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After years of setbacks, Japanese unfit for nuclear energy projects

No one is fit for nuclear.

Not those who believed that they were nor those who still believe that they are.

Let’s all ban this deadly industry from our planet earth!

 

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According to a well-known joke about the national traits of Europeans, it is heaven if the chefs are French, the engineers are German and the bankers are Swiss and it is hell if the chefs are British, the engineers are French and the bankers are Italian.”
As for the Japanese? They appear not suited to a particular field — nuclear energy. And that is no joke. The development of nuclear technology as part of national policy and by private nuclear businesses has repeatedly experienced failure, causing problems to numerous people and wasting a massive amount of money.

Mutsu, Japan’s first and only nuclear-powered ship which was launched in the early 1970s, suffered a radiation leakage and was decommissioned in 1992 after having only four experimental runs.

The government decided late last year to decommission the prototype fast-breeder reactor Monju in Fukui Prefecture, which has hardly been in operation for more than 20 years following a fire triggered by a sodium leak broke out at the facility in 1995.

Construction work on a spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, got underway in 1993, but its completion was postponed 23 times and there are no prospects that it will be put in operation in the foreseeable future.

Roughly 5 trillion yen has so far been spent on nuclear projects in Japan.

In March 2011, a serious accident occurred at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant after the complex was hit by a massive tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Over 80,000 residents from areas near the atomic power station are still living outside the affected areas as evacuees. The costs of dealing with the nuclear crisis have already surpassed 20 trillion yen.

Meanwhile, Toshiba Corp. has added a new page to the negative history of Japan’s nuclear development.

In 2006, Toshiba acquired Westinghouse Electric Co., a U.S. nuclear plant company, for over 600 billion yen. The deal was criticized as too costly, but Toshiba wanted to control the world nuclear power market. Toshiba’s president at the time was upbeat about the takeover saying, “We’ll conduct business aggressively.”

Nevertheless, Toshiba will likely suffer nearly 1 trillion yen in losses from the deal because the electronics giant failed to find hidden problems involving its U.S. nuclear power unit. The world nuclear power market has shrunk since the outbreak of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Following revelations that it had padded its profits through accounting irregularities, Toshiba downsized its workforce by more than 10,000 people, but its rehabilitation efforts are still insufficient. Its financial difficulties have even put the company’s survival in jeopardy.

Physicist and technology commentator Kiyoshi Sakurai, who is well versed in technical problems and accidents involving nuclear plants, warned in a past Mainichi Shimbun interview, “Only a handful of those concerned with a certain project loudly underscore the significance of the project. These people could self-righteously go too far without understanding the project’s objectivity or necessity.”

His remarks remind the public of a past silly war (World War II).

More sadly, it is feared that Japanese people traumatized by the atomic bombing tend to stick to the peaceful use of atomic energy and have lost the capacity for calm and rational judgment.

After reviewing the above, one can see that Japanese people are unfit for nuclear energy development projects. (By Hideaki Nakamura, Editorial Writer)

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170125/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

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January 25, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Donald Trump cracks down on scientists and science agencies

civil liberties USATrump Just Ordered Government Scientists to Hide Facts From the Public He also immediately suspended all EPA contracts and grants.Mother Jones, JAN. 24, 2017 Throughout Donald Trump’s campaign, he and his proxies consistently expressed hostility to government regulation, particularly of the fossil fuel and agriculture industries. Within days of taking over, the Trump administration has already put a squeeze on the two agencies that most directly regulate Big Energy and Big Ag, the Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Agriculture.

At the EPA, the administration has  ordered that “all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately,” ProPublica writers Andrew Revkin and Jesse Eisinger report, quoting an internal EPA email they obtained. Myron Ebell, the climate change denier who led the Trump team’s EPA transition and directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, confirmed the suspension, Revkin and Eisenger report.

That’s potentially a massive blow to the agency’s core functions, says Patty Lovera, assistant director of the environmental watchdog group Food & Water Watch. “The EPA’s not necessarily out there running a bulldozer to clean up a toxic site,” she says. Superfund, an EPA program responsible for cleaning up the nation’s most contaminated land, is executed through contracts, she said. The EPA turns to contractors for “tons of water stuff, too”—from monitoring water quality downstream from polluters to helping municipalities update water infrastructure to avoid toxins.

“It’s one thing to put a pause on new contracts so they can be reviewed, but to reach back and stop existing ones is a whole other can of worms,” Lovera said.

in Flint, Michigan, where lead contamination has led to the nation’s most notorious drinking-water catastrophe in years, the announcement brought uncertainty and confusion. “State officials are seeking more information on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency freeze on grants and contracts and what it could mean to $100 million in federal funds already appropriated for the Flint water crisis,” the news site MLive.com reported Tuesday. In statement quoted by MLive.com, the press secretary for Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder noted that “we haven’t received any guidance from the federal government” about the EPA’s funding to address the Flint crisis.

Andrew Rosenberg, who directs the Center for Science and Democracy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, adds research to the list. The agency funds crucial environmental science through contracts with outside scientists, and interruptions to their funding can be devastating, he said. He likened the situation to the government shutdown of 2013, which temporarily blacked research funding throughout the federal government, including the EPA. In a blog post at the time, Rosenberg quoted an EPA scientist he interviewed on the effects of such interruptions:

A toxicologist who works for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed great frustration that the crucial work of testing chemicals on the market for toxicity has been interrupted. This work had been slow and complex, and short of manpower. Now, things are worse, the scientist writes. “The next time you reach under the sink to pull out a cleaning product, ask yourself if you’d really like to know if it was causing cancer, or if it was safe.” The shutdown, the toxicologist concludes, will keep toxic chemicals on the shelves “longer than they otherwise should have.”

Of course, it remains unclear exactly how far-ranging the contract suspension is—and that brings us to another move from the White House: a media blackout.  . TheHuffington Post‘s Kate Sheppard got hold of an internal EPA email sent to staff Monday blocking all press releases, social-media messages, and blog posts. As for answering queries from journalists, “Incoming media requests will be carefully screened,” the email stated. My own calls and emails to EPA spokespeople on Tuesday went unanswered.

Meanwhile, over at the USDA, a similar media blackout is afoot, reports BuzzFeed‘s Dino Grandoni:………

f the funding interruptions and media blackouts continue, she said, much of what the USDA and EPA do to study and protect the public from polluting industries will be negated. And that might be the point, she said: If you can prevent public agencies from conducting vital functions, “you can say they don’t do anything and justify cutting their funding.”

On a positive note, all the information that emerged Tuesday on the EPA and the USDA came from internal leaks. Trump may be determined to keep these crucial watchdog and research agencies tightly muzzled, but at least some career bureaucrats and scientists appear unwilling to keep the public in the dark http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/01/trump-has-already-cracked-down-epa-and-usda

January 25, 2017 Posted by | civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

Victoria, Australia, shows how to develop energy efficiency

text-relevantenergy-efficiency-manVICTORIA ENGAGING WITH SMES ON RESOURCE EFFICIENCYflag-Australia https://www.theclimategroup.org/news/victoria-engaging-smes-resource-efficiency
New case study shows how the Australian state is supporting businesses on energy and materials efficiency  by Virginia Bagnoli 
24 January 2017 LONDON: The Climate Group has published a new case study, showing how the Australian state of Victoria is engaging small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to support them in improving energy and materials efficiency.

The new study demonstrates how SMEs can significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while substantially improving energy efficiency by applying sustainable resource management and energy efficient production processes.

The state of Victoria identified these gaps and designed a new program tailored to SMEs to help them change inefficient practices, save money and increase productivity through energy and materials efficiency measures.

VICTORIA’S APPROACH

SMEs have historically been difficult to reach and engage with on environmental programs due to company priorities and a traditional focus on shorter-term business requirements. Victoria understood that the program needed to align with fundamental business needs and provide multiple points of entry to make participation accessible.

Victoria’s program is also being viewed as particularly innovative due to its multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenges of information, understanding the business case and accessing capital. This approach was delivered by assessing and understanding the barriers for SMEs, communicating effectively to channel the multiple benefits associated with energy and materials savings, and leveraging existing policies and programs.

The program components targeted businesses at different stages of ‘readiness’ – ranging from businesses at an exploratory stage wanting to determine how they could benefit from energy and/or materials efficiency, through to businesses ready to implement specific projects.

Eligible businesses could apply for a grant to partly cover the cost of a materials efficiency or energy efficiency assessment. A competitive, merit‑based application process provided three rounds of grants of up to A$50,000 to support businesses in managing the costs of implementing materials efficiency projects. Grants of up to A$25,000 were available for energy efficiency projects (with businesses contributing at least half the cost of the project).

MAKING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR ENERGY EFFICIENCY

The program ran from 2012 to 2016 and since its launch it has achieved tangible results: three rounds of grants over the past two years have provided A$3.8 million in funding to over 140 projects and these businesses are expected to save a combined A$4.74 million a year.

Recruiting businesses to the program was the greatest challenge encountered. According to the Victorian government, SMEs typically have little time to devote to what is not seen as a strategic priority for them. The key solution to this has been to convince businesses that energy and materials efficiency will help with business-critical issues and to provide financial support in order to create efficiency change and transform business performance.

Through the program, Victoria has implemented an effective method of approaching businesses and making the program attractive to them; a considerable challenge giving that materials efficiency in particular is a new concept to most businesses and service providers.

Using what was learned from the program, Victoria also recently embarked on a new initiative for SMEs, SV Business – Boosting Productivity, which will work with an additional 1,000 SMEs.

Download the Victoria case study here and find all the Policy Innovation program case studies here.

The Climate Group supports state and regional governments in developing effective climate change and clean energy policies through its Policy Innovation program. State and regional governments around the world are developing a new generation of innovative climate and energy policies and our Policy Innovation program showcases and explores these emerging models, working closely with governments for them to scale globally.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, ENERGY | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby dumping its climate change argument, in order to suit Donald Trump

Under Trump, INL pivots its nuclear message Post Register  January 24, 2017 By LUKE RAMSETH lramseth@postregister.com   Idaho National Laboratory officials are considering how to shift their message under a Trump administration that has sent mixed signals on energy research and the existence of climate change.

When discussing the lab’s nuclear research capabilities, officials plan to focus more on themes such as energy security, nonproliferation and job creation — and less on climate change.

trump-and-nuclear-lobby

“We’re actively talking right now, and working to pivot our strategy to reflect the new administration’s priorities,” INL Director Mark Peters said in an interview earlier this month.

Lab officials and other experts say they expect funding levels for INL’s nuclear and national security missions to remain largely the same under Trump, while renewable energy research — a relatively small part of the INL budget — could take a big hit. But concrete details won’t be known until more U.S. Department of Energy leadership positions are announced, and a Trump budget proposal is released.

“I maintain that there’s opportunity,” Peters said. “I’m particularly excited about broadening the nuclear conversation.”

New leadership

One thing is clear: The DOE — like nearly all federal agencies under Trump — is set to undergo sweeping changes. Those changes most likely will be overseen by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who underwent a Thursday confirmation hearing with Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. A vote by the committee, and later the full Senate, is expected in the coming days.

Perry’s background is dramatically different from the previous energy secretary Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Moniz is a “unique guy,” Peters said.

“You don’t typically get a Ph.D, a nuclear physicist, who can walk around Washington the way he could, and be effective,” Peters said. But that “certainly doesn’t say you can’t have a person with a very different set of qualifications who can’t be effective as well.”……..

At the hearing, Perry outlined an “all-of-the-above” energy approach he would take as leader of the DOE. It was an approach he said included renewable energy in an effort to address climate change. He pledged to protect DOE budgets on “all of the science,” which would include research at the national laboratories.

But a report by The Hill, published last week, said Trump staffers were in fact considering eliminating DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and pulling back DOE research funding in several other areas. It said the proposed cuts were similar to those pitched last year by the conservative Heritage Foundation……..

NL officials will be watching closely who is appointed for leadership positions under Perry, especially in the Office of Nuclear Energy. The previous leader of the department, John Kotek — who had strong ties to Idaho and INL — recently departed for a position with the Nuclear Energy Institute.

“I’m focused like a laser on who replaces John,” Peters said. “That’s important to us, because we’re that lab (under Office of Nuclear Energy). So they steward this laboratory. That person is a partner for us.”

Peters — who said he has “continued optimism” about the coming years….http://www.postregister.com/articles/news-daily-email-todays-headlines-nation-world/2017/01/24/under-trump-inl-pivots-its#

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

China challenges Donald Trump, in deploying nuclear missiles close to Russia

flag-Chinamissiles s korea museumChina Announces Deployment of New Long Range Nuclear Missile, Popular Mechanics. 24 Jan 17 
The target—at least of the announcement—is Trump. 
In a rare move, China has publicly announced the deployment of a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The Dong Feng (“East Wind”) -41 missile, or DF-41, can carry up to a dozen nuclear warheads and China claims it has the longest range of any nuclear missile in the world. The announcement of the missiles is likely a warning to U.S. President Donald Trump, who is known for sharply worded anti-Chinese rhetoric and has announced plans for a new ballistic missile system.

 According to China’s Global Times newspaper, the People’s Liberation Army has deployed its newest intercontinental ballistic missile to Heilongjiang Province. The article cited eyewitness photos culled from Chinese social media by news media in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The photos showed heavy missile launchers, also known as transporter/erector/launchers (TELs) moving through Daqing City in Heilongjiang.

The DF-41 is described by Global Times as the most advanced ICBM in the world. It reportedly has a range of 8,699 miles, enough to hit any target on Earth with the exception of South America and parts of Antarctica. It can carry up to 12 nuclear warheads, and travels on China’s nationwide network of roads to make it difficult to track down and destroy.

The location of the missiles and the timing of the release are notable. Heilongjiang Province is in Northern China, near the country’s long border with Russia. The DF-41’s long range, if accurate, means it could be based anywhere and still hit any useful target on Earth, but the implication is that China considers Russia a friendly country.

 While China tends to be low-key regarding nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence, this seems like a deliberate move to make a subtle threat. After all, it was probably completely unnecessary to move strategic nuclear weapons through a city of 2.9 million people, unless you want to get the word out. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has been talking tough about China as well as enhancing America’s ballistic missile shield. If China wanted to overwhelm the shield with more missiles, the DF-41 would be the way to do it………http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a24893/china-announces-deployment-long-range-nuclear-missile/

January 25, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear energy corporation EDF lobbies UK govt to weaken safety rules

safety-symbol-Smflag-UKWhat could go wrong? Nuclear energy giant wants safety rules relaxed https://www.rt.com/uk/374788-nuclear-plant-edf-safety/ 24 Jan, 2017 A nuclear energy company is trying to keep Scotland’s aging power stations open years longer than is allowed under current government regulations.

EDF Energy is asking the UK government’s nuclear watchdog to allow its power station in Hunterston, North Ayrshire, to continue running until it is 47 years old, and its facility in Torness, East Lothian, to remain open until it is 42 years old.

The power plants were designed to last only 30 years, according to investigative news site the Ferret.

The revelation has caused concern among experts and politicians, who fear continued use of the nuclear reactors could put the public at risk.

EDF Energy, which is majority-owned by the French government, has requested the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) to permit an increase in the proportion of cracked graphite bricks in the two power plants from 10 to 20 percent.

In order to generate nuclear energy, thousands of graphite bricks used to make up reactor cores are bombarded with radiation. When these bricks begin to crack, it threatens the plant’s ability to make a safe shutdown.

The Hunterston and Torness power plants have both already seen their lifespans extended by seven years, until 2023 and 2030 respectively.

A report for the Scottish Green Party by Pete Roche, of the Edinburgh Energy and Environment Consultancy, quotes a senior EDF figure as saying the lifespans of the plants could be extended even further.

EDF Scottish Business Director Paul Winkle told a fringe meeting at the Scottish National Party (SNP)’s 2016 conference this will depend on the company’s assessments, according to the report.

The current life for Hunterston is 2023 and Torness is 2030, and that is based on our assessment of aging mechanisms in those plants and being absolutely sure that when they are shut down they are still safe to operate.

But to go beyond that we will do assessments and it may be possible to make some small further extensions, but we will not operate them beyond when we are confident they are safe to operate.

Our current estimate is, with Hunterston, we get to a point where, if we go beyond 2023 there will be uncertainty. We will do more analysis in due course. Those dates are based on our best judgement.

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer warned local communities would be concerned by the proposals.

The lack of public consultation is just unacceptable,” he said.

If we did this properly, the public would reject an aging, cracking, safety hazard. The Scottish government’s relaxed position on nuclear needs [to be] challenged. We simply don’t need to sweat these plants and add to our toxic legacy.”

January 25, 2017 Posted by | safety, UK | Leave a comment

Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) urges UK Labor leader to oppose nuclear power station planned for Moorside

Jeremy Corbyn urged to oppose nuclear power station planned for Moorside A campaign group is calling on moorside-nugen-cumbria-planLabour leader Jeremy Corbyn to publicly oppose nuclear new-build plans in west Cumbria. News and Star, 24 Jan  17 

Radiation Free Lakeland (RFL) has written to Mr Corbyn to urge him to lodge his “firm and outspoken” opposition to plans for a three-reactor station at Moorside, on land next to Sellafield.

By doing so, adds RFL, Mr Corbyn would “galvanise and inspire nuclear opponents, and give them a compelling reason to vote Labour”.

RFL’s letter comes in the week that Mr Corbyn – who has been described as “anti-nuclear” by opponents – has twice visited Copeland ahead of a hotly-anticipated Parliamentary by-election to replace Jamie Reed.  In her letter to Mr brkby-marianneCorbyn, RFL’s Marianne Birkby points to safety concerns about the design of the AP1000 reactors proposed for Moorside, and the “intolerable nuclear burden” already faced locally…..

She also draws his attention to a petition – Stop Moorside: the biggest nuclear development in Europe – that has attracted over 11,000 signatures.

She said: “We oppose Moorside and feel that you may be underestimating the strength of feeling against the plans. “When you appeared on The Andrew Marr Show last weekend, you missed the chance to condemn the project.

“Please set aside the siren voices that are working hard to convince you that outright opposition to Moorside would be a vote-loser.

“Instead, listen to the voices of resistance, which include many Labour voters previously encouraged by your rational, well-informed spepticism of the nuclear industry and its taxpayer-funded spin doctors.”

NuGen, the firm behind plans for Moorside, is currently analysing feedback from last summer’s public consultation into the plant.

The firm hopes to get the final go ahead in 2018. http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/Jeremy-Corbyn-urged-to-oppose-nuclear-power-station-planned-for-Moorside-30bf74c4-e216-4b83-92d3-439aacffc817-ds

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Pakistan test-fires nuclear missile capable of hitting multiple targets,

http://zeenews.india.com/asia/pakistan-test-fires-nuclear-missile-capable-of-hitting-multiple-targets_1970284.html
 January 24, 2017 Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday “successfully” test-fired its second indigenously-developed nuclear-capable missile, Ababeel, with a range of 2,200 km and capable of “engaging multiple targets with high precision”. The test firing comes two weeks after the launch of submarine-fired Babar III, that Indian analysts dubbed as fake.

In an apparent reference to India, Pakistan Military spokesperson Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said: “The development of the Ababeel weapon system was aimed at ensuring survivability of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles in the growing regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.”

The missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology. “The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system,” Maj Gen Ghafoor said in a statement.

“Ababeel is capable of carrying nuclear warheads and has the capability to engage multiple targets with high precision, defeating the enemy’s hostile radars,” it added.

On January 8, Pakistan conducted its first successful test fire of submarine launched cruise missile Babur III having a range of 450 km. The missile was fired from an underwater, mobile platform and hit its target with precise accuracy.

The Babur weapons system incorporates advanced aerodynamics and avionics that can strike targets both at land and sea with high accuracy, according to ISPR. It has been described as a low flying, terrain hugging missile, which carries certain stealth features and is capable of carrying various types of warheads.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | Pakistan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

China deploys nuclear missiles to the Russia-China border in the northeast Heilongjiang province

Is China Going To War? Nuclear Missiles Deployed To Russian Border, Putin’s Kremlin Responds http://www.ibtimes.com/china-going-war-nuclear-missiles-deployed-russian-border-putins-kremlin-responds-2480325 BY  @CHRISRIOTTA ON 01/24/17 The Chinese government reportedly deployed nuclear missiles to the Russia-China border in the northeast Heilongjiang province, an act Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government described as a nonissue Tuesday, Russian and Chinese media reported. The ballistic missiles, called the Dongfeng-41 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, are capable of traveling up to 15,000 kilometers and was successfully tested with dummy warheads by the Chinese government in the South China Sea in April last year.

Unverified photos and videos of the massive ballistic missiles being deployed in the Chinese suburb made waves online as they spread across social media throughout this month. The footage had not been reported on until Tuesday, when the Kremlin’s Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said “[Russia doesn’t] see the military disposition of China as a threat to our country,” the Moscow Times reported Tuesday.

A video posted to Twitter shows officials guiding a large vehicle along a highway as it carried what appeared to be the DF-41 intercontinental missile.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | China, weapons and war | Leave a comment

NuScale’s “small modular reactor” not clean, safe, or even small, really

NuScale won’t solve energy problems http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/opinion/mailbag/letter-nuscale-won-t-solve-energy-problems/article_84aa2a03-1d03-53aa-be1a-3e86e1f80869.html Jan 23, 2017 

smr-on-truck

The Gazette-Times’ Jan. 13 article about NuScale’s reactor certification, needs some clarification. NuScale’s “small modular reactor” is not: an answer to climate change, small, a “clean energy” source, nor inherently safe.

The nuclear industry has been selling us a story that nuclear power is a solution to climate change because it does not generate carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas. While this is true of the nuclear chain reaction itself, the front and back ends of nuclear power generate a large volume of CO2 and leave a trail of endlessly dangerous radioactivity along the way.

 At the front end of nuclear power, carbon energy is used for uranium mining, processing, conversion, and enrichment, as well as for transportation, formulation of rods and construction of nuclear reactors (power plants). At the back end, there is the task of decommissioning and isolating highly radioactive nuclear waste for millennia — a task which science has so far not been able to address.
NuScale’s power plants are not small. Their plants contain 50 megawatt modules, but to be competitive with solar energy, wind energy or natural gas, they need all 12 modules (600 megawatts). Nuclear energy is not “clean energy.” This is understood with the ongoing Fukushima or Chernobyl tragedies. NuScale’s is not a fail-safe system, regardless of the nonhuman intervention with its passive design. Neither Mother Nature nor human nature can be anticipated completely. NuScale is not the answer to our energy problems, it will just add to them. Wind, solar and efficiency are better investments.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Solar power costs fell 25% in only 5 months

text-relevantThe Cost of Solar Power Has Fallen 25% in Only 5 Months, Futurism, Dom Galeon, Oct 2016 It seems that we have truly entered a new era in energy production—in renewable energy production, that is. Over the past new months, the cost of solar power has plummeted, and it seems that things are going to stay this way. Indeed, “there’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again,” former Masdar Clean Energy director Frank Wouters noted in a recent interview with Electrek.The cost of building solar plants has declined by 25 percent in just five months, according to two recent bids in China and Dubai.

The reduction in price follows a broader trend of solar affordability brought on by cheaper solar panels.

If governments and innovators continue to invest in these energy sources in the way that they have been, Wouters statements are easy to believe.

In just 5 months, prices have dropped some 25%. This development is shown in the recent, and staggeringly low, construction bids on solar projects in China ($0.46/W for 500MW of solar power) and Dubai ($0.023/kWh for 1.2GW of solar power).

Several factors have driven these relatively inexpensive bids. In China, solar power is incentivized. To that end, decreasing hardware prices have largely fueled the drastic drop—solar panel costs, for instance, have declined remarkably since the first quarter of this year. And in Abu Dhabi, solar panels produce more power than usual because the city enjoys some of the best sunlight exposure in the world.

Still, Abu Dhabi isn’t the only location with ideal conditions.

Last year, Costa Rica powered itself purely with renewable energy for 299 days total. This year, they already surpassed 150 days. The success, as is true in the other recent successes, isn’t just due to the country’s size or location. The government is serious in its effort to eliminate the use of fossil fuels.

And other countries are also stepping up to the plate. Thus, this most recent drops herald a notable trend that is, at the present time, showing no sign of slowing……. https://futurism.com/solar-power-cost-has-dropped-25-in-only-5-months/

January 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

USA Congress supports small nuclear reactors

fleecing-taxpayer

Congress Passes Unconventional Nuclear Power Bill ANDREW FOLLETT,  Daily Caller, 24 Jan 17   House lawmakers passed legislation Monday to support unconventional nuclear power.

If signed by President Trump, the proposal could change how the government regulates nuclear power and create a boom in the utilization of advanced unconventional reactor technology. The bill was sponsored by two Republicans and three Democrats.

“We believe that trailblazing the advance of nuclear energy technology including Gen 3+, Small Modular Reactors, Non-Light Water Reactor (LWR) Advanced Reactors and Fusion Reactors is one of the key imperatives for U.S. market competitiveness,” David Blee, executive director of the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council (NIC), told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“It is vital to maintaining the U.S. lead in technology innovation, safety enhancements, energy security and clean energy,” Blee said…….

text-SMRsEnergy companies in Idaho and Utah announced plans in June to build twelve small modular reactors to provide electricity to nine western states.

Getting regulators to consider approving an unconventional nuclear design is incredibly expensive. The company NuScale was required to produce a 12,000-page document and spend $500 million dollars just to get the government to consider its designs. The company thinks it won’t be able to commercialize small modular reactors by 2026 at the earliest due to regulatory delays…….

Getting regulatory approval from the NRC to build a new conventional reactor can take up to 25 years…….. http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/24/congress-passes-unconventional-nuclear-power-bill/

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Closure of Fessenheim nuclear plant approved by EDF

nuclear-dominoesflag-franceEDF board approves closure of oldest nuclear power station in France
Decision on Fessenheim plant comes after pressure from Berlin and need to comply with legal cap on atomic energy generation,
Guardian, , 25 Jan 17, EDF has voted to begin the process of closing France’s oldest nuclear power station after pressure from Germany and a law capping the country’s reliance on atomic power.

The French energy firm’s board approved plans on Tuesday to close the 39-year old Fessenheim plant in north-east France, near the German border, allaying fears that the company, which is 85%-state owned, would drag its heels until President François Hollande left office later this year.

Hollande had promised in his manifesto to shut the site in an effort to build an alliance with the Green party. Fessenheim has also been the subject of complaints about safety from the German and Swiss governments.

Under Hollande, France has pledged to reduce its reliance on nuclear from 78% of electricity generation to 50% by 2025 and increase its use of renewables, such as wind and solar. The country’s nuclear plants are ageing, with many expected to come to the end of their life in the 2030s.

France’s energy transition law caps the amount of nuclear power at 63.2 gigawatts, meaning the Fessenheim plant needs to close in 2018 to pave the way for a new one at Flamanville.

Under the deal agreed by EDF, the company will be paid €490m (£420m) in compensation for dismantling the plant and retraining its 850 workers.

“With this decision on the part of its board of directors, EDF is guaranteeing compliance with legislation imposing a ceiling for France’s installed nuclear electricity generation capacity, while at the same time safeguarding to the utmost the interests of the company and its customers,” said Jean-Bernard Lévy, its chief executive……..https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/24/edf-board-approves-closure-of-oldest-nuclear-power-station-france-fessenheim-plant

January 25, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Nuclear weapons make us LESS safe – as shown by the recent Trident misfire

Trident misfire spotlights the danger of fat fingers on nuclear buttons, Guardian, 23 Jan 17   Frank Jackson Former co-chair, World Disarmament Campaign The failure of a Trident missile test (May accused of covering up Trident failure, 23 January) is only the latest of many known accidents and miscalculations with nuclear weapon systems, and probably even more that have been concealed, like this one. With 15,000 nuclear warheads in the world, most held by the United States and Russia, and many on hair-trigger alert, it is remarkable that none has yet resulted in an actual nuclear detonation. But if we do not abolish nuclear weapons, it is surely only a matter of time.

This latest incident emphasises even more strongly that the forthcoming UN multilateral negotiations towards a nuclear weapon ban treaty, which will make all nuclear weapons illegal, must succeed. It will then kickstart the process of their abolition, which almost every public figure claims to desire. For example, the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, is on the record as saying: “We share the vision of a world that is without nuclear weapons, achieved through multilateral disarmament.”……..

Symon Hill

Co-ordinator, Peace Pledge UnionWhile Theresa May dodges questions about Trident, five people – including members of the Peace Pledge Union – are on trial in Reading for impeding Trident production. They blocked one of the gates to the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire last June – at around the same time that the Trident missile test was going wrong.

The problem is not simply that a Trident missile was fired in the “wrong” direction. There is no “right” direction to fire a missile. Killing millions of people is morally repugnant, whatever part of the world they live in. However, news of the test utterly undermines the claims of those who insist that Trident could never malfunction. The prospect of death and destruction caused by an accident is no less terrifying than the thought of it being caused deliberately.

While May talks of “national security”, the campaigners in the dock this week have shown far more concern for human safety. May covered up the truth. The defendants in Reading are witnessing to the truth that weapons don’t protect us, they only make us all less safe…….https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/24/trident-misfire-spotlights-the-danger-of-fat-fingers-on-nuclear-buttons

January 25, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Brexit has blown Britain’s chance of closer nuclear ties with France

Closer nuclear ties with France have been blown by Brexit, Independent, Martin Deighton, 23 Jan 17   “…The UK is planning to pay £30bn to upgrade Trident. The UK will not own the missiles but will lease them under licence controls from the US. UK Submarines will have to report to King George Bay in the state of Georgia in order to be regularly inspected and serviced and armed with the leased missiles. In its latest test, the Trident missile misfired.

We now have Trump on one flank, a President who not only considers Nato to be obsolete but will also have total control of the nuclear armaments and facilities in the US; and we have Putin on the other flank, a President of Russia with apparent and activated plans to expand into Eastern Europe……

France has suggested that the UK and France should join forces in the funding, expansion and deployment of these armaments as a truly European nuclear deterrent………..But of course this cooperation is now unlikely as we have decided to walk away from the EU.

January 25, 2017 Posted by | politics international, UK | Leave a comment