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United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) backs action on Climate Change


UNICEF copyUNICEF’s increasing involvement in climate change. Other UN groups have worked on this for decades, but the connection with children is a new approach.

Thanks to all the excellent work by Country Offices, #ClimateChain has gathered hundreds of powerful images of children standing boldly in front of the environment they want to protect.  #ClimateChain was launched on World Water Day; that week, UNICEF received 236 million potential impressions on social media.

We now leverage this effort for this week’s historic signing of the Paris Climate Agreement at the UN.  On Friday, 22 April, world leaders are to convene at the General Assembly Hall to sign the environmental accord – a record 197 countries pledging their commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and start adapting for the effects of climate change.

UNICEF is working to make sure children are front and center of this occasion.

As the leaders gather, they will be greeted by children forming a live Climate Chain, with screens showing images of children around the world forming the Climate Chain. 

Getrude Clement, a UNICEF Digital Youth Mapper, will speak during the opening ceremony, sharing her experience in Tanzania and urging the leaders to uphold their commitments.

After the final speaker, 197 children will flood the aisles of the GA Hall in a key moment to make a powerful statement about climate action.  Wearing T-shirts which say “your promise, our future,” the children will reach their arms out in a Climate Chain, as images of children from around the world in a virtual chain are also shown on screens.

We invite you to post your photos and join the Climate Chain this week, before Friday.




April 20, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Blowing away the dishonest spin of the nuclear lobby against renewable energy

highly-recommendedDiesendorf-MarkRenewable energy versus nuclear: dispelling the myths Mark Diesendorf 19th April 2016 

Don’t believe the spurious claims of nuclear shills constantly doing down renewables, writes Mark Diesendorf. Clean, safe renewable energy technologies have the potential to supply 100% of the world’s electricity needs – but the first hurdle is to refute the deliberately misleading myths designed to promote the politically powerful but ultimately doomed nuclear industry.

Nuclear energy and renewable energy (RE) are the principal competitors for low-carbon electricity in many countries.

As RE technologies have grown in volume and investment, and become much cheaper, nuclear proponents and deniers of climate science have become deniers of RE.

The strategies and tactics of RE deniers are very similar to those of climate science deniers.

To create uncertainty about the ability of RE to power an industrial society, they bombard decision-makers and the media with negative myths about RE and positive myths about nuclear energy, attempting to turn these myths into conventional wisdom.

In responding to the climate crisis, few countries have the economic resources to expand investment substantially in both nuclear and RE. This is demonstrated in 2016 by the UK government, which is offering huge long-term subsidies to nuclear while severely cutting existing short-term subsidies to RE.

This article, a sequel to one busting the myth that we need base-load power stations such as nuclear or coal, examines critically some of the other myths about nuclear energy and RE. It offers a resource for those who wish to question these myths. The myths discussed here have been drawn from comments by nuclear proponents and RE opponents in the media, articles, blogs and on-line comments.

Myth 1: Base-load power stations are necessary to supply base-load demand. Continue reading

April 20, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, renewable, spinbuster | Leave a comment

NATO concerned at danger of ISIS nuclear attack on Britain or Europe

safety-symbol-Smflag-EUflag-UKEU and Nato say there is ‘a justified concern’ of ISIS carrying out a chemical or nuclear attack in Britain or Europe

  • ISIS ‘plans nuclear and chemical attacks on Britain and EU’, say NATO
  • Terrorists are trying to obtain nuclear weapons, security chiefs warns
  • ISIS is also ‘trying to implant bombs in humans and hack driver less cars’
  • See more news on the ISIS threat at 

By SARA MALM and ALLAN HALL FOR MAILONLINE, 20 April 2016    ISIS terrorists are planning nuclear and chemical attacks on Britain and Europe, international security chiefs have warned.

Both Nato and the EU say there are ‘justified concerns’ that ISIS jihadists are working on obtaining chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials to carry out attacks on the EU.

Speaking at the Security and Counter Terror Expo in London this week, senior counter terrorism officials warned of ISIS’s plans to carry out chemical attacks. ‘With CBRN [chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear materials], there is a justified concern.’ Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counter terrorism for the European Commission said according to The Telegraph.

Dr Jamie Shea, deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security threats at Nato, told the annual Security and Counter Terror Expo: ‘We know terrorists are trying to acquire these substances.’………

April 20, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, safety, UK | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear corporation EDF warned on legal action over the Hinkley nuclear project debacle

text Hinkley cancelledPoster EDF menteurPressure rises on EDF board over Hinkley Point nuclear plant,, 19 Apr 16,  Michael Stothard in Paris  A group of managers at French utility EDF have sent a letter to its board of directors warning they could all face legal action if the company pushes ahead with its contentious Hinkley Point C nuclear project in the UK.

The letter, dated April 19 and seen by the Financial Times, said that if a board decision in favour of Hinkley Point led to the “destruction of the value” at EDF its directors could be held personally responsible……….

French president François Hollande is also meeting ministers at the Élysée Palace on Wednesday to discuss financing options for Hinkley Point. The French state has an 85 per cent stake in EDF.

The letter by the group of EDF managers highlights the internal battle that has raged within the company over Hinkley Point, with chief financial officer Thomas Piquemal resigning last month because of concerns that the UK project could threaten the company’s future…….

Two other nuclear projects in France and Finland using the same reactor technology proposed for Hinkley Point are both severely delayed and billions over budget……..

April 20, 2016 Posted by | France, Legal, politics, UK | Leave a comment

EDF’s minority shareholders want French govt to be forced to buy them out.

AREVA EDF crumblingflag-franceEDF staff investors demands France buys out minorities in nuclear dispute  

Staff shareholder group says state abuses majority

* Minorities say EDF used as government policy tool

* EAS fears Hinkley Point will crimp future dividends (Adds detail on dividend, EDF no comment)

Reuters By Geert De Clercq  PARIS, April 19 An EDF employee shareholders group has asked the AMF market regulator to force the French state to buy out the utility’s minority shareholders, in a dispute over its plans to build nuclear plants in Britain.

In a letter to the AMF, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, EDF Actionnariat Salarie (EAS) asks the market regulator to consider requiring the state to launch a so-called public withdrawal bid.

EAS alleges that the government is abusing its position as a majority shareholder by forcing EDF to go ahead with building nuclear plants in Britain, which EAS says is too risky for EDF and will prevent it from paying dividends in coming years……..


EAS argues that in pushing EDF’s 18 billion pound (22.8 billion euros) project to build two reactors at Hinkley Point, in Britain, the government defends the interests of the country’s nuclear industry rather than those of EDF, at the expense of its minority shareholders…….

Hinkley Point is crucial for the survival of reactor builder Areva and France’s many smaller nuclear companies, in an industry that employs about 200,000 people. With three quarters of its power generated by nuclear, France needs no more reactors, and export prospects are limited after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

“While the state only owns 85 percent of EDF’s capital, it behaves as if it is the sole proprietor and uses the company as a lever for its industrial policy,” EAS said.

It also said the UK project will prevent EDF from paying a dividend for at least seven years……..

On Wednesday, the government will discuss EDF’s finances ahead of an EDF board meeting on Friday. Sources close to the company said the board will review financing options but will not decide on Hinkley Point. (1 euro = 0.7906 pounds) (Editing by Alexander Smith)

April 20, 2016 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

‘Catastrophic’ Nuclear leak at Washington’s infamous Hanford Site

text ionisingFlag-USANuclear leak at Washington’s infamous Hanford Site is CATASTROPHIC, former worker claims, as eight inches of radioactive waste escapes core of ‘the world’s safest’ tank, Daily Mail , 20 Apr 16  [EXCELLENT PHOTOS] 

  • Tank has two shells; a crack was spotted in the inner one in 2011
  • Now that crack has widened, spilling waste into the gap between the shells
  • It happened after attempts to pump the waste out of the tank
  • The Department of Energy says this was ‘anticipated’
  • But workers at the plant said they weren’t told it was a possibility 
  • The double-shell tank can contain up to a million gallons of deadly waste
  • It was supposed to be the safest possible container for radioactive liquid 
  • The Hanford Site provided plutonium for the first atomic bomb 


A nuclear leak first spotted five years ago at Washington state’s Hanford Site has got dramatically worse with eight inches of radioactive liquid escaping a protective carbon steel shell.

The tank, named AY-102, has two shells, with the inner steel layer containing up to one million gallons of the deadly waste, and the outer concrete one providing a two-foot-wide gap to collect the waste if the inner shell broke.

Now a small leak in the inner shell first seen in 2011 has worsened, allowing eight inches of the dangerous goo to leak out in an event that one ex-worker is calling ‘catastrophic.’

Former Hanford worker Mike Geffre was the first to spot the leak in AY-102’s inner shell in 2011, but it took the government a year to actually announce what had happened.

Back then, the small leak only allowed a slow flow of radioactive waste into the gap between the shells, or ‘annulus’. That liquid which would quickly dry up into a white powder. But after five years, they discovered on Sunday that the crack had got worse.

‘This is catastrophic,’ he told ‘This is probably the biggest event to ever happen in tank farm history. The double-shell tanks were supposed to be the saviors of all saviors.’

The Hanford Site was a major Second World War and Cold War nuclear site; it provided plutonium for the first atomic bomb.

It now houses millions of gallons of nuclear waste – two-thirds of all high-level radioactive waste in America in 2007 – and cleanup on the site has been ongoing since 1989.

As well as AY-102, six single-shell tanks were noted to be leaking in 2013.

Ironically, the original cracks in AY-102 appear to have been further widened by government efforts to pump waste out of the tank, sources told KGW.

Pumping began three weeks ago, after Washington state spent three years petitioning the federal government, which owns the tanks, to deal with the damaged structure.

But the change in pressure appears to have ‘blown out’ the weakened wall, causing the increased leak and bringing the waste closer to the nearby Columbia River.

‘The primary tanks weren’t designed to stage waste like this for so many years,’ a current worker told KGW. ‘There’s always the question, “Are the outer shells compromised?”‘…………

workers at the plant told KGW that despite claims the breach was ‘anticipated,’ they had not been made aware that something like this could occur.

And Geffre said that he was frustrated that his warnings in 2011 hadn’t been acted on for an entire year. ‘It’s an example of a culture at Hanford of “We don’t have problems here. We’re doing just fine.” Which is a total lie,’ he said.

Construction on the Hanford site began in 1943, and it went on to house the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor, and to provide plutonium for the first atomic bomb.

After the Cold War ended, the site housed 53 million gallons of high-level radioactive waste and 25 million cubic feet of solid radioactive waste.

There were 200 square miles of contaminated groundwater beneath the site.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Cancer toll in Serbia, from NATO’s use of depleted uranium weapons

cancer_cellsdepleted-uraniumDepleted uranium used by NATO during bombing of Serbia takes its toll By InSerbia with agencies -Mar 29, 2016  BELGRADE The use of depleted uranium during NATO bombing of Serbia has caused long-term damage to Serbia and the Serbian people. Because every year we have an increase in the number of cancer cases by 25 percent over the previous year. Figures in the case of patients in Kosovska Mitrovica support this fact, as in 2011 here were registered 185 of them, the following year, 225 and in 2013 – 250. Therefore, the gloomy forecasts, imposed back in 2002, that the use of depleted uranium during the aggression of Western military alliance against FRY will cause an epidemic of malignant diseases, turned out to be accurate, said dr. Nebojsa Srbljak for Serbian daily “Vecernje Novosti”.

Dr Srbljak, a cardiologist at the ZTC in Kosovska Mitrovica and founder of the NGO “Angel of Mercy” which deals with data on the number of patients with malignancy in Kosovo, explained for the daily that “those who used the depleted uranium had to know what consequences it causes”. He said that the study of his organization, which cover the period of two years before and two years after the bombing, clearly shows that the number of patients with malignant diseases is caused by radioactivity, and not stress and other bad life habits.

“Let us remember the example of Italy which has revealed that their soldiers, who stayed in Kosovo, were irradiated and that the increased number of hematological diseases is a direct consequence of the use of depleted uranium ammunition,” said dr. Srbljak. “Italian KFOR soldiers were deployed where the most of the ammunition with depleted uranium was used, in Pec, Djakovica, in Kosare. Their families, as far as I know, have received compensation.”

Dr. Srbljak urges the authorities that our country formally request compensation, not only for material damage but also because of the increase in the number of patients with malignant diseases. The cardiologist claims that someone was trying to minimize the information he and his team published back in 2002 that the number of patients with malignant diseases was increased by almost 200 percent compared to the period before the bombing.

“It became clear that we are right when our neighbors Albanians started to go to Belgrade for a treatment. Because, and that is obvious, they have confidence in the expertise of Serbian doctors. I therefore think that our proposal, to open a branch of Oncology Institute in Belgrade here in (Kosovska) Mitrovica could finally be realized.”

April 20, 2016 Posted by | depleted uranium, EUROPE, health | 1 Comment

UK energy secretary admits energy supply would be OK even if Hinkley nuclear cancelled or delayed

text Hinkley cancelledMinister admits lights would stay on even if Hinkley nuclear plant is delayed Guardian,  , 19 Apr 16  UK energy secretary admits for the first time that any delays or cancellations to new nuclear reactors would not compromise national energy supply. The UK’s energy secretary has admitted for the first time that the lights would stay on if new nuclear reactors at Hinkley were cancelled or delayed.

Amber Rudd has previously said that “energy security has to be the number one priority” and that new gas and nuclear power would be “central to our energy-secure future”.

But in a letter released on Tuesday in reply to MPs on the energy and climate change select committee, which asked what contingency plans were in place if Hinkley is delayed or cancelled, she said: “While we have every confidence the deal will go ahead, we have arrangements in place to ensure that any potential delay or cancellation to the project does not pose a risk to security of supply for the UK. I am clear that keeping the lights on is non-negotiable.”

She also said that delays to the troubled plant could risk the UK missing its targets to cut carbon emissions, and that alternatives could cost more but would not represent a “significant increase” in cost in the short term.

The final decision by French-state owned company EDF to go ahead with Hinkley has been repeatedly delayed and the billion of pounds of state subsidies and the feasibility of the giant project have been widely criticised. Last week one of the UK’s major investors, Legal and General, called Hinkley “a total waste of money”………

report from the government’s National Infrastructure Commission in March found that “smart power – principally built around three innovations, interconnection, storage, and demand flexibility – could save consumers up to £8bn a year by 2030, help the UK meet its 2050 carbon targets, and secure the UK’s energy supply for generations.”

Angus MacNeil, chair of the energy and climate change committee, said: “[Rudd’s] letter shows the government has had to finally concede the need for a Plan B on Hinkley, although the detail is sketchy. New capacity must be brought online in a way that is compatible with our decarbonisation targets. That means limiting the role of fossil fuels and maximising the use of smarter low carbon options to meet demand.”……..

ohn Sauven, Greenpeace’s UK director said: “There is absolutely no reason that the UK could not meet our decarbonisation targets if the government dropped Hinkley and gave renewable energy businesses a fraction of political and financial support that nuclear and fossil fuel companies enjoy.”

April 20, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Hans Blix warns on USA’s danger in not reducing nuclear arsenal

weapons1US ‘plays with fire’ dragging feet in reducing nuclear arsenals – Ex-IAEA head to RT 19 Apr, 2016 Nearly 20,000 warheads owned by big powers with “sparks flying” between them are more risky than “dirty bombs” in hands of terrorist organizations, Hans Blix and Lassina Zerbo, reputed international experts on nuclear security, told RT.

Hans Blix, a renowned Swedish diplomat who led the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency for more than 16 years, and headed the monitoring mission sent to Iraq in search of alleged weapons of mass destruction prior to the 2003 Iraq War, has described the biggest threats posed by nuclear weapons to RT in an exclusive interview.

Recalling the end of the Cold War, which was marked by massive disarmament efforts between the USSR and US, Blix said it was “the great time” that resulted in several milestone agreements banning nuclear tests and chemical weapons.

“Since then we’ve had hopes that countries would go on, with President Obama [pushing for] the nuclear-free world. But since 2010, when an agreement was reached between Russia and the United States about the START treaty [reducing number of warheads and weapons carriers], things have gone badly.”

Twenty years after the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was adopted by the UN in 1996, which urges all countries to abandon nuclear detonations for both military and civilian purposes,“the atmosphere in the world became chilly,” Blix said, warning that major powers have once again entered a phase of pumping large sums of money into rearmament.

Despite Washington’s countless promises to ratify the CTBT, last year Moscow accused the US of taking “no practical steps” in that direction, consequently preventing the important agreement from entering into force.

While both countries have nuclear arsenals sufficient for mutually assured destruction, only Russia has either signed or ratified the treaty…….

April 20, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Clean water for 10 million people, due to London’s new floating solar farm

flag-UKWorld’s Largest Floating Solar Farm to Provide 10 Million People with Clean Water, Luminary Daily,  By  / 20 March 2016 The solar farm will span 57,500 square meters (or about eight soccer stadiums) of the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir and will consist of 23,000 solar panels, covering about a tenth of the reservoir. It is slated to be completed by the end of March.

Solar floating farm London copy

Utility company Thames Water runs the reservoir, while Lightsource Renewable Energy — a private solar energy company based in London — is responsible for the funding and operation of the revolutionary farm.

“This will be the biggest floating solar farm in the world for a time — others are under construction,” Angus Berry, energy manager for Thames Water, told The Guardian. “We are leading the way, but we hope that others will follow, in the UK and abroad.”………

Similar floating solar farms are under construction, or have already been completed, both in England and around the world. Recently, a 45,500 square meter solar farm opened in Greater Manchester, England and water company United Utilities, also in Manchester, is currently constructing a similar project that will have about half the capacity of the Thames Water project. In Japan, solar company Kyocera is in the process of building an 180,000 square meter floating solar farm (see featured image at the top) that is set to be completed in 2018.

For their dedication to providing clean, renewable energy, for their innovation, and for helping to lead the charge in the energy revolution we are happy to name the folks at Lightsource and Thames Water our Luminaries of the Week.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | renewable, UK | Leave a comment

Calls to shut down Japan’s Sendai nuclear plant, near to earthquake zone

nuke-earthquakeDespite assurances, quakes prompt calls to switch off Japan’s nuclear reactors, Japan Times, BY  STAFF WRITER  19 Apr 16, OSAKA – Despite official assurances of no abnormalities at nuclear power plants in Kyushu and nearby areas after a series of earthquakes rocked the region, calls in and outside of Japan are growing to shut down the nation’s only two operating reactors at the Sendai plant in Kagoshima Prefecture.

Since Thursday, the Meteorological Agency has recorded nearly 530 quakes at level 1 or above on the Japanese intensity scale in Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures. This includes more than 80 registering a 4 or higher on the scale. The agency has warned that seismic activity in the region may continue over the next week, possibly prompting more deadly landslides.

But despite the frequency of the quakes, the Sendai plant, just over the border from Kumamoto in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, has continued to generate electricity since the initial magnitude-6.5 quake rocked Kumamoto on Thursday, followed by a magnitude-7.3 temblor early Saturday………

with continued quakes and aftershocks, fears are growing about what the constant shaking could mean in terms of cumulative damage that could result in a nuclear crisis.

An online Japanese- and English-language petition by a former Kumamoto resident to shut down the Sendai plant had drawn over 42,000 signatures worldwide as of Monday morning, while anti-nuclear activists in Fukui Prefecture have also criticized Kyushu Electric Power Co. and the NRA for continuing to operate the plant.

In Saga Prefecture on Sunday, about 100 mayors and town heads belonging to the Mayors for a Nuclear Power Free Japan added their voices, calling for the central government and the NRA to re-evaluate the way earthquake safety standards for nuclear power plants are calculated.

They also want the government to grant localities within 30 km of a nuclear power plant the legal authority to approve or reject reactor restarts.

The decision to keep the Sendai reactors running is also drawing criticism overseas……..

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Nuclear companies’ new bonanza industry – cleaning up the radioactive mess they made


Nuclear costs in uncharted territory As some governments press on with new nuclear installations to address climate change, a multi-billion dollar industry will be needed to make safe old power plants and their hazardous waste. Climate News Network  19 April 2016 If you want a job for life, go into the nuclear industry – not building power plants, but taking them down and making them safe, along with highly-radioactive spent fuel and other hazardous waste involved.

The market for decommissioning nuclear sites is unbelievably large. Sixteen nations in Europe alone face a €253 billion waste bill, and the continent has only just begun to tackle the problem.

Among the many difficulties the industry faces is lack of trained people to do the highly-paid work. Anyone who enters the business is likely to be sought after for the rest of their career because the job of decommissioning Europe’s nuclear sites alone will take more than 100 years – even if no new nuclear power stations are ever built.

Add to the European nuclear legacy the dozens of old nuclear power stations in North America, Japan, Russia and central Asia, and nuclear decommissioning could already be classed as one of the biggest industries in the world, and it can only grow.

And this does not count the millions of dollars still being spent annually to contain the damage from the nuclear accidents in Chernobyl, Russia, in 1986, and Fukushima, Japan, in 2011.

Longer-term problem

So far, the nuclear industry has largely avoided drawing too much attention to this legacy, emphasising that its sites are safe, and concentrating instead on claiming that new nuclear stations are the answer to climate change.

But this approach has not solved the longer-term problem of how to safely contain the radioactivity of old sites to avoid damaging future generations.

The UK, one of the countries with the largest nuclear waste problem, is also currently spending most money trying to make it safe. One site alone − Sellafieldin Cumbria, northwest England − is spending £2 billion a year on cleaning up its waste and expects the total bill to be around £50 billion.

But that is almost certain to rise. There are 240 operational nuclear buildings on the site, and 11 major construction projects aimed at containing the waste problem.

Twelve other old nuclear sites in the UK, where reactors have already been shut down, are costing £600 million a year to clean up, a process that will take until 2027.

Even then, the job will not be finished. All that money will have been spent on reducing the hulks to a “care and maintenance basis” so they can be guarded for decades until it is decided to demolish them altogether when it is safe to do so.

It is probably because the UK is spending so much money already that theNuclear Decommissioning Conference for Europe is being held in the northern England city of Manchester on May 31 to June 1. All the major nuclear companies in Europe, and many international businesses hoping to cash in on this new industry, will be attending.

But the UK is only one major market, and France is potentially even larger. Although it has not yet decommissioned its nuclear stations, it is about to start doing so and has 58 reactors to dismantle. Germany, like the UK, has already begun its programme, with nine reactors shut down and another eight to be closed by 2022.

Primary task

In total, there are 200 reactors worldwide due to be shut down by 2025.

But while the primary task of the current decommissioning programme is to make reactors safe by removing their old fuel and storing it, one of the major problems of the industry is nowhere near solved.

All over the world, governments have tried and failed to find sites where they can store the vast quantities of radioactive waste that has arisen from nuclear weapons programmes, nuclear submarine and ship propulsion systems, and the civil nuclear industry. The waste needs to be isolated from human beings for as much as 250,000 years to make it safe.

Only one country, Sweden, has a workable plan for a deep disposal repository. Elsewhere, many plans have been tried and abandoned, either because of political opposition or unfavourable geology.

So nobody knows yet how much this epic problem is going to cost, or how many decades will pass before it is under control. As the brochure for the conference puts it: “Estimating lifetime costs is a journey into uncharted territory.” No wonder executives from many companies are paying up to £1,500 each to attend.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | decommission reactor, wastes | Leave a comment

Solar city makes more 4 times more electricity than it consumes

flag_germanyRevolutionary: Germany Builds A Solar City That Produces Four Times More Energy Than It Consumes Mittal 14 Apr 16We have known cities to be great power-guzzlers, having a huge appetite for consuming electricity to power its homes and buildings. To generate electricity for such cities through renewable sources like solar becomes a difficult task given the vast amount of area required to place the solar panels. But a city in the heart of Germany has achieved something more incredible. It not only has made itself self-sufficient in energy, but in fact has become a net producer of energy – all thanks to a localized approach for adopting solar power.

solar citiy Frieburg Germany

The Solar cities of Germany:

The Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities located in Freiburg, Germany are modern, planned habitations that were worked upon with solar power in mind. Literally meaning Solar Ship and Solar Village, the Sonnenschiff and Solarsiedlung cities were specifically designed and built to be solar cities, balancing size, accessibility, green space, and solar exposure. Each of the fifty-two homes along with some commercial buildings is fitted with large rooftop solar panels that double-up as sun shades. The panels are perfectly aligned to point in the right direction of the sun, and the buildings follow the Passivhaus standards of green building technology.

The cities have been designed by architect Rolf Disch. Together with the latest photovoltaic technology for the panels that make them highly efficient, and use of phase-change materials and vacuum insulation for the walls of the buildings that provide optimum thermal performance, the cities are able to generate four times the power which they consume.

Solar Vs Nuclear:

The success of solar as an alternative to the polluting coal-fired power is not limited to these twin-cities. The entire area of Freiburg has been leading the country into a solar revolution since a long time. It was once on the crossroads of choosing between solar and nuclear as the preferred alternative source. Infact a nuclear power plant had already begun construction near Freiburg in early 1970s, amid protests from students and farmers who saw nuclear as a dangerous and polluting source of energy.

A major change in mindset of the local population came when an engineer Dieter Seifried started an institute to research into alternative forms of energy and popularized solar as a safe, reliable and efficient source. Seifried said regarding nuclear power in an interview to CBC news, “you will see first that it is not clean at all, second that it is expensive and third that we have a lot of unsolved problems like where do we deposit the waste.” Gradually more and more residents started to install rooftop solar panels on their houses and ditched the conventional power from grid. In 2000, Germany tabled a clean energy bill that forced power-companies to pay a set fee called a feed-in tariff to anybody providing power to the grid. This gave an impetus to the efforts of Seifried and others, and today, 30% of Germany’s electricity comes from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar. The nuclear plant being built in Freiburg was shut down soon after the protests, and after the unfortunate Fukushima meltdown in Japan in 2011, Germany has committed to phase out all 17 of its nuclear reactors by 2022.

The examples of Freiburg and the solar cities show how people themselves can own up the process of transitioning from conventional methods of energy generation to cleaner alternatives. The role of government in incentivizing renewable energy and providing access to technology is also very important. The Logical Indian gives a big thumbs-up to the residents of Freiburg for kickstarting the solar revolution in their country, and hopes that similar initiatives are taken up by people across the world.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear regulator to provide daily information on condition of 4 nuclear facilities near earthquake region

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanNRA to issue nuclear plant info every day amid quake concerns, Japan Times 19 Apr 16    KYODO  The Nuclear Regulation Authority said Tuesday it will begin providing information every day on the safety of four nuclear plants located around the region hit by the series of earthquakes that started last week.

The nuclear watchdog will update information on the condition of the Sendai, Genkai, Ikata and Shimane nuclear plants and radiation levels around them at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. every day to address public concerns………

The only two commercial reactors currently operating in Japan are at the Sendai complex in Kagoshima Prefecture. The facility is operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co.

Until now, the NRA has not provided such information to the public unless an earthquake measuring at least lower 5 on the Japanese intensity scale of 7 is registered in the location of a nuclear plant, even when a strong earthquake occurs in a neighboring area.

When the quake hit Kumamoto on Thursday night, the NRA did not provide any information about the safety of the four plants until Friday morning. The slow response prompted the government to instruct the NRA to improve its information disclosure.

Under the new rules, when an earthquake measuring lower 5 or higher is recorded in Kyushu, the NRA will also provide information immediately with data about the nuclear plants.

Kyushu Electric’s Genkai power station is located in Saga Prefecture, northwestern Kyushu, while Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane plant is in Honshu, northeast of Kumamoto.

April 20, 2016 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Politicians oblivious to the very real threat of nuclear famine

Nuclear Famine, Independent Australia,  17 April 2016   Daryl Williams discusses a recent scientific report in which the devastating global impacts of a small nuclear conflict, including “nuclear famine”, are outlined.

THE COLD WAR is over, the Berlin Wall has fallen, nuclear warhead numbers have declined significantly — so the threat of nuclear catastrophe has passed, right?

Well, sadly no.

In fact, things may be more dangerous today than at the height of the Cold War.

Computer simulations of the indirect climate effects of even a “small” regional nuclear exchange indicate that the whole world would still be imperiled.

A recent 16-page scientific paper, ‘Multidecadal global cooling and unprecedented ozone loss following a ‘regional nuclear conflict‘, by MillsToonLee-Taylor and Robock, outlines the horrific unexpected consequences. Once you boil down the “science-speak” it paints a bleak picture – via an “Earth system model” which includes atmospheric chemistry, ocean dynamics and interactive sea ice and land components – which we should do everything we can to avoid.


It deserves far more attention than it has received and its findings should be informing our foreign, defence and emergency management policies. In summary, the scenario it simulates is as follows:

Firestorms in India and Pakistan from a “small” regional conflict and nuclear exchange would inject 5 Tg (or one million tonnes) of black carbon (smoke, soot, dust) into the stratosphere which spreads globally.

The black carbon heats the stratosphere (by up to an amazing 80 degrees C) and cools the lower atmosphere and surface (by 1.1 degrees C in the first four years, down to 1.6 degrees in the fifth year, slowly rising to 0.25 to 0.5 degrees 20 years later). The colder surface temperatures reduce precipitation by 6% globally for the first five years and still by 4.5% one decade on.

Oh, and hundreds of millions of Indians and Pakistanis would be incinerated to death … but let’s concentrate on the long-term climate repercussions……..

That spells big trouble for Earth in the form of

widespread damage to human health, agriculture, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.’

That is,

‘…combined cooling and enhanced UV would put significant pressures on global food supplies and could trigger global nuclear famine.’………

The report also states:

‘The combined effects of elevated UV levels alone on terrestrial agriculture and marine ecosystems could put significant pressures on global food security.’

And yet, I didn’t read anything about this in the 2016 Defence White Paper or in any plans byEmergency Management Australia. Why not?…….,8893

April 20, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, weapons and war | Leave a comment