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Frivolous lawsuits aimed to attack climate scientists

climate-changeClimate scientists are under attack from frivolous lawsuits, Skeptical Science Lauren Kurtz 7 July 2016 Today’s climate scientists have a lot more to worry about than peer review. Organizations with perverse financial incentives harass scientists with lawsuit after lawsuit, obstructing research and seeking to embarrass them with disclosures of private information.

On June 14th, an Arizona court ruled that thousands of emails from two prominent climatescientists must be turned over to the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E), a group that disputes the 97% expert consensus on human-caused climate change and argues against action to confront it. E&E and its attorneys are funded by Peabody CoalArch Coal, and Alpha Natural Resources, coal corporations with billions of dollars in revenue.

Formerly named the American Tradition Institute, E&E has been described as “filing nuisance suits to disrupt important academic research.”

E&E originally attacked Dr. Michael Mann, whose research shows a dramatic increase in recent temperatures in a graph popularly known as the “hockey stick.” In 2011, the group sued under Virginia open records laws to obtain six years of Dr. Mann’s emails from the University of Virginia—over 10,000 messages in total. The Virginia Supreme Court denied E&E’s claims and ruled that academic research correspondence should be protected because release would cause “harm to university-wide research efforts, damage to faculty recruitment and retention, undermining of faculty expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and impairment of free thought and expression.”

E&E did not relent. Despite losing in Virginia, the group brought another open records case in Arizona to demand the same six years of emails—this time from Dr. Mann’s coauthor, University of Arizona professor Dr. Malcolm Hughes. Additionally, E&E sued for thirteen years of emails from UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) leadauthor Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, also at the University of Arizona.

In court filings, E&E acknowledges it seeks emails that, in its words, “embarrass both Professors Hughes and Overpeck and the University.” These smear tactics serve no role in scientific discourse, but are an attempt to distract, disrupt, and intimidate legitimate researchers.

n an ongoing federal case, the conservative group Judicial Watch—which claims climatescience is a “fraud science”—has sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for thousands of climate scientists’ emails related to a 2015 climate change study published in ScienceCongressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who accusedNOAA of having an “extreme climate change agenda,” unsuccessfully sought the same emails last year.

In addition to the Arizona case, E&E attorney Christopher Horner paired with another fossil fuel industry funded-group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, to sue for the emails of climate communications professor Dr. Edward Maibach. While Dr. Maibach sought to intervene in the litigation, the judge ruled that he lacked jurisdiction. Thousands of pages of Dr. Maibach’s emails were released, and plaintiffs posted them to the internet with quotes pulled out of context and commentary calling him and other climateresearchers “frauds,” “snake oil salesman,” and worse.

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July 8, 2016 Posted by | climate change, Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s legal challenge against New Jersey nuclear permits

justiceFlag-USAPermit needed for 2 N.J. nuclear plants to operate challenged   By Bill Gallo Jr. | For  , 8 July 16   One of the state’s leading environmental groups is calling for a new hearing on the state’s decision to grant a water-use permit which allows the continued operation of two nuclear reactors.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network filed a legal challenge with the Department of Environmental Protection Friday.

A five-year permit granted by the DEP June 30 lets PSEG Nuclear to continue to draw billions of gallons of water from the Delaware River to cool its Salem 1 and Salem 2 reactors in Salem County.

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network and other environmental groups had opposed the permit sought by PSEG Nuclear for the reactors at its Artificial Island generating site in Lower Alloways Creek Township.

Officially known as the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit, without it Salem 1 and 2 might have been forced to shut down.

“We are disappointed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s failure to recognize the ongoing hazards of permitting the continued use of outdated technology at Salem when there are other proven eco-friendly technologies available,” said Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeper.

When operating at full power, Salem 1 and 2 draw in about 3 billion gallons of water a day from the Delaware River, circulate it through the plants’ open-cycle cooling systems and return it to the river.

The amount of marine life killed through this process is unacceptable, environmental groups say……..

Friday’s filing was submitted to the DEP’s Office of Legal Affairs in Trenton.

Van Rossum said the goal is to get the DEP to require a closed-cycle cooling system or require PSEG Nuclear to use updated technology that would rival a closed-cycle system to protect fish and water quality.

Environmentalists claim that billions of fish are killed each year either through being caught on screens at plant water intakes or by being sucked through the plants’ cooling system……..

July 8, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

NuScale “small nuclear” push into universities

universityt bought

Engineering students intern at US nuclear testing company Grad Plus Friday, 08 July 2016 Four engineering students from the University of Sheffield have travelled to the US to take up internships at NuScale Power’s nuclear test facilities.

The undergraduates are based in Corvallis, Oregon, to learn about NuScale’s experimental work on small modular reactors (SMR), seen by some experts as a more flexible and cheaper option to mammoth nuclear developments, such as Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The fully-funded internships, which will end in September 2016, are being run in conjunction with Oregon State University (OSU).
Allowing Britain’s future engineers the opportunity to interact with NuScale’s world class test facilities is an important part of the partnership that the company is creating with the UK energy sector according to Tom Mundy, the organisation’s Managing Director for UK & Europe……..
NuScale will offer students the chance to gain hands-on experience in research, which will be vital for the development of SMRs in the future – this includes the application of lasers to analyse the performance of the company’s technology at the test facility.
The company has a range of links to the UK, including a collaboration agreement with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield and working with the UK’s National Nuclear Laboratory on fuel development as it pushes the benefits of SMRs in both countries.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

New Zealanders’ anti-nuclear weapon win

David-&-GoliathNZers celebrate anti-nuclear weapon win, News Hub NZ,  9 Jul 2016 People in Christchurch have reflected on how “a little peace group” in their city defied the world’s most powerful nations to win a court case that triggered cuts in the world’s nuclear arsenal.

Events were held in Christchurch on Friday to mark 20 years since a historic judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ruling that the threat, let alone the use, of nuclear weapons was generally illegal.

Its decision was sparked by the World Court Project, an international campaign pioneered by New Zealanders.

Professor Paul Millar sums it up as an “important piece of history no one knows about”. Since then the number of nuclear weapons globally has fallen to 15,000 from 70,000.

It’s a story of how “citizen pressure” can change what politicians do, Dr Millar says.

Dr Kate Dewes was a housewife, a mother and a music teacher who went to a talk about peace and decided to do something.

“Kate and others were excited by the possibility and began the World Court Project and it led ultimately to this decision,” Prof Millar says…….

July 8, 2016 Posted by | New Zealand, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Giant vault for Sellafield’s nuclear waste

flag-UK  7 July 2016  BACK in January 1989 the Evening Mail got a first look at the new £8.6m store at Drigg for low-level radioactive waste generated by British Nuclear Fuels – much of it from nearby Sellafield.

The site was screened by thousands of conifer trees and it took 70 contractors to gouge out an eighth huge hole – Vault Eight – to take an expected five-years’ worth of waste.

Contaminated paper, plastic and metal was put in drums ready to go in 20-tonne steel containers before burial, 20 miles north of Millom.

A report in the Mail on January 26 in 1989 noted: “More than 250,000 cubic metres of earth had to be torn from the ground by huge excavators to create a hole 800ft by 550ft and 16ft deep.

“The result is a roofless building resembling a huge unfilled swimming pool the size of eight soccer pitches.

“A single fork lift truck with tyres six feet high lifts the massive steel containers into place.”

 The 250-acre Drigg site was opened in 1939 as a Royal Ordnance factory, making and storing high explosives.

In 1959 the nuclear industry took over and found Drigg’s geology suitable for burying waste in deep trenches hundreds of feet long.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | UK, wastes | Leave a comment

South Africa’s Zuma government backing India’s effort to join Nuclear Suppliers Group

SA backs India to join Nuclear Suppliers Group enca, SOUTH AFRICA Friday 8 July 2016 PRETORIA – South African President Jacob Zuma agreed on Friday to support India’s controversial bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), an international body that controls commerce in nuclear materials and technology.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced this at a joint press conference at the Union buildings in Pretoria on Friday after meeting Zuma.

He thanked Zuma for his promise of support in the meeting….

  • The bid is controversial because all the current NSG members, including South Africa, are also members of the NPT, the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, which restricts the possession of nuclear weapons to the five major powers, the US, UK, France, Russia and China.

    India acquired nuclear weapons in 1974 and so could not join the NPT, which it in any case did not want to because it regards it as discriminatory.

    When she was asked earlier this week about this, International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane noted that all current NSG members were also members of the NPT. But she also hinted that in his one-on-one meeting with Modi, Zuma might lend his support to India’s bid…….

July 8, 2016 Posted by | politics international, South Africa | Leave a comment

Forces in Iran trying to torpedo nuclear deal

Germany says forces in Iran trying to torpedo nuclear deal, 8 July 16  Responding to German intelligence agency reports that Iran has been trying to acquire nuclear technology in Germany, Berlin said on Friday that certain forces in Iran may be trying to undermine its nuclear deal with the West.

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), said in its annual report that Iranian efforts to illegally procure technology, especially in the nuclear area, had continued at a “high level” in 2015.

A separate report from the intelligence agency in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia this week said it had registered 141 attempts to acquire technology for proliferation purposes last year and that two-thirds of these attempts were linked to Iran.

Asked about the reports on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said Germany expected Iran to stick to a United Nations Security Council resolution which sets restrictions on arms-related transfers.

But he also suggested that the procurement attempts may stem from forces in Iran that oppose last year’s nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to roll back its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of western economic sanctions.

“There are forces within Iran for which the policies of the country’s president and foreign minister are a thorn in the eye,” Schaefer said. “They may be trying, one way or another, to undermine or torpedo the nuclear deal and the normalization of relations between us and Iran. We are watching this closely.”But hardline allies of Khamenei, including the elite Revolutionary Guards, are wary of losing their grip in power by opening up to the West and have repeatedly criticized pragmatist President Rouhani’s foreign policy.

Schaefer said Germany had a “great deal of faith” in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and had the impression that Tehran was doing its best to stick to the deal, which ended a 12-year standoff with the West over the nuclear program.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose power far outweighs that of Iran’s elected officials in parliament or the presidency, gave decisive support to the nuclear deal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a speech to parliament on Thursday, said ballistic missile launches carried out by Iran earlier this year were inconsistent with the UN resolution, which calls on Iran to refrain from work on missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.

The NRW intelligence report said procurement efforts in 2015 had been focused on so-called “dual-use” technologies that can be used in both civil and military sectors. While nuclear-related procurement attempts fell slightly, those related to Iran’s missile program rose.

The report said documents had been falsified to suggest technologies were destined for the oil, gas and steel industries. In an apparent attempt to cover its tracks, Iran was seeking to acquire technologies via third countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China, the report said.


July 8, 2016 Posted by | Iran, politics | 1 Comment

Donald Trump’s real estate empire already suffering from climate change

Water world: rising tides close in on Trump, the climate change denier Climate change has barely registered as a 2016 campaign issue, but in Florida, the state which usually decides the presidential election, the waters are lapping at the doors of Donald Trump’s real estate empire, Guardian. , 6 July 16, On a hot and lazy afternoon in Palm Beach, the only sign of movement is the water gently lapping at the grounds of Mar-a-Lago, the private club that is the prize of Donald Trump’s real estate acquisitions in Florida.

Trump currently dismisses climate change as a hoax invented by China, though he has quietly sought to shield real estate investments in Ireland from its effects.

But at the Republican presidential contender’s Palm Beach estate and the other properties that bear his name in south Florida, the water is already creeping up bridges and advancing on access roads, lawns and beaches because of sea-level rise, according to a risk analysis prepared for the Guardian.

In 30 years, the grounds of Mar-a-Lago could be under at least a foot of water for 210 days a year because of tidal flooding along the intracoastal water way, with the water rising past some of the cottages and bungalows, the analysis by Coastal Risk Consulting found.

Trump’s insouciance in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change – even lapping up on his own doorstep – makes him something of an outlier in south Florida, where mayors are actively preparing for a future under climate change.

Trump, who backed climate action in 2009 but now describes climate change as “bullshit”, is also out of step with the US and other governments’ efforts to turn emissions-cutting pledges into concrete actions in the wake of the Paris climate agreement. Trump has threatened to pull the US out of the agreement.

And the presidential contender’s posturing about climate denial may further alienate the Republican candidate from younger voters and minority voters in this election who see climate change as a gathering danger.

When Guardian US asked its readers about their most urgent concern in these elections as part of our Voices of America series, the single issue looming on their minds was climate change.

Real estate professionals, with perhaps an extra dash of self-interest, hold similar views. In a survey published in the Miami Herald last month, two-thirds of high-end Miami realtors were concerned sea-level rise and climate change could hurt local property values, up from 56% of them last year.

So too for mayors in south Florida. About a third of the civic leaders in south Florida’s compact of mayors are working on strategies to protect their towns from rising seas – and lobbying Florida’s governor and fellow Republicans in Congress to acknowledge the gathering threat.

Elected officials in those same Florida towns say they are already spending heavily to rebuild disappearing beaches and pump out water-logged streets.

Republicans in coastal districts can’t afford to play politics with climate change, said Steve Abrams, a Republican and mayor of Palm Beach County.

“We don’t have the luxury at the local level to engage in these lofty policy debates,” said Abrams. “I have been in knee-deep water in many parts of my district during King Tide.”……..

modelling suggests Trump’s Hollywood condos could be turned into islands for up to 140 days a year by 2045, cut off from the low-lying A1A coastal road because of tidal flooding and storm surges. Under a category two storm, a storm surge could wash right up to the front gate.

Further south, the Trump Grande in Sunny Isles also faces a soggy future, according to the projections. In 30 years, the boundaries of the property could face tidal flooding and storm surges for 97 days a year, cutting off access to the A1A road. The beaches could also be scoured away by erosion……….

July 8, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant radioactively leaking into Lake Ontario

Nuclear Power Plant Found Leaking Into Lake Ontario, We Are Anonymous, July 7th, 2016 | by Alek Hidell “……The latest nuclear plant to have been discovered to have a leak is the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego, New York. The plant is run by energy corporation Entergy. A visible sheen was observed spreading out for miles from the site of the plant, making it undeniable that the leak wasn’t coming from elsewhere. It was discovered by a Coast Guard Auxiliary air crew. A section of Lake Ontario had to be cordoned off, preventing the leak from spreading further.

Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, made the following statement: “It appears about 20 to 30 gallons that leaked were then drained through the plant’s discharge drain system to the lake. The company has placed oil-absorbent pads on the turbine building roof and has also stopped all circulating water pumps to eliminate any further discharges.

It is not much of a comfort to know that the government is contributing to the cleanup. With decades of research and knowledge about the dangers of nuclear power, the government continues to build them, with five new plants under construction as of 2015. I don’t believe any of us need to be reminded of the dangers of nuclear power after the recent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant meltdown.

After the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the reactors and their cooling system shut down. This resulted in nuclear materials being dumped into the Pacific ocean. Traces of the radiation are being found along the California coastline. And as you’d expect, the official inquiry found that despite the earthquake and tsunami, the meltdown was preventable and a result of a failure to maintain vital systems.

New York is no stranger to leaky nuclear plants; the Indian Point nuclear plant has been shut down at least 14 times since 1973. The most recent closing of the facility took place in 2015, when two fuel rods lost power. When you look at the incidents of closure at Indian Point, as well as every other nuclear plant, it becomes obvious that the fundamental problem is a crumbling infrastructure. Much like our roads and bridges, nuclear power plants, especially ones built before the 1980s, are falling apart…….

July 8, 2016 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

France marketing its nuclear reactors to India

nuclear-marketing-crapFrance submits fresh plan for six nuclear plants in Jaitapur, Economic Times, By PTI | Jul 07, 2016 NEW DELHI: France has given a fresh techno-commercial proposal for building six atomic reactors in Jaitapur even as it again raised concerns over India’s civil liability law and sought “same level of protection” which are available for companies at the international level.

An Electricite de France (EDF) team, comprising senior officials, is currently holding talks with the Ministry of External Affairs and Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) on setting up of these plants.
We have raised our concerns over the liability issue. France is a party to Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage. We want similar binding conditions in the Jaitapur contract.

“All these steps will help us bring nuclear industry players from France to India. The delegation has asked to provide same level of protection to the EDF which is available at the international level,” a top EDF official told PTI.

We have also given a fresh techno-commercial proposal to NPCIL. It’s now up to the NPCIL to decide,” the official added.

The proposal includes negotiating with India for six reactors as against two, which was the case earlier. This would help bring down the cost. It also includes a proposal for localisation of technology to make the project cost effective.

The EDF has raised concern over various clauses dealing with the Right to Recourse under the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage (CLND) Act 2010. …….
During French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India earlier this year, India and France had drawn up a road map for concluding techno-commercial negotiations for the Jaitapur project by the end of 2016. Accordingly, an MOU was signed by EDF and the NPCIL.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | France, marketing | Leave a comment

NuScale “small nuclear” company marketing hard in UK, providing funding

nuclear-marketing-crapNuScale to forge strong US-UK partnership with Sheffield Forgemasters, B Daily, , 8 July 16  NuScale Power’s aim to build a UK-U.S. partnership has made significant steps forward.

Sheffield Forgemasters International Ltd (SFIL) and NuScale are set to collaborate to develop the manufacturing techniques that will be required for the future deployment of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) in the UK.

SFIL will forge a large civil nuclear reactor vessel head by the end of 2017, as part of a programme supported by Innovate UK, to develop forging and fabrication solutions for the nuclear industry.

NuScale Power is providing funding to support the use of the geometries required by its SMR design……..

NuScale Power will be holding a Supplier Day at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield on 13 July aimed at giving UK-based engineering, manufacturing and construction companies the opportunity to learn about the company’s programme of work.

NuScale is also participating in the UK Government’s competition to choose the best value SMR, aimed at seeing SMRs deployed in the UK in the 2020s.

July 8, 2016 Posted by | marketing, UK | Leave a comment

July 8 Energy News


Science and Technology:

¶ Scripps operates one of the most capable research fleets in the world, including three research vessels and one floating research platform. They venture worldwide on research projects, powered by diesel fuel. A noble experiment with biofuel marked the start of a new chapter in sustainability for the Scripps fleet. [Renewable Energy Magazine]

Scripps research vessel. Scripps research vessel.


¶ The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled plans to crack down on the most polluting vehicles. It is said to be the toughest plan ever proposed by any major city in the world. Specifically, Khan has proposed a £10 per day Emissions Surcharge on older vehicles and an extended Ultra-Low Emission Zone. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Work on a concentrated solar plant, the first of its kind in Africa to use of thermal power, is expected to start in the Northern Cape within the next two months…

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July 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

US Ramping Up for Imminent Nuclear Accident: Wants Americans to Drink Radiation Contaminated Water – Comment Deadline 25 July 2016, 11.59 pm, DC Time

Mining Awareness +

The US EPA proposes to increase the amount of radionuclides allowed in drinking water in the event of a nuclear accident or other radiological emergency, despite the warning of health impacts in the US EPA’s own “Radionuclides in Drinking Water: A Small Entity Compliance Guide“, p. 3:
US EPA: Radionuclides in Drinking Water: A Small Entity Compliance Guide, p. 3
death grim reaper
bubbles in water
Although the US EPA appears to be trying to get comments while many are on vacation, summer-time is not a bad time to remind people that they need to drink water. You can do without food for extended periods but without water you die. In the heat you need more water. And, who wants to drink radioactive water? And, yet, that’s what the EPA has planned. Instead of taking nuclear and environmental safety seriously, the US government wants Americans to drink radioactive water and eat highly contaminated food. They call it PAG, protective action guide, but it’s NON-protective action guidelines which…

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July 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 7 Energy News



¶ DONG Energy set a record low price for offshore wind power in a winning bid to build two arrays off the coast of the Netherlands. DONG committed to supply electricity at €72.70/MWh ($80.40/MWh), not including transmission costs, which may add about €14/MWh. An industry goal is €100/MWh by 2020. [Climate Home]

Cheap steel and favourable regulations are helping to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S) Low cost steel and favourable regulations are helping
to cut offshore wind power costs (Pic: DONG Energy A/S)

¶ Trustpower, a renewable energy developer based in New Zealand, says it has been granted planning approval for the 300-MW Dundonnel Wind Farm in the Australian state of Victoria. It is a community-driven project initiated in 2008 by a group of land owners who intended to develop a wind farm on their property. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Almost a third more biogas energy is being produced in the UK compared to this time last year, according to new…

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July 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brazil: Police Arrest 19 Individuals in Eletrobras Nuclear Power Bribery Probe

Mining Awareness +

Brazil NPS

If only arrests of those involved in nuclear bribery-kickback schemes would be made in some other countries… One can but hope.

UPDATE 1-Brazil police arrest 19 in Eletrobras nuke-plant bribe probe
Posted:Wed, 06 Jul 2016 16:46:45 -0400
* Eletrobras nuclear unit CEO forced to give up post (Adds Pinheiro arrest, size of bribery allegations, Brazil nuclear detail, changes dateline)

Engineering firms Andrade Gutierrez, Engevix, and others, were named in the investigation last year. Will French State owned Areva be implicated? According to Reuters (6 July 2016), late last year Andrade Guitierrez, Odebrecht, Queiroz Galvao and others pulled out of the project. Those arrested on Tuesday included the former Eletronuclear CEO Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva.

Long before his arrest, Greenpeace noted that “The Brazilian nuclear programme does not appear to make any economic sense or to be driven by energy needs, but instead seems…

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July 8, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment