fukushima city.  Each unit is smaller than the size of a one-room flat in Singapore. Her family used to live together under one roof, but now stay next door to one another across three units.

She looks forward to the family buying a house and moving to Minamisoma  next year, after her grand-daughter graduates from senior high school.

When asked how she felt about not being able to return home to Namie, she said: “It’s been already five years since we left. There are all these memories of the past, which will continue to live on in the mind.”

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Special Report: When is it safe to go home?

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – For 72-year-old Mr Nobuyoshi Ito, home is an isolated village with only 40 other residents. Once considered among the most beautiful villages in Japan, Iitate is today a shell of its former self before a nuclear disaster five years ago.

Most of the homes, left behind by around 6,000 residents, are empty. Farmers have been replaced with masked workers tasked with filling up black bags of contaminated soil. Only parts of the village, about an hour’s drive inland from the crippled Fukushima No 1 power plant, have been deemed safe for visitors, and they cannot stay overnight.

But that has not stopped Mr Ito, a former IT engineer-turned-farmer, from returning and staying in open defiance to study the effects of the radioactive plume that hit after the nuclear plant on the east coast of the main island Honshu was destroyed by a tsunami.

“When the government asked us to evacuate … I asked if there would be criminal charges if I continued to live here,” he said. “They said no.”

I am a test subject, making use of the environment,” added Mr Ito, now a lobbyist opposing nuclear energy. He carries a hand-held meter to record the radiation he is exposed to daily, at his own expense.

Readings in Iitate now can range between 1.1 and 1.9 microsieverts per hour, according to government monitoring posts, which is more than 10 times those in places such as Tokyo, 250km south, where readings are around the globally accepted norm of 0.1 microsieverts per hour. This translates to a benchmark for safe radiation absorption of 1 millisievert (1,000 microsieverts) per year, although the International Atomic Energy Agency and others say anything up to 20 millisieverts per year poses no immediate danger to human health.

Mr Ito spends most of his time in the village but once a month drives three hours to Niigata prefecture on the west coast where some of his grandchildren live.

But many others from Iitate have had to evacuate to cramped temporary housing – smaller than a one-room flat in Singapore.

It is a bitter pill to swallow, said Mr Ito.  “For older people like me, a slight exposure to radiation is all right, compared to the stress of living in temporary housing,” he  said.

On the wall in his office is a 2011 calendar, which he has not taken down because “the female model is cute”. But it is a sombre reminder of the lives that were lost or upended at 2.46pm local time on March 11 when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake triggered a 10m wall of water that ravaged the northeastern coast of Japan and caused meltdowns in three reactors at the Fukushima  plant. It was the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

Some 16,000 people died, most by drowning, 2,500 are still missing, and another 100,000 evacuees have not returned home.  About 60 per cent of them still live within Fukushima prefecture. After the disaster, residents within a 20km radius of the No. 1 nuclear plant were evacuated, and some areas 30km away such as Iitate were cleared because of high radiation levels.

The health consequences of the leaking radiation are still unclear but more than 300,000 people aged below 18 have been screened for thyroid cancer. About 150 have tested positive, although some attribute this to more rigorous testing rather than the direct impact of radiation.

Last October, Japan confirmed the first case of radiation-linked cancer for a former Fukushima nuclear plant worker. Among evacuees, factors like stress, poor diet and a lack of exercise have also taken a toll.

Japan is halfway through a 10-year reconstruction master plan. Some 26.3 trillion yen (S$319 billion) has been budgeted since 2011 and another 6.5 trillion yen was approved this month to speed up the construction of public housing for evacuees, and for other projects such as medical care and infrastructure.

Decontamination process
Japan Ministry of Environment official Hitoshi Aoki said the government expects to lift evacuation orders by March next year in all but three areas – Namie, Futaba and Ookuma – where decontamination efforts have been suspended because of high air dose radiation. It has not yet been decided when these areas, which are closer to the plant, will be cleaned up.

The cleanup process involves removing topsoil, since cesium – a radioactive byproduct of the Fukushima meltdown – falls to the ground  when it rains or snows, said Mr Aoki.

The disaster forced all of Japan’s dozens of reactors offline in the face of public worries over safety but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said this month that Japan “cannot do without nuclear power”.

This has split public opinion and most of the country’s reactors remain shut down.

Population drain
Iitate village is expected to be one of the areas to reopen next March.

But contamination, and a general mistrust of the Government for not being upfront or transparent about the extent of the nuclear disaster in the immediate aftermath, are among reasons former Iitate residents like Mr Hideji Suzuki, 78, are reluctant to return home.

Once a farmer, he now lives with his wife in temporary housing quarters an hour by car from their old house.
“We can’t go back to Iitate anymore, even if we want to,” he said.

Residents like him will not be able to return to their former lifestyles and jobs in the mountains – which cannot be decontaminated easily – even if they moved back.

The disaster has accelerated a demographic shift away from affected cities within Fukushima prefecture.

Minamisoma city, 30km north of the plant where lower radiation levels have allowed evacuated residents to return, has seen “rapid aging”, said city official Mr Tokio Hayama. Offices have reopened but the working population – over the age of 15 and below 65 – has yet to recover.

“We need to dispel the fear of radiation, which has become a major factor that prevents their return,” said Mr Hayama.

The disaster has also split families, like Mr Yasuhiro Abe’s. The 52-year-old moved his wife and 14-year-old daughter to Kyoto, concerned about their health in the wake of the nuclear fallout.

But he stayed behind in Fukushima City – 90km from the power plant and unaffected by the exclusion order – to continue running a movie theatre he has worked at for almost 30 years.

“As far as possible, we want to raise our child in a place with lower radiation levels,” he said. “When she comes of age, she can choose whether to come back.”
Former residents have been slow to return to the seaside town of Naraha also, which was the first within the exclusion zone to have the evacuation order lifted in September last year. Many families have already rebuilt their lives elsewhere and in the six months since, only 976 of the town’s 7,700 original inhabitants have come home – mostly the elderly.

Former residents like Ms Shinoda Tomoko, 78, have chosen to move out – and move on with their lives. She now lives 60km south of the Fukushima plant in Iwaki city with her children and grandchildren who have new jobs and are attending new schools.

But retiree Tomiko Igari, 69, intends to buck the trend. On one of her regular trips back to Naraha, she said she will return in October this year, after the lease on the flat where she now lives runs out.

Her home is just across the road from a vast field that is still full of black bags with contaminated soil.

“My only hope is that when I come home, all of that will be gone,” she said. “It’s really an ugly reminder of the accident.”

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima evacuee Yasuhiro Abe hopes to share same roof as wife and daughter

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN – For Mr Yasuhiro Abe, 52, seeing his wife and daughter means an eight- to nine-hour drive south from Fukushima to Kyoto.

The mother and daughter have been living as evacuees for the past five years, since a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear disaster in their hometown in Fukushima prefecture.

But unlike many others who were issued evacuation orders, they decided to uproot voluntarily because they are worried that harmful radioactive material could spread west with rain or snow.

His daughter was nine when the meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant happened, Mr Abe

The family first moved to the neighbouring prefecture of Yamagata before heading further away and finally settling down in the ancient city of Kyoto.

His wife and daughter now rent a home in Kyoto while Mr Abe has returned to his job as the general manager of a theatre where he has worked for almost 30 years. Now, he visits them twice every three months.

“Fukushima city and Koriyama city – inland areas within the prefecture – were never made evacuation zones despite heightened radiation levels right after the disaster,” said Mr Abe, who thinks that a factor could have been the higher population density in cities, compared to coastal towns.

He is skeptical that the heightened levels were still deemed safe.

“As far as possible, we want to raise our child in a place with lower radiation levels,” he said. “When she comes of age, she can choose whether or not to come back.” “As for myself, I’ll always be here.”

Five years on, he finds himself at a crossroads.
“In March next year (2017), the Government will be stopping housing assistance for voluntary evacuees and if we want to continue living elsewhere, it will cost more money,” he said.

While the cost of living will become an issue, he is more concerned about ensuring that his daughter completes high school without disruption. She will begin high school, likely in Kyoto, next year.

“Parents like ourselves have to consider the impact on our children’s lives before deciding if we should relocate,” said Mr Abe.

“Of course, a part of me wants them to come back – for us to live together again.”

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Land acquisition for Fukushima dump site may reach 70% by 2020: ministry

FUKUSHIMA – The Environment Ministry will likely be able to acquire about 40 to 70 percent of the site it plans to use as an interim storage facility for radioactive soil and other waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster by fiscal 2020.

The estimate is part of a five-year road map for building the facility that was presented Sunday to a council in the city of Fukushima representing the prefecture and local municipalities.

The 1,600-hectare (3,953-acre) site straddles the towns of Okuma and Futaba, home to Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s heavily damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, where a triple meltdown was triggered by tsunami spawned by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

If 640 to 1,150 hectares are acquired, 5 million to 12.5 million cu. meters of radiation-tainted waste can be stored there. By fiscal 2020, the ministry aims to finish transporting radioactive soil now being stored at schools or residential areas.

Environment Minister Tamayo Marukawa told reporters after the meeting that the ministry’s calculations are based on a realistic approach, adding it will continue lobbying local landowners to support the project.

To complete the project, the ministry will have to negotiate with 2,365 landowners whose property is on the targeted 1,600-hectare site. As of Friday, the ministry had visited about 1,240 of them and acquired a mere 22 hectares from 82 of them.

The negotiations are taking longer than expected due to the need to calculate official compensation. The planned facility is slated to store up to 22 million cu. meters of radioactive waste for decades.

By the end of the month, about 50,000 cu. meters of waste are expected to be transported to a provisional storage facility set up at the site.

In fiscal 2016 starting April 1, the ministry plans to transfer about 150,000 cu. meters to the site and increase the amount in stages, depending on progress with the land acquisition process.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

How long shall we accept Japan to pollute our skies with incineration of radioactive materials?

I regret that so much energy, so much money was wasted into the making of this « beautiful » documentary, produced by NHK for the 5th year Anniversary, to spin and to twist the truth so as to make it more acceptable to the eyes of the victims themselves and to the eyes of the world, to brainwash world opinion about the present ongoing situation at Fukushima Daiichi and in Fukushima prefecture.

Of course it is fully expected as it is coming from NHK, which is to Japan what the Pravda newspapers was to the Soviet era, the Japanese central government nationwide propaganda organ.

Using foreigners to give more credibility to their delivered spiel is quite slick, those foreigners shills remind me a lot of some of the French collaborators working for the German Gestapo during the the German Occupation of France in exchange of material benefits, those will not be the first nor the last.

Beside the whole positive reconstruction spin, there is only one point that will should remember and take seriously : the whole reconstruction-decontamination program of the Japanese government is entirely based on incineration.

They tell us that their incineration technology will keep contained 99,9% of the radionuclides , that none will end up into our skies.

Why should we trust them, during the last 5 years they haven’t be very trustworthy nor straightforward to say the least.

How long are we gonna accept, tolerate Japan, to pollute our skies, our commonly owned and shared living environment, with their radioactive mess ?



Fukushima Prefecture has become a familiar name worldwide as a result of the nuclear accidents in 2011. Ever since then, the world has been concerned about what’s happening regarding radioactive contamination in the prefecture. To answer that question, the program will squarely face what’s been going on in Fukushima since the accidents.
French documentary filmmaker Keiko Courdy, who has been covering Fukushima since the nuclear accidents, will appear as a guest, along with experts on radiation, and the situation in Fukushima today will be explained in an easy-to-understand manner.
Various people who have appeared on TOMORROW will also take part. The program considers the future of Fukushima by featuring those who continue striving to overcome many hardships. They include villagers who have been carrying out decontamination work in the evacuation zones, hoping to return to their homes, and young people who are showing remarkable progress in re-energizing Fukushima’s farming with their new ideas.

Available until April 11, 2016



March 28, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Renewable energy investment hits new world record

text-relevantRenewable energy investments: Major milestones reached, new world record set  For firstpiggy-ban-renewables
time, developing world investments in renewables (up 19 percent in 2015) topped developed nations’ (down 8%); World record total of $286 billion invested in renewables last year, makes $2.3 trillion over 12 years,
Science Daily March 24, 2016

United Nations Environment Programme
Coal and gas-fired generation attracted less than half as much capacity investment as renewables last year; Renewables added more to global energy generation capacity than all other technologies combined; For first time, developing world investments in renewables (up 19 percent in 2015) topped developed nations’ (down 8 percent); and world record total of $286 billion invested in renewables last year; makes $2.3 trillion over 12 years.
Coal and gas-fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity — one of several important firsts for green energy announced today in a UN-backed report.

Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, the 10th edition of UNEP’s annual report, launched today by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), says the annual global investment in new renewables capacity, at $266 billion, was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power stations in 2015.

All investments in renewables, including early-stage technology and R&D as well as spending on new capacity, totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3% higher than the previous record in 2011. Since 2004, the world has invested $2.3 trillion in renewable energy (unadjusted for inflation).

Just as significantly, developing world investments in renewables topped those of developed nations for the first time in 2015.

Helped by further falls in generating costs per megawatt-hour, particularly in solar photovoltaics, renewables excluding large hydro made up 54% of added gigawatt capacity of all technologies last year. It marks the first time new installed renewables have topped the capacity added from all conventional technologies.

The 134 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power added worldwide in 2015 compares to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013.

Were it not for renewables excluding large hydro, annual global CO2emissions would have been an estimated 1.5 gigatonnes higher in 2015

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Renewables are becoming ever more central to our low-carbon lifestyles, and the record-setting investments in 2015 are further proof of this trend. Importantly, for the first time in 2015, renewables in investments were higher in developing countries than developed.”“Access to clean, modern energy is of enormous value for all societies, but especially so in regions where reliable energy can offer profound improvements in quality of life, economic development and environmental sustainability. Continued and increased investment in renewables is not only good for people and planet, but will be a key element in achieving international targets on climate change and sustainable development. ”

“By adopting the Sustainable Development Goals last year, the world pledged to end poverty, promote sustainable development, and to ensure healthier lives and access to affordable, sustainable, clean energy for all. Continued and increased investment in renewables will be a significant part of delivering on that promise.”

Said Michael Liebreich, Chairman of the Advisory Board at BNEF: “Global investment in renewables capacity hit a new record in 2015, far outpacing that in fossil fuel generating capacity despite falling oil, gas and coal prices. It has broadened out to a wider and wider array of developing countries, helped by sharply reduced costs and by the benefits of local power production over reliance on imported commodities.”………..

As in previous years, the report shows the 2015 renewable energy market was dominated by solar photovoltaics and wind, which together added 118GW in generating capacity, far above the previous record of 94GW set in 2014……
Developing countries on the rise led by China and India
In 2015, for the first time, investments in renewable energy in developing and emerging economy nations ($156 billion, up 19% compared to 2014) surpassed those in developed countries ($130 billion, down 8% from 2014).Much of these record-breaking developing world investments took place in China (up 17% to $102.9 billion, or 36% of the world total).

Other developing countries showing increased investment included India (up 22% to $10.2 billion), South Africa (up 329% to $4.5 billion), Mexico (up 105% to $4 billion) and Chile (up 151% to $3.4 billion).

Morocco, Turkey and Uruguay all joined the list of countries investing more than $1 billion……..

March 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Terrorism threat to Britain’s nuclear facilities is increasing – warns Nuclear Regulator

flag-UKNuclear watchdog warns of terrorist threat to UK reactors As Hinkley Point hangs in balance, strategic plan acknowledges security risks Independent,  Mark Leftly Associate business editor @MLeftly  26 March 2016

 Britain’s nuclear industry is under threat from cyber-attacks, terrorism and state-sponsored espionage, regulators have warned.


Buried in the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s 2016-20 strategic plan are bleak references to the growing threat of attack on Britain’s 15 operational reactors, which account for nearly a fifth of the country’s electricity. The Independent has established this is the first time that the ONR has explicitly acknowledged the growing terrorist threat to the nuclear industry. 

The document states: “The threat of terrorism in the nuclear sector will continue to be managed proportionately and effectively through national and international capabilities. The capabilities of potential adversaries to operate in cyberspace will continue to grow.”

At the top of a list of the industry’s corporate risks, the ONR  writes: “Failure to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive information and assets from both known and emerging security threats to the UK nuclear infrastructure (eg, cyber-attacks, terrorist activity, state-sponsored espionage).”

In another reference, it says: “We recognise the world is increasingly globalised and digitised, where both the terrorist threat and the risks from cyberspace are changing. The Government and duty-holders have well-developed security capabilities to deter and defend against organisations and individuals that might conspire to attack or exploit the nuclear estate. ONR will continue to work with the Government to ensure that security-focused regulations evolve to remain fit for purpose and align with safety regulation.”

The news comes at a sensitive time, with French giant EDF weighing up whether to risk its balance sheet on building a £24.5bn reactor at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast.  This is supposed to herald a new generation of nuclear power plants, which are needed to bridge the UK’s yawning energy gap, but EDF has delayed a final investment decision until May. There are also reports that the Isis terrorists who attacked Brussels might have planned to steal radioactive materials from a Belgian nuclear plant to build a bomb.

John Large, the nuclear expert who warned in a 2014 report for the French authorities that reactors are highly vulnerable to drone attacks, said the admission was “a step forward”, but warned: “It might be too late. The problem is that the plants were designed in the 1950s and 1960s and those designs ignored terrorism. That’s one of the problems they [the nuclear industry] face. ……..

Clive Lewis, a shadow Energy minister, pointed out that the ONR’s admission comes shortly after news that the Civil Nuclear Constabulary will be cut by about 200 officers by 2020, despite government promises to protect police funding. …..

March 28, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | 1 Comment

Renewable energy shines in American energy investment

text-relevantIf a Power Plant Is Built in U.S., It’s Likely to be Renewable [good graphs] http://www.Statue-of-Liberty-solar

March 25th, 2016 
If a new electric power plant is built in the U.S. these days, chances are it’s renewable — either wind or solar.

That’s the gist of a report the U.S. Department of Energy released this week showing that, together, wind and solar accounted for nearly two-thirds of all new electric power plants built in 2015. It’s a trend expected to continue through 2016, even with low natural gas prices likely to keep utilities building plenty of gas-fired power plants, too.

“Right now, it’s primarily a wind and solar market,” U.S. Energy Information Administration analyst Chris Namovicz said, adding that renewables have been thriving on an extension of wind and solar tax credits, though wind is becoming competitive with fossil fuels even without the help of a tax credit.

As global investments in renewable energy far outpace investments in fossil fuels for electric power, the expansion of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources is critical for the globe to uphold the Paris climate agreement, which aims to keep global warming to 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels.

Burning coal to produce electricity is the world’s leading driver of climate change. In the U.S., low natural gas prices and climate policies are allowing lower-carbon energy sources to eclipse coal as the leading sources of electricity.

Together, wind and solar accounted for 67 percent of all new electric power generation capacity built in the U.S. in 2015. That adds up to more than 13 gigawatts of carbon-free electric power generation capacity, enough to provide power to more than 9 million homes.

Natural gas accounted for 30 percent of new electric power generation capacity built last year.

Most renewable-powered plants built in the U.S. last year were built in two states — Texas and California — according to EIA data. Texas is the reigning champ of the wind industry, accounting for 42 percent — more than 3 gigawatts — of all the new wind power capacity built in the U.S. in 2015. Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and North Dakota rounded out the top five wind farm-building states in 2015.

Wind is in the process of rebounding from the industry nearly going bust in 2013, a year when the industry bottomed out because of great uncertainty about the future of a wind power production tax credit. Last year, Congress extendedthe tax credit through 2019.

Today, more than 50,000 wind turbines twirl across the U.S. — enough to power 19 million homes.

As for solar, California built more than any other state in 2015 — more than 2 gigawatts. The state was responsible for building 42 percent of all new solar power constructed last year.

About half of all that solar energy built in California last year came from large utility-scale solar farms. The rest was built in the form of rooftop solar or small solar power systems.

North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah rounded out the top five states building new solar plants in 2015.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Shot dead – Belgian nuclear security guard, and his security badge stolen

murder-1Guard at Belgian nuclear plant shot dead; his security badge was stolen. By Kellan Howell – The Washington Times – Saturday, March 26, 2016  Just two days after terrorists attacked the Brussels airport and subway system, a security guard for a Belgian nuclear facility was murdered and his security access badge was stolen, Belgian media reported Saturday.

The security guard’s badge was de-activated as soon as it was discovered it was stolen, according to French newspaper Derniere Heure.

He was shot dead in the Charleroi region of Belgium as he walked his dog, International Business Times reported

March 28, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, incidents | Leave a comment

India’s push for solar power to bring over a million jobs

text-relevantIndia Solar Power Push May Produce Over 1 Million Jobs March 23rd, 2016 by   Originally published on Sustainnovate. India’s massive solar power capacity addition target is expected to be a revolution in the Indian jobs market as well.

According to a report by the Natural Resources and Defense Council (NRDC), India may end up creating over a million new jobs in its endeavour to have 100 GW of operational solar power capacity by March 2022.

The report suggests that a massive army of engineers, construction, and maintenance workers shall be required set up the scores of solar power capacity planned by the central and state governments.


Around 210,800 site engineers and designers would be required to set the large-scale as well as rooftop solar power systems rolling. Around 624,600 semi-skilled workers would be needed for the construction and on-field execution of the projects. To monitor ongoing operations at the power plants and their maintenance, another 182,400 semi-skilled workers would be needed. Thus, a total of 1,017,800 jobs are expected be created if India indeed manages to set up a cumulative operational capacity of 100 GW by 2022.

Jobs creation and empowering youth is one of the major policies of the current government. The ‘Skill India’ program launched by the Indian government aims to provide employment to youth by providing them industrial training in the solar power sector. Several agencies across the country have already started such training programs.

Some state governments have also announced financial support to unemployed youth to set up rooftop solar power systems to help them generate a source of income.

March 28, 2016 Posted by | employment, India, renewable | Leave a comment

Growing danger of cyber attack on Britain’s nuclear facilities

cyber-attackISIS could target British nuclear plants with its army of hackers, Mirror UK 26 MAR 2016 BY JOHN SHAMMAS A document from the Office for Nuclear Regulation warns of “the threat of terrorism in the nuclear sector” Britain’s nuclear plants are a target for terrorists such as Islamic State militants, it has been claimed.

The warning comes from the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s 2016-20 strategic plan document. It also warns of the growing threat posed by hackers, alongside espionage from rival powers……….

ISIS supporters posted a video threatening the UK in the wake of the Brussels terror attacks…….

March 28, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Nuclear Security Summit clouded by Belgium terrorism news

safety-symbol1Belgium Attacks Loom Over Final Nuclear Security Summit , Defense News March 27, 2016 WASHINGTON — When President Barack Obama kicks off the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit (NSS) in Washington on Thursday, he will tell delegations from 51 nations, plus major groups such as the European Union and United Nations, about successes made in ensuring nuclear material does not fall into the hands of terrorists.

It’s a timely message in the wake last Tuesday’s attacks in Belgium, which have been claimed by the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL. But some in the nonproliferation community are concerned that when the summit shuts down at the end of the week, the issue of securing fissile material will cease to be a prime focus for the nations.

Speaking hours after the attacks, Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, laid out the stakes clearly: “Nothing I can say would highlight [the summit’s message], sadly, better than this tragic attack in Brussels this morning. Thank god those terrorists do not have their hands on nuclear materials.”…….

March 28, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | Leave a comment

Donald Trump says Japan and South Korea could have their own nuclear weapons

USA election 2016Donald Trump says Japan and South Korea could have their own nuclear weapons The revelation came in perhaps his most extensive interview yet about his foreign policy plans, Independent Andrew Buncombe New York  @AndrewBuncomb  27 Mar 16 Donald Trump has said he is open to the idea of both Japan and South Korea developing their own nuclear deterrents and would like to withdraw US troops from their soil.

In perhaps his most detailed explanation yet about his foreign policy plans if he were to be elected president, Mr Trump told a US newspaper that allowing the two countries to do this would reduce pressure on the US to come to their defence every time North Korea acted aggressively. He also said he would consider stopping oil purchases from Saudi Arabia unless the Saudi government provided troops to fight Isis.

“There’ll be a point at which we’re just not going to be able to do it any more. Now, does that mean nuclear? It could mean nuclear,” Mr Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, told the New York Times.

Mr Trump said the US “cannot be the policeman of the world” and suggested that Tokyo and Seoul would move to develop their own weapons regardless, if the US continued along what he described as a path of “weakness”. “Would I rather have North Korea have [nuclear weapons] with Japan sitting there having them also? You may very well be better off if that’s the case,” Mr Trump said. “If Japan had that nuclear threat, I’m not sure that would be a bad thing for us.”…….

March 28, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment