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Our only hope against nuclear pollution and annihilation – an informed citizenry

 

Hope-Dove-FlyingExtremely Cautionary Catastrophes: Fukushima And Chernobyl, By Robert Snefjella, 28 May, 2016, Countercurrents.org “………wherein does our best chance lie of reducing the harm and risk of our nuclear folly? How do we provide the basis by which we could begin to dismantle our folly and reconstruct cultures that are viable.

Those iconic personages Albert Einstein and Dwight Eisenhower are among the many concerned people who have located hope for policy sanity in an informed public:

Einstein found our “only hope” [regarding nuclear technology] in “an informed citizenry” [that] “will act for life and not for death.”

Eisenhower offered that

“only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Note well: they did not base their hope on experts or oligarchs or generals or silly people who are enthralled by the illusion of their own extraordinary intelligence. They based hope on a well informed us.

Implied in Einstein and Eisenhower’s hope is that the broad public, well informed, has a far greater potential repository of creativity and common sense and decency and such – beneficent functionality – than any cult, tribe, institution or faction thereof. Continue reading

May 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, psychology and culture | Leave a comment

Michael Mariotte exposes pro nuclear “environmentalists” Hansen and Shellenberger

text shillHow low can they go? Hansen, Shellenberger now shilling for Exelon Green World,  Michael Mariotte
April 6, 2016 “…….Enter the pro-nuke “environmentalists.”

Specifically, renowned climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and industry-oriented Michael Shellenberger of the Breakthrough Institute, came to Illinois this week to weigh in on the Exelon bailout debate.  And no, they didn’t support renewables or other clean energy technologies. They didn’t question whether the nation’s largest electric utility really needs to gouge Illinoisans for another $300 million to keep aging, money-losing reactors open. Their message was pretty simple: in an open letter to Illinois legislators they, and several dozen others (most of whom are long-standing nuclear advocates) urged them to “do everything in your power to keep all of Illinois’s nuclear power plants running for their full lifetimes.”

Sometimes Dr. Hansen just makes you wonder if he isn’t undertaking some bizarre experiment to see how far he can undermine his own credibility before it all blows up in his face.

Back in November 2013 he and three colleagues wrote an open letter to us nuclear opponents urging us to reconsider nuclear power. It’s worth going back and reading some of that letter.

“As climate and energy scientists concerned with global climate change, we are writing to urge you to advocate the development and deployment of safer nuclear energy systems,” the letter began. It added, “We call on your organization to support the development and deployment of safer nuclear power systems as a practical means of addressing the climate change problem.” And: “We understand that today’s nuclear plants are far from perfect. Fortunately, passive safety systems and other advances can make new plants much safer.”

Note the emphasis: Hansen is clearly talking about “safer” nuclear reactors. To be precise, he was seeking environmentalist support for development and deployment of Generation IV reactors. Which, to date, do not exist.

NIRS and Civil Society Institute organized a response, signed by 300+ organizations, to Hansen’s letter explaining our continued opposition to nuclear power as a climate response and calling for a public debate on the issue. We never received a reply.

Now jump ahead to December 2015, just four months ago. Shortly before the Paris COP 21 climate talks, Hansen et. al. issued a new missive: “Nuclear power, particularly next-generation nuclear power with a closed fuel cycle (where spent fuel is reprocessed), is uniquely scalable, and environmentally advantageous. Over the past 50 years, nuclear power stations – by offsetting fossil fuel combustion – have avoided the emission of an estimated 60bn tonnes of carbon dioxide. Nuclear energy can power whole civilizations, and produce waste streams that are trivial compared to the waste produced by fossil fuel combustion. There are technical means to dispose of this small amount of waste safely. However, nuclear does pose unique safety and proliferation concerns that must be addressed with strong and binding international standards and safeguards. Most importantly for climate, nuclear produces no CO2 during power generation.”

While there is much to dispute in this paragraph, again note the emphasis on safety and “next-generation nuclear power” and continued acknowledgement of nuclear’s “unique safety and proliferation concerns.”

Fukushima-clone Quad Cities, which began operation in 1972, and Clinton, which began operation in 1987, clearly do not fall under the “safer” or “next-generation” nuclear memes. By endorsing not only their continued operation, but their continued operation enabled by forcing the people of Illinois to further line Exelon’s pockets, Hansen has made a mockery of his earlier safety concerns and exposed himself as no different than any other Exelon-paid-for Nuclear Matters spokesperson.

But it gets worse, because by allying himself with the Breakthrough Institute’s Shellenberger, Hansen has gone a step even further, a step right over the credibility cliff. Because asMidwest Energy News reported,  “Shellenberger described next-generation technology as farther away from viability than he had previously hoped, and urged more focus on the nation’s existing reactors.

“How much safer could they be?” he said. “If you have nuclear plants that don’t hurt anyone, keep running them.”

In other words, Shellenberger dismisses Hansen’s support of Generation IV reactors in one phrase and argues in essence that because Fukushima hasn’t happened yet at Quad Cities, well, hell, it never will; keep them running… But Fukushima did, in fact, happen. And there were supposed to have been lessons learned from that disaster. One of those is to be highly skeptical of GE Mark I nuclear reactor designs that are essentially identical to Fukushima, and that have been highly controversial even since their inception in the 1960s.

Thus, Hansen and Shellenberger (and the rest of the letter’s signers, most of whom probably know little about the actual situation in Illinois) are now dismissing any pretense of caring about nuclear safety. For what? To enable Exelon, the largest electric utility in the nation, to gouge Illinoisans for another $300 million to keep open three aging, uneconomic and unsafe nuclear reactors, because of their low carbon emissions.

Seriously, do Hansen and Shellenberger really intend to argue that the world’s climate depends on whether three midwestern nuclear reactors stay open or not? Especially when, to the extent their power needs to be replaced at all it will not be replaced by coal (check out the growing list of coal bankruptcies, there won’t be any new coal plants in Illinois) but to some limited and temporary extent by gas and over the longer and larger term by clean energy. Genuinely clean energy. The kind that doesn’t routinely spew out toxic radiation into the air and water nor create lethal radioactive waste that–their protestations to the contrary–there is not yet, and may not be for centuries, a scientifically-responsible and publicly-acceptable storage solution.

And why have they even entered this debate at all? Shellenberger has gone so far as to establish a new organization called Environmental Progress Illinois to “protect and grow solar, wind and nuclear energy.” He claims that the group hasn’t taken a position on state legislative proposals yet, but expressed support for the concept of having nuclear power treated like renewables in a new “clean energy portfolio standard.” Which happens to be Exelon’s proposal.

Shellenberger, for the record, says his new group takes no money from the energy industry.

And why is Hansen jumping into this battle? This is not the Keystone pipeline. Closing three reactors–or 30 reactors over the next few years for that matter–is not “game over” for climate, not when those reactors can be replaced by clean energy technologies, as both EPA and EIA analyses project they will be.

Arguing for environmentalists to consider Generation IV reactor technology was one thing. For many reasons, we rejected that approach and explained in detail why we did so, but at least it was a fair challenge. But actively working to prevent the shutdown of three reactors of 1960s nuclear technology under the pretense that it would matter for the climate is a leap too far. I hate to say it, but it is a leap so far that it brings into question Hansen’s credibility on the far more important issues of his climate science generally. I have long trusted Hansen on climate issues; now, I am nervous about that. If he can be so wrong in Illinois, and so far removed from his own previous statements on nuclear safety, and seems willing to sell himself to the nation’s largest, and quite possibly greediest, electric utility, well, how can I trust his other work?

I have been telling myself–and others– as Hansen’s pro-nuclear statements have become more and more strident and outlandish over the past few years that, well, Hansen is a climate expert, not an energy expert, and there is a big difference between the two. That’s still true, of course. But I’m having my doubts. Could some of his climate statements–that I’m not expert enough to evaluate the way I am expert enough to evaluate his nuclear statements–be as far removed from reality as his Illinois positions? Fortunately, there are a lot of other climate experts out there. I’ll start listening more closely to them. And there are lots of real energy experts out there, but I already know them and I’ll continue to listen to them. As for Hansen, I probably won’t listen to him anymore on either subject.

As for Illinois, closing Clinton and Quad Cities would not only save its citizens money and reduce the daily risk these dangerous reactors pose, it would help usher in substantial new clean energy investment, something the state desperately could use. That would be the kind of win-win situation–for the state and the climate, if not for Exelon–that the legislature hopefully will recognize. https://safeenergy.org/2016/04/06/how-low-can-they-go/

May 30, 2016 Posted by | Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Taiwan definitely to abandon nuclear power

text-Noflag-TaiwanGov’t to end nuclear power in 2025: MOEA

The China Post news staff
May 26, 2016, Economics Minister Lee Shih-guang Wednesday stressed that Taiwan will definitely abandon nuclear power in 2025, amid renewed speculation about the fate of the nearly completed Fourth Nuclear Power Plant. Lee said there has been a national consensus on turning Taiwan into a “nuclear-power free home,” a goal that many hope will be achieved by 2025. The policy is against extending the service lives of the three currently operational nuclear power plants, he said.

“There is no room for discussion. When 2025 comes, nuclear power will be abandoned,” Lee said at his first press conference since taking office on May 20, reiterating President Tsai Ing-wen’s promise of giving up nuclear power…….http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/05/26/467321/Govt-to.htm

May 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, Taiwan | Leave a comment

An approach to combatting the nuclear shills

text shillHow to take on the nuclear shills: here’s one approach. Green World, Michael Mariotte April 25, 2016“………The nuclear industry and electric utilities have spent hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few years in efforts to both convince legislators that climate action isn’t necessary in the first place, but that if it is, then nuclear power is clean, “emissions-free” energy.

Advocates of genuinely clean energy don’t, of course, have those kinds of resources. But it costs nothing to reach this very targeted audience with a message that both exposes the lies of the nuclear industry and the illusion that nuclear is clean energy and makes the case for renewables, efficiency, and a 21st century electric system.

Go ahead, try this at home! Take on your own local nuclear advocates and turn their own words against them. It’s fun and you may be surprised: perhaps you’ll even begin to force these powerful, non-expert legislators to raise questions and face the notion that someone has been misleading them–and it isn’t us. https://safeenergy.org/2016/04/25/how-to-take-on-the-nuclear-shills/

May 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Exposing the vulnerability of Scottish nuclear facilities to terrorist attack

terrorism-targets-2Nuclear-Free Local Authorities say Scottish nuclear facilities are vulnerable to terrorist attack  Herald Scotland,  Rob Edwards 29 May 16, UK authorities are underestimating the risks of devastating terrorist attacks on nuclear plants and shipments of radioactive material, according to an expert report seen by the Sunday Herald.

A new analysis for the 40-strong group of Nuclear-Free Local Authorities (NFLA) highlights the vulnerability of Scottish nuclear facilities at Faslane, Hunterston, Torness and Dounreay to mass drone strikes, sophisticated cyber attacks and terrorist infiltrators.

UK authorities are underestimating the risks of devastating terrorist attacks on nuclear plants and shipments of radioactive material, according to an expert report seen by the Sunday Herald.

A new analysis for the 40-strong group of Nuclear-Free Local Authorities (NFLA) highlights the vulnerability of Scottish nuclear facilities at Faslane, Hunterston, Torness and Dounreay to mass drone strikes, sophisticated cyber attacks and terrorist infiltrators.

“The main consequences would be, whatever the level of attack, mass public panic and sensationalist media reportage,” he says. “We would inevitably see total road gridlock, as everyone tries to flee by car en masse at once.”

His report argues that a series of unidentified drone flights over French nuclear power stations last summer “should be seen as a major wake-up call for the nuclear industry”. Drones could carry shaped charges, poison gas, booby traps or decoys, and could come individually or in large groups.

 “One heavily laden small drone could probably travel at least 20 mph with a load of 5-10kg,” says the report. “Just one 5kg shaped charge can penetrate 0.75 meters of reinforced concrete, or 0.25 meters of steel.”………http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/14523232.__39_UK_underestimating_risk_of_terrorist_attack_on_nuclear_sites__39_/

May 30, 2016 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

In his last interview, Michael Mariotte exposed James Hansen as shill for the nuclear industry

just before his death, Michael Mariotte told me “…I have long trusted Hansen on climate issues; now, I am nervous about that. If he can be so wrong in Illinois, and so far removed from his own previous statements on nuclear safety, and seems willing to sell himself to the nation’s largest, and quite possibly greediest, electric utility, well, how can I trust his other work?

It gets worse. Michael Mariotte tells us that James Hansen, in his zeal for nukes, went to other foundations asking them do cut funding to any environmental group that opposed nuclear power! I haven’t verified this myself, but NIRS has the documents. Mariotte says this Hansen push to defund even included groups like the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) – which isn’t even specifically anti-nuclear, but says reactors are a concern.

Hear-This-wayDownload or listen to this 21 minute interview with activist Michael Mariotte in Michael Mariotte on Ecoshock CD Quality or Michael Mariotte on Ecoshock Lo-Fi

ICE MELT CONTROLS WORLD WEATHER http://www.ecoshock.org/2016/05/ice-melt-controls-world-weather.html    “……..IS JAMES HANSEN WRONG ON NUCLEAR POWER AS A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE?Why is the world’s most famous climate scientist helping out America’s biggest electricity producer Exelon? And why is James Hansen trying to get the people of Illinios to subsidize Exelon’s dangerous old reactors in Illinios? Even stranger, why did the “death of environmentalism” guy Michael Shellenberger suddenly pop up with a new front group called “Environmental Progress Illinois”? Who is the billionaire funding all that, and why did Hansen join the board? Questions, questions.  Continue reading

May 30, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Research suggests link between cellphones and brain cancer

“Game-Changing” Study Links Cellphone Radiation to Cancer An increased incidence of brain and heart tumors was seen in rats. Mother Jones, MAY 27, 2016  It’s the moment we’ve all been dreading. Initial findings from a massive federal study, released on Thursday, suggest that radio-frequency (RF) radiation, the type emitted by cellphones, can cause cancer.

The findings from a $25 million study, conducted over two and a half years by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), showed that male rats exposed to two types of RF radiation were significantly more likely than unexposed rats to develop a type of brain cancer called a glioma, and also had a higher chance of developing the rare, malignant form of tumor known as a schwannoma of the heart. The effect was not seen in females.

he radiation level the rats received was “not very different” from what humans are exposed to when they use cellphones, said Chris Portier, a former associate director of the NTP who commissioned the study.

As the intensity of the radiation increased, so did the incidence of cancer in the rats. (The highest radiation level was five to seven times as strong as what humans typically receive while using a phone.) Although ionizing radiation, which includes gamma rays and X-rays, is widely accepted as a carcinogen, the wireless industry has long noted that there is no known mechanism by which RF radiation causes cancer. The researchers wrote that the results “appear to support” the conclusion that RF radiation may indeed be carcinogenic.

The findings should be a wake-up call for the scientific establishment, according to Portier, who is now a contributing scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund. “I think this is a game changer,” he said. “We seriously have to look at this issue again in considerable detail.”

“The NTP does the best animal bioassays in the word,” Portier added. “Their reputation is stellar. So if they are telling us this was positive in this study, that’s a concern.”…….

The NTP first decided to investigate the carcinogenicity of cellphone radiation in 2001, partly in response to epidemiological studies showing a correlation between gliomas and cellphone use. Some of the studies even showed that the cancers were ipsilateral—meaning they tended to appear on the same side of the head where users held their phones. But other epidemiological studies haven’t found links between cancer and cellphones…….

Only the test results for rats have been released so far. Female rats didn’t experience significantly higher than normal cancer rates. However, among male rats that received the highest radiation exposures, 2 percent to 3 percent contracted gliomas and 6 percent to 7 percent percent developed schwannoma tumors in their hearts, depending on the type of radiation used. None of the male rats in the control groups developed those cancers……..

The authors of the NTP study did not say how their results might translate into cancer risk for humans. But “given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communication devices,” they wrote, “even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure to RFR resulting from those devices could have broad implications for public health.”……http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/05/federal-study-links-cell-phone-radiation-cancer

May 30, 2016 Posted by | health, USA | Leave a comment

Sad loss of a man of integrity, Michael Mariotte

Michael Mariotte, a Leading Antinuclear Activist, Dies at 63, NYT, By SAM ROBERTS MAY 23, 2016 Michael Mariotte, a leading national opponent of nuclear power and an advocate for alternative, sustainable sources of energy, died on May 16 at his home in Kensington, Md. He was 63.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, his wife, Tetyana Murza, said.

As executive director and president of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in Takoma Park, Md., for three decades, Mr. Mariotte was at the forefront of two successful landmark efforts: to prevent the repeal of a federal ban on interstate shipment of radioactive waste, and to bar the construction of new nuclear plants in Maryland and Louisiana.

He also organized antinuclear campaigns in Eastern Europe after the fatal power plant catastrophe in 1986 at Chernobyl, in what was then the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. And his information service acted as a clearinghouse for groups that opposed nuclear power, both in the United States and overseas.

In 2014, Mr. Mariotte (pronounced like the hotel chain) received a lifetime achievement award from Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate, on behalf of a dozen environmental groups, including Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club.

He had earlier been a co-founder of an alternative weekly newspaper in the nation’s capital, which became Washington City Paper, as well as a drummer in a punk-rock band……

He joined the Nuclear Information and Resource Service in 1985, became executive director the next year and began publishing a newsletter called Groundswell, now known as Nuclear Monitor. The organization mobilized antinuclear groups, testified before Congress and enlisted celebrity endorsements.

Notably, it helped defeat a proposed reactor in Calvert Cliffs, Md.; a uranium processing plant in Louisiana; and legislation that would have lifted curbs on the transportation of radioactive waste. Mr. Mariotte said the measure had posed the threat of a “mobile Chernobyl.”

He resigned as executive director at the end of 2013 because of his illness. He was subsequently named president and ran the organization’s website, its GreenWorld blog and other programs.

Mr. Mariotte remained convinced that nuclear power would become obsolete and be replaced by clean, renewable energy sources and greater energy efficiency.

“It is no longer a question of whether these 21st-century technologies can replace nuclear power and fossil fuels,” he said when he stepped down as executive director of the information service. “The question is when. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/24/us/michael-mariotte-a-leading-antinuclear-activist-dies-at-63.html?_r=0

May 30, 2016 Posted by | history, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change: Australia covered up the truth on its damaged World Heritage sites

see-no-evilflag-AustraliaAustralia covered up UN climate change fears for Tasmania forests and Kakadu
Fears about damage to the Great Barrier Reef were removed from UN report along with concern about a threat to the environment in two other heritage sites,
Guardian, , 29 May 16, A draft UN report on climate change, which was scrubbed of all reference to Australia over fears it could deter visitors to the Great Barrier Reef, also outlined possible threats to the Tasmania wilderness and Kakadu.

barrier-reeefThe draft report contained a chapter on the Great Barrier Reef, which described climate change as “the biggest long-term threat to the [reef] today, and to its ecosystems services, biodiversity, heritage values and tourism economy”.

It concluded that “without a comprehensive response more in keeping with the scale of the threat, the [reef]’s extraordinary biodiversity and natural beauty may lose its world heritage values”.

But before it was scrubbed, the report had two other key sections on Australian world heritage sites, and the threats they face from climate change.

One of those sections was on the Tasmanian wilderness…….the censored section of the Unesco report on Tasmania is clear about the “dire” nature of the threat.

It said: “A 2013 assessment of climate threats identified the same habitats as at high risk from greater fire frequency and drier conditions, with likely catastrophic implications for fauna. These dire predictions appeared to be playing out in January 2016, when tens of thousands of hectares of forest burned, sparked by lightning strikes that came in a month when temperatures were 2C above average and in the wake of the driest two-year period ever recorded for the region.”

kakaduThe deleted section on Kakadu national park contained similarly dire warnings.

It described the important natural and cultural values of Kakadu, which has been inhabited by Aboriginal people for 50,000 years.

“The thousands of rock art sites in the park are at risk from damage by more extreme rainfall events, while sea level rise is happening at twice the global average along the northern Australian coast,” the draft report said.

It warned that fresh-water wetlands were at risk from sea level rise, as they are likely to be inundated with salt water. “Climate change threatens Aboriginal traditional use by altering the ecosystems of the vast wetlands of Kakadu and raising temperatures to a level likely to lead to more intense fire regimes,” the report said.

The final version of the report entitled “World heritage and tourism in a changing climate” was published last week by Unesco, United Nationsenvironment programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists, with all references to Australia removed.

The lead author of the report, Adam Markham, told Guardian Australia: “I was shocked when I read in the Guardian the reasons the Australian government gave for why they had pressured Unesco to drop the Australian sites.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/29/australia-covered-up-un-climate-change-fears-for-tasmania-forests-and-kakadu

 

May 30, 2016 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The world’s dire situation due to the nuclear disasters and nuclear pollution

doomsday's pic copyExtremely Cautionary Catastrophes: Fukushima And Chernobyl, By Robert Snefjella, 28 May, 2016, Countercurrents.org  With phenomenal ingenuity and extreme folly, technically-advanced humanity has managed to conceive and implement a technology that has done much harm to life, and will do much greater harm to life, and that even threatens our extinction. Whether suddenly through nuclear war, or through a pernicious slow motion assault on life’s wondrous, intricate, amazing inner workings and accurate reproductive capabilities, nuclear technology is inherently, inescapably, anti-life. Given that the rest of the marvels of creation – that which has so far survived us – is also along for the ride, it’s not just about us. One might wonder, if the rest of creation were capable of hope, if it would be clinging to the fading hope that humanity at this late hour would transform itself into a species characterized by a decisively dominant strain of sane, careful, sensible behavior, or, if it would be hoping for our demise, the sooner the better, come what may. If we are to extricate ourselves from the trap into which we have placed ourselves, it will take much more ingenuity, and much reduced folly.

This piece is an incomplete overview of our situation, intended to boost general understanding of these subjects. Some reflections on essential reforms close out the piece.

“[In 1936] … [Fatu Hiva’s ocean pools and shorelines] literally teemed with life.”

From the book Fatu-Hiva, By Thor Heyerdahl. (He lived on the Polynesian Island of Fatu-Hiva in 1936)

“[In 2015] … everything [flora and fauna] is missing!” [along the shorelines and in the tidal pools of British Columbia]

Dana Durnford’s words, after his 15000 mile odyssey along the west coast of Canada in 2014 and 2015

The unprecedented mass mortality of much life in the North Pacific Ocean in recent years has been given inadequate coverage by corporate mass media, and has not gained widespread public awareness.

In local media close to the ‘situation’, there have been many reports of unusual numbers of deaths, of strange diseases, of mass disappearances of life forms. And sometimes these reports appear in national and international media. But such reports are typically brief, sporadic, disconnected from each other, and often narrowly focused.

Poorly represented has been the scale and breadth of the devastation: But then, no one knows just how many whales and sea lions and walrus and sardines and sea stars and mussels and sea urchins and sea birds, and countless other creatures large and small, have in recent years died, starved, disappeared, ‘melted away’ in the water, rotted on the shores. And we mustn’t forget humans’ industrial scale ocean ‘harvest’.

But when one puts together the many reports, the scale of the disaster over recent years is pretty mind-boggling. Kelly Ann Thomas has compiled one such list. [1]

A few examples from my own notes:……..http://www.countercurrents.org/snefjella280516.htm

May 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Up to 20 USA uneconomic nuclear stations soon to close

piggy-bank--nuke-sadEconomics Point Toward Closure for Up To 20 U.S. Nukes, The Energy Mix, May 24, 2016 A leading nuclear industry lobby group in the United States says its members aren’t being paid enough for their power, threatening the shutdown of 15 to 20 generating stations in the country………

Speaking at a U.S. Department of Energy summit last week, Marvin Fertel, president and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute, said more than a dozen plants face possible early closure because they are uneconomic at today’s market wholesale power rates……..

The message appears to have reached U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who told the summit that “the importance of incentivizing continued [nuclear] operation is very clear. Solutions are less clear.”

Earlier this month, the Omaha Public Power District proposed closing its 478-MW Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, the smallest in the U.S., and the Tennessee Valley Authority gave up on its unfinished Bellefonte nuclear station in Alabama and put it up for sale. Last month, Moody’s Investor Services reported that low natural gas prices threatened widespread nuclear and coal plant closures.

Those closures may bring owners less financial relief than they anticipate. As expensive as nuclear power plants are to build, safely shutting them down will also cost hundreds of billions, potentially trillions of dollars, Climate News Network reported last month. http://smartershift.com/energymix/2016/05/24/economics-point-toward-closure-for-up-to-20-u-s-nukes/

May 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 2 Comments

Fossil fuel subsidies to end by 2025- G7 nations pledge

fossil-fuel-industryG7 nations pledge to end fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/27/g7-nations-pledge-to-end-fossil-fuel-subsidies-by-2025
Leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the EU urge all countries to join them in eliminating support for coal, oil and gas in a decade,
Guardian,  29 May 16, The G7 nations have for the first time set a deadline for the ending most fossil fuel subsidies, saying government support for coal, oil and gas should end by 2025.

The leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the European Union encouraged all countries to join them in eliminating “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” within a decade.

“Given the fact that energy production and use account for around two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, we recognise the crucial role that the energy sector has to play in combatting climate change,” said the leaders’ declaration,issued at the end their summit in Japan. The pledge first entered into G7 (then known as G8) declarations in 2009 but has until now lacked a firm timeline.

Shelagh Whitley, a research fellow at the Overseas Development Institute, called it an “historic day” but said 2020 was a more appropriate date if governments were serious about their commitments to the global climate deal agreed in Paris in December.

Across the G7, subsidies are already falling, assisted by falling commodity prices. A notableexception is the UK, which increased subsidies by opening up new tax breaks for North Sea oil producers. Japan has been criticised for funding new coal projects, both at home and abroad.

“We already see [some in] the G7 going in the wrong direction since Paris. Just because they are saying this [about fossil fuel subsidies], it’s not afait accompli,” said Whitley. Canada also recently extended some subsidies for natural gas.

The G7 joins the leaders of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)and the World Bank, who have previously called for an end to assistance for fossil fuel projects.

The statement did not define precisely what the G7 consider to be a subsidy. The word “inefficient” in the G7 text indicates subsidies that distort energy markets. The OECD estimates that this type of support for fossil fuels within its member states is $160-200bn (£109-136bn) each year.

But when the cost of damage from pollution and climate change is factored in, the International Monetary Fund has estimated that support increases to a staggering $5.3tn a year, or $10m per minute. This is more than the total global spend on human health.

The OECD approach to measuring subsidies is likely to be the yardstick applied by the G7. The US and China recently asked the OECD to oversee a peer review of each other’s subsidy programme.

Whitley said another significant change from the G7 was the excision of a past phrase that focused on subsidies for the “consumption” of fuels. She said this meant the G7 could target subsidies for exploration as well, not just the end use.

May 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Role of Antarctic melt in world’s weather

ice-sheets-meltingICE MELT CONTROLS WORLD WEATHER Radio Ecoshock 29 May 16  More on super storms, ice melt & James Hansen, from climate expert Dr. David Archer & the late anti-nuclear activist Michael Mariotte. New Antarctic melt science w. Dr. Tony Worby & Dr. David Etheridge – some surprises in role of Antarctic ice in world weather.

Download or listen to this Radio Ecoshock show in Ecoshock 160525 Lo-Fi (14 MB) or Ecoshock 160525 CD Quality (56 MB)

Welcome to a third program where we look into claims Earth will experience rapidly rising seas and super storms in the coming decades…….

I have trouble with James Hansen’s promotion of nuclear power as a solution for climate change. In Hansen’s book “Storms of My Grandchildren” he advocates for Generation Four nuclear reactors, new designs that are allegedly safer. But now he’s gone a step further, teaming up in an unlikely alliance with Michael Schellenberger of the Breaththrough Institute, to push for Illinois to keep old and dangerous reactors running – and get a public subsidy for them.

Two of these are the GE Mark I reactors that blew up in Fukushima, due to bad design (the fuel rods come up from the bottom, through seals that let reactor fuel leak out of containment). Hansen is on the board of an industry-friendly group in Illinois, all funded by the Chicago billonaire family, the Pritzkers. Strange company.

I talk with the long-time head of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) Michael Mariotte about “how low will they go”. In the few days since I recorded that interview, I am sad to report that Michael passed away May 23rd from pancreatic cancer. This was his last interview. Michael was true to his cause literally to the end.

Then we get some surprises in new science on Antarctica, from two Australian experts, Tony Worby and David Etheridge. We’ve all be focused on major changes in the Arctic, which is conveniently closer to most of us – but it’s the South Pole which may determine the future of the world – through sea levels, and sea ice several times greater than Australia. That ice melt may determine the coming weather, even in the next decades.

Hear-This-wayYou can listen to this show on Soundcloud right now!…….http://www.ecoshock.org/2016/05/ice-melt-controls-world-weather.html

May 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA Department of Energy wants to delay Southy Carolina MOX hearings

justiceFederal government wants delay in MOX court hearing, Augusta Chronicle, By Walter C. MOXJones
Staff Writer May 26, 201Lawyers for the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy filed more arguments Wednesday for why a federal judge should delay a hearing on South Carolina’s lawsuit over delayed removal of nuclear materials.

Judge J. Michelle Childs scheduled a hearing for June 30 in Columbia, but the Energy Department’s lawyers say there’s too much to do before then. Besides, they want her to rule first on their motion to dismiss the case altogether.

South Carolina filed suit in February asking for the $100 million in penalties that a federal law assesses the agency for not removing 2 metric tons of plutonium from Savannah River Site. The law was to ensure construction remained on schedule for the mixed-oxide fuel plant on the site, but the builders are still late……..

Construction on the MOX facility is behind schedule and about $8 billion over budget, by some critics’ estimates. The Obama administration says that’s why it wants to shut the program down and use a different method of disposing of 34 metric tons of plutonium…….http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2016-05-26/federal-government-wants-delay-mox-court-hearing?v=1464299788

May 30, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Let’s not forget the nuclear corruption in South Africa

corruptionflag-S.AfricaZuma, the Guptas and South Africa’s R1 trillion nuclear plans, Business Tech  By  May 29, 2016 South Africa is facing a critical decision that could see it investing about R1 trillion – or US$60 billion to $70 billion – in a fleet of new nuclear power stations……

What should be an economic decision has now been clouded by controversy, with political pressure to push through the nuclear build and the increasingly apparent rewards it would bring to politically linked individuals.

The nuclear expansion programme needs to be considered exceptionally carefully given that the required financial commitment is roughly equal to the total South African annual tax revenue. Loan repayments could place a devastating long-term burden on the public and on the economy as a whole….

The government-driven Integrated Resource Plan aims to increase total capacity from 42,000MW (peak demand of 39,000MW) to 85,000MW (peak demand of 68,000MW) in 2030. A key component of this plan is the construction of facilities to produce 9,600MW of nuclear power. However, this aspect of the plan has been challenged.

The biggest concern is that nuclear power is too expensive for the country. The debate gained momentum when the 2013 update to the 2010-2030 electricity plan found that electricity demand is growing slower than originally anticipated. Peak demand in 2030 is now expected to range between 52,000 MW and 61,000 MW. There is consequently widespread belief that new nuclear power stations can be delayed considerably.

South Africa’s energy generation options

South Africa has had remarkable success with speedy, cost-effective installation ofrenewable energy power plants. In addition to this, technologies for harvesting South Africa’s plentiful wind and solar energy resources are rapidly becoming cheaper, raising the question of whether the country should not invest more in these options rather than in going nuclear……

Zuma and the Russians

The nuclear debate gained a political dimension when President Jacob Zuma and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, started to develop an unusually close relationship. It culminated in an announcement that the Russian nuclear developer, Rosatom, had been awarded the potentially highly lucrative contract to build the new reactors. The agreement was laterdenied.

Rosatom was considered the preferred contender, with other bidders only there to lend the process legitimacy, according to some observers. The lack of transparency surrounding the process, coupled with a history of corruption in South African mega-projects like the arms deal, has made the whole scheme seem suspicious to the broader public.

A thickening plot

A crucial thread in this saga involves the Shiva uranium mine, about 30km north-west of Pretoria, the country’s executive capital. It originally belonged to a company called Uranium One, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rosatom. It was sold in 2010 to Oakbay Resources, a company controlled by members of the politically connected Gupta family and the president’s son, in a deal that greatly surprised economists.

The mine was deemed unprofitable and thus unattractive to other mining companies. But it was still considered worth a whole lot more than the R270 million paid by Oakbay.

The mine would, however, become highly profitable if it became the uranium supplier to the new nuclear power stations. Oakbay and its associates therefore have a very strong incentive for this nuclear build to happen.

It is here that the nuclear build drama feeds into the recent major controversy surrounding alleged state capture, meaning a corrupt system where state officials owe their allegiance to politically connected oligarchs rather than the public interest. This was highlighted by the shock dismissal of Finance Minister Nhanhla Nene, a reported nuclear build sceptic, but also by subsequent allegations of ministerial positions being offered to people by members of the Gupta family.

Political, legal and civil opposition

The nuclear build’s association with the Zuma faction in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) will be a political hot potato for decades to come. The whole scandal also offers potential opportunity to opposition parties……..

A negative nuclear outlook

Building these plants is a risky business proposition, especially for Rosatom, which is implicated in the developing scandal. The recent political mood swing against state capture and a likely credit rating downgrade add to the risk.

Rosatom has suggested a nuclear build financing option that effectively amounts to it providing a loan. It is, however, conceivable that a future government may not honour debt repayments if there is a view that the construction deal was secured irregularly……..

By Hartmut Winkler, Professor of Physics, University of Johannesburg

This article was first published by The Conversation – read the original here   http://businesstech.co.za/news/government/124993/zuma-the-guptas-and-south-africas-r1-trillion-nuclear-plans/

May 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment