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Solar power brings free irrigation to a Gujarat Village

flag-indiasunWith Solar Power, A Gujarat Village Is Irrigating Its Fields For Free NDTV, All India |Written by Rohit Bhan | Updated: May 22, 2016 DHUNDI:

HIGHLIGHTS

  1. Farmers formed cooperative to install solar panels in their fields
  2. Solar panels power irrigation, surplus power sold to electricity board
  3. Project funded by farmers and non-profit group IWMI
  Ramabhai Sagar, a 46-year-old farmer in Gujarat’s Dhundi village, is experiencing first hand a solar revolution of sorts.

Around seven months ago, about a dozen farmers in Ramabhai’s village about 90 km from Ahmedabad came together to form a solar cooperative and set up solar panels in the fields to generate electricity.

“We used to spend 500 rupees on diesel for pumping sets for drawing water for irrigation. But now we do it with solar energy,” Rambhai said.
“We also make money by selling solar power when we not irrigating our fields. We can sell excess electricity to the power board for Rs. 4.63 per unit,” he added…….http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/with-solar-power-a-gujarat-village-is-irrigating-its-fields-for-free-1408800

June 20, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, India | 1 Comment

83-year-old environmentalist Kay Drey will not give up on quest for cleanup of St Louis’ nuclear waste area

landfill West Lake St LouisMessenger: Activist won’t back down in quest to rid St. Louis of nuclear waste By Tony Messenger St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jun 17, 2016 “…….For decades now, 83-year-old environmentalist Kay Drey has been on a quest: Get the federal government to excavate and move the waste. It’s a story that can get more complicated the deeper you dig. It involves multiple federal agencies, dense reports on various radiological elements and their “daughter products,” half-lives, warring special interest groups, lawsuits and, ultimately, a dispute over who will pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to clean it up or otherwise protect the citizens who live near the landfill.

But Drey has a way of simplifying things.

“It’s in the Missouri River flood plain,” she says of the nuclear waste. “I can’t think of a worse location. The Missouri River floods all the time. We cannot leave it there.”

That was the basic theme of the first of two reports she gave me. It’s 14 pages of testimony she submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources 10 years ago. In painstaking detail, Drey outlines what is known of the waste, how it might affect groundwater and the potential for disaster if the Missouri River were to reclaim its floodplain now protected by the Earth City levee.

She quotes two old Nuclear Regulatory Commission reports, one from 1982 and the other from 1988, that outline how “hot” the waste is in West Lake and call for some sort of “remedial action.” She quotes one of the foremost flooding experts in the region, Bob Criss from Washington University, who said, “This is the wrong place to store hazardous material. It does not belong in a flood plain.”

Nobody who read Drey’s words from a decade ago would have been surprised by the release this week of a secret EPA report that reached similar conclusions.

The report, internal findings by EPA scientists that had been kept secret since 2013, concluded that it was feasible to remove the nuclear waste from West Lake. The scientists also found that doing so would reduce long-term risks.

 So what’s the holdup?

Money.

The EPA has long wanted to simply put a cap over the waste and leave it there, at a cost of $40 million or so. It’s much less expensive than having the Army Corps of Engineers unearth the waste and dispose of it elsewhere, which might cost 10 times as much. Putting a cap in place is the preferred option of Republic Services, the company that currently owns the landfill.

Drey doesn’t care about the cost. She doesn’t care about how long cleaning up the waste would take. And she doesn’t want Republic to pay, either.

“The government put it there,” she said. “The government needs to clean it up. If we can keep making bombs, we can find the money to clean up the waste from the 1940s.”

The U.S. Senate passed a bill this year to carry out Drey’s preferred solution — have the Corps of Engineers take over the project and clean it up. But the measure appears to be dead in the House. Here’s what lawmakers need to know about Drey:

She’s not giving up…… “We need to get both houses of Congress to say they’re going to clean it up,” Drey says. “It just can’t stay there.” http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/tony-messenger/messenger-activist-won-t-back-down-in-quest-to-rid/article_3da42a06-a587-53cc-bd86-e3844af3d6e1.html

June 20, 2016 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

How America carefully DIDN’T tests workers contaminated with plutonium

radiation-warningDecades Later, Sickness Among Airmen After a Hydrogen Bomb Accident, NYT, by DAVE PHILIPPSJUNE 19, 2016  “….. Tests Thrown Out During the cleanup, a medical team gathered more than 1,500 urine samples from the cleanup crew to calculate how much plutonium they were absorbing. The higher the level in the samples, the greater the health hazard.

The records of those tests remain perhaps the most prominent artifact from the cleanup. They show about only 10 of the men absorbed more than the allowed safe dose, and the rest of the 1,500 responders were not harmed. The Air Force today relies on the results to argue that the men were never harmed by radiation. But the men who actually did the testing say the results are deeply flawed and are of little use in determining who was exposed.

“Did we follow protocol? Hell, no. We had neither the time nor the equipment,” said Victor B. Skaar, now 79, who worked on the testing team. The formula for determining the contamination level required collecting urine for 12 hours, but he said he was able to get only a single sample from many men. And others, he said, were never tested at all.

He sent samples to the Air Force’s chief of radiation testing, Dr. Lawrence T. Odland, who started seeing alarmingly high results. Dr. Odland decided the extreme levels did not indicate a true health threat, but were caused by plutonium loose in the camp that contaminated the men’s hands, their clothes and everything else. He threw out about 1,000 samples — 67 percent of the results — including all samples from the first days after the blasts when exposure was probably highest.

Now 94 and living in a rambling Victorian house in Hillsboro, Ohio, where a photo from the Greenland crash hangs in his hall, Dr. Odland questioned his decision.

“We had no way of knowing what was from contamination and what was from inhalation,” he said. “Was the world ending or was everything fine? I just had to make a call.”

He said he never got accurate results for hundreds of men who may have been contaminated. In addition, he soon realized plutonium lodged in the lungs could not always be detected in veterans’ urine, and men with clean samples might still be contaminated.

“It’s sad, sure, it’s sad,” he said. “But what can you do? You can’t take the plutonium out; you can’t cure the cancer. All you can do is bow your head and say you are sorry.”

Monitoring Program Killed

Convinced that the urine samples were inadequate, Dr. Odland persuaded the Air Force in 1966 to set up a permanent “Plutonium Deposition Registry Board” to monitor the men for life.

Experts from the Air Force, Army, Navy, Veterans Administration (now the Department of Veterans Affairs) and Atomic Energy Commission met to establish the program shortly after the cleanup. In welcoming remarks, the Air Force general in charge said the program was “essential” and following the men to their graves would provide “urgently needed data.”

The organizers proposed not notifying troops of their radiation exposure and keeping details of testing out of medical records, according to minutes of the meeting, out of concern notifying them could “set a stage for legal action.”

The plan was to have Dr. Odland’s staff follow the men. Within months, though, he had hit a wall.

“He is not able to get the support from the Department of Defense to go after the remaining people or set up a real registry because of the sleeping-dog policy,” an Atomic Energy Commission memo from 1967 noted.

“The sleeping dog policy? It was to leave it alone. Let it lie. I didn’t agree. Hell no, I didn’t agree,” Dr. Odland said. “Everyone decided we should watch these guys, take care of them. And then from somewhere up high they decided it was better to get rid of it.”

Dr. Odland did not know who gave the order to terminate the program, but said since the board included all the military branches and the veterans agency, it likely came from top-level officials.

The Air Force officially dismantled the program in 1968. The “permanent” board had met just once…….. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/us/decades-later-sickness-among-airmen-after-a-hydrogen-bomb-accident.html

June 20, 2016 Posted by | health, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

South Carolina Electric and Gas Co slugging customers for costs of nuclear reactors that might never be built

hungry-nukes 1Power surge: Cost overruns at South Carolina nuclear plant growing part of SCE&G customer bills, Post and Courier David Wren  Email  @David_Wren_ 19 June 16 The state legislation allowing South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. to charge customers for two new reactors at its nuclear power plant years before they are completed has been compared to making payments on a new car without knowing the final price and before it leaves the assembly line.

The monthly payments continue to rise, but it’s not certain whether the customer making those payments will ever drive the car.

At least now, SCE&G’s customers have an idea how much the expansoin of the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station is costing them each month. The state’s Office of Regulatory Staff, which represents the public’s interest in utility issues, this month said SCE&G’s customers are paying an average of $23.16 each billing period — or 16.1 percent of their total bill — toward building the Midlands nuclear plant

And that’s likely to increase if the state Public Service Commission approves the company’s request to boost the project’s cost by another $852 million to $14 billion — more than $4 billion higher than original cost estimates.

SCE&G is using a state law called the Base Load Review Act to finance the nuclear project near Jenkinsville.

The law allows the utility to charge its 700,000 customers for construction as the project proceeds. ……

Critics like Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the state’s Small Business Chamber of Commerce, say the act “has turned into a blank check” for SCE&G.

The utility is allowed by state regulators to take up to 10.5 percent of the construction costs as profit. And Knapp says the pay-as-you-go method is unfair because some customers now paying for the project will leave the utility’s service area before it comes online……. http://www.postandcourier.com/20160618/160619424/power-surge-cost-overruns-at-south-carolina-nuclear-plant-growing-part-of-sceg-customer-bills

June 20, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

2 Workers Killed in Construction of Emirati Nuclear Plant

abc news, By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Jun 19, 2016 Two workers were killed and three others injured while building the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates, officials said Sunday.

The incident happened May 12 and was first reported this weekend by a state-owned newspaper in the UAE, a federation of seven sheikhdoms. It’s unclear why it took a month for authorities to acknowledge the fatalities……..http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/workers-killed-construction-emirati-nuclear-plant-39969494

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

America does not need the new $30 billion Long-Range Standoff Weapon

A Nuclear Weapon That America Doesn’t Need, NYT  By DIANNE FEINSTEIN and ELLEN O. TAUSCHER JUNE 17, 2016 PRESIDENT OBAMA spoke last month in Hiroshima about charting a course to a future free of nuclear weapons. He discussed the “persistent effort” necessary to eliminate the threat of nuclear war.

To advance that goal, the president should reconsider the Defense Department’s effort to develop a new nuclear weapon called the Long-Range Standoff Weapon.

The Air Force is set next year to accelerate the development of this new nuclear cruise missile. It would carry an upgraded W-80 nuclear warhead and be able to penetrate the world’s most advanced air-defense systems…….

Unfortunately, Congress has shirked its duty. First, does the military need a new nuclear cruise missile? In other words, are there any enemy targets we can no longer  to carefully evaluate the need for new nuclear weapons capable of immense destruction. The decision to build the Long-Range Standoff Weapon should be thoroughly and publicly debated.

There are three key questions that remain unanswered.

“hold at risk” using existing nuclear and conventional weapons and the platforms used to deliver them? We are aware of no such military necessity.Next, what role does the military intend this weapon to serve? The Pentagon says it would “provide the president with uniquely flexible options in an extreme crisis.” This suggests a lowering of the threshold for nuclear war, a perilous approach that would endanger not only America but allies that we are pledged to protect, like Japan and South Korea.

Finally, what is the weapon’s cost? The Defense Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration have yet to provide concrete estimates for the program, but the Federation of American Scientists hasreported that it could cost as much as $30 billion.

At a time when the Defense Department is set to modernize every leg of the nuclear triad, investing $30 billion in an unnecessary and dangerous new nuclear weapon is irresponsible………http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/18/opinion/a-nuclear-weapon-that-america-doesnt-need.html?_r=0

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

Obama – disarmament talk, but his action is different

Obama’s nuclear deception, Japan Times, JUN 19, 2016
U.S. President Barack Obama deeply impressed the Japanese public with the speech he delivered in the world’s first atom-bombed city of Hiroshima on May 27. But on his home turf, he is clandestinely pushing a plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal. 
The plan, with its development cost estimated at $1 trillion over the next 30 years, is aimed at downsizing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and improving their mobility with new delivery systems and platforms.

When does Obama expect to achieve a world without nuclear weapons, which he called for again in Hiroshima?….

He impressed the people of Japan to some extent while deftly avoiding using words like “remorse” or “apology.” Behind a glamorous diplomatic show, however, a major revolution occurring only once in decades is taking place in the U.S. nuclear weapons scheme, without being noticed by most Americans, let alone Japanese…….

Of the four categories of the development programs pursued by the Pentagon and the NNSA, the most controversial is modernization and downsizing of nuclear warheads, which constitutes the core of the whole scheme. In parallel with making warheads smaller, new models of platforms and nuclear weapons delivery systems will be introduced step by step in three fields: intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and submarines and strategic bombers……….

“modernization and maintenance” programs will cost $1.8 billion annually from fiscal years 2021 to 2035. When expenses of the related facilities are added, the share of the nuclear weapons-related costs in the total defense budget is to rise from the present 3 percent to 7 percent. In other words, the Obama administration plans to make U.S. military forces far more dependent on nuclear arms than they are today.

Not only do these development programs run counter to Obama’s ideal of a world without nuclear weapons — downsizing the nuclear warheads will increase the chances of them being used, as stated on a PBS news program by James Cartwright, former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Regardless of what Washington says to justify its nuclear modernization programs, Russia and China have objected to it, saying that it poses a major threat to them. Indeed, when a mock test flight of the Model 12 warhead was conducted, Russia condemned the U.S. for “preparing a new weapon.”

It is certain that if the U.S. continues to pursue the modernization of its nuclear arsenal, China and Russia will take countermeasures. The possibility is rising day by day that these superpowers will confront each other with light and compact nuclear weapons in the not-so-distant future — despite Obama’s speech in Hiroshima. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/06/19/commentary/japan-commentary/obamas-nuclear-deception/#.V2cWOdJ97Gh

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

The myth of carbon-free nuclear energy

 http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-nuclear-energy-carbon-footprint-20160617-snap-story.html   Ron Rodarte, San Clemente How does one cheer nuclear as “clean” in the sense of carbon dioxide emissions when the entire process of mining uranium ore, processing the uranium into fuel pellets and loading the fuel frames into the reactor core are all carbon-intensive aspects of this power source?

Add the extreme dangers faced in ongoing climate change vis a vis flooding and loss of critical cooling water sources, the yet unresolved issues with radioactive spent fuel posing risks for thousands of years and the distinct possibility of a meltdown, and nuclear ought to be a no-go.

Nuclear is not safe, it is not carbon free, and it is the most expensive energy source on the market — and it is dangerous.

 

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