nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Another Fukushima evacuee bullied at school: Niigata Pref. education board

NIIGATA — A female junior high school student who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture to northern Niigata Prefecture in the wake of the 2011 nuclear meltdown has stopped attending classes since mid-December last year due to bullying at school, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.

According to the Niigata Prefectural Board of Education and other sources, the bullying started at around the end of the first term in the 2016 school year. Several students at the school called her by her name attaching the word “germs” and made her play tag while treating her like a germ.

The student talked to her parents about the matter in mid-December and after being informed from the parents, the school learned about the bullying. The school then imposed guidance on the students who were involved in the case. The bullies and their parents apologized to the parents of the student. The student was also bullied at the elementary school she attended after evacuating from Fukushima Prefecture.

While some of the bullies knew that the student was an evacuee from Fukushima Prefecture, they are reportedly saying that the fact they attached the word “germs” to the student’s name and her being an evacuee are not related.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170121/p2a/00m/0na/004000c

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Crane falls on building with spent nuclear fuel at Takahama plant

Large crane collapses at Takahama nuclear plant

A large crane has toppled onto a building storing nuclear fuel at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan. Part of the building’s roof was damaged. There were no reported injuries.

Workers at the plant found on Friday night that the crane had half-collapsed onto the building next to the containment vessel of the No.2 reactor.

The crane is about 110 meters long. It buckled where it hit the edge of the roof and is lying across another building.

Officials at Kansai Electric Power Company say no one was injured. They confirmed damage to a facility collecting rainwater on the roof, but say they have detected no change to radiation levels in the surrounding area.

The Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority says its inspectors have confirmed the falling crane caused wall panels inside the building to move. Workers are checking the building’s functions to prevent radioactive materials from leaking.

Kansai Electric officials say they believe strong winds likely toppled the crane. They are investigating whether there was any problem in its installation.

Weather officials had warned of strong winds in the prefecture at the time.

The Takahama plant’s operational chief, Masakazu Takashima, has apologized for the accident.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority in June last year approved the operation of the plant’s No.1 and No.2 reactors beyond the basic limit of 40 years.

The crane was reportedly being used for construction work on the containment vessel as part of safety measures for the operation extension.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170121_17/

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A crane is seen collapsed over a reactor auxiliary building and another structure at the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Takahama, Fukui Prefecture, on Jan. 21, 2017. The No. 2 reactor is seen at top.

 

Crane falls on Takahama nuke plant buildings amid storm warning

TAKAHAMA, Fukui — A large crane fell on a reactor auxiliary building and a fuel handling building at the No. 2 reactor of the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant in Fukui Prefecture on the night of Jan. 20, damaging part of their roofs, Kansai Electric Power Co. said.

There were no injuries in the incident, nor were there any leakages of radiation to the outside environment, the power company said. A storm warning had been issued in the prefecture, with strong winds at a speed of about 15 meters per second (54 kilometers per hour) observed near the plant at the time of the incident, which occurred at around 9:50 p.m.

The 112.75-meter mobile crane, as well as three other similar cranes, was installed for work to refurbish plant facilities in accordance with the new safety standards introduced in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. The collapsed crane was intended for work to install a new dome above the No. 2 reactor’s containment vessel. After the incident, the framework of the collapsed crane was seen bent along the buildings on which it fell, and the metal rails on the edges of the roofs of the two affected buildings were damaged.

According to Kansai Electric Power Co., a worker at the plant’s central control room heard a loud sound and checked to find one of the four cranes collapsed. When a Kansai Electric employee visually checked the inside of the fuel handling building, where 259 nuclear fuel rods are stored in a pool, there were no objects that had fallen upon them. The utility said there were no effects from the accident on the fuel pool or the fuel rods.

“We are sorry for causing concern,” said Masakazu Takashima, a senior official at the Takahama plant at a press conference, suggesting that work involving large cranes would be suspended at the plant for the time being. With regards to the strong winds in the area at the time, he said, “We thought it would be all right after calculating the effects from the wind. However, we hadn’t taken wind direction into consideration.” Takashima said the cause of the incident had yet to be identified.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in June last year granted permission to extend the operation of the plant’s No. 1 and No. 2 reactors, making them the country’s first reactors to be allowed to operate beyond 40 years.

According to the NRA, the management methods for protecting nuclear plant facilities are provided for by each plant’s safety code. Nuclear safety inspectors stationed at each plant monitor to see if work is in progress as specified by the safety code and conduct safety inspections four times a year. While no work was underway at the time of the crane collapse as it was during the night time, the NRA will investigate if work and equipment were properly managed in accordance with the rules as a storm warning had been issued in the prefecture at the time.

“We will check if the series of work involving the cranes had been properly managed to the effect that it wouldn’t affect nuclear reactor facilities,” said an NRA official.
http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170121/p2a/00m/0na/007000c

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Workers on Saturday examine a crane that collapsed onto a building that houses spent nuclear fuel at the Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture

Crane falls on building with spent nuclear fuel at Takahama plant

FUKUI – A crane collapsed Friday night at the Takahama nuclear power station in Fukui Prefecture, damaging a building housing spent fuel, the plant operator said Saturday.

No one was injured in the accident at around 9:50 p.m. near the No. 2 reactor building and nothing fell into the spent fuel pool, according to the operator, Kansai Electric Power Co.

The crane also damaged the roof of an adjacent building.

A wind warning was in effect in the area, and strong winds were blowing at the time, according to the utility.

The 112-meter crane had been used to prepare for safety-enhancement work in which a concrete dome will be placed over the No. 2 reactor building. Work was not being undertaken at the time of accident.

An official apologized for the accident at a news conference at the plant, saying the utility would re-examine the risk of crane accidents amid strong winds and investigate the cause of the incident.

There are 59 fuel assemblies in the pool, including spent ones, according to Kansai Electric.

The No. 2 reactor is one of two aging reactors at the plant, in operation for over 40 years. Safety-enhancement work for the facility is expected for completion in 2020.

In June last year, nuclear regulators approved the utility’s plan to extend the operation of the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors beyond the government-mandated 40-year service period. It was the first such approval given under new safety regulation introduced following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident.

The plant has two newer reactors. All four reactors are currently offline.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/21/national/crane-falls-building-spent-nuclear-fuel-takahama-plant/#.WIM6nX3raM9

 

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

The economic disaster that is the nuclear industry – theme for February 2016

Tax - payers

A bunch of American billionaires is trying to save the astronomically expensive nuclear industry – by getting taxpayers to pay for even more astronomically costly “little new nukes”.

Meanwhile in China,  France UK, South Korea – and even in America, governments are desperately propping up the super costly “big old nukes’ .

In a world where charlatan Donald Trump can become USA President – the nuclear salestext-SMRsmen might well think  that any fraud can be perpetrated on the public.

But not for long.

The genuinely clean energy transition is under way world-wide, andpeaceful-nuke becoming ever cheaper.

The “peaceful” nuclear industry is intrinsically linked to the multi $billion nuclear weapons industry. Yet even the nuclear weapons industry is under threat, with the coming UN nuclear  disarmament conference.

Even if concern for the public good does not stop the toxic nuclear industry – the unaffordable economic costs eventually will

January 21, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Christina's themes | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear news to 19 January

a-cat-CAN19 Jan 17 As I write, there’s  a sort of an anxious lull in climate and nuclear news. Indeed, in other news, too. The media world seems to be waiting for the next event, on January 20, concerning a certain narcissistic American. I’ve decided to leave him out of this week’s newsletter.

The exception in all this is Fukushima. Not that you find anything about this in the mainstream media. However, the news is getting out in alternative, and some Japanese media: workers’ cancers:  Thyroid Cancer Patient Group :  Designation of radioactive waste lifted: Fukushima ‘voluntary’ evacuees: Fukushima foodstuffs.

As climate deniers move into White House – Guardian news focus on climate change.

USA.

JAPANCrash in Toshiba shares as nuclear financial crisis deepens. Shimane nuclear power plant found to have dangerous corroded holes in air ducts inside the No. 2 reactor. 7 Times More Leukemia in 2015 than 2014, 80% in Eastern Japan.

CHINA. Nuclear weapons should be completely prohibited – Chinese President Xi Jinping.

BELGIUM. Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany want Belgium’s dangerous nuclear reactors to be closed.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan vows nuclear retaliation if India attacks.

U K. Political row over proposed west Cumbria nuclear plant.  Greens Party running anti nuclear platform in UK by-election. Prince Charles writes a book on climate change (That’s torn it: they won’t let HIM be king)

NORTH KOREA. North Korea may be preparing for a new missile test-launch.

UKRAINE. Russia stops agreement with Ukraine on nuclear power plant construction

SAUDI ARABIA. Saudi Arabia’s $US50bn clean energy plan focusses on solar and wind

January 21, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Greenpeace Response to Trump Scrubbing Climate Change from White House Website

logo-greenpeace

 http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/news/greenpeace-response-trump-scrubbing-climate-change-white-house-website/  20 Jan 17  In response to news that the Trump administration has removed all mentions of climate change from the official White House website, Greenpeace spokesperson Travis Nichols said:

“We know Donald Trump and his proposed cabinet of millionaires are climate deniers. We’ve known that for years. It is no surprise that on day one they would proceed with their business plan of officially denying science for profit. It doesn’t change the science or the fact that the world wants a clean energy future. If there’s money to be made, Donald Trump will likely continue to officially deny climate change until the boiling seas swallow Mar-A-Lago whole.

That’s why we have to resist. More people believe in climate action than voted for Donald Trump, and we will continue to resist as long as the official White House policy is climate denial.”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

As Trump takes over, White House website loses all reference to climate change, promotes coal industry

It also appeared to remove any reference to combating climate change, a topic that had been featured prominently on the White House site under President Barack Obama. The page that once detailed the potential consequences of climate change and the Obama administration’s efforts to address it vanished on Friday just as President Trump was sworn in. It now redirected to a broken link: “The requested page ‘/energy/climate-change’ could not be found.”

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In its place, listed among the top issues of the Trump administration, was a page entitled, “An America First Energy Plan.”

The incoming administration vows to eliminate “harmful and unnecessary policies” such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the United States rule. The first represents a variety of efforts Obama pursued to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, while the second is a rule issued by the EPA to protect not only the largest waterways but smaller tributaries that others believe should fall under the jurisdiction of states rather than the federal government.

The new White House site says that Trump would “refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.”

It also says the incoming president will pursue “clean coal technology,” a reference to efforts to remove carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning plants and bury those emissions in the ground to use them to enhance oil recovery. The Obama Energy Department has already been funding a variety of projects in this area. Though, without nearby enhanced oil recovery projects, the technology is not economic. Trump’s White House site says the new administration would aim at “reviving America’s coal industry.”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Perry poised to lead renewable energy push in Trump’s USA

Rick Perry asked about nuclear energy policy as energy secretary
 
Going nuclear: Perry poised to lead renewable energy push

BY MARK PERRY, “……..This is where the new administration can make a difference. With Perry guiding the DOE, the agency can stimulate development of a new generation of small modular reactors and advanced nuclear plants.

Just last week, NuScale, an Oregon-based nuclear company, applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for safety certification of a small modular reactor (SMR) that it intends to develop for use in the United States and abroad.

This is the first request for certification of a new reactor design in many years and it could mark the start of the next step for advanced nuclear power…….

Perry is a strong supporter of nuclear power. He can play an invaluable role in pushing for action at the state and regional levels to keep existing nuclear plants online…… it takes new leadership and a renewed appreciation for the importance of nuclear power. Hopefully, Perry will soon provide that leadership as the head of the DOE”.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Wildlife and wind power – they can thrive together

text-relevantWind power and wildlife thrive together   http://www.aweablog.org/wind-power-wildlife-thrive-together/ JANUARY 5, 2017 National Bird Day is today and it offers a good chance to share the positive story about wind energy and birds. Cleaner air, healthier habitats

Wind (Energy) Beneath Their Wings

 

What do some of America’s most respected conservation groups think about wind power?

“Audubon strongly supports properly sited wind power as a renewable energy source that helps reduce the threats posed to birds and people by climate change,” the group says on its webpage.

Responsibly developed wind energy offers a substantial, economically feasible, and wildlife-friendly energy opportunity for America,” according to the National Wildlife Federation.

Here’s why they offer such strong endorsements.

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that excess carbon pollution threatens birds across the globe. This looms particularly large in North America, where the National Audobon Society finds CO2 pollution could cause 314 different bird species to lose up to 50 percent of their habitats in the coming decades.

Fortunately, wind power remains the biggest, fastest, and cheapest way to reduce carbon pollution, cutting 28 million cars’ worth every year. Wind also contributes to a cleaner environment for America’s birds by eliminating pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide that create smog.

Working proactively to keep impacts low

The U.S. wind industry works closely with conservation organizations and government officials to understand and minimize the impacts it does have to the greatest degree possible. Here’s one example of groundbreaking research on ways to do this:

How else do wind developers ensure conservation happens? Some examples of the different methods they use include:

Factors like this contributed to the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority’s finding that wind has the lowest impact on wildlife and their habitats of any way to generate electricity.

It is true that wind does have some impact on bird populations, and the U.S. wind industry takes that very seriously. However, this should also be put into context: wind causes less than 0.01 percent of all human-related bird deaths.

The reality is no human activity is completely impact-free. With decades of siting experience and comprehensive environmental impact assessments done before construction, wind greatly lessens the effects it does have.

And because wind power directly combats the greatest threat to birds, helps create a cleaner environment and preserves habitats through its small footprint, it creates a future where birds of all kinds can continue to flourish.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Future city design will be solar planned

WHY SOLAR WILL BE BUILT INTO OUR FUTURE CITIES http://circulatenews.org/2017/01/solar-will-built-future-cities/  

text-relevantsolar-city

Solar power and other renewable energy sources are increasingly affordable as technologies continues to become more efficient and effective, and the opportunities to scale solutions brings costs down even further. As much as the transition from a fossil-fuel based economy to one powered by renewables is becoming more widely recognised, what is sometimes lost is just how rapid the change has been. Furthermore, it appears the next natural step is a renewable energy source inspired transformation of the way in which we design our future buildings and cities.

During the last six years in the US alone, “solar power has exploded into the energy sector with the kind of industrial vigour not seen since the 1950s”, wrote David Beckham in GreenBiz earlier this month. In 2010, the US had the equivalent of one gigawatt of solar generation capabilities, for perspective on what that means in terms of power demands, Disney Land uses roughly that amount every two weeks – it’s also less than the Doc needed to get the DeLorean running again in Back to the Future! Capacity has ballooned to 30 gigawatts of solar power generation at the beginning of 2016 and is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, mostly thanks to the lowering of costs with the average solar cell now costings $0.35 per watt, compared with around $4 in 2016, all while increasing efficiency by 20%.

Throw in increased volatility in fossil fuel prices – especially oil – and diminishing efficiency gains for non-renewable based technologies, and it should come as no surprise that there is increasing investment and innovation into solar power, not to mention demand, where more panels were installed in the US during 2016 than the previous 38 years combined. Furthermore, digital advances are enabling better understanding and control of complexity and data, a huge advantage for less consistent natural sources of power like solar and wind.

The flexibility of renewables enables designers and architects to adopt a new way of thinking and there are now a growing number of examples where the potential opportunities of integrating energy production into the design of buildings and cities from the outset are being exploited.

Joining up built environment construction and design with renewable energy to create a more diverse, distributed and resilient system of power production integrated directly into cities offers the possibility of producing a holistic solution to individual challenges, the AMIE prototype, produced by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which integrates solar panels, into a connected home and electric vehicle is one great recent example.

Photovoltaic technologies designed for integration into building components produced by corporates like Californian-based Solaria, who have developed especially effective solar tech so that they can produce glass that can be used in typical window openings, is fully see through and generates electricity, are predicted to become increasingly common. Indeed, the level of development and scale of Solaria itself may surprise some.

“Architectural solar” is still in relative infancy, but if anything can be learned by the growth of solar power generation, which few would have expected to be economically viable by 2016 looking at the 2010 landscape, it is that technology with potential can and will be developed exceptionally quickly in a context where there is demand for the solutions it provides. The ORNL experiment and current solutions sold by Solaria may only be a beginning, but anticipating rapid evolution looks like a good bet.

January 21, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Can Donald Trump manage nuclear diplomacy with North Korea? It’s unlikely

TrumpIn Nuclear Poker, Don’t Bet on Trump, Bloomberg JAN 19, 2017 BY  Is North Korea’s belligerent young leader, Kim Jong-un, bluffing when he says the “last stage” is underway for testing a ballistic missile capable of hitting the U.S.? What about President-elect Donald Trump, when he tweets, “It won’t happen“?

As Trump’s administration begins, a showdown with North Korea over ICBMs seems all but inevitable. Just yesterday, South Korean media reported possible signs that the North may be preparing a new missile launch. In managing this conflict, few things will be more crucial than understanding the nature of bluffing. Unfortunately, for all his talk of being a good deal maker, Trump is a terrible bluffer — and his lack of skill is likely to destabilize nuclear politics.

A bluff is an untrue but plausible story. In the mindsport of poker, bluffs work when your opponent believes you have a better hand, so he can’t call your bet or raise, conceding you the pot. The savvier player wants to steadily grind away at the stack of his opponent over a large number of small pots, without risking too many of his own chips in any single hand. The weaker player can counter the “small ball” strategy by raising all-in fairly often, forcing all-or-nothing confrontations.

To understand why these dynamics are so crucial in nuclear negotiation, consider the work of John von Neumann, the prodigiously gifted polymath who immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary in 1933 and later contributed to the Manhattan Project. Von Neumann loved poker because its strategy involves guile, probability, luck and budgetary acumen, but is never transparent; it always depends on the counterstrategies deployed by opponents.

 Expert players misrepresent the strength of their hands, simulate irrational behavior, and deploy other mind games to confuse their opponents. In a nutshell, they bluff. It was von Neumann’s efforts to express bluffs in mathematical terms that helped him develop game theory, which has numerous real-world applications, nuclear strategy foremost among them……..

Trump bluffs almost constantly. He has spent his entire adult life overstating the value of his real estate holdings and branding endeavors, while bragging relentlessly about his wealth, sex life, length off the tee, and on and on. His bluffs during the campaign — that he had a replacement for Obamacare, a secret plan to defeat Islamic State and so on — were plainly false to anyone paying attention. To Trump, what was true hardly mattered.

Such tendencies would not serve him well in a poker game. Any player who continually misrepresents the size of his hand would cause sharp opponents to give his bets little credit. They’d simply wait for above-average hands and call him. As Daniel Negreanu, the all-time winningest poker tournament player, put it to me, “Trump’s bluffs are very effective against level-one thinkers. His lies are so outlandish that people think they have to be true or he wouldn’t have said it. The constant barrage makes him tougher to read. But sharper players would pick him apart.”

Kim may not be irrational, but he knows how to seem that he is, which gives him leverage. Kim’s contempt for most North Koreans means that he has less to lose by threatening to nuke an American city. The more we know about his pretensions to deity, his labor camps, the food and electricity shortages his policies have prolonged, the easier it is to believe he might sacrifice millions of Koreans in an absurd attempt to save face. Kim isn’t threatening to defeat the U.S., a bluff no one would credit; he’s trying to prove he could grievously injure it before dying himself, a bluff that must be taken seriously. As Negreanu puts it, Kim is “a scary player. Being unpredictable, capable of any move at any time, makes him hard to prepare for.”

In such circumstances, Trump’s long history of empty boasts is destabilizing. Kim may calculate that he has renewed leverage to push for concessions from the U.S. He might engage in riskier behavior, such as firing more test missiles or launching cyberattacks. Almost certainly, he’ll persist in developing missiles that can reach the U.S., calculating all the while that Trump’s Twitter outbursts are simply talk.

That may be true. But what if, for once in his life, Trump means what he says? What if he can’t bear to have his bluff called, and really is tempted to launch a preemptive attack if it looks like North Korea poses a real threat to the U.S. mainland?……..https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-19/in-nuclear-poker-don-t-bet-on-trump

January 21, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Climate injustice. Under Trump, people of color will suffer most

trump-worldPeople of color are bracing for climate injustice under Trump, Guardian, Elizabeth C Yeampierre, 20 Jan 17  When things are bad for everyone, they are particularly bad for people of color – which doesn’t bode well as the Trump administration sets up shop. hen things are bad for everyone, they are particularly bad for people of color. The Trump administration is about to legitimize injustice in all of our communities. People of color have endured the extraction of our land and labor – and its legacy – since the creation of these United States. Now, we are bracing ourselves for worse things to come.

The environmental and climate justice movement has had substantial successes on both the local and national fronts. We have cleaned up brownfields, stopped the siting of power plants, facilitated community-based planning for climate adaption and resilience, all while developing a framework known as Just Transitions, which rejects the “dig, burn, dump” economy and wants to push it away from an extractive economy to a regenerative one.

Always frontline-led and solutions–oriented, we have been working diligently to operationalize this transition through such initiatives as community-owned solar, offshore wind and local cooperatives that model another way to live without a carbon footprint. Energized by the momentum created by the People’s Climate March and the breadth of knowledge shared by the Climate Justice Alliance’s Our Power Campaign, the last few years have been all about the possibilities.

And then Trump was elected.

The solutions to unresolved environmental justice crises in low-income communities of color that the environmental and climate justice movement and allies have been diligently working to resolve now suddenly appear unattainable……..

Our communities across the nation have struggled but survived with administrations that moved slowly. We have never faced an administration that on all underlying tenets of climate justice – including the very existence of climate change – is at best indifferent and at worst actively antagonistic.

The appointments of climate denier Scott Pruitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, fossil fuel-backed Ryan Zinke as head of Department of Interior, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, neo-Confederate Jeff Sessions as attorney general and fast food executive Andrew Puzder as secretary of labor all constitute direct attacks on these tenets and communities of color.

As we face a full-scale assault on our very existence, we are planning, organizing, building, educating and resisting with an understanding of what this means for our communities.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/19/trump-administration-climate-change-people-of-color-injustice

January 21, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change will seriously harm the world’s food crops

Maize in a drought in Texas. Photo by Billy Hathorn. CC BY-SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons.Climate change will hurt crops more than it helps them, study suggests, WP  January 19 Out of the many consequences of climate change, from melting glaciers to changing weather patterns, its effect on agriculture has emerged as one of the most complex issues for scientists to investigate. It’s also among the most globally significant.

As the world’s population approaches 8 billion people — and is expected to exceed 9 billion before midcentury — protecting global food security has become a top priority for scientists and policymakers alike. And figuring out how climate change might affect the world’s future crop yields is a major concern.

Previous studies have suggested a “nonlinear behavior of U.S. [crop] yields,” said Bernhard Schauberger, a PhD student and researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. One study suggested that in temperatures above 86 degrees, crops suddenly experience strong declines, he noted.

Now a new study, led by Schauberger along with colleagues from institutes around the world, reaffirms the idea that high temperatures could seriously harm the production of some of the world’s most important food crops, including corn, soybeans and wheat. And that could have big implications for the world’s food supply — as the paper notes, these three crops alone account for about a third of total harvested land worldwide.  ………https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/01/19/yet-another-study-suggests-that-climate-change-will-hurt-crops-more-than-it-helps-them/?utm_term=.cfee81eee106&wpisrc=nl_green&wpmm=1

January 21, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

France’s EDF resisting the closure of Fessenheim nuclear power plant

Poster EDF menteurEDF board prepares to defy Hollande on nuclear closure Power company’s bid to keep plant open shows president’s waning authority, Ft.com 19 Jan 17 by: Michael Stothard in Paris François Hollande risks falling short on another pledge as the board of state-controlled energy company EDF next week prepares to vote down his plans to close France’s oldest nuclear plant.

The French president promised in 2012 to shut down the Fessenheim power plant near the German and Swiss borders — long a target for anti-nuclear activists — in a bid to win over the Green party. But with just months left of his mandate ahead of the presidential election on April 23, some within EDF are attempting to drag their feet long enough for a change of government, according to three people with knowledge of the situation……..
Mr Hollande’s difficulties are partly down to a legal quirk with the vote. Six government-appointed representatives on the boardare not allowed to vote on the motion because of a conflict of interest, according to people close to the company. Six union representatives are set to vote against closure. The CGT and moderate CFDT unions have both said publicly that they will do so to protect the 850 workers at the site. This means it will take only one of the six remaining independent board members to vote against closure for the motion to be rejected. According to several people with knowledge of the situation, at least one is willing to vote no.
 The Hollande government has put immense pressure on EDF to formalise the closure……..
The government does hold some cards. The state, as well as owning 85 per cent of the company’s equity, is participating in a €3bn capital raising. It must also sign off on an extension of the licence for a stopped second reactor at Paluel in northern France. A person close to the situation said the government could conceivably find a way around the board opposition or convince some board members to change their mind. …….
If EDF hangs on long enough, it might be able to resist the closure of Fessenheim completely. François Fillon, the centre-right presidential candidate who is the frontrunner to win the presidential election, has said he is against the closure of the plant.https://www.ft.com/content/62551c48-de77-11e6-9d7c-be108f1c1dce

January 21, 2017 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Predictions for shift to ‘base-cost’ renewables: 10 predictions for 2017

text-relevantLiebreich and McCrone: The shift to ‘base-cost’ renewables: 10 predictions for 2017 By  on 20 January 2017 “………… The good news is that renewable energy has – at least on a levelized cost of electricity, or LCOE, basis – clearly achieved the long-awaited goal of grid competitiveness. More than that, in many countries it now undercuts every other source of new generating capacity, sometimes by very considerable margins.

Last year saw unsubsidized price records of $30 per megawatt-hour for a wind farm in Morocco and $29.10 for a solar plant in Chile. These must be the lowest electricity prices, for any new project, of any technology, anywhere in the world, ever. And we are still going to see further falls in equipment prices.

Super-low-cost renewable power – what we are now calling “base-cost renewables” – is going to force a revolution in the way power grids are designed, and the way they are regulated…….

Putting super-cheap, “base-cost” renewable power at the heart of the world’s grids in this way will require a revolution in the way the electricity system is regulated. Renewable power’s progress to date has been achieved mainly by subsidizing or mandating its installation, while forcing the rest of the system to provide flexibility, within otherwise unchanged regulatory environments and power market rules. The additional system costs have been material but generally affordable.

That has taken renewable energy to 20, 30 or 40 percent of supply in many markets. …….. 

………1. GLOBAL INVESTMENT TO STRUGGLE…….

2. GROWTH SPURT FOR BATTERIES, SMART METERS………

3. SOLAR INSTALLATIONS FALL IN CHINA BUT RISE WORLDWIDE…….

4. WIND BLOWS SIDEWAYS……

5. COAL AND OIL RALLIES PETER OUT……..

6. U.S. GAS PRICES REMAIN FIRM…..

7. EVS BREAK THE MILLION VEHICLE MILESTONE……

8. CORPORATE RENEWABLE ENERGY ON A TEAR….

9. RESILIENCE AND SECURITY RECEIVE OVERDUE ATTENTION…..

10. THE CLIMATE DEBATE HEATS UP – AGAIN……. https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-shift-base-cost-renewables-10-predictions-2017/

January 21, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Russia and Iran to co-operate on nuclear power development

Russian-Bearflag-IranIran, ROSATOM sign roadmap for nuclear cooperation http://www.tehrantimes.com/news/410263/Iran-ROSATOM-sign-roadmap-for-nuclear-cooperation January 20, 2017 TEHRAN – The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the Russian ROSATOM signed on Thursday a roadmap for cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

The document was signed in Russia by Behrouz Kamalvandi, the AEOI deputy chief, and Nickolay Spasskiy, ROSATOM deputy director general, as a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding in Nov. 11, 2014.

Also, the two sides finalized a pre-project contract for the retrofitting of two gas centrifuge cascades in the Fordo facility.

The documents were approved and prepared for signing as a result of recent negotiations between the AEOI and ROSATOM.

The agreement is in line with a 2015 international nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, which resulted in removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on the country’s nuclear program.

Under the deal, Iran has committed to convert the Fordo facility into a nuclear, physics and technology center to benefit from international collaboration including in the form of scientific joint partnerships in agreed areas of research.

Also, by the accord, two of the six centrifuge cascades at the Fordo facility have to spin without uranium and will be transitioned, including through appropriate infrastructure modification, for stable isotope production.
Stable isotopes are used for medical and industrial purposes.

Iran launched a facility to produce raw material for stable isotopes in August 2016.

Also, in an August interview with Azerbaijani state news agency AZERTAC, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “We will further assist our Iranian partners in implementing the Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear program, including the processing of enriched uranium and the conversion of facilities to produce stable isotopes.”

January 21, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, Iran, politics international | Leave a comment