The global nuclear lobby’s current favourite lie is the one about climate change. (they rotate their lies – the next big push will probably be about how “low dose ionising radiation is good for you”
The last thing that we need is to direct money and energy to the nuclear industry, and away from renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Amid climate concerns, nuclear plants feel the heat of warming water , Midwest Energy News, Kari Lydersen, 10 Sept 16 Nuclear power proponents say the energy source is crucial to reducing the impact of climate change.
That’s because nuclear power plants need large amounts of water for cooling, and overheating can present a major safety risk. As the lakes and rivers that typically supply cooling water become hotter thanks to climate change — and as droughts dry up some water bodies — nuclear power plants face problems, researchers say.
They may need to temporarily shut down or scale back their generation on hot days, which is just when their power is needed most.
This challenge is the focus of ongoing research spearheaded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and also involves the national laboratories at Sandia, Los Alamos and Argonne. Researchers are modeling predictions about population, temperature, electricity demand, precipitation, land use and other factors to predict the water-related stress on power plants.
“You need to have enough water to cool the power plants and have drinking water and water for agriculture and other industries,” said Melissa Allen, a leader of the team effort and a post-doctoral researcher at Oak Ridge’s Climate Change Science Institute.……..
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sets limits on how warm the cooling water can be for each nuclear plant.
The owners of the Millstone plant in Connecticut, Turkey Point in Florida andBraidwood in Illinois have sought and obtained permission from the NRC to increase the maximum temperature limit for their cooling water, Lochbaum noted.
“Millstone uses the Atlantic Ocean, Turkey Point uses a canal system supplemented by water from the Atlantic Ocean, and Braidwood uses river water,” he said. “As global warming increases the temperature of oceans, lakes and rivers, they will hit these limits more often. There are two choices: to reduce power because you can’t exceed those limits. Or do what Turkey, Braidwood and Millstone did — do the homework to get the limit raised.”
Lochbaum analyzes reports from the NRC showing when nuclear plants scale back generation because of warm water.
In June, nuclear plants in Georgia, South Carolina and Pennsylvania scaled back their generation multiple times because of hot temperatures warming their cooling water. The Limerick power plant on the Schuylkill River near Philadelphia has scaled back because of high temperatures frequently over the past decade, according to the reports.
The Dresden and Quad Cities plants in Illinois had to scale back because of high water temperatures multiple times over the past five years. The Duane Arnold plant in Iowa and the Monticello plant in Minnesota also reported scaling back generation because of temperatures.
When cooling water is warmer, greater volumes are needed to cool the reactor. Plants also typically need approval from the NRC to increase the amount of water they use for cooling or to install new technology — like larger pumps — in order to deal with warmer conditions.
Such changes cost money, and scaling back generation means less profit.
“With plants in the Midwest and Northeast facing competition from natural gas and so on, it’s difficult to find the money even if you can make the justification that the money [invested in new cooling systems] would pay off in two years,” said Lochbaum……..http://midwestenergynews.com/2016/09/09/nuclear-plants-feel-the-heat-of-warming-water/
North Korean nuclear tests spark global anger, ABC News 10 Sept 16 World powers have expressed outrage after North Korea claimed it had successfully tested a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on a missile, prompting urgent United Nations talks and calls for new sanctions.
South Korea, the United States, Australia, Japan, Russia and China all condemned the blast at the Punggye-ri nuclear site, the North’s fifth and most powerful yet at 10 kilotons.
At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the Security Council —set to discuss the issue later today — to take “appropriate action” after what he called a “brazen breach” of the council’s resolutions.
“The patience on our side and that of the international community has already reached its limit,” South Korean President Park Geun-Hye said, slamming the North’s young leader Kim Jong-Un for his “maniacal recklessness”.
The news drew swift condemnation from US President Barack Obama, who called the test “a grave threat to regional security and to international peace and stability” and vowed to push for new international sanctions……..
Pyongyang’s state media said the test, which comes after a series of ballistic missile launches, had realised the country’s goal of being able to fit a miniaturized warhead on a rocket.
“Our nuclear scientists staged a nuclear explosion test on a newly developed nuclear warhead at the country’s northern nuclear test site,” a North Korean TV presenter said.
First indications of an underground explosion came when seismic monitors detected a 5.3-magnitude “artificial earthquake” near the Punggye-ri nuclear site.
“The 10-kiloton blast was nearly twice the [power of the] fourth nuclear test and slightly less than the Hiroshima bombing, which was measured about 15 kilotons,” said Kim Nam-Wook of the South’s meteorological agency.
But attention soon shifted from the blast’s power to Pyongyang’s claim that it was a miniaturised warhead.
If Pyongyang can make a nuclear device small enough to fit on a rocket — and bolster the range and accuracy of its missiles — it might achieve its oft-stated aim of hitting US targets. But its past claims to have achieved that have been discounted.
Pyongyang routinely insists Washington is on the verge of launching all-out war against it.
Outside experts said authenticating North Korea’s claim to have mastered miniaturisation would be difficult using seismic data alone.
“We would need to see it tested on a missile, like China did in the 1960s,” said Melissa Hanham, a North Korea expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.
“Nobody wants to see that. There is no way they could do that test in a safe way, and it could easily start a war.”
China under pressure
North Korea has been hit by five sets of United Nations sanctions since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006, but has insisted it will continue come what may.
The nuclear program has accompanied a series of ballistic missile launches, the latest of which took place on Monday as world powers gathered for a G20 meeting in China.
This week’s events pose yet another challenge for Pyongyang’s chief ally, China, which has been under pressure to rein in its increasingly aggressive neighbour. Beijing said on Friday it “firmly opposes” the test, but it has limited room to manoeuvrer. Its priority is to avoid the regime’s collapse, which would create a crisis on its border and shift the balance of power on the Korean peninsula toward the United States……http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-10/north-korea-condemed-for-nuclear-tests/7832810
Alternatives to Hinkley , NuClear News No 88 September 16 “……With on-shore wind and solar projects now going ahead at much lower CfD strike prices than that promised for Hinkley, if and when it started up in the mid to late 2020s, the alternative scenarios are beginning to look very attractive, even when the extra cost of grid balancing to deal with the variability of wind and solar is included. And crucially, offshore wind projects are now set to get a lower strike price from 2026 (£85/MWh) than Hinkley would get if it ever starts up- £92.50/MWh. With only 38% of the UK public now supporting nuclear power, and 81% backing renewables, it seems like a rethink is called for, says Professor Dave Elliott. (19)
Dong Energy, the world’s leading developer of offshore wind, says it is ready to offer the UK more offshore wind power should Theresa May scrap Hinkley. Dong’s chief executive officer Henrik Poulsen told Bloomberg “offshore wind could be an economically-viable alternative to nuclear. In contrast to the massive price of building the UK’s next generation of nuclear power stations and the very high strike price for the project, costs in the offshore wind sector are coming down quickly.” (20)
Jeremy Leggett, the founder of solar panel maker Solarcentury, is delighted that others are picking up on arguments he has been making for years. “Finally the message is getting through that Hinkley, and indeed nuclear, make no sense today simply because wind and solar are cheaper. If we accelerate renewables in the UK, we can get to 100% renewable power well before 2050,” he says. “The message is getting through on the feasibility of this too. One thousand cities around the world are committed to 100% renewable supply, some as soon as 2030. More than 60 giant corporations are committed to 100% [low carbon] supply, some as soon as 2020.” The Economist believes improved electricity storage is a key answer to the frequently repeated criticism of wind and solar that it is intermittent, and points out that battery technology is fast improving. The magazine also champions interconnectors, which can link energy-hungry Britain with northern Europe, where there is a wind-energy surplus, or with a country such as Iceland – a centre of geothermal power due to its volcanoes. The Economist concludes: “All of these options would be cheaper than Hinkley, which would take 10 years to get going and represent a huge, continuing cost to bill payers, if it ever worked at all. Such a strategy would also buy time to see what new technologies emerge.” (21)
The government expects solar and wind power to be cheaper than new nuclear power by the time Hinkley Point C is completed, its own projections show. An unpublished report by the energy department shows that it expects onshore wind power and large-scale solar to cost around £50-75 per megawatt hour of power generated in 2025. New nuclear is anticipated to be around £85-125/MWh, in line with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh that the government has offered Hinkley’s developer, EDF. On previous forecasts, made in 2010 and 2013, the two renewable technologies were expected to be more expensive than nuclear or around the same cost. This is the first time the government has shown it expects them to be a cheaper option. The figures were revealed in a National Audit Office (NAO) report on nuclear in July. “The [energy] department’s forecasts for the levelised cost of electricity of wind and solar in 2025 have decreased since 2010. The cost forecast for gas has not changed, while for nuclear it has increased,” the NAO said. …..”http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo88.pdf
N Korea test raises fears of small nukes, SBS World News, 9 Sept 16 There are fears North Korea is getting close to creating a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a ballistic missile. North Korea tested its most powerful nuclear device on Friday, but the more worrying aspect for its rivals was Pyongyang’s claim that it had advanced its ability to make a nuclear weapon by miniaturising and mounting a warhead on a missile.
Its KCNA news agency said the test had used a nuclear warhead that had been “standardised to be able to be mounted on strategic ballistic rockets”.
“The standardisation of the nuclear warhead will enable the DPRK to produce at will and as many as it wants, a variety of smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear warheads of higher strike power,” KCNA said, referring to the North’s formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
There is little scientific evidence to verify that North Korea has perfected the science of creating a nuclear bomb small enough to fit on a ballistic missile and withstand the physics of atmospheric re-entry.
But it may be getting closer.
In April, a South Korean official said the North had accomplished miniaturisation of a warhead, although the Pentagon said it did not necessarily share that assessment.
In March, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met nuclear scientists working on miniaturisation. He was photographed at the visit looking at a small, ball-like device KCNA said was a miniaturised nuclear warhead. He was also photographed inspecting a missile nosecone………..http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2016/09/09/n-korea-test-raises-fears-small-nukes
Bridget Woodman, Course Director, MSc Energy Policy, at the University of Exeter, says the Hinkley delay makes it possible to start debating the sorts of options being considered widely around the world, with measures to encourage more flexible, smaller-scale, renewable systems incorporating demand-side measures and new technologies such as storage. These are extraordinary times for energy policy in the UK.
After years of resigned acceptance that Hinkley would be built no matter how much of a basket case it was, even though few people argued that it makes sense, there is now a potential to have a real and considered debate about what sort of future electricity system we need. Now is the time to start considering the sorts of options being considered widely around the world, with measures to encourage more flexible, smaller-scale, renewable systems incorporating demand-side measures and new technologies such as storage. A system that is the absolute antithesis of what Hinkley Point C represents. Suddenly UK energy policy has become very exciting
Hinkley Notes NuClear News No. 888 September 16 The Downing Street review of the proposed Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is coming to an end – and a decision will have to be made soon, probably before the end of September. The latest wave of public relations activity from EDF, the company that hopes to build the plant, shows how nervous the company is about the outcome. Given the range of doubts about the costs, the construction risks, the reactor technology and the involvement of the Chinese, that nervousness is well justified. (1)
Here are the news highlights from the last month.
It’s about the security stupid! The Times says the review centres on the security threat posed by allowing a Chinese company to invest in critical infrastructure in the UK. But officials are also puzzling over cost and value for money. Continue reading
Senate GOP Protests Obama’s Planned Nuclear Test Ban Push Warning to the White House concerns the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, an international treaty prohibiting nuclear test explosions , WSJ, PAUL SONNE Sept. 8, 2016 The Obama administration’s pursuit of a possible United Nations Security Council resolution against nuclear weapons tests has riled a group of Republican lawmakers, who have warned President Barack Obama not to take action that would circumvent the U.S. Senate’s constitutional power to ratify treaties.
A group of 33 Republican senators sent a letter to Mr. Obama on Thursday threatening to withhold congressional funding for an existing international monitoring system for nuclear tests, if the administration signs up for any international obligations through the U.N. that the Senate has rejected previously.
“We urge you to respect your constitutional obligations and warn that if you do not, your efforts at the United Nations on this issue are likely to set back any supposed progress on achieving a testing ban,” the group of senators, including Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), John McCain(R., Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), wrote.
Their warning to the White House concerns the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, or the CTBT, an international treatyprohibiting nuclear test explosions. Former President Bill Clintonsigned the treaty in 1996, but the Senate declined to ratify it in a vote three years later.
The Obama administration, which favors U.S. ratification of the test ban treaty but hasn’t won backing for its ratification in the Senate, now is pursuing action in the United Nations to reaffirm the U.S.’s support for the treaty and keep its spirit alive—part of a final push by Mr. Obama to advance his nuclear disarmament agenda before leaving office. The U.S. independently has obeyed a national moratorium on nuclear testing since 1992……..
The White House and the State Department say the administration is proposing a U.N. Security Council resolution and separate statement from the council’s five permanent members, known as the P5. The resolution will call for an end to nuclear testing and strengthen the detection system the test ban treaty established to monitor nuclear explosions around the world, which functions even though the treaty hasn’t entered into force…….
Thomas Graham Jr., a former State Dept. arms negotiator and supporter of the CTBT’s ratification, said nations poised to develop nuclear arms agreed decades ago to stand down on the condition that countries with nuclear arsenals would cease testing and development. He said nuclear weapons states must strengthen their resolve against tests to avoid proliferation stemming from an erosion of trust among those nonnuclear states.
Former State and Defense Department officials also said the White House may see the U.N. Security Council action as an additional way to put pressure on North Korea and further engage China in the effort to stop Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear program.
The U.N. Security Council is meeting Sept. 22 on the sidelines of the General Assembly in a special session on the CTBT. U.N. Security Council diplomats said they expect the Obama-introduced resolution to pass unanimously………http://www.wsj.com/articles/senate-gop-protests-obamas-planned-nuclear-test-ban-push-1473360939
That presented a problem for Park Won-soon, the eco-minded human rights lawyer elected mayor of Seoul eight months after the disaster……..
Nearly a year after the Fukushima disaster, Park unveiled the city’s flagship energy policy, dubbed the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant” initiative. It aimed to reduce overall energy consumption and became the cornerstone of Seoul’s plan to overhaul its power production, in part by encouraging more people to install solar panels on rooftops. Park set a goal of cutting energy use by one nuclear power plant’s output, the equivalent of 2 million tons of burning oil.
It worked. Seoul reached its target in June 2014 ― six months ahead of schedule, according to a government report. Now, as part of the second phase of the plan, Seoul is working to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tons.
But the plan also highlighted a fissure between the national government and the local leaders of Korea’s capital, a megacity where over half the country’s population lives. The national government has plans to build 11 more plants by 2024.
Seoul also continues to issue feed-in tariffs ― payments to customers who produce their own energy and sell it back to the grid ― to households in hopes of spurring more rooftop solar production, a policy the central government scrapped in 2011.
“We cannot eliminate at once the whole nuclear power [industry],” Park said. “But as an experiment of Seoul, we can, step by step, eliminate [the need for] nuclear power.”
That experiment has yielded some significant progress. A core component of Seoul’s second-phase clean energy plan is electrical “self-reliance.” As part of the plan, the city has invested heavily in solar energy, granting five-year subsidies to small solar plants producing less than 100 kilowatt-hours of energy, according to areport by the consulting giant KPMG.
Just as South Korea has exported its nuclear reactor technology, the country is now becoming a major source of solar energy hardware. Sales of solar panels and other equipment reached $2.01 billion in the first half of this year, a 46.7 percent jump from the same period last year, Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency reported on Friday.
For the past two years, Seoul has hosted a three-day fair for investors to showcase upcoming clean energy projects. This year’s fair took place last week. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/seoul-nuclear-energy_us_57d03babe4b03d2d4597b38e
Japan’s lurch away from nuclear hasn’t caused fossil fuels to boom http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/japans-lurch-away-from-nuclear-hasnt-caused-fossil-fuels-to-boom/
The emergency shutdown of nuclear reactors hasn’t been an emissions disaster. JOHN TIMMER –
9/10/2016, In the wake of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors, Japan shut down its entire nuclear fleet in order to develop more rigorous safety standards and inspect the remaining plants. As of now, plants are only beginning to come back online.
Given that Japan had recently relied on nuclear for over a quarter of its electricity, the expectation is that emissions would rise dramatically. But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. While coal use has gone up, it hasn’t risen by more than 10 percent. And a heavy dose of conservation has cut Japan’s total electricity use to below where it was at the end of last decade The data indicates that nuclear was playing a decreasing role in Japan’s energy mix even prior to Fukushima, being displaced in part by natural gas and in part by petroleum. By 2012, however, nuclear was mostly gone. Conservation had already dropped Japan’s electricity use below a PetaWatt-hour, and further efforts have turned the drop in electricity use into an ongoing trend.
Fossil fuel use has gone up, but not by as much as might be expected. Coal rose by eight percent, and natural gas (transported in its liquefied form) rose by nine percent. These have largely reversed the expansion of petroleum use that began prior to the meltdown at Fukushima. Non-hydro renewables have also more than doubled their electrical production since that time. Combined with hydroelectric plants, they now provide more electricity than petroleum.
The net result of all of this? Carbon emissions have been relatively flat and have not exceeded the nation’s record year back in 2007
China Five little known facts about the country’s solar and wind boom http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/09/08/china-six-little-known-facts-countrys-solar-wind-boom/ [good graphs] September 8, 2016 by Lauri Myllyvirta @laurimyllyvirta China is installing one wind turbine an hour – according to a new analysis of the latest data on the country’s startling state-backed renewables boom.
The analysis comes as China – alongside the US – moved to ratify the Paris climate treaty.
China’s coal use fell for the second year in a row in 2015, with 2016 on track to be the third – though it remains the largest source of energy; causing an estimated 370,000 premature deaths from air pollution in 2013.
But it’s China’s use of renewable energy that is really changing.
1. Power generation from wind and solar increased more than China’s total electricity demand in 2015.
So yes, energy demand in the world’s largest economy is growing but this new data means that all new demand was covered from these sources.
In detail that means:
Electricity consumption in China rose 0.5% from 2014 to 2015, from 5522 TWh (terawatt-hours) to 5550 TWh.
At the same time, electricity generated from wind and solar sources increased by 21% and 64%, respectively, covering off the rise almost twice over.
2. China’s increase in power generation from wind and solar in 2015 (48 TWh) alone was twice as large as Ireland’s entire electricity demand the previous year (24 TWh).
3. Half of all wind power capacity and almost one third of all solar PV capacity installed globally in 2015 was in China.
4. The surface area of solar panels installed in China in 2015 is equal to over 10,000 football pitches. That’s more than one football pitch per hour, every hour of the year.
5. China’s targets a similar pace of wind and solar growth in its 2020 renewable energy targets.This will mean adding approximately the entire electricity demand of UK from wind and solar in just five years. See the full dataset here.
In deciding when to review part of a national policy statement the Secretary of State must consider whether there has been a significant change in circumstances. If there has been a significant change in circumstances on which the policy regarding the need for new nuclear power stations was based; and if those changes were not anticipated at the time then the policy should be reviewed.
TASC concludes that the case for a review of EN-1 is unanswerable
National Policy Statement on Energy NuClear News No 88 Sept 16 The government has a legal duty under section 6 of the 2008 Planning Act to review the National Policy Statement (NPS) on Energy, according to lawyers Leigh Day, because of dramatically changed circumstances over the last five years since the national policy statements enshrining the nuclear element were first published.
A report by Together Against Sizewell C (TASC) underlines the government’s duty to undertake a review and demonstrates why new nuclear has to be written out of the government’s energy policy.
The sections of the Overarching NPS on Energy (EN-1) which the TASC report says show the policy needs to be reviewed are section 3.5.1 to 3.5.11. Continue reading
Majority in Wales want electricity from renewable energy sources, not from proposed Wylfa nuclear station
Wylfa NucClear News No 88 September 16 A second consultation on the proposed nuclear power plant in Anglesey has been launched. Horizon Nuclear Power estimates Wylfa Newydd, which will include two reactors with a total capacity of 2,700MW, will take around nine years to build and have an operational life of 60 years. The consultation will run until 25th October. (1)
Nearly two-thirds of people in Wales want all of Wales’ electricity to come from renewable sources, a poll for the conservation organisation WWF has found. They also want the Welsh Government to invest more in improving the energy efficiency of homes. First Minister Carwyn Jones will publish his Programme for Government during the next few weeks and the focus is likely to be on how Wales adapts to Brexit. WWF is calling on the Government not to sideline investment in reducing emissions and tackling climate change. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo88.pdf
Year over year, energy storage deployments were up just 1%. What the market lacked in annual growth, however, it made up for in geographic and market-segment diversification.
The report says the largest front-of-the-meter project was not deployed in either PJM territory or California, the perennially leading markets, but rather in MISO’s territory in Indiana. In fact, PJM territory and California together accounted for only 35% of the megawatt capacity and 47% of megawatt-hour capacity deployed in the quarter – their lowest contribution in more than three years. The report says that by the end of the year, though, California will reclaim its position as the nation’s top storage market, as several megawatts of storage are slated to be installed in record time to help ease Aliso Canyon-related capacity issues in Southern California.
“This quarter marked several storage firsts, such as the first grid-scale project in MISO and a large solar-plus-storage at a municipal utility in Ohio,” said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage. “Additionally, the industry received a big boost from the White House, with recently announced public and private commitments that will result in 1.3 GW of new storage deployments and, more importantly, spur a billion dollars in storage investments.”
Behind-the-meter deployments, which consist of residential and commercial energy storage systems, grew 66% year over year. The report attributes this success to improving economics and adoption in new state markets.
The industry continues to surpass milestones, fueled by increased value and market opportunities, as well as plummeting system costs,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Association. “After record-breaking deployments in 2015, the energy storage industry is on pace to grow another 30 percent this year – increasing grid flexibility, efficiency and resiliency along the way.”
According to the report, the U.S. is on track to deploy 287 MW of energy storage this year.
Data: All China’s new power demand met by wind and solar last year http://energydesk.greenpeace.org/2016/09/08/data-chinas-new-power-demand-met-wind-solar-last-year/ [good graphs] September 8, 2016 by Joe Sandler Clarke @JSandlerClarke China dramatically increased the portion of its electricity generated from wind and solar in 2015, with the growth in the two forms of power alone exceeding the rise in the country’s total electricity demand.
Wind and solar comfortably met this new demand, producing 186.3 TWh and 38.3 TWh of electricity in 2015, compared to 153.4 TWh and 23.3 TWh the year before. That’s a dramatic increase: 21% and 64%, respectively.
To give those numbers more context, China’s increase in power generation from wind and solar in 2015 (48 TWh) alone was twice Ireland’s entire electricity demand the previous year (24 TWh).
Half UK energy needs In fact, Chinese wind alone could have met more than half the UK’s entire energy needs in 2015 (304 TWh).
The expansion of renewable energy generation was made possible by China vastly increasing its wind and solar capacity in 2015, up 28% and 54% respectively on 12 months previously. In total, the country made up nearly half of the world’s new solar and wind capacity last year.
Coal use falls The increased use of renewable energy, together with a marked economic shift away from heavy industry sectors, has meant that coal use in the country has dropped for a third year in a row, though it is still the biggest source of global CO2 emissions.
Last week, China announced that it was ratifying the Paris climate agreement, alongside the United States, in a move widely hailed as historic.
With the American presidential election now just two months away, it remains to be seen whether the States will be able to catch up in the race to lead the post-fossil fuels global economy. See the full dataset here.
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