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Toshiba cancels all nuclear plant construction, chairman to quit, causing happy anti nuclear activists in Japan!

Kyodo — Jan 29
Toshiba Corp. will take no new orders related to the construction of nuclear power stations, with the company’s chairman expected to resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business, sources said Saturday.
The company’s decision to cease taking orders effectively marks its withdrawal from the plant construction business.

Toshiba said Friday it will review nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds by selling a stake in the new chip company, covering the expected write-down in the nuclear business which could reach 700 billion yen ($6.08 billion).


January 28, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Britain’s offshore wind power turns out to be much cheaper than expected

text-relevantUK offshore wind power falls below £100/MWh 4 Years ahead of schedule, REneweconomy By  on 27 January 2017 Cleantechnica

Offshore wind farm (Deepwater image)

A new report has shown the cost of UK offshore wind power has fallen below the joint UK Government and industry target of £100 per megawatt-hour four years ahead of schedule, putting offshore wind on target to become one of the cheapest large-scale clean energy sources

The third annual Cost Reduction Monitoring Framework report was delivered this week by ORE (Offshore Renewable Energy) Catapult to the Offshore Wind Programme Board, showing that the levelized cost of offshore wind has fallen by 32% since 2012, and now sits under £100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), four years ahead of the scheduled target set by the UK Government with the UK’s offshore wind industry.

Specifically, offshore wind projects reaching a Final Investment Decision in 2015 and 2016 were done at an average levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of £97/MWh, compared to £142/MWh in 2010/11.

The report also highlights that high industry confidence exists for offshore wind’s ability to continue delivering cost savings as a result of technological innovation and continued collaboration across the sector.

Additional key findings from the report include:

January 28, 2017 Posted by | Unc

January 28, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, renewable, UK | Leave a comment

It ‘looks as if the world is preparing for war’ – Mikhail Gorbachev

gorbachev-mikhailMikhail Gorbachev: It ‘looks as if the world is preparing for war’ as nuclear threat re-emerges, Telegraph   Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that a new arms race means “the nuclear threat once again seems real” as he stated it “looks as if the world is preparing for war”.

The former Soviet leader called on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin to work together to take steps to reduce the world’s nuclear arsenal.

“Politicians and military leaders sound increasingly belligerent and defence doctrines more dangerous. Commentators and TV personalities are joining the bellicose chorus. It all looks as if the world is preparing for war,” he wrote in an article for Timemagazine.

Mr Gorbachev said the US and Russian presidents should champion a resolution at the UN Security Council to guard against a nuclear conflict.

“I think the initiative to adopt such a resolution should come from Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin – the presidents of two nations that hold over 90% of the world’s nuclear arsenals and therefore bear a special responsibility,” he wrote……

Mr Gorbachev, who detailed his own efforts at denuclearisation during the dying days of the Cold War in the 1980s, issued a stark warning of a world where weapons of mass destruction were becoming cheaper and more readily available.

“Money is easily found for sophisticated weapons whose destructive power is comparable to that of the weapons of mass destruction; for submarines whose single salvo is capable of devastating half a continent; for missile defence systems that undermine strategic stability,” he wrote.

He said his proposed UN Security Council resolution should state “nuclear war is unacceptable and must never be fought”…….

January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Fake charity (nuclear lobby) The Weinberg Foundation is whining about Britain leaving Euratom

text-weinberg-whinyLeaving Euratom: the government should reconsider, Weinberg Next Nuclear 27 Jan 17   “…….A complex set of negotiations will now have to take place as most nuclear co-operation with the UK relies on safeguards provided through Euratom. It may not be possible to agree and ratify new agreements before Britain leaves the EU in 2019. According to Vince Zabielski, a senior lawyer at law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, “current new build projects will be placed on hold while those standalone treaties are negotiated” meaning possible delays at Hinkley as well as Bradwell, Moorside and Wylfa.

The decision however is not just bad for the UK, but for nuclear as a whole. With the UK one of the last big supporters of the technology, weakening its strength in the field will give power to anti-nuclear camps across the continent.

Weinberg Next Nuclear is very concerned that the departure from Euratom could severely damage the UK’s nuclear industry, with impacts on energy security, industrial competitiveness and decarbonisation objectives. We find no reason why such drastic action needs to be taken. Article 50 deals with the two Treaties of Lisbon: the Treaty on the European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However the Euratom treaty is separate, not mentioned in either of the above treaties thus there is no reason for including Euratom in any part of Article 50 debate. As Jonathan Leech, a senior lawyer and nuclear expert at Prospect Law said, “there doesn’t seem to have been any real explanation as to why, because we are going towards the unknown at great speed. Legally we don’t have to [leave Euratom because the UK is leaving the EU],”.

Weinberg Next Nuclear thus urges the government to reconsider and avoid the highly damaging consequences this unnecessary withdrawal could have on the UK’s nuclear future.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Decision to leave Euratom leaves Britain’s nuclear industry floundering

exclamation-flag-UKDecision to leave Euratom ‘bonkers’, say experts  Future of UK nuclear research ‘uncertain’ after Brexit bill revelation January 27, 2017  By Holly Else    The UK is to leave the European Atomic Energy Community as part of Brexit in a move that has been condemned by energy researchers.

The decision to leave the organisation, which funds and coordinates nuclear research, was outlined as part of the government’s Brexit bill published on 26 January.

One nuclear energy researcher called the decision “bonkers”, while another added that it had created a huge amount of “uncertainty” for the field.

The decision has also raised questions about whether the country’s memberships of other European research organisations are at risk.

The community, known as Euratom, is an organisation that provides the basis for research and trade in nuclear power. The government’s desire to leave the organisation is outlined in the explanatory notes published alongside the bill giving it the authority to trigger Article 50 and leave the European Union.

It is not yet clear whether it would seek to rejoin the organisation after Brexit.

Euratom, in conjunction with the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, funds the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, which is the UK’s national laboratory for fusion research. Culham also hosts JET, Europe’s largest nuclear fusion device.

According to its website, the centre collaborates with more than 20 UK universities, and it specifically mentions links with groups at the universities of Warwick and Oxford as well as the Doctoral Training Network in fusion.

Steven Cowley, previously director of the Culham centre and now president of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, said: “It would be bonkers to leave Euratom both for research and for nuclear safeguards.”

James Marrow, professor of energy materials at the University of Oxford, said that the funding available from Euratom was the “glue” that holds together the UK’s national nuclear research.

Euratom is the way that we interacted with the European [nuclear research] programmes. [This move] creates huge uncertainty,” he said.

“Nuclear [research] is a bit different from many other areas in that it only makes progress through big projects, so for a single nation it is extremely difficult for them to develop anything new…[Projects] are very much collaborative, so we would be left out,” he added.

Meanwhile Juan Matthews, visiting professor at the Dalton Nuclear Institute at the University of Manchester, said that he hoped that the inclusion of Euratom in the Brexit bill was a mistake as it “just didn’t make sense”.

“Euratom also controls the nuclear research and development aspects of the [EU’s] Horizon 2020 programme…UK research benefits more than our national contributions to Horizon 2020. A significant part of this is the work at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy on JET and our contribution to the ITER project,” he said.

ITER is another experimental nuclear fusion project in France. Professor Matthews added that “sorting all this out will produce delays and will hit hard both our economy and our science”.

Reacting to the news, Mark McCaughrean, a senior adviser at the European Space Agency, tweeted: “While #Euratom is specifically linked to EU, how long before the ‘principle’ is extended to other European research organisations?”

A spokeswoman for the UK government said: “Leaving Euratom is a result of the decision to leave the EU as they are uniquely legally joined. The UK supports Euratom and will want to see continuity of cooperation and standards.”


January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Conflict between Big Nuclear Reactor makers and Small Nuclear Reactor makers now coming out into the open?

Nuclear Options The Economist, print version, 28 Jan 17 “………Not one of the two technologies that were supposed to revolutionise the supply of nuclear energy—the European Pressurised Reactor, or EPR, and the AP1000 from America’s Westinghouse—has yet been installed, despite being conceived early this century. In Finland, France and China, all the EPRs under construction are years behind schedule. The main hope for salvaging their reputation—and the nuclear business of EDF, the French utility that owns the technology—is the Hinkley Point C project in Britain, which by now looks a lot like a Hail Mary pass.

Meanwhile, delays with the Westinghouse AP1000 have caused mayhem at Toshiba, its owner. The Japanese firm may announce write-downs in February of up to $6bn on its American nuclear business. As nuclear assets are probably unsellable, it is flogging parts of its core, microchip business instead……..

 the business case for a new breed of small reactors below 300MW is improving. This month, Oregon-based NuScale Power became the first American firm to apply for certification of a small modular reactor (SMR) design with America’s nuclear regulators.

“Clearly the momentum seems to be shifting away from traditional suppliers,” says William Magwood, director-general of the OECD’s Nuclear Energy Agency……

The WNA also notes in a report this month a “revival” of interest in SMRs, partly because of rock-bottom sentiment toward large plants. Utilities are finding it tough to pay for big projects (Barakah, for instance costs a whopping $20bn), especially in deregulated power markets where prices have slumped because of an abundance of natural gas and renewable energy. Big investments can sink a firm’s credit rating and jack up its cost of capital.

It is less onerous to pay for an SMR, which means that even though they produce less energy, they can be cost-competitive with larger plants once they are being mass produced, says the WNA….

January 28, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Britain’s nuclear safety at risk as they pull out of Euratom

safety-symbol-Smflag-UKBrexit Could Also Hurt Britain’s Nuclear Research and Safety Inspections   By James O Malley on 28 Jan 2017

Another wrinkle has been added to an already complex Brexit process. Just a small one… Umm.. Nuclear safety.

Politico reports that when we trigger Article 50, not only will we be withdrawing from the European Union, but we’ll also be pulling out of Euratom, the EU agency which oversees nuclear safety and security across the continent.

That’s right. Somehow Europe has configured itself so that Brexit won’t affect our Eurovision membership, but will affect nuclear safety.

 The inclusion of Euratom in our middle finger to our continental colleagues was revealed in a note on the Article 50 bill that has just been put before Parliament.

The upshot of this is that it means Britain will have to hire tonnes of new people itself to help do stuff like carry out nuclear non-proliferation inspections in countries like Iran, authorise the sale of nuclear material, and inspect our own nuclear power plants to make sure that everything is fine. As Politico notes, what makes this particularly complicated is that at the moment Euroatom is the legal owner of all of the actual nuclear materials – and this will have to be transferred to Britain… but then Britain also does a lot of the work reprocessing materials on behalf other members. Basically, it’ll be a bit of a nightmare.

The other really disappointing outcome from Brexit could also be Britain pulling out of Euratom’s Research & Development wing, which is currently working on making fusion power a reality. At the moment, we’re helping construct a brand new massive fusion reactor in France, but Brexit could put that in jeopardy. [Politico]

January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, safety, UK | Leave a comment

The facts about thorium nuclear reactors

text thoriumThorium reactors also produce uranium 232, which decays into an extremely potent high-energy gamma emitter that can penetrate one meter of concrete, making the handling of this spent nuclear fuel extraordinarily dangerous.

Although thorium advocates say that thorium reactors produce little radioactive waste, they simply produce a spectrum of waste that’s different from those from uranium 235, which includes many dangerous alpha and beta emitters and isotopes with extremely long half-lives, including technetium 99, with a half-life of 300,000 years, and iodine 129, with a half-life of 15.7 million years.

No wonder the U.S. nuclear industry gave up on thorium reactors nuclear-priesthood

in the 1980s. This was an unmitigated disaster, as are many other nuclear enterprises undertaken by the nuclear priesthood

Thorium, Caldicott Founding President of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Founder of Womens Action for Nuclear Disarmament, Aug 31, 2014 

There is an extraordinary push by certain individuals to extol the wonders of thorium-fueled nuclear reactors. In fact, so concerted is this push that some blame me for preventing the ongoing expansion of such technology. So here are the facts about thorium for those who are interested.

The U.S. tried for 50 years to create thorium reactors, without success. Four commercial thorium reactors were constructed, all of which failed. And because of the complexity of the problems enumerated below, thorium reactors are, by an order of magnitude, more expensive than uranium-fueled reactors.

The longstanding effort to produce these reactors cost the U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars, while billions more dollars are still required to dispose of the highly toxic waste emanating from these failed trials.

The truth is that thorium is not a naturally fissionable material. Continue reading

January 28, 2017 Posted by | thorium | Leave a comment

Record low in solar price and lithium batteries prices

text-relevantEnergy rEVolution: Cheap Lithium Batteries And Solar Price Hitting Record Low Of 2.42c/kWh, And May Fall Further We are witnessing the tipping point in the disruption of Energy Industry: Solar Power becomes the cheapest source of generated energy!  ReNewEconomy  provides the mindboggling data on the speed of race to the bottom of the cost for Solar Power. What is very important here that this new record  of US $2.42c/kWh was set not in the lab, but by the biggest manufacturer in the world JinkoSolar.

  Money talks. We are entering the exponential stage for Solar Power development in the world now and cheap lithium batteries change everything: now we can not only generate electricity using Solar Panels, but we can store it and use it when we want it. Tesla’s new  project in California will build the largest Energy Storage facility in the world in the record time using Powerpacks by the end of this year.
  Cheap clean electricity is coming into our grid systems now at rapidly increasing levels substituting coal and nuclear. Now we will have a clean energy to power millions of EVs coming fast. Electric cars are already clean and will be getting only cleaner now with every record of the amount of Solar Power generation systems installed all over the world. Lithium is the magic metal at the very heart of this Energy rEVolution and China is flexing its muscles to build the 21st-century economy to dominate New Energy space.
 EVs Are Clean And Getting Cleaner: U.S. Electricity Generation From Renewables Has Broken Records Every Month In 2016.
  “I do hope that I do not really have to address this issue anymore. Numerous studies have already confirmed that even with the existing energy mix in the US grid a few years ago Electric Cars were much cleaner than ICE ones on the full life cycle. From lithium battery making including the production of lithium to the electricity to charge this battery.   Now they are getting even cleaner with the energy mix of the US grid taken over by the renewables.
  What is very important to note today is that renewable energy is breaking records every single month this year even in the US. Energy Storage with lithium batteries will be next to grow exponentially and will consume even more lithium batteries capacity and lithium than EVs. Fossil Fuels are consumable resources and renewables are technology. The functions for the progress of development for Solar Power and Lithium Batteries are not the same as the famous Moore’s, but still very impressive with prices going down dramatically over the period of time with mass volume production. Particularly in the case with Solar Power, we are getting into the stage when the dramatic decrease in cost have made Solar the cheapest source of energy ever already.  Cheap lithium batteries change everything and now we can store electricity, the most efficient form of energy known to us, and use it when we want it. Read more.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | energy storage | Leave a comment

USA nuclear industry desperately lobbying US States

NUCLEAR-INDUSTRY-FIGHTS-ONUS report sets out policy options for nuclear preservation, World Nuclear News,  27 January 2017

A bipartisan organization supporting US state legislatures has published a new report providing an overview of state action and policy options for legislators who are interested in preserving nuclear assets in their state.

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) report, State options to keep nuclear in the mix, provides background on the current situation of US nuclear power plants and discusses the policies, trends and market conditions that have led to the current environment……..
The report suggests a number of policy options that states who set themselves the goal of retaining the current nuclear fleet could consider to relieve some of the pressures placed on operating nuclear facilities. It aims to provide legislators with a suite of possible options such as zero-emissions credits, tax incentives, the creation of state-wide nuclear mandates, and clean energy subsidy payments.

While making case studies of recent legislation enacted to preserve nuclear capacity in Illinois and New York, the authors note that individual state needs may differ. Legislatures may therefore want to consider a variety of policies to retain their most at-risk nuclear plants.

Report authors Daniel Shea and Kristy Hartman said the report aims to raise awareness and foster dialogue. “The nation’s nuclear facilities are facing an unprecedented array of challenges as nuclear power looks to compete in a rapidly changing energy market,” they said. “State legislatures play a critical role in determining the future of US nuclear power. At least 21 states are considering measures to support the continued use of nuclear generation in recent legislative sessions. In the final months of 2016, Illinois and New York took action to prevent the premature closure of several nuclear plants, but across the country, challenges remain.”

Christine Csizmadia, director of state governmental affairs and advocacy at the US Nuclear Energy Institute, said state legislatures played a vital role in developing policies affecting the viability of existing nuclear power plants. She said the report presented state policymakers with “an array of solutions” to choose from. “Every state is unique and so will be their approach to energy planning. That is why NCSL’s report is such a comprehensive tool for state legislators”, Csizmadia said.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, USA | Leave a comment

Trump’s appointees won’t be signing the required pledge about ethics

Trump’s appointees don’t seem to be signing required ethics pledges and don’t plan
By Walter Einenkel 

January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics, Religion and ethics, USA | Leave a comment

World Bank loan scheme ‘failing clean energy’

World-Bank 27 January 2017

A multi-billion dollar global fund is encouraging the construction of fossil fuel projects, at the expense of cleaner options, a study reports.

An NGO said that some World Bank policy loans had the effect of supporting coal, gas and oil developments while undermining renewable schemes.

It added the loans were intended to boost growth in the low carbon sector.

The World Bank disputed the report’s findings, saying it did not reflect the wider work it did with countries.

The report by NGO Bank Information Center (BIC) looks at the Bank’s Development Policy Finance (DPF) operations in four nations – Indonesia, Peru, Egypt and Mozambique.

DPF is one of the main activities of the bank, accounting for about one-third of its funding (more than US $15 billion in 2016), according to the report’s authors.

The scheme provides funding for countries in exchange for the implementation of policy agreed by both the national government and World Bank officials.

The authors say the World Bank’s Climate Action Plan considers DPF as a key instrument in help developing nations become low-carbon economies.

They added that the scheme was also essential in helping these nations meet their national commitments outlined in reducing emissions, which form the backbone of the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, BIC research found that DPF had introduced subsidies for coal in three of the four nations examined in the report (Indonesia, Egypt and Mozambique).

The authors said this had helped Indonesia become one of the world’s top coal exporting nations, while turning Mozambique – considered to be among the most at-risk nations from climate change – into a major player in the global coal sector.

“The findings were really shocking for us because in all of the countries, across the board, the Bank actually created new fossil fuel subsidies, which directly goes against what the Bank wants to achieve,” Nezir Sinani, BIC’s Europe and Central Asia manager, told BBC News.

“The World Bank has pledged to help countries adopt a low-carbon development path specifically by phasing out fossil fuels subsidies and promoting a carbon tax,” he added.

“However, the Bank’s policy lending does the opposite by introducing tax breaks for coal power plants and coal exports infrastructure.”

‘Grossly misrepresent’

A spokesperson for the World Bank told BBC News that the group disputed the picture painted by the report.

“We are deeply disappointed that after close cooperation with BIC on this report, their findings grossly misrepresent the World Bank’s engagement in these countries,” they observed.

“The report does not capture the World Bank’s broader energy work, which involves not only development policy loans, but a mix of interventions – policy reforms, investments, technical assistance – that work together to promote climate smart growth and increased energy access.

“In each of the countries mentioned in the report, the World Bank’s development policy loans do not promote the use of coal, but help support a shift towards a cleaner energy mix and low carbon growth.”

The report was published by BIC, which works with other groups in civil society to hold the World Bank and other financial institutions accountable, in collaboration with other green groups, including Greenpeace Indonesia and Friends of the Earth Mozambique.


January 28, 2017 Posted by | politics international, renewable | Leave a comment

People are tweeting ClimateFacts since EPA workers can’t

By John D. Sutter, CNN January 26, 2017 Source: Employees terrified by EPA lockdow  John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on SnapchatTwitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

Trump Wants “Alternative Facts” on Climate Change. We Saved the Real Ones.

 trump-burning-booksDaily KosBy Paul Bland for Public Justice  Thursday Jan 26, 2017 ·”……Today, the new White House team is taking a deeply troubling step to hide the truth by shuttering the EPA’s climate change website and, by extension, deleting volumes of important scientific information. And it is part of a very troubling pattern: President Trump once famously proclaimed that climate change was an idea “created by and for the Chinese.” And, in an all-out assault on science and reality, he has nominated Scott Pruitt – a man so extreme that we broke 35 years of silence on cabinet nominees to oppose his nomination – to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

China bans nuclear materials export to North Korea

China has released a new list of restricted goods that cannot be exported to North Korea, many of which are “dual use” items that could be used to build weapons of mass destruction.

The comprehensive list comes amid mounting speculation over an expected test by North Korea of an intercontinental ballistic missile that might be able to reach the west coast of the United States.

The items include materials and equipment to develop nuclear missiles, software related to rockets or drones, high-speed video cameras, submarines, sensors and lasers.

The Ministry of Commerce said the list was meant to comply with the requirements of a round of UN sanctions imposed in November in response to North Korea’s fifth and largest nuclear test in September.

The list was jointly released with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the China Atomic Energy Authority and the Customs Bureau.

US officials said last week that they had seen indications that North Korea may be preparing for a new missile test-launch.

It’s widely believed a launch could be an early test of the administration of President Donald Trump, who was sworn in last Friday.

January 28, 2017 Posted by | China, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment