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71 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

flag-japanA look at first ever use of nuclear weapons in wartime http://tinyurl.com/zjmex46 Jul 31, 2016 text-relevant On August 6, 1945, the US dropped the first ever nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

Three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. President Harry Truman called for Japan’s surrender, warning them to “expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth.”Here are a few facts about the first ever use of nuclear weapons in wartime:   The uranium gun-type atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was called Little Boy and Nagasaki was nuked by a plutonium implosion-type bomb called Fat Man.  In order to make Little Boy, the US used 141 pounds of uranium, basically all of the processed uranium that was then in existence. The US dropped about 49 practice bombs nicknamed “pumpkin bombs” that killed 400 and injured 1,200, before nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

oleander is the official flower of the city of Hiroshima because it was the first thing to bloom after the bombings.Japan has burned the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima, since 1964, in honour of the victims; it will be extinguished only when all nuclear weapons are removed from the world and the earth is free from nuclear threat.

skulls Hiroshima 1945

August 1, 2016 Posted by | history, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NATO’s nuclear warheads store sealed off by Turkish troops

text-relevantReports Turkish troops have sealed off Incirlik US/NATO nuclear air base,news.com.au AUGUST 1, 2016 TURKISH citizens and police have ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States — and where a large stockpile of NATO nuclear weapons is held — ahead of a visit by a senior US official tomorrow.

warheads nuclear

Reports out of Turkey suggest all entrances to the air base have been blocked by heavy vehicles and police sent to secure its perimeter.

The unusual nigh-time move sparked rumours of a second coup attempt on Turkish social media, with concerned citizens rushing to the air base to join the blockade.

The move comes less than a week after a top US Army general was accused by Turkish media of ‘leading’ the uprising against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.

But Turkish Minister for European Affairs has since reportedly sought to reassure local media, stating the mission was just a “safety inspection”…….

The air base has been a central facility in US and NATO efforts against Islamic State. It also houses a stockpile of nuclear weapons as part of NATO’s deterrence force…….http://www.news.com.au/world/reports-turkish-troops-have-sealed-off-incirlik-usnato-nuclear-air-base/news-story/4d7bb16e4e86842218b5b0d7d70f582b

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Turkey, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Anti war protest at USA’s Democratic Convention

USA election 2016A Revealing Moment at the Democratic National Convention https://bracingviews.com/2016/07/28/a-revealing-moment-at-the-text-relevantdemocratic-national-convention/by wjastore  W.J. Astore

Yes, there was a revealing moment at last night’s Democratic National Convention.  No, it wasn’t President Obama’s soaring speech, or Joe Biden’s heartfelt appeal, or Tim Kaine’s “believe me” lampoon of Donald Trump.  All these were scripted.

It was the anti-war protesters who spoke out against drone assassinations and war while former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta spoke.

Good for them.  This democratic convention has been at pains to please the military. Last night, Panetta called the U.S. military our greatest national treasure.  Obama repeated his claim that the U.S. military is the finest fighting force since Cain slew Abel.  Tim Kaine opened his remarks by mentioning the Marines and shouting Semper Fi.

The Democrats are the new Republicans: they’re going “all in” on military boosterism and ra-ra patriotism.

Which is why the anti-war protest was so refreshing.  End the wars — end the killing — what’s wrong with these protesters for expressing such crazy sentiments at a Democratic political rally?  (An aside: my favorite sign read “Fauxmocracy.”)

The DNC response was swift.  Apparently, they cut the lights to the section where the main body of protesters sat (the Oregon delegation), but the protesters simply pulled out their Smart phones for light.  Panetta, of course, ignored them, carrying on with his prepared speech that vilified Trump for his remarks about Vladimir Putin and hacking.  (Pretty dumb by The Donald, but the man is an empty barrel, an Archie Bunker who loves to make lots of noise.)

Most interesting of all was media response.  I was watching MSNBC (I think) when a commentator attacked the anti-war protesters for undercutting Panetta’s speech against Trump.  Yes, it was the protesters who were TOTALLY in the wrong!  How dare they chant “no more war” at a former CIA Director and secretary of war? How dare they challenge an olympian like Panetta while he’s on the stage?  How dare they organize and exercise their first amendment rights?

Expect more unbounded praise of the U.S. military tonight by Hillary Clinton. Expect more talk of war.  Just don’t expect any honest talk about the cost of America’s wars or any vows about ending them in our lifetimes.

Update (7/28):

I just endured General Allen’s jingoistic speech/scream and all the “USA! USA!” chants, followed by a short speech by a Medal of Honor recipient in favor of Clinton.

After which Brian Williams of MSNBC said, “Sadly,” you could still hear faintly the voices of protesters shouting “No more war.” Why is that so sad, Brian Williams? Why is it so sad for Democrats to be against war? Why must they shut up when a general speaks, a general who boasts of making the U.S. military stronger with even better weaponry with which to kill?

That’s the real “sad” part, Brian Williams: How the Democratic Party has become the war party.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | USA elections 2016 | Leave a comment

British support for use of nuclear weapons

atomic-bomb-lflag-UKMost Britons support the use of nuclear weapons A total of 59 percent of text-relevantpeople surveyed said they would launch a nuclear strike if they were prime ministerhttp://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Most-Britons-Support-Use-of-Nuclear-Weapons-20160730-0012.html

A majority of Britons support their new prime minister’s proposal to deploy nuclear weapons, a recent poll by YouGov revealed on Saturday.

In a debate at the Parliament, new Prime Minister Theresa May said she would be ready to launch a nuclear strike that would result in the deaths of 100,000 people and urged lawmakers to back a renewal of Britain’s submarine-based Trident nuclear weapons system.

A total of 59 percent of people surveyed said they would do the same if they were in the prime minister’s shoes, while 66 percent say they support May in her assertion, with only 15 percent rejecting such a position.

Meanwhile, another survey found 44 percent of British people want to see Trident replaced. Three years ago YouGov made a similar survey, finding that 35 supported the nuclear program and 26 wanted to replace it, while another 25 percent said that Britain should give up nuclear weapons altogether.

Trident was created in 1980 under then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s rule with the purpose to “deter the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life, which cannot be done by other means.”

May became prime minister on July 13 following the resignation of David Cameron after Britons voted in a June 23 referendum to leave the EU, weakening the 28-nation bloc and creating huge economic uncertainty.

May is well known for her hawkish, pro-war positions. When she was leader of the Conservative Party she voted for the U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq in 2003. She has also supported other interventions, like the 2011 military intervention in Libya.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Huge wildfire getting close to Hanford nuclear reservation

wildfire-nukeLarge fire burning toward Hanford nuclear reservation  A fire burning on the Yakima Training Center near Moxee, shown here, has spread into Benton County near the Hanford nuclear reservation. Ronnie Butler Yakima Herald Republic Tri-City Herald,Yakima Herald-Republic and Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, 1 August 16 A large wildfire was burning toward the Hanford nuclear reservation Sunday after spreading from Grant and Yakima counties into Benton County overnight Saturday.

It was one of at least five wildfires burning Sunday in eastern Washington and Oregon, including a 1,000-acre fire that had residents evacuating a rural area near Prosser Sunday evening.

The larger Benton County fire burning toward Hanford, called the Range 12 Fire, was estimated to have burned 60,000 acres or about 94 square miles by early Sunday evening.

Sunday afternoon it was spreading across an unpopulated area between Highways 240 and 241, according to Benton County Emergency Services.

Firefighters were working to stop the fire before it reached the large wildland security zone maintained around the contaminated portion of the nuclear reservation. The security zone, which includes the peak of Rattlesnake Mountain, is part of the Hanford Reach National Monument………http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article92931342.html

August 1, 2016 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

No German spent nuclear fuel for Savannah – Citizens’ Advisory Board votes

wastes-1Savannah River board votes to officially oppose accepting German spentOscar-wastes
nuclear fuel, Augusta Chronicl
By John Boyette NEW ELLENTON — The Savannah River Site Citizens Advisory Board is not in favor of accepting spent nuclear fuel from Germany. In two separate votes Tuesday, the group voted down a draft recommendation to accept the spent fuel and endorsed a draft position statement that opposes receiving the spent fuel for treatment and storage in the U.S.

The spent fuel, which comes from two German reactors that have ceased operations, originated in the U.S. It takes the form of about one million graphite spheres that contain uranium and thorium and are currently stored in 455 casks…….

The draft recommendation failed to pass, getting only six votes in favor. Eleven board members voted against, and one abstained.

The position statement, which opposed receiving the spent fuel, was voted on next. It passed 13 to five.

The board also voted in favor of a position statement that opposes the storage of commercial spent nuclear fuel and high level radioactive waste atSRS until 2048 or longer.

Tom Clements, the director of nuclear watchdog group SRS Watch, was pleased with the outcome of the votes.

“I thought it was quite strange that they allowed the two positions that had opposite statements to get this far,” Clements said. “I think they should have resolved this in the committee and presented one unified statement and not two.”

Clements said that a final Environmental Assessment from the Department of Energy is pending on the German spent nuclear fuel issue. He said it was supposed to be released in June but now there is no timetable.

“I personally think part of the reason for that is what’s happening in Germany, both the terrorism issue, and that there may be hesitancy to pay more to Savannah River National Laboratory for a program they don’t think is going to go forward.” fuel http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/government/2016-07-26/srs-board-votes-officially-oppose-accepting-german-spent-nuclear-fuel 

August 1, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Theresa May not happy with Chinese nuclear investment plans for Britain

text Hinkley cancelledflag-UKBritain’s May worried by China investment, intervened to delay nuclear deal, SMH, Kate Holton , 31 July 16 LondonBritish Prime Minister Theresa May was concerned about the security implications of a planned Chinese investment in the new Hinkley Point nuclear plant and intervened personally to delay the project, a former colleague and a source said.

The plan by France’s EDF to build two reactors with financial backing from a Chinese state-owned company was championed by Mrs May’s predecessor David Cameron as a sign of Britain’s openness to foreign investment.

But just hours before a signing ceremony was due to take place on Friday, Mrs May’s new government said it would review the project again, raising concerns that Britain’s approach to infrastructure deals, energy supply and foreign investment may be changing.

The decision could prove a test for Mrs May, with any attempt to renegotiate the terms of the project potentially straining relations with Paris and Beijing at a time when Britain is seeking to build trade deals following the country’s vote to leave the European Union.

“When we were in government Theresa May was quite clear she was unhappy about the rather gung-ho approach to Chinese investment that we had,” Vince Cable, Britain’s former business secretary and a leading member of the Liberal Democrats, who governed in coalition with Mr Cameron, told BBC Radio.

He later told Sky News her concerns over China’s involvement were linked to national security. “This was an issue that was raised in general but it was also raised specifically in relation to Hinkley,” he said……..http://www.smh.com.au/world/britains-may-worried-by-china-investment-intervened-to-delay-nuclear-deal-20160731-gqhkm7.html

August 1, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Uranium industry faces an ever bleaker future

The price of uranium has slumped to $25 a pound, its lowest level since April 2005.

It is the worst-performing mined commodity this year. Other natural resources such as copper, coal and iron ore have gained year to date.

 There is plenty to fret about….
Residents across Japan are seeking court injunctions to prevent restarts

burial.uranium-industryJapan Nuclear-Power Jitters Weigh on Global Uranium Market Antinuclear sentiment in Japan, weak U.S. demand, rising Chinese stockpiles depress price of nuclear fuel   http://www.wsj.com/articles/japan-nuclear-power-jitters-weigh-on-global-uranium-market-1469990663    By RHIANNON HOYLE and MAYUMI NEGISHI July 31, 2016

Five years ago, meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan sparked what would become a prolonged slide in prices for uranium nuclear fuel. Today, the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a quarter-century is depressing prices again.

Antinuclear sentiment is gaining momentum in Japan with the election three weeks ago of an antinuclear governor in the only Japanese prefecture with an operating nuclear-power plant, and the likelihood that a court injunction will halt the next reactor slated to go online in August.

Japan was once the world’s No. 3 nuclear-power generator, behind the U.S. and France. The slump in the uranium market is being exacerbated by weak demand from the U.S. and plentiful uranium supplies in China, an emerging nuclear-power producer.

The price of uranium has slumped to $25 a pound, its lowest level since April 2005, according to the Ux Consulting Co., a nuclear-fuel research firmthat publishes weekly market prices. The fuel’s value is down 27% since the start of this year and is a fraction of the $136 a pound it traded for at its 2007 peak.

It is the worst-performing mined commodity this year. Other natural resources such as copper, coal and iron ore have gained year to date.

 There is plenty to fret about. In the U.S., a market awash with cheap natural gas, nuclear reactors have been closing. A few years ago, France said it would start reducing its reliance on atomic energy. China, while rolling out a broad expansion of its nuclear fleet, has built up inventories of uranium that could last more than a decade.

Continue reading

August 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Hinkley nuclear plan locks Britain into a very risky investment

scrutiny-on-costsflag-UKWhy Hinkley is a very risky bet – BBC Radio Wales http://tomburke.co.uk/2016/07/29/why-hinkley-is-a-very-risky-bet-bbc-radio-wales/ Tom Burke,  This is not where we expected to be this morning, and it is very difficult to imagine what the government will discover in a few weeks time that it doesn’t already know. So I think that it is fortunate that this is giving us a chance to look again at what is a very bad deal for Britain, a 37 billion pound punt by the British government with energy bill payer’s money on an unproven technology. It is a 20th century technology that locks us into the wrong kind of infrastructure for the 21st century. It shuts us out from building an energy infrastructure that will be cheaper, faster, cleaner and much more reliably delivered than Hinkley Point……..

I share concerns about the implications, of the extraordinarily casual treatment of a very big project, for employment. It’s not just in the nuclear industry that this government had been careless. We have lost 12,000 jobs in the last couple of years in the solar industry because the government can’t make it mind up about energy policy. We lost even more jobs in the energy efficiency industry again because the government seems to treat energy policy like a political bagatelle, that it can just change in an arbitrary way.

But the risks associated with Hinkley Point are enormous, in terms of what we spend our money on. Actually there are three of these reactors already built. All of them, including the one that is being build in China are years late and billions of pounds over budget. I just think this is too risky a project to go ahead with when there are lots of other things that we could do that are faster, cleaner and cheaper ways to meet our requirements for energy going forward. By the way if we went ahead with this, it wouldn’t help us with the immediate problems we have securing supplies of electricity because this won’t be generating electricity until 2030. http://tomburke.co.uk/2016/07/29/why-hinkley-is-a-very-risky-bet-bbc-radio-wales/

August 1, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

New York’s shocking huge subsidy for bailing out the nuclear industry

As a precedent-setting state poised to lead the nation as a climate leader on aggressively implementing renewable energy, New York should recognize that the nuclear bailout increases CO2 and long term waste storage costs and decreases jobs relative to replacing the nuclear immediately with clean, renewable energy today.

taxpayer bailout

Invest in clean energy, not nukes http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Invest-in-clean-energy-not-nukes-8633883.php?cmpid=twitter-tablet By Mark Z. Jacobson Is giving old, non-profitable upstate nuclear plants billions of dollars in ratepayers’ money the best way to get New York to a cleaner, renewable energy future? , July 29, 2016 

This is the issue at hand as the state grapples with the laudable goal and challenges of moving to clean energy, most immediately meeting Gov.Andrew Cuomo‘s Clean Energy Standard — a commitment to generating 50 percent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030.

New York has done a lot of things right by investing in solar, wind, and energy efficiency, and by pursuing smart changes to the grid like distributed generation. These proven clean energy solutions are expanding faster and faster across the country, spurring unparalleled job growth and saving lives as renewable energy displaces dirty and dangerous energy. Cuomo is wise to prioritize making New York the national clean energy leader.

Given these priorities, I was among many who were shocked by the Public Service Commission‘s proposal that the lion’s share of the Clean Energy Standard funding would be a nuclear bailout. The plan, which the Public Service Commission may vote on as early as August 1st, would give three upstate nuclear plants an estimated $7.6 billion dollars in subsidies over the next 12 years. That’s more than double what the proposal projects would go to renewable energy.

This does not make sense for a number of reasons. Allowing these three upstate nuclear plants to close now and replacing them with equal energy output from onshore wind and solar would be cheaper and would create more jobs. Continue reading

August 1, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Britain’s history of supplying nuclear weapons technology to North Korea

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs.Ecologist, David Lowry 26th July 2016 

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea’s nuclear dream come true.

In the debate on Trident nuclear WMD renewal in Parliament last week, the new UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a peculiarly ill-informed speech – demonstrating her political career that has virtually no experience in security or defence affairs – made, inter alia, the following unsupported assertions:
  • ” … today the threats from countries such as Russia and North Korea remain very real.”
  • “North Korea has stated a clear intent to develop and deploy a nuclear weapon, and it continues to work towards that goal, in flagrant violation of a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions.”
  • “North Korea is the only country in the world to have tested nuclear weapons this century, carrying out its fourth test this year, as well as a space launch that used ballistic missile technology. It also claims to be attempting to develop a submarine-launch capability and to have withdrawn from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.”
  • “Based on the advice I have received, we believe that North Korea could already have enough fissile material to produce more than a dozen nuclear weapons. It also has a long-range ballistic missile, which it claims can reach America, and which is potentially intended for nuclear delivery.”

It reminded me of the similarly ill-informed former Prime Minister Tony Blair, in his speeches to MPs trying to win them over with dodgy ‘advice’ from British intelligence, to go to war by invading Iraq in 2003.

MPs have short memories, despite the Chicot Report on the Iraq invasion disaster not yet two weeks old, and 472 motley MP fools backed May and Trident replacement. As with the Iraq invasion, MPs will in future have to admit their regrets at being fooled. And again, they ignord the thousands of demonstrators outside, calling for Trident to be abandoned.

Britain’s nuclear proliferation ‘secret’

But May was right in one way. North Korea has developed nuclear weapons. But what she did not say was they did it with copied British bomb-making technology.

There is significant evidence that the British Magnox nuclear plant design – which was primarily built as a military plutonium production factory – provided the blueprint for the North Korean military plutonium programme based in Yongbyon. Here is what Douglas (now Lord) Hogg, then a Conservative minister, admitted in a written parliamentary reply in 1994 to Labour MP Llew Smith:

“We do not know whether North Korea has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. North Korea possesses a graphite moderated reactor which, while much smaller, has generic similarities to the reactors operated by British Nuclear Fuels plc. However, design information of these British reactors is not classified and has appeared in technical journals.”

The uranium enrichment programmes of both North Korea and Iran also have a UK connection. The blueprints of this type of plant were stolen by Pakistani scientist, A Q Khan, from the URENCO enrichment plant in The Netherlands in the early 1970s.
(see David Albright, Peddling Peril, 2010 pp 15-28, Free Press, New York)

This plant was – and remains – one-third owned by the UK government. The Pakistan government subsequently sold the technology to Iran, who later exchanged it for North Korean Nodong missiles……….

Lessons of history

This sorry tale has several important lessons for us today. First – and this must never be forgotten – the UK’s early ‘atoms for peace’ nuclear power programme was specifically designed and intended to produce plutonium for nuclear bombs. And it was not just nuclear waste from Calder Hall that went for plutonium extraction at Windscale, but from other sites that were meant to be purely civilian such as Hinkley Point.

The UK is therefore guilty of ‘breaking the rules’ that are meant to separate civil and military nuclear activities, and its complaints of other states doing the same all carry the unmistakeable whiff of ripest humbug.

Second, for all its public position of seeking to restrain nuclear proliferation, the UK is actually one of the world’s most egregious nuclear proliferators: providing arch-nuclear enemy North Korea with both the Magnox technology it has used to produce plutonium for atom bombs; and the high strength aluminium it has used for its uranium centrifuges.

So when Theresa May stands up in Parliament and proclaims that we need the Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, remember: it is a threat that the UK created in the first place, providing both the nuclear reactor technology and the centrifuge materials to make it happen.

And when the UK cites the nuclear threat from North Korea as a reason to spend an estimated £200 billion on the next generation of Trident, we can be sure that North Korea and other countries aspiring to their own nuclear weapons are applying precisely the same logic to the British nuclear threat.

And that considering the UK’s history of aggressive regime-changing interventions in Iraq and Libya, the hundreds of (up to 225) nuclear warheads in its possession, and its ability to target them accurately anywhere in the world, North Korea’s fears are probably a great deal better founded than Mrs May’s. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987935/what_theresa_may_forgot_north_korea_used_british_technology_to_build_its_nuclear_bombs.html

August 1, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, Reference, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Bill Gates – wrong about renewable energy

 Gates'-travelling-Wave-NuclJigar Shah rebuts Bill Gates’ fossil fuel vision for energy access in developing countries. GreenTech Media by Jigar Shah  August 22, 2014 “……In 2012, I wrote in the Huffington Post that Bill Gates had zero qualifications to understand energy and its costs. I also acknowledged that I am not qualified to run a global software company.

So, Bill Gates doesn’t know much about energy outside of his vested interests in nuclear power, and I don’t know much about running a software company outside of my bumbling with my Android apps. I say this about myself even though I have helped with smart metering and oversaw the global implementation for monitoring solar systems worldwide for SunEdison.

But Bill Gates has more money and power than I, as well as a powerful — and wonderful — charity. In this instance, however, his charity is misguided. And nothing is more dangerous than misguided charity.

Gates’ misguided path starts with the fact that he cited a notorious climate confusionist, Bjorn Lomborg. Lomborg has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the fact that renewable energy is cost-competitive with fossil fuels as an energy source.

Given Gates’ stature, framing energy poverty as a climate issue reveals a depth of ignorance that poses a serious problem. So here is reality.

Ending energy poverty requires the right tool for the job: distributed energy
The truth is that an over-reliance on centralized grid extension and large-scale power plants will keep a billion people in the dark. It is time to recognize what even the IEA says is overwhelmingly necessary, but dramatically under-invested in: distributed renewable energy for those living beyond the grid.

To understand why this is so important, take a step back and consider the reaction if Gates wrote a blog suggesting that Mark Zuckerberg is a fool and that the solution for universal internet access around the world is connecting every home around the world via physical fiber-optic cable. The reaction would be riotous laughter. In emerging markets, they are busy ripping out copper and everyone is using wireless. Yet that’s exactly analogous to what Gates is proposing for energy.

No expert on energy access is paying any attention to Gates’ folly on energy for the poor…… 
When it comes to energy poverty, Gates is arguing for outdated and ineffective solutions that will keep people energy-poor. It is time that we deploy our 21st century energy solutions and put power directly in the hands of the impoverished. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/sorry-bill-gates-you-are-wrong-on-clean-energy

August 1, 2016 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear enthusiast Bill Gates again trashing renewable energy

Gates'-travelling-Wave-NuclBill Gates Again Dismisses Solar’s Value In Africa, Clean Technica July 22nd, 2016 by  Bill Gates, delivering the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on the eve of Mandela Day, has again dismissed the potential global role of solar, and in particular the value it could have in solving energy crises in Africa.

In the long run, what Africa needs is what the whole world needs: a breakthrough energy miracle that provides cheap, clean energy for everyone,” Gates said on the 17th. However, Gates doesn’t believe that that breakthrough has been made in the form of solar.

In an interview with Tech Insider earlier this year in February, which saw the billionaire philanthropist discuss the need to bring electricity to the millions who do not yet have access to reliable grid-provided energy, Bill Gates dismissed the role of solar. Gates discussed the need for an “energy miracle” then as well. “You might say, well, aren’t people saying that about wind and solar today? Not really. Only in the super-narrow sense that the capital costs per output, when the wind is blowing, is slightly lower.”

Gates continued, saying that the reason solar and wind “still needs subsidies, and it can’t go above a certain percentage, is this intermittency — it changes the economics, particularly the requirement that the power company at all times be able to require power.”

Speaking last Sunday as he delivered the 14th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, Gates again dismissed the role of solar in bringing electricity to the millions throughout Africa who are without reliable access to electricity……

What’s disappointing is that, at every step along Bill Gates’ arguments, we find reason to disagree with his increasingly-outdated points of view. Integrating energy storage with wind and solar generation mitigates much of the intermittency concerns, while reliance upon fossil fuels such as coal in Africa rely on massive levels of infrastructure — infrastructure which simply doesn’t exist, and would cost billions to develop, in excess of the cost of developing large-scale renewable energy deployment. Already the levelized cost of electricity (LCoE) has seen to be decreasing for both solar and onshore wind, and in some parts of the world are already cost competitive with existing fossil fuel energy sources.

Bill Gates isn’t unable to access this information, so what’s driving his seeming intentional ignorance towards the potential benefits of renewable energy, and solar energy in particular, for providing widespread electricity throughout Africa? http://cleantechnica.com/2016/07/22/bill-gates-dismisses-solars-value-africa/

August 1, 2016 Posted by | AFRICA, renewable | Leave a comment

Sliding popularity of nuclear industry will affect South Australian govt’s nuclear waste plan

Protest-No!Valdis Dunis   Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/ 1 August 16 

  Given polling for just nuclear reactors is so negative now worldwide, the chances of the majority in SA bucking the trend and supporting something nuclear is low I suggest, especially for something more negatively perceived than just a reactor – the world’s biggest high-level nuclear waste dump.

“”Eight of these countries were also polled in 2005 by GlobeScan about their views, and the results suggest that there has been a sharp increase in opposition to nuclear power in five of them.

The proportion opposing the building of new nuclear power stations has grown to near-unanimity in Germany (from 73% to 90%), but also increased significantly in Mexico (51% to 82%), Japan (76% to 84%), France (66% to 83%), and Russia (from 61% to 80%)

In contrast, while still a minority view, support for building new nuclear plants has grown in the UK (from 33% to 37%), is stable in the USA (40% to 39%), and is also high in China (42%) and Pakistan (39%). These countries thus emerge as the most pro-nuclear of the countries surveyed with current nuclear plants, by some distance. Among the countries polled that do not have active nuclear plants, support for building them is highest in Nigeria (41%), Ghana (33%), and Egypt (31%).

The poll also indicates that the belief that conservation and renewable energy can fill the gap left, if there is a move away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy, is now the consensus view. Respondents were asked to say whether they thought that their country “could almost entirely replace coal and nuclear energy within 20 years by becoming highly energy-efficient and focusing on generating energy from the sun and wind,” and more than seven in ten (71%) agree that it could.”
http://www.globescan.com/…/127-opposition-to-nuclear…

August 1, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | Leave a comment

Midwest USA’ s sizzling heat carries health dangers

global-warming1Flag-USASizzling Midwest Previews a Hotter Future Climate, Skeptical Science, 29 July 16 Extreme heat waves like the current string of scorching days in the Midwest have become more frequent worldwide in the last 60 years, and climate scientists expect that human-caused global warming will exacerbate the dangerous trend in coming decades. It comes with potentially life-threatening consequences for millions of people.

Research has shown that overall mortality increases by 4 percent during heat waves compared to normal days in the U.S. A study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives in 2011 suggested that rising summer temperatures could kill up to 2,200 more people per year in Chicago alone during the last two decades of the 21st century.

“The climate is changing faster than we’ve ever seen during the history of human civilization on this planet, and climate change is putting heat waves on steroids,” Katharine Hayhoe, director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, said during a news conference on Thursday. “Heat waves are getting more frequent and stronger.”

Temperatures this week soared into the 90s from Minnesota to Iowa, combining with high humidity to send heat indices well above the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark, considered a threshold for conditions dangerous to human health.

Current temperatures in large parts of the Midwest have been rising steadily for more than 100 years, with accelerated warming in the past few decades. According to the 2014 National Climate Assessment, the average temperature in the region increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1900 and 2010. Between 1950 and 2010, the rate of increase doubled, and since 1980, the pace of warming is three times faster than between 1900 and 2010…….

“And when nighttime temperatures don’t cool off enough to give us a respite, that’s when we start to see an impact on health. Especially the elderly and people with respiratory problems start flooding emergency rooms.”

“The bottom line is we face a new normal and we’re adapting to it on the city and regional level,” said Christopher B. Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, Minn., and co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative. Also speaking during the press conference, he called the Mississippi River Valley an “acute climate impact zone,” and said some of the less obvious impacts of extreme heat  includes urban stormwater runoff that creates thermal pollution when it hits hot pavement……

“The health consequences of climate change run an entire gamut, from worsening chronic disease, to an increase in vector and waterborne illnesses and disruption to food safety,” said Rev. Miriam Burnett, president of Resource and Promotion of Health Alliance, Inc, a faith-based nonprofit focusing on public health in African-American communities. Extremeheat events even have social consequences, including putting strain on human interactions and generating anger and hostility, she said.

Scientists say there’s little doubt that the buildup of heat trapping greenhouse gases is already causing more deadly heat waves worldwide. The increase has been widely documented and summarized in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeassessmenthttp://www.skepticalscience.com/sizzling-midwest-previews-hotter-climate.html

August 1, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment