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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

France’s nuclear power industry in a bad way – former EDF director

plants-downFrench nuclear power in ‘worst situation ever’, says former EDF director
In the week Britain exports electricity to France for first time in four years, Gérard Magnin says renewable power will match Hinkley Point C on cost,
Guardian, , 29 Nov 16, The French nuclear industry is in its “worst situation ever” because of a spate of plant closures in France and the complexities it faces with the UK’s Hinkley Point C power station, according to a former Électricité de France director.

Gérard Magnin, who called Hinkley “very risky” when he resigned as a board member over the project in July, told the Guardian that with more than a dozen French reactors closed over safety checks and routine maintenance, circumstances for the state-owned EDF had deteriorated since he stepped down.

The closures have seen Britain this week exporting electricity to France for the first time in four years. An industry report on Tuesday also warned that the offline reactors could lead to a “tense situation” for energy supply in France, in the event of a cold snap this winter.

The situation is likely to be exacerbated by damage during Storm Angusto the main cable that carries electricity back and forth between the UK and France. It is believed a boat dropping anchor during the storm may have been responsible but National Grid is investigating the cause and working to repair the Interconnexion France-Angleterre, which is buried in the seabed and heavily armoured.

The operator said that four of the eight cables in the interconnector had been damaged, reducing its capacity from 2,000MW to 1,000MW until February next year. It added that due to the French reactor closures, it had already factored in a reduction in energy supplies from France this winter.

Magnin said that instead of backing new nuclear, the UK and France should capitalise on falling wind and solar power costs and help individuals and communities to build and run their own renewable energy projects. He founded an association of cities switching to green energy, joined the EDF board in 2014, and is now director of a renewable energy co-op in France.

“The most surprising [thing] for me is the attitude of the UK government which accepts the higher cost of electricity … in a time where the costs of renewables is decreasing dramatically,” he said. “In 10 years [when Hinkley Point C is due to be completed], the cost of renewables will have fallen again a lot.”

Of the Hinkley C design, known as the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), Magnin said: “A lot of people in EDF have known for a long time the EPR has no future – too sophisticated, too expensive – but they assume their commitments and try to save the face of France.”

The UK’s business department conceded in September that by the time Hinkley is operational the price of electricity guaranteed to EDF will be above the comparable costs for large-scale solar and onshore windfarms. Officials argued that using renewables instead would cost more in grid upgrades and balancing the intermittent nature of wind and solar……. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/29/french-nuclear-power-worst-situation-ever-former-edf-director

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November 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Pope Francis urges national leaders not to wreck the climate change pact

PopeDon’t wreck climate change pact: Pope http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/dont-wreck-climate-change-pact-pope/news-story/a5c36744202997ae0318066349855400 Philip Pullella, Reuters November 29, 2016  Pope Francis has urged national leaders to implement global environmental agreements without delay, a message that looked to be squarely aimed at US President-elect Donald Trump.

Addressing a group of scientists that included theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, the pope gave his strongest speech on the environment since the election of Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

“The ‘distraction’ or delay in implementing global agreements on the environment shows that politics has become submissive to a technology and economy which seek profit above all else,” Francis said.

Francis, who wrote an encyclical, or papal letter, on the environment last year, took a swipe at those who dispute that climate change is caused by human activity, criticising “the ease with which well-founded scientific opinion about the state of our planet is disregarded”.

During the campaign, Trump called climate change a hoax.

Last week he appeared to soften his stance, telling The New York Times he was keeping “an open mind” and that there might be “some connectivity” between human activity and global warming.

But days later, Reince Priebus, Trump’s designated White House chief-of-staff, told Fox News that the president-elect still believed climate change was mostly “a bunch of bunk”.

In his speech, the Pope said scientists should “work free of political, economic or ideological interests, to develop a cultural model which can face the crisis of climatic change and its social consequences”.

A US withdrawal from the pact, agreed to by almost 200 countries, would set back international efforts to limit rising temperatures that have been linked to the extinction of animals and plants, heat waves, floods and rising sea levels.

Francis called for “an ecological conversion capable of supporting and promoting sustainable development”.

He said humans could not consider themselves “owners and masters of nature, authorised to plunder it without any consideration of its hidden potential and laws of development”.

n his encyclical last year to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, the Pope called for swift action to save the planet from environmental ruin and urged world leaders to hear “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.

November 30, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Very dubious market for nuclear power in South East Asia

market-disappointedThe limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”Kiriyenko--tsar

former Rosatom head Sergey Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.

Vietnam’s amazing nuclear journey – why it ended, what it means for South East Asia, Energy Post, November 29, 2016 by  On November 10, Vietnam took the historic decision to scrap its nuclear power program, after many decades of nuclear preparations, up to a ground-breaking ceremony at the first proposed nuclear site in the country in 2014. Jim Green, editor of Nuclear Monitor, published by WISE (World Information Service on Energy), tells the amazing story of nuclear power in Vietnam – and discusses what the Vietnamese decision means for the prospects of nuclear power in South East Asia. Courtesy of Nuclear Monitor.

Let’s first imagine how this story might have unfolded, if the nuclear industry had its way. Construction would be underway on Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant, and plans would be in train to build a total of 14 reactors by 2030. Russia would be building Vietnam’s first reactor, giving it a foothold in south-east Asia (where it has nuclear cooperation agreements with seven countries). Japan and South Korea would also be gearing up to build reactors in Vietnam, a fillip for their troubled domestic nuclear industries and their ambitions to become major nuclear exporters. US nuclear vendors would also be heavily involved, salivating at the US Department of Commerce’s estimate of US$50 billion (€47.4 bn) of contracts for nuclear plants in Vietnam by 2030.

It hasn’t unfolded like that. On November 22, Vietnam’s National Assembly voted in support of a government decision to cancel plans to build nuclear power plants. An immense amount of resources have been wasted on the nuclear program over several decades. Nuclear vendor countries will have to look elsewhere for business. They will continue to try their luck in southeast Asia but they are wasting their time: not a single power reactor is in operation or being built in the region and none will be built in the foreseeable future.

First, a brief history of Vietnam’s nuclear program:………

2016 cancellation

On November 10, Duong Quang Thanh, CEO of staterun Electricity of Vietnam, said the government would propose the cancellation of plans for reactors at the two Ninh Thuan sites to the National Assembly. He added that nuclear power was not included (or budgeted for) in the power plan which runs until 2030 and had already been approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

The National Assembly voted on November 22 to support the government’s decision to abandon plans to build nuclear power plants. Energy analyst Mycle Schneider said: “Vietnam is only the latest in a long list of countries, including more recently Chile and Indonesia, that have postponed indefinitely or abandoned entirely their plans for nuclear new-build.”

The decision to abandon nuclear power was primarily based on economics. Duong Quang Thanh said nuclear power is “not economically viable because of other cheaper sources of power.”

Le Hong Tinh, vice-chair of the National Assembly Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, said the estimated cost of four reactors at the two sites in Ninh Thuan province had nearly doubled to VND400 trillion (US$18 bn; €17.9 bn). The estimated price of nuclear-generated electricity had increased from 4‒4.5 US cents / kwh to 8 cents / kwh. Vietnam has spent millions of dollars on the project so far, Tinh said, but continuing the program would add more pressure to the already high public debt.

Another media report states that Japanese and Russian consultants said that the cost has escalated from the original estimate of US$10 billion to US$27 billion (€9.5‒25.6 bn). “The plants will have to sell power at around 8.65 cents a kWh, which is almost twice the rate approved in the project license and is not competitive at all,” according to the VN Express newspaper.

Vietnam’s rising public debt, which is nearing the government’s ceiling of 65% of GDP, was another reason for the program’s cancellation, saidCao Si Kiem, a National Assembly member and former governor of the central bank………

A May 2016 report by WWF-Vietnam and Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA) finds that 100% of Vietnam’s power can be generated by renewable energy technologies by 2050.  There are many available renewable power sources in Vietnam including solar, wind, geothermal heat, biomass and ocean energy. The report contrasts three scenarios: business as usual (with only modest growth of renewables), a Sustainable Energy Scenario (81% renewable power generation by 2050) and an Advanced Sustainable Energy Scenario (100%).

Nuclear power in South East Asia – or not

A 2015 International Energy Agency report anticipates that nuclear power will account for just 1% of electricity generation in south-east Asia by 2040.

The report states:  “All countries in Southeast Asia that are interested in deploying nuclear power face significant challenges. These include sourcing the necessary capital on favourable terms, creation of legal and regulatory frameworks, compliance with international norms and regulations, sourcing and training of skilled technical staff and regulators, and ensuring public support. … The limited role for nuclear can be explained by the high upfront capital costs, limited access to financing, and uneven and tepid public support in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. Public opposition has been especially evident in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand.”

A June 2016 media article began: “Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear-energy agency, is bullish on the outlook of its business in Southeast Asia after the speedy development of a project in Vietnam and a range of agreements with every country in the region except Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei.”

Nikolay Drozdov, director of Rosatom’s  international business department, said Rosatom is focusing a lot of attention on south-east Asia, reflected by the decision to establish a regional headquarters in Singapore.

Russia has nuclear cooperation agreements with seven countries in south-east Asia ‒ Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos. But not one of those seven countries ‒ or any other country in south-east Asia ‒ has nuclear power plants (the only exception is the Bataan reactor in the Philippines, built but never operated) and not one is likely to in the foreseeable future. Nor are other nuclear vendors likely to succeed where Russia is failing.

Drozdov said that after the (stalled) nuclear power project in Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia would likely be the next countries in the region to develop nuclear power.2 But Indonesia’s situation is much the same as Vietnam’s  ‒ decades of wasted efforts with little to show for it (and the same could be said about Thailand).

Malaysia’s consideration of nuclear power is preliminary. Why would Russia be making such efforts in southeast Asia given that nuclear power prospects in the region are so dim? The answer may lie with domestic Russian politics. Given Rosatom’s astonishing industry in lining up non-binding nuclear agreements with over 20 countries ‒ ‘paper power plants’ as Vladimir Slivyak calls them ‒ we can only assume that such agreements are looked on favorably by the Russian government.

Slivyak writes: “These  ‘orders’ are not contracts specifying delivery dates, costs and a clear timescale for loan repayments (in most cases the money lent by Russia for power plant construction comes with a repayment date). Eighty to ninety per cent of these reported arrangements are agreements in principle that are vague on details, and in the overwhelming majority of cases the contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. … So it is clear that [former Rosatom head Sergey] Kirienko’s team has been excellent at drawing up and signing nonbinding nuclear agreements … Actually building nuclear plants seems to be beyond them.” http://energypost.eu/vietnam-dumps-nuclear-power-economic-reasons-rest-south-east-asia-may-follow/

November 30, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Malaysia, marketing, Vietnam | Leave a comment

People power, not Trump, has killed the Trans Pacific Partnership

TPPA NZThe TPP wasn’t killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/28/tpp-protests-mass-opposition-worked-trump-presidency We the people can create change by standing together. This is crucial to remember for the next four years, Guardian,  and , 28 Nov 16,

The real story is that an unprecedented, international uprising of people from across the political spectrum took on some of the most powerful institutions in the world, and won.

Sure, Donald Trump – and Bernie Sanders’ – campaign focus on the TPP elevated US awareness about the pact, a wide-reaching international agreement negotiated by the Obama administration. But no single politician killed this deal.

If not for the constant pressure from activists and civil society groups, the TPP would have become law long before the recent US election. But thanks to intense, creative and strategic organizing from the day the text was finalized in 2015, there was never a majority of support for the pact in Congress. That’s why it was never implemented.

The TPP is a massive global deal that was negotiated in secret with hundreds of corporate advisers given special access while the public was locked out. It would have handed multinational corporations like Walmart, AT&T and Monsanto extraordinary new powers over everything from the wages we earn, to the way we use the internet, to the safety of the food we feed our children.

Perhaps most shockingly, the TPP would have allowed corporations to sue governments before tribunals of three corporate lawyers, essentially creating an unaccountable, shadow legal system outside of our traditional courts to punish governments that pass laws that corporations don’t like.

A simple agreement to lower tariffs and other anticompetitive barriers to trade wouldn’t have been so controversial. But big business couldn’t resist the urge to abuse the extreme secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations to stuff the pact with a wishlist for policies they knew they could never pass through traditional means.

That unchecked greed was the TPP’s demise. What emerged from the closed-door negotiations was more than 5,000 pages of policy so clearly against the public interest that it awakened a firestorm of opposition that swept the globe, and in the end, sent the TPP to its grave.

While negotiations were still under way, tens of thousands of people joined mass protests in Japan, Peru, Australia, New Zealand and other Pacific Rim nations. They pushed back on the TPP’s worst provisions, held their leaders’ feet to the fire and dragged the talks out for years. This early wave of international resistance changed the game: it bought time for activists to organize an effective opposition in the US, which was seen as all-important in the global calculus of the Washington-led deal. If Congress did not ratify the TPP, it would die.

In the meantime, an unlikely alliance was forming. Activists, farmers, labor unions, tech companies, environmentalists, economists, nurses, LGBTQadvocates, libertarians and librarians mounted an intense opposition to the “fast track” legislation that the White House needed to rush the final agreement through Congress. The coalition that formed grew from dozens, to hundreds, to literally thousands of organizations, many working together for the first time, ranging from Black Lives Matter to Doctors Without Borders to the Tea Party.

We marched in the streets. We rallied outside the hotels and resorts that hosted the secret negotiations. Cancer patients protesting about the TPP’s impact on healthcare access engaged in civil disobedience and were arrested. Internet freedom activists mobilized thousands of websites for online protests that bombarded lawmakers with emails and phone calls. Academics picked apart leaked versions of the deal, and coordinated with advocates to launch a campaign to educate the public on its flaws.

Hard-hitting activism and public outcry slowed the TPP down, and as a result, dragged it fully into the spotlight just as the US headed into a contentious election season.

It wasn’t a coincidence that Donald Trump saw the TPP as a useful stump speech talking point. Widespread suffering caused by previous trade deals laid a strong foundation for skepticism, making President Obama’s devotion to the Wall Street-friendly deal, and Hillary Clinton’s previous support for it, a huge liability for the Democratic party. As more and more people learned about what the TPP really meant for them and their families, it became politically toxic, to the point that no major party candidate for president could openly support it.

This was a sign that the TPP was on its deathbed, but with the threat of a last-minute push during the “lame duck” session after the election, we needed to be sure. So we targeted undecided lawmakers with protests and flew inflatable blimps outside their offices. We harnessed the power of music to draw huge crowds across the country to “Rock Against the TPP” concerts and teach-ins, taking our opposition to the TPP into the cultural mainstream. We tuned out the chorus of voices that told us that corporate power would always prevail in the end. And finally, we claimed our victory.

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that Americans understand how the TPP was really defeated. An organized and educated public can take on concentrated wealth and power and win. With four years of new battles ahead of us, this is a story we must commit to memory, and a lesson we must take to heart.

November 30, 2016 Posted by | politics, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Citizens protest at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant

 Downwinders call for Pilgrim Nuke protest today NRC Inspectors on site for two weeks  NOVEMBER 28, 2016 BY CAPECODTODAY STAFF Plymouth, MA-Twenty Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors are coming to Plymouth for the next two weeks to conduct their final phase of a special inspection to determine if Entergy’s degrading Pilgrim nuclear reactor on the shores of Cape Cod Bay should be closed.  Citizens from across the area will gather at the gates of Pilgrim nuclear reactor to demand the NRC do their job and protect the public and the environment by revoking the operating license of Pilgrim now.  The NRC has stated their goal is to “arrest declining performance”, however, that does not appear to be happening.  Diane Turco, director of Cape Downwinders explains, “In 2014, the NRC determined Pilgrim was one of the 9 worst operating reactors.  So they increased oversight. In 2015, Pilgrim was one of the 5 worst operating reactors and more oversight.  In 2016, Pilgrim was one of the worst operating reactors in the U.S.  More oversight. How many inspections does it take to shut a dangerous nuclear reactor that threatens over 5 million people?  The twenty member special inspection team should figure that out this week.  If the NRC is doing its job, the operating license will be revoked.”….

November 30, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Thorough inspection of Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant by NRC

Pilgrim nuclear plantNRC Begins “Wide-Ranging” Inspection of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant http://www.powermag.com/nrc-begins-wide-ranging-inspection-of-pilgrim-nuclear-plant/ 11/28/2016 | Thomas Overton The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is beginning a comprehensive three-week inspection of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, Mass., as a result of the plant’s repeated performance deficiencies, the agency said in a November 28 statement.

The inspection, planned for more than a year, is part of the NRC’s heightened oversight process, begun in September 2015 after the agency moved Pilgrim into the Multiple/Repetitive Degraded Cornerstone Column of its oversight Action Matrix. That action was the result of repeated problems with unplanned shutdowns and owner Entergy’s “continuing weaknesses” in addressing the underlying issues, the NRC said at the time.

This is the third and largest inspection that is taking place as part of the greater oversight of Pilgrim. According to the statement, the inspectors will look particularly at the plant’s human performance and safety culture, “which enables employees to freely and openly raise safety concerns.” They will also look at the plant’s procedures and its corrective action program. Plans call for the inspectors to be on site for three weeks in December and January.

“This inspection represents the most comprehensive element of our increased scrutiny at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant,” said NRC Region I Administrator Dan Dorman. “Our team will work hard to closely examine the adequacy of the plant’s recovery plans, as well as actions that Entergy has taken to address safety performance issues at the facility. Just as importantly, the inspectors will assess whether those activities have yielded tangible and lasting improvements.”

The NRC said it will issue a report on the inspection within 45 days after it concludes early next year, as well as a formal list of corrective actions Entergy will need to take to transition Pilgrim back to normal oversight levels. That list may be long, given that the plant has continued to experience unplanned shutdowns well into 2016 and that the two previous inspections both identified additional green findings (indicating very low safety significance).

Entergy plans to retire Pilgrim by 2019 because of its poor economics.

—Thomas W. Overton, JD is a POWER associate editor (@thomas_overton, @POWERmagazine).

November 30, 2016 Posted by | safety, USA | Leave a comment

South Africa’s new Integrated Resource Plan holds no joy for the nuclear lobby

What’s next for SA energy, now that Russian nuclear build is on ice? Expert unpacks the plan , Biz News, Business players and others with interests in nuclear energy are understandably annoyed that the country’s plans are changing, with a nuclear build programme with Russia looking like it is on ice. For Hartmut Winkler, a physics expert at the University of Johannesburg, the new plan has the makings of a good news story for South Africa. He unpacks the details, explaining how energy consumption patterns in the country have changed recently and also how the costs of renewable energy options have been falling. Although the pro-nuclear lobby – which includes Eskom, a state entity that features prominently in state capture allegations – is expected to keep pushing for the Russian option, Winkler reckons the programme is unlikely to go ahead. There is research that indicates that nuclear power might not even be needed by South Africa until at least 2050, which means pushing the build out even further.  Winkler is remarkably upbeat about the state of the energy sector. If energy generation is managed properly from here on, South Africa’s energy challenges may not be as bad as we all think, is his message. – Jackie Cameron By Hartmut Winkler* 29 Nov 16 The much awaited updated South African Integrated Resource Plan for electricity has been released for comment.

The document makes far-reaching proposals about the target energy generation mix leading all the way to 2050. In particular, the plan pronounces on the future scale and role of nuclear energy and renewable energy technologies. The appropriateness of these has been debated a great deal in the country in the past few years……

in an updated version of the 2011 plan that was prepared in 2013. It recommended that, in view of these changing conditions, there was no longer a need to kick-start a nuclear build programme immediately. It also recommended that a decision on whether or not to embark on an expensive expansion of the nuclear reactor fleet could be delayed for several years.

But this updated version of the plan was never promulgated. This left the door open for a fiercely pro-nuclear lobby which is in favour of a highly lucrative nuclear expansion programme. This issue has developed into a political hot potato. The central argument is that the push for nuclear goes against economic common sense and that it’s being pursued for the benefit of politically connected individuals.

The nuclear build issue has come to feature prominently as one of the important drivers of what is referred to as “state capture” of some of the country’s large institutions.

The latest version

The draft update of the resources plan advocates the following most likely scenario, referred to as the “base case”.

  • Electricity demand between 310 and 355 TWh in 2030 (about 100 TWh lower than envisaged in the 2010-2030 plan) with demand rising to between 390 and 530 TWh in 2050. This is based on projection models developed at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.
  • The construction of 37.4 GW (1 000 GigaWatts equal 1 TeraWatt) of wind capacity and 17.6 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity between 2020 and 2050.
  • The gradual decommissioning of most existing coal power stations by 2050 in line with international carbon emission agreements.
  • A substantial increase (35.3 GW) in electricity generation from gas. Due to the high cost of gas it is generally used only as a back up. It would in any case contribute only about 7% of total energy generation.
  • The construction of just over 20 GW of nuclear power. But this would only gradually come on line between 2037 and 2050. Given that construction of the plants would take ten years the decision to go ahead with the nuclear build could still be delayed for another decade.

Initial reactions

Unsurprisingly, the nuclear industry and its supporters have reacted very negatively to the new draft. Strong nuclear advocates in the state electricity utility Eskom have gone so far as to defiantly declare that they will invite nuclear construction proposals before the end of the year.

But Eskom’s defiance is unlikely to lead to anything substantial. This is because the state utility is facing both a credibility crisis and its finances are in poor shape.

On the other hand advocates of faster growth in renewables have criticised two fundamental assumptions underpinning the “base case” model.

They argue that the model assumes renewable tariffs slightly higher than achieved in the last allocations made under the renewable energy procurement programme. Only by 2030 do these drop a further 20% for photovoltaics and 9% for wind. But given recent trends and projections there’s a strong likelihood that future renewable energy costs will be lower than that.

The “base case” also assumes a limit to how many solar and wind plants can be constructed annually. But based on past interest and delivery by private renewable power producers far greater annual developments are possible.

Several researchers have shown that by applying lower renewable tariffs and removing annual construction limits renewables can make up a much greater proportion of the energy mix, and that new nuclear might not even be needed in 2050.

Future energy demand

The new energy plan is now subject to public input. It is due to be adopted by government in four months time after improvements and further scenario modelling has been added.

Even after adoption, updates will need to be done regularly, ideally every two years since even current projections could be overestimating future energy demand considerably.

This is particularly true given that energy consumption is declining in most developed countries because of advances in technology and energy saving initiatives.

If the energy sector is managed correctly, the current South African energy crisis may not be as far reaching as is often assumed.The Conversation

November 30, 2016 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

South Pacific island ditches fossil fuels to run entirely on solar power

Ta’u island in American Samoa will rely on solar panels and Tesla batteries as it does away with diesel generators, Guardian Eleanor Ainge Roy, 28 Nov 16, A remote tropical island has catapulted itself headlong into the future by ditching diesel and powering all homes and businesses with the scorching South Pacificsun.

Using more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs the tiny island of Ta’u in American Samoa is now entirely self-sufficient for its electricity supply – though the process of converting has been tough and pitted with delays……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/28/south-pacific-island-ditches-fossil-fuels-to-run-entirely-on-solar-power

November 30, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

It’s a little scary how many nukes are stored near major cities

So How Close Do You Live to a Nuclear Bomb? http://sploid.gizmodo.com/so-how-close-do-you-live-to-a-nuclear-bomb-1789472521  Casey Chan, 29 Nov 16  Hooray. If you live south of the Equator or in any of the countries that light up green in the map above, [on original] you’re good. Keep on living there because you don’t squat next to any nuclear weapons. But if you’re in the countries painted red—like the United States, Germany, Russia, China, India, etc.—you might live closer to a nuclear bomb than you think.

 It’s a little scary how many nukes are stored near major cities. For example, the US stores its nukes in 10 states (in addition to a few bystander countries in Europe). Some of them are within spitting distance of cities like Seattle (18 miles away from a facility), Kansas City (55 miles), Denver (77 miles), and Albuquerque (with just happens to have the biggest facility within its city limits). As for Europe, nukes are scattered everywhere on the continent and cities like London, Venice, Milan, Brussels and Rotterdam are all within 50 miles of a nuclear bomb. Let’s not even get into where Russia puts their nukes.

But what’s even more terrifying is that there are lost nuclear bombs where no one is quite sure exactly where they are. The US and Russia have lost more than 50 bombs, and while some are hopefully at the bottom of the ocean, others have landed undetonated near major cities and have still yet to be found. Yikes.

Watch RealLifeLore plot out the location of nuclear bomb facilities in relation to the world in the video below. [on original]

November 30, 2016 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

November 29 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Want to know why Trump will struggle to save the coal industry? Look at Michigan.” • All year, Donald Trump has been promising to rescue the US coal industry by repealing various Obama-era pollution rules and ending the “war on coal.” And all year, analysts have pointed out that he probably cannot deliver on that promise. [Vox]

Monroe Power Plant (Port of Monroe) Monroe Power Plant in Michegan (Port of Monroe)

¶ “Trump’s Election Is No Death Knell For Climate Progress”
The US can meet the climate action commitments made in Paris last year, even if Mr Trump decides to withdraw. It is the US cities, communities, and businesses who are ultimately getting on with the massive job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. [Huffington Post Australia]

Science and Technology:

¶ If it feels like it hasn’t rained in months in the South, you’re right. The region is experiencing an extreme…

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November 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Bolivian Water Crisis as Glaciers Vanish, Population Grows

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

GR:  Many places will have to begin pumping groundwater.  That’s a temporary solution, however.  Here in the arid western United States, we’ve seen what happens as the depth to water falls and the cost of pumping rises. We’ve also seen how toxic metals concentrate in shrinking groundwater aquifers.

One glacier on Chacaltaya mountain… has already completely disappeared.

“Bolivia’s government was recently forced to declare a state of national emergency — a terrible drought, said to be the worst in at least the past 25 years, plus increasing demand in the form of population growth have left the country high and dry.

“As of now, the country is trying to drill their way out the predicament with “emergency wells.” In the city of La Paz, the three main reservoirs that provide the city’s water are almost dry. It is reported that five other major cities also face severe water shortages…

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November 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Climate goals abandoned as adaptation gap opens wide

jpratt27

By David Spratt

Here is a question we need to ask: are climate policy makers actually pursuing the goals they set themselves more than 20 years ago, or have the goals been abandoned, and are we falling fast through an “adaptation gap”?
Like the United Nations, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Conference of the Parties (COP) are diplomatic fora, populated by professional representatives of national ruling elites, and subject to the diplomatic processes of negotiation, trade-offs and deals. Civil society sectors are excluded from formal decision-making.
Decision-making is inclusive (by consensus), making outcomes hostage to national interests and lowest-common-denominator politics.
As one example, the COP 21 Paris Agreement is almost devoid of substantive language on the cause of human-induced climate change and contains no reference to “coal”, “oil”, “fracking”, “shale oil”, “fossil fuel” or “carbon dioxide”, nor to the words “zero”, “ban”, “prohibit” or…

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November 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What to do about climate change deniers? #auspol Criminal Neglect?

jpratt27

By Professor Dr. Heiner Flassbeck

Although it is by now clear that humanity finds itself in major trouble, deniers are not stopping their attempts to manipulate public opinion.

These people have been a curse for many decades.

As I said in the first part, a new study by Friedrich et al. shows that the IPCC prediction of an increase of the Earth’s average temperature of 2.6 and 4.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels by 2100 is an under-estimation.

Instead they predict that the range could be between 4.78C and 7.36C by 2100.


If this is true – and there is no scientific valid reason to doubt this result – we are facing a gigantic crisis.

Nothing less than the survival of our species – and many others (or perhaps all) – is at stake.

But the deniers go on. They publish op-eds, papers (although not in peer-reviewed journals) and books in…

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November 29, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Northeastern Japan Asks Koike for Tokyo Olympics Support

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Northeastern Japan asks Koike for support

Prefectural leaders from northeastern Japan have asked the Tokyo governor for cooperation in supporting reconstruction of the 2011 disaster-hit region through the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The governors and vice governors of the 6 prefectures handed a letter to Yuriko Koike when they met in Tokyo on Monday.

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They hope the Tokyo Games will help revitalize areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The region’s recovery is a key theme for the Games.

The letter calls for the region’s festivals and traditional arts performances to be featured in events held in the run-up to the Olympics and Paralympics.

It also asks that the region’s wood materials be used at the Games facilities and food products at cafeterias in the athletes’ village.

The letter requests the torch relay course pass through the entire region so as many residents as possible will be able to take part in the run.

The governors said they hope the Games will contribute to bringing more foreign tourists to northeastern Japan.

They also said people in the region want an opportunity to express their gratitude to other countries for assisting in reconstruction.

Tokyo Governor Koike said the Games are the best opportunity to show to the world how the region has recovered.

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161128_20/

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Fund for Children with Thyroid Cancer in 15 Prefectures

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A member of a fund that helps children with thyroid cancer explains the prefectures to be covered by its offer to defray medical costs, at an event in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, on Monday. 

Thyroid cancer fund to defray costs for young patients in Fukushima, 14 other prefectures

A fund supporting children with thyroid cancer said Monday it will pay part of the medical costs for young patients in Fukushima Prefecture and elsewhere in Japan.

The fund, called 3.11 Children’s Fund for Thyroid Cancer, will offer up to ¥200,000 to each patient 25 and under in 15 prefectures mainly in northeastern and eastern Japan, including Tokyo.

The regions were selected in accordance with various atmospheric dispersion models for radioactive iodine spread during the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011.

The fund will accept applications between December and March. After review, it will provide ¥100,000 for each case and additional ¥100,000 for relatively serious patients. A second round of applications will be accepted again from April.

The fund was initially promoted by politicians including former Prime Ministers Junichiro Koizumi and Morihiro Hosokawa, and supported by celebrities such as actress Sayuri Yoshinaga. It has received ¥20 million in donations from the public since September.

Some Japanese researchers published a report attributing most of the thyroid cancer cases found among children and adolescents after the disaster began to radiation spewed by the triple core meltdown at the tsunami-swamped Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/11/28/national/thyroid-cancer-fund-defray-costs-young-patients-fukushima-14-prefectures/#.WDz7Dlzia-c

Private fund to help young thyroid cancer patients

A Japanese private foundation will offer financial aid to young people who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The foundation said on Monday it will provide a lump sum of 100,000 yen, or about 900 dollars, starting next month.

People aged 25 years old and younger who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, including suspected cases, are eligible for the aid. They should be residents of Fukushima or one of the 14 other prefectures in eastern Japan.

The foundation says it has raised about 20 million yen in public donations to help them.

Fukushima Prefecture has been conducting medical checkups for about 380,000 children aged 18 or younger after the 2011 accident. 175 have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or are suspected cases.

The foundation’s representative, Hisako Sakiyama, says these young people will have to live with the risk of cancer for many years. She says the foundation wants to provide psychological support as well.

Applications for the financial aid will be accepted through March next year. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20161128_17/

November 29, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment