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Britain stalls its nuclear white elephant

Nuclear “white elephant” on hold Independent Australia 30 July 16 Britain’s shock decision to put nuclear power station Hinkley Point C on hold, is consistent with the advice of countless expertsPaul Brown from Climate News Network reports. 

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT astonished the nuclear industry on Thursday, by refusing to go ahead with plans to build the world’s largest nuclear plant until it has reviewed every aspect of the project…….


So certain were EDF that a signing ceremony with the British government would take place today to provide the company with 35 years of subsidies for their electricity, that they had hired marquees, invited the world’s press and laid in stocks of Champagne to toast the agreement…….

EDF chief executive Vincent de Rivaz, who had pushed for the deal, cancelled a trip to Britain on hearing the government announcement.

Britain’s new prime minister, Theresa May, who had never publicly endorsed the project like her predecessor David Cameron, has clearly heeded the myriad voices outside the nuclear industry that say this is a bad deal for British consumers……,9300

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

Garmany’s solar PIMBY town – ‘Please In My Backyard’

Solar power is set to capture almost all the investment in new generation. Justin McManusFrom swords to solar, a German town takes control of its energy, National Observer, By Audrea Lim in NewsEnergy | July 28th 2016 The German town of Saerbeck is a swords to solar panels story. Above this former German military ammunition camp, perched atop a metal stem like an oversized stalk of wheat, giant blades rotate in the sky, given life by an invisible breeze.

 The wind turbine could be the icon for the Saerbeck “Climate Community,” a champion of energy democracy that was twice awarded the European Energy Award, and received the German Sustainability Prize in 2013. This town of 7,200, in the industrial heartland of Germany, is a thriving example of the nation’s much-lauded transition toward renewable energy. The energiewendeincludes a total phase-out of nuclear power by 2022 , and has catalyzed a tenfold increase in the share of clean electricity since 1990. By 2015, 32.5 per cent of Germany’s electricity was renewable.

In 2009, Saerbeck decided to shift its electricity entirely to renewable sources by 2030. Within just five years, they were generating 3.5 times more renewable electricity than the town consumed, not only with the installation of solar panels on private roofs, but through a 90-hectare, 70-million-euro Bioenergy Park that now houses seven wind turbines, a biogas plant, and a sprawling array of solar panels on the roofs of former military bunkers.

These camouflaged bunkers look like charming rows of grass-hatted hobbit holes, but were built to house tank ammunition and grenades. Today they provide the physical foundation for achieving local energy security and self-sufficiency—since 2012, Saerbeck’s entire electric grid has been owned by the community—as well as a canvas for the psychedelic shadowplay cast by the rotating turbine blades.

The key to Saerbeck’s success, explained Mayor Wilfried Roos, is the grassroots nature of these projects, which were conceptualized at weekly community meetings, and have brought in revenue for the town and local investors, as excess energy is sold back into the grid……..

A bunch of PIMBYs (Please, in my backyard)

At the center of the town’s transformation is the local energy cooperative Energy for Saerbeck, co-founded by Roos, which owns the solar plant and a turbine in the Bioenergy Park. By investing in the cooperative (the minimum amount is 1,000 EUR), local townspeople become voting members and earn profits. Since its founding in 2009, the cooperative’s membership has expanded from an original nine members to 384 today. More residents are eager to join—if only the coop could keep pace with enough new projects.

Wallraven credits the opportunity to invest and participate for the townspeople’s embrace of the transition, which some scholars describe with the cringe-worthy acronym “PIMBY”—“Please, In My Backyard”—or, in corporate jargon, as the achievement of “social acceptance.” “The cooperative has been a very important strategic instrument to get the people on board,” said Wallraven………

In Germany, the energiewende has largely been fueled by small and mid-sized investors. Citizen participation accounted for 46 per cent of the nation’s renewable energy capacity in 2012, and there were 973 electricity cooperatives running by 2015.

 For decades, the German electricity market had been dominated by a monopoly of a few big utility companies, but their breakup after 1998 created space for new electricity producers to emerge. When they did, they arrived in the form of citizens, small businesses and local investors, encouraged by laws guaranteeing their right to sell electricity back into the grid for twenty years at a fixed price—what’s known as a “feed-in tariff.” This provision, which offered security and healthy returns in a nascent and still-uncertain industry, has been crucial for the energiewende, according to most experts……..

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment | Edit

August 1, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, Germany | Leave a comment

Solar plane completes flight around the world

The Solar Impulse Plane Just Finished Flying Around The World With Zero Fuel,Fast Coexist 27 July 16 
Now we know a solar plane works. What comes next for the future of clean aviation?  
Fifteen months after it took off, the world’s first solar-powered airplane finished a 22,000-mile trip around the world. In theory, the Solar Impulse 2—covered in more than 17,000 solar cells—could have made the trip without stopping. Because it doesn’t need fuel, the plane is capable of flying indefinitely………

Through the project, they wanted to help kickstart change—not just in airplanes, but in transportation in general, in housing, and in all energy-consuming products.

In aviation, some of the ideas used in Solar Impulse are already being used in other projects. Airbus recently announced that it plans to build a 19-seat electric plane. NASA is working on another small electric plane. “If you think about the future of aviation, it’s quite clear we will move in the direction of electric propulsion because of its efficiency,” Borschberg says.

The motor in the Solar Impulse is 97% efficient, compared with about 30% efficiency in a typical car. “Seventy percent of the gasoline that you put in your tank is lost as heat,” he says. “Electric propulsion is what made it possible to fly day and night.”…….

They’re also hoping that the success of their round-the-world flight inspires more people to use renewable energy in general. “If we can do it on a plane, we can certainly do it everywhere on the ground,” he says.

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

Below Cost of Production- sad plight of the uranium industry

radiation-sign-sadUranium Prices Remain Below Cost of Production, Recovery is Years Away, Economic Calendar, Donald Levit, July 27, 2016 Uranium prices continue to hover at an eleven-year low, with the commodity’s collapse to the price weeks ago failing to inspire any renewed buying interest, and according to a recent forecast from UBS, a turnaround in the market could be years off.

UBS analysts recently revised their average spot uranium prices for the years ahead, and all of these revisions were downward. For 2016 the forecast is now $30/lb. down from $37/lb., for 2017 they cut the forecast to $32/ lb. from $55/lb., for 2018 to $42/lb. from $60/ lb.,and for 2019 to $55/lb. from $60.

The reason behind the languishing prices, and why UBS expects the tough times to continue, is that fact that Japanese reactor restarts have been much slower than expected, while the pace of nuclear expansion across the globe has also disappointed…….

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

Russia’s Rosatom keen to establish entire nuclear industry in Egypt

nuclear-marketing-crapCairo, Moscow Agree on Egypt’s First Nuclear Power Plant Construction Terms  The Egyptian presidential office announced that Egypt and Russia have agreed on all the clauses of the commercial contract on construction of the first nuclear power plant in the country. The date of contract signing is expected to be announced right after its approval by the country’s supreme administrative court, the Council of State.

Russia and Egypt signed an intergovernmental agreement on the construction of the Dabaa nuclear power plant on the Mediterranean Sea coast in November 2015. It is set to become the largest construction project carried out by Russia and Egypt since the Aswan Dam.

The contract for the construction of the nuclear power plant is estimated to be worth over $26 billion. The plant will include four units, each one with a capacity reaching 1200 megawatts. The complete offer of the state corporation Rosatom suggests assistance from Russia in the establishment of an entire nuclear industry in Egypt.

August 1, 2016 Posted by | Egypt, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Safety anxieties for China with its floating nuclear reactors plan

China’s nuclear power ambitions sailing into troubled waters, Phys Org,  July 31, 2016 by Joe Mcdonald China’s ambitions to become a pioneer in nuclear energy are sailing into troubled waters. Two state-owned companies plan to develop floating nuclear reactors, a technology engineers have been considering since the 1970s for use by oil rigs or island communities. Beijing is racing Russia, which started developing its own in 2007, to get a unit into commercial operation.

In China’s case, the achievement would be tempered by concern its reactors might be sent into harm’s way to support oil exploration in the South China Sea, where Beijing faces conflicting territorial claims by neighbors including Vietnam and the Philippines. Chinese news reports say plans call for deploying 20 reactors there, though neither developer has mentioned the area.

Tensions ratcheted up after a U.N. arbitration panel ruled July 12 that Beijing’s claim to most of the sea has no legal basis. Beijing rejected the decision in a case brought by the Philippines and announced it would hold war games in the area, where its military has built artificial islands.

The floating reactor plans reflect Beijing’s determination to create profitable technologies in fields from energy to mobile phones and to curb growing reliance on imported oil and gas, which communist leaders see as a security risk.

China is the most active builder of  plants, with 32 reactors in operation, 22 under construction and more planned. It relies heavily on U.S., French and Russian technology but is developing its own.

The latest initiatives are led by China General Nuclear Power Group and China National Nuclear Corp. Both have research or consulting agreements with Westinghouse Electric Co. and France’s EDF and Areva, but say their floating plants will use homegrown technology.

“They are keen to develop that because they have a lot of oil drilling everywhere in the South China Sea and overseas as well,” said Luk Bing-lam, an engineering professor at the City University of Hong Kong who has worked with a CGN subsidiary on unrelated projects.

“The Chinese strategy is to ensure the energy supply for the country,” said Luk. “Oil drilling needs energy, and with that supply, they could speed up operations.”………

The Chinese nuclear agency signed a deal with Moscow in 2014 to build floating power stations using Russian technology. It is unclear whether that will go ahead given the plans by CNG and CNNC to develop their own vessels.

Chinese developers can count on sales to the state-owned oil industry without going abroad.

CGN has signed a contract with China National Offshore Oil Corp. to support oil and  at sea. The company says it will launch its first vessel by 2020, with plans for 20 more. It declined an interview request and did not respond to written questions.

CNNC plans a demonstration unit by 2019……….

Reactors have been used on warships since the 1950s. But those vessels regularly visit port for maintenance and face little security risk because they are heavily armed.

“The security concerns are clear: such reactors would be tempting targets for military or terrorist attacks,” Edwin Lyman, a nuclear specialist for the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said in an email. “Maintaining the full contingent of security officers necessary to effectively deter attack would not be feasible.”

Other perils include stormy seas—the South China Sea is buffeted by powerful seasonal typhoons—and the need to exchange radioactive fuel at distant sites.

CGN says its seaborne unit will have “passive safety,” or features that function without moving parts or outside power, such as control rods that drop by gravity in an emergency. No commercial reactor operates with such features.

“There are questions about how reliable passive safety systems will be in extreme conditions,” Lyman said.

CGN wants to simplify operations by requiring refueling only once every three years instead of the industry standard of 18 months, Luk said. That would require more highly enriched fuel, with the amount of the U-235 isotope raised to as much as 10 percent from the typical 4.5 percent……..

“If it were seized by terrorists or someone else, that would be a big problem,” he said.

China’s aggressive pursuit of nuclear technology has run afoul of U.S. law enforcement…….

August 1, 2016 Posted by | China, safety | 1 Comment

After Brexit, concerns grow on Britain- Ireland nuclear agreements

Fears grow over nuclear power agreements with UK after Brexit Reports reveal ‘high operational risk’ if UK no longer has to adhere to EU rules on power plant , Independent ie Philip Ryan 31 July 16 senior Government officials have raised serious concerns over the impact Brexit will have on Ireland and Britain’s nuclear power agreements, the Sunday Independent can reveal.  A risk assessment compiled by the Department of the Environment in the wake of the Brexit referendum warns of a “high operational risk” to arrangements Ireland has with the UK on nuclear policy.

The briefing document says environmental assessments and mandatory consultation processes “may prove more difficult” to enforce when Britain leaves the European Union (EU).

Ireland has bilateral agreements with Britain which entitle the government to information on the UK’s nuclear programme.

The UK will no longer be tied down by strict EU laws which underpin these agreements once it officially leaves the union.

Documents released following a Freedom of Information request reveal high-ranking civil servants fear information exchanges will be under threat once Britain leaves the EU.

Concerns were first raised two years ago in a risk assessment compiled by the Department of the Environment for the Taoiseach’s Office.

“There could be some issues for Ireland in the event of a change in the current EU/UK relationship in the area of nuclear policy,” the report said…….

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

Forcible removal of Code Pink activist from Democratic Convention

Code Pink Activist Kicked Out of Democratic Convention Jul 29, 2016  On the final night of the Democratic National Convention, the mainstream media repeatedly focused on the convention hall full of compliant Hillary Clinton supporters. What they didn’t show was the peaceful protesters dragged out by security. Although aCode Pink’s Medea Benjamin made headlines by interrupting proceedings at last week’s Republican convention, such protests at the Democratic convention did not garner the same attention.

Truthdig’s Sonali Kolhatkar caught one such moment on film when Ariel Gold, a Code Pink activist, was forcibly ejected from the convention hall by Secret Service. Kolhatkar spoke with Benjamin to learn the details of Gold’s ejection.

“She interrupted Governor Cuomo because of the legislation that he has been promoting, to make BDS [the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement] illegal, basically,” said Benjamin, before going on to explain why Palestine is such a crucial issue this election season. “Hillary Clinton is so bad on this issue…we feel she is really pandering to the Israeli government.”

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