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Most USA Republicans favour action on climate change

climate-changeFlag-USATrump supporters don’t like his climate policies, Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists, 20 JANUARY 2017 Dana Nuccitelli   Recent surveys jointly conducted by Yale University and George Mason University found that a majority of Republicans (including a plurality of conservative Republicans) support US participation in international climate agreements like the Paris accords. They support regulating or taxing carbon pollution. And they want the United States to get much more of its energy from renewables, and less from fossil fuels.

Yet they also voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, who pledged to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement (though he has since waffled), and to kill the Clean Power Plan and its carbon pollution regulations. And he seems to strongly prefer coal to wind and solar energy, which he has inaccurately described as “not working on large-scale” and “very, very expensive.”………

Republican support for climate-change mitigation policies is broad but shallow. They would prefer that the government take action to curb carbon pollution, but for most, the issue won’t impact their votes.

However, the fossil fuel industry is a major Republican Party donor. Which means that for many Republican politicians, the incentives are thus quite clear—if they obstruct climate policies, they’re rewarded with campaign donations, and they’re not penalized at the ballot box by conservative voters who only mildly disapprove of their actions.

Donald Trump didn’t receive particularly substantial fossil fuel funding during his presidential campaign, which may help explain his wobbly stance on climate change. He simply doesn’t seem to have put much thought into the subject or consider it a high priority, quite like most of his supporters. But many of his nominees to powerful government positions like Scott Pruitt have benefited from oil industry donations, and Trump even nominated the chief executive officer of the world’s largest oil company to be his Secretary of State.

It’s in those key government roles where the rubber meets the road. If Trump’s nominees are approved, the fossil fuel industry will have powerful allies in his administration, and if they do enough damage to America’s efforts to curb carbon pollution, Trump and the GOP may eventually pay the electoral price…….


January 23, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Climate Central explodes the lies and omissions in Trump’s White House Energy Plan

trump-liesDecoding Trump’s White House Energy Plan , Climate Central, By  , 20 Jan 17 Just as President Donald Trump took the oath of office and the White House scrubbed its website of Obama climate change information, it posted Trump’s “America First Energy Plan,” which is replete with misinformation and specious claims about climate and energy policy.

The White House’s new energy plan repackages Trump’s campaign promises to reignite America’s declining coal industry, kill the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan and exploit all of America’s fossil fuel reserves to achieve energy independence — an idea that ignores that America’s oil and gas is part of a truly global fossil fuels market.

Throughout his campaign, Trump expressed contempt for the Obama administration’s climate policies, which were critical to the success of the Paris Climate Agreement — the international pact aiming to stop global warming from reaching what the world’s scientists agree are dangerous levels.

Obama’s climate and energy policies encouraged the development of low-carbon renewable sources and discouraged the use of coal for electricity as a way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving global warming.

Trump and his transition team called those policies job killers. He falsely claimed that Obama’s policies alone have forced the coal industry into decline. Coal has been on a long, steady decline since 2008 when natural gas was made cheap and abundant because of fracking. Natural gas overtook coal as America’s largest source of electricity for the first time in history in 2016.

The White House’s “America First Energy Plan” reflects those claims and Trump’s disdain for climate science and renewable energy. Here is a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of the plan:

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

Few people question that energy is essential, but Trump’s statement that his administration is committed to low-cost energy and maximizing the use of American resources is seen by many as code for unfettered exploitation of oil, coal and natural gas in the U.S. Trump has called renewables “an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves,” and says a cheaper way to energy independence is through oil, gas and coal.

Fossil fuels are abundant in the U.S. thanks to fracking, which brought about the shale oil and gas boom of the past decade. But oil drilled in the U.S. isn’t necessarily staying in the U.S. and contributing to energy independence. Congress lifted a 40-year ban on oil experts a year ago, and now U.S. oil is being shipped all over the world, even as the U.S. is importing oil from Canada and the Middle East.

At the same time, the costs of renewables has been falling dramatically in recent years, and America’s largest oil refiner and carbon emitter — Texas — has become the nation’s leader in wind power production.

Trump’s skepticism of renewables contrasts starkly with Obama, who said that wind and solar power are a critical a component of energy independence. For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

“Burdensome regulations” has long been Republican messaging for what they consider odious Obama-era climate policies and regulations that encourage the use of renewables and natural gas instead of fossil fuels to address climate change, or restrict the development of oil and gas on federally owned public lands and waters.

For example, one of Obama’s last-minute actions was to close off most of the Arctic Ocean off of Alaska’s North Coast for oil and gas development as a way to protect the seashore from oil spills and prevent more and more of the carbon pollution driving climate change. That followed a moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands and the closure of large swaths of the Atlantic coast to future oil drilling.

Each of those moves angered fossil fuel boosters in the Republican Party and were motivated in part by Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which involved a variety of measures to help slash America’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Trump’s claim that lifting those and other restrictions would increase workers’ wages by more $30 billion wildly mischaracterizes the potential for workers to benefit from killing U.S. climate policy. The figure seems to come from a 2015 report by Louisiana State University banking professor Joseph R. Mason, which was released by the Institute for Energy Research, an oil-industry funded organization run by Trump’s energy transition team chief,Tom Pyle.

The report claims that $32 billion in annual worker wages over seven years would be earned if all of America’s public lands were opened to oil, gas and coal development — even the lands protected by law from energy development, including wilderness areas and national parks.

That means Trump is saying that if Yellowstone, the White House lawn, Yosemite Valley, the Great Smoky Mountains and Mt. Rushmore were opened to fracking, workers would reap billions in benefits.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

“Sound” energy policy is a play on “sound science” in an effort to lend it legitimacy.

It is true that the U.S. has vast untapped domestic energy sources — and that includes renewables. While fracking and the shale oil and gas boom led to discoveries of millions of barrels of oil that were once thought too expensive to reach, renewables are some of America’s largest untapped sources of energy.

For example, America’s offshore wind power potential is so huge that if fully developed, offshore wind farms could produce four times the electricity currently generated in the U.S. today, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. America’s first offshore wind farm was completed in December, with more expected to be built over the next five years.

Trump’s estimated $50 trillion in untapped oil and gas reserves is a huge mischaracterization of the fossil fuels that can be developed in the U.S., said Mark Squillace, a professor of natural resources law at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

“The problem with numbers like this is that they do not tell the whole story,” Squillace said. “The United States certainly has vast oil and gas and coal reserves and if you just add them up and multiply by their market value you get a big number. But most of those reserves cannot be economically developed any time in the foreseeable future.”

He said the figure originates from Kathy Hartnett White, a Trump advisor affiliated with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, who told Fox Business in June that the U.S. is sitting on $50 trillion of oil and gas, “but the government is stopping us from getting it.”…….

President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water………….Trump’s energy policy says nothing about climate change, which will be made drasticly worse if the U.S. develops as much oil, gas and coal as Trump suggests.

America’s air and water have been kept clean over the past 40 years because of environmental laws enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, which Trump previously said he wants to abolish. Trump has appointed one of the EPA’s most ardent foes to head the agency — Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has sued the EPA 14 times and is involved in a lawsuit aiming to kill one of Obama’s most sweeping climate policies.

During his confirmation hearing, Pruitt said he wants states to have more control over how they are regulated by the EPA, suggesting that the federal laws protecting America’s air and water would be applied unevenly from state to state. Some states are much more vigilant in enforcing environmental regulations and have more resources than others,

Trump has said nothing about how a weakened EPA would accomplish his goal of keeping America’s air and water clean.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea to market nuclear fuel to United Arab Emirates

Buy-S-Korea-nukesUAE gets licence to transport, store nuclear fuel, Gulf News 22 Jan 17
Nuclear fuel to be shipped from South Korea to the UAE before being transported to the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant “….t
he Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation (FANR) announced on Sunday that it approved the licensing for transporting and storing nuclear fuel at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plant.

The two licences have been granted to the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) and Nawah Energy Company respectively, with the former getting the licence to transport the nuclear fuel, and the latter getting the licence to store the nuclear fuel at the Barakah site…..

Ian Grant, Deputy Director General for Operations at FANR, explained that the nuclear fuel would be shipped in transport casks from South Korea to the UAE, and then loaded onto trucks to transport the fuel to the nuclear reactor site.

“The fuel assemblies are loaded into transport casks and shipped from the Republic of Korea, [afterwards they are] trucked by road from the UAE port to the Barakah site. The transport casks are unloaded, checked and opened. [The] fuel assemblies are inspected individually and moved to the storage locations.”……

January 23, 2017 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Secret efforts by France’s nuclear company EDF to weaken safety rules

Poster EDF menteursafety-symbol-SmSafety fears over EDF bid to permit doubling of nuclear reactor cracks The Herald, 22 Jan 17  THE nuclear industry is secretly bidding to relax safety standards to allow the doubling of the number of cracks in the radioactive cores of Scotland’s ageing reactors

EDF Energy is asking for the safety rules to be rewritten so that it can keep running its nuclear power stations at Hunterston in North Ayrshire and Torness in East Lothian until they are at least 47 and 42 years old. They were originally designed to last 30 years.

Prolonged radiation bombardment causes the thousands of graphite bricks that make up reactor cores to crack, threatening a safe shutdown. But EDF is asking the UK government’s watchdog, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), to permit an increase in the proportion of cracked bricks from 10 to 20 per cent.

The revelation has sparked alarm from politicians and campaigners, who say that the industry is “gambling with public safety” and the public must be consulted. One leading expert argues that Hunterston should be immediately shut down

Hunterston started generating electricity in 1976. EDF currently plans to keep it operating until 2023, and the ONR is due to conclude a safety review of its future operation at the end of January

On January 13 EDF closed down one of Hunterston’s two reactors for planned maintenance, including inspections of cracking in the graphite core. The reactor is due to be restarted on February 10.

Torness was started up in 1988 and is currently planned to operate until 2030. The company, however, has said that it is hoping that the lives of both nuclear stations can be extended by a few more years.

EDF’s bid to relax safety standards at Hunterston and Torness is highlighted in a new report today for the Scottish Greens. It concludes that the risks from graphite cracking are serious and argues that an international convention demands that environmental risks must be assessed, alternative energy sources considered and the public consulted.

According to the report’s author, Edinburgh-based anti-nuclear campaigner and consultant, Peter Roche, Scotland doesn’t need nuclear electricity. “Despite the fact cracks are beginning in the graphite core of these reactors, increasing the risk for us all, the public has still not been asked for its opinion once,” he said……..

John Large, a consulting nuclear engineer, pointed out that the integrity of the graphite bricks was vital to nuclear safety. If they failed, they could block channels that enable control rods to be inserted to close down reactors and prevent them from overheating.

“Ageing problems like this serious cracking of the graphite bricks at the heart of each reactor are deeply worrying, so much so that these nuclear plants should now be permanently shut down,” he said.

Large accused EDF and the ONR of “false confidence” in believing they fully understood graphite cracking, which was difficult to predict. “The Hunterston B nuclear reactors now in their forty-first year of operation, should be immediately shut down,” he stated….

The company also argued that environmental impact assessments – and, by implication – public consultations were not required for life extensions at Hunterston and Torness..

ONR’s deputy chief inspector Mark Foy confirmed that EDF had asked for the proportion of graphite bricks allowed to be cracked to rise from 10 to 20 per cent. “That is provided to us in the form of a comprehensive justification, which we will assess to see whether we’re satisfied it’s safe to operate,” he said……..

January 23, 2017 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Pilgrim nuclear power station should be shut – NOW!

Pilgrim nuclear plantTime to pull the plug on Pilgrim Brookline Wicked Local  Jan 21, 2017 
 It is time to close Pilgrim nuke plant – now, not 2019. The plant’s abysmal safety record and the decision of the plant’s owner, Entergy Corp., to abandon the nuclear power business combine to raise overwhelming doubt about the wisdom of keeping the nuclear power plant operating one day longer than is absolutely necessary. Entergy’s plan to refuel the Pilgrim plant this year makes no sense in this environment. Our position on the nuke plant in Plymouth does not mean we are turning our backs on nuclear power. While we wish for the day when safe, renewable energy sources will light our homes and power our factories, we may well find that nuclear plays some role in our future energy mix. It is time, however, to turn off the reactor at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and begin what is likely to be a contentious, lengthy and expensive – most likely more than $1 billion – decommissioning of the plant…….

Last year was not a good year at Pilgrim. Tagged by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission as one of the three most troublesome plants in the country, it experienced a series of failures in 2016 that further eroded confidence in safety at the plant. During a routine inspection on Dec. 1, NRC employees said they found nine violations – three reported by the company and six discovered during the inspection. Specifically, the NRC said Entergy did not “maintain equipment availability, challenge unusual conditions, use prudent decision-making.”

The real hit came from another NRC inspection conducted by a team of 20 inspectors over a period of three weeks in December. After the first week, one of the leaders on that team wrote an email that was accidently sent to a leader of Cape Downwinders, a citizens group that wants the Pilgrim plant closed.

That email said the plant staff appeared “overwhelmed by just trying to run the station” and that there was a “safety culture problem” at Pilgrim. Jackson’s preliminary findings included failure by the staff to properly fix broken equipment, a lack of required expertise among plant specialist, failure of some staff to understand their roles and responsibilities and a team of employees who appear to be struggling with keeping the plant running.

At the request of Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, the state’s congressionaL delegation and a score of state legislators and local officials, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it would hold a meeting in Plymouth to hear the concerns about Pilgrim. No date has been set for the meeting.

Entergy announced last April that is would refuel the Pilgrim reactor this spring. The common industry practice is to replace one-third of a reactor’s nuclear fuel every two years, and that usually costs roughly $40 million. There may be a more compelling way for Entergy to spend $40 million.

Decommissioning Pilgrim could take as long as 70 years. A special fund to pay for that decommissioning is robust because Boston Edison put money into it. Entergy has not done that, saying there was enough money in the fund to satisfy regulatory requirements. But Entergy is going to have to pay some portion of the cost of making the plant and its environs safe for other uses. Shut the plant down now and save that $40 million.

While we understand that Entergy may have obligations to supply electricity to the regional power grid through May 2019, but there are solutions to that, even if the company has to spend money on it. It is time for the company and public officials, particularly the NRC, to shut Pilgrim down.

January 23, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s rush to save itself from financial doom, caused by its nuclear market failure

Analysis – As nuclear loss grows, Toshiba needs chip investors, soon Reuters By Makiko Yamazaki and Kentaro Hamada 22 JAN 17  TOKYO With mounting writedowns from its nuclear business, Japan’s Toshiba Corp (6502.T) is looking to sell part of its core semiconductors business, a world No.2 in the flash memory chips used in smartphones.

But its rush to plug a hole in its U.S. nuclear business that Japanese media now estimate at as much as $6 billion may complicate any asset sale.

Toshiba, which warned last month of multi-billion dollar charges for U.S. nuclear project cost overruns, wants to boost its capital base by the end of the financial year in March.

Failure to offset the nuclear hit could wipe out already thin shareholder equity and push the company into negative net worth – jeopardising its role in public infrastructure projects and its place on the Tokyo Stock Exchange’s ‘first section’, for larger companies.

Following a 2015 accounting scandal, the conglomerate is barred from raising fresh funding on equity markets. Selling assets, though, could help it win broader financial support from its main banks.

Toshiba could sell 20-30 percent of its chip business, according to media reports.

The business, worth more than $10 billion, is the world’s second largest after Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) in flash memory chips – and it’s Toshiba’s most profitable.

Operating profit is forecast at 130 billion yen (913.35 million pounds) for the year to end-March, accounting for the bulk of overall group profit, forecast at 180 billion yen. Those forecasts were made before its December warning of the U.S. nuclear charges.

People with knowledge of the matter said Toshiba has begun preparations to sell a minority stake in its chip business. One person said non-disclosure agreement forms have been sent to some private equity funds……..

As Toshiba has ruled out ceding control of the chips business, it may also seek state help, as other troubled Japanese technology companies have done in previous restructurings, the sources said.

Another person familiar with the matter said the state-run Development Bank of Japan is among several funds Toshiba may approach for possible investment in its chip business, though the bank could be put off by the size of investment needed.

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Kentaro Hamada; Writing by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

January 23, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Russia trying to sell nuclear power to Kuwait

nuclear-marketing-crapRussia, Kuwait Discuss Possible Construction of Nuclear Power Plant   MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and Kuwait discussed possible construction of a nuclear power plant (NPP) as well as cooperation in the spheres of petroleum services and gas, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 broadcaster on Sunday…….

January 23, 2017 Posted by | marketing, Russia | Leave a comment