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Wind and Solar Accounted For 57 Percent of New U.S. Generating Capacity Additions in First Quarter

robertscribbler

Policy sure makes one heck of a difference. Thanks to legislation and investments by China, the U.S., Europe and numerous other countries around the world, solar energy has reached price parity or better with natural gas and coal over a growing subset of the globe. In the United States, fully 36 states in 2017 are seeing solar at parity with fossil fuel based generation. And costs for this new, clean energy source are expected to keep falling over at least the next five years as production lines continue to expand and technology and efficiency improves.

Wind, already competitive with natural gas and coal in many areas by the mid 2000s, is also seeing continued price declines as turbine sizes increase and industrial efficiency gains ground. As a result, the two mainstream energy sources most capable of combating human-caused climate change are taking larger and larger shares of the…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clearance to Build New Russian Nuclear Reactors in India is Illegal (Koodankulam 3 & 4)

Mining Awareness +


Koodankulam Nuclear Power Protest – PMANE, – Dianuke.org

the first two units of the Koodankulam nuclear power project are sub-standard, unsafe and unviable. In order to hide their complete failure with them, the Indian and Russian governments are doing another gimmick in the name of “Base Concreting Work” even before they undertake the first pour of concrete in the first quarter of 2017….” “Stop the Koodankulam NPP Expansion Now!: PMANE’s Statement on Modi-Putin Nuclear Tango” OCTOBER 14 2016 People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) National Alliance of Anti-nuclear Movements (NAAM) Press Release, October 14, 2016 https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/stop-koodankulam-nuclear-reactor-expansion-modi-putin-nuclear-tango https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/reactors-from-russia-are-unsafe-and-unreliable-says-russian-environmentalist/


Boats near Koodankulum NPS CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 flickr by indiawaterportal.org /11813504325

All religious groups have participated in the protests against Koodankulan. However, nearby Idinthakarai is highly Christian. This shows that Putin’s claims of being protector of the Christian faith are false. He is only the protector of the…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

June 27 Energy News

geoharvey

World:

¶ Based on the industries the Great Barrier Reef supports, both directly and indirectly, consultants at Deloitte have estimated its total value at $42.4 billion (A$56 billion). Deloitte hopes that putting a monetary value on the reef will influence decision making on climate change, which has left it severely damaged, especially in the last year. [CNN]

Great Barrier Reef

¶ Thirteen industry leaders and associations from across Europe launched the new “Make Power Clean” initiative, aiming to promote a clean European electricity market. One specific goal is to ensure that only those energy technologies considered “clean” are eligible to receive public support in the form of capacity mechanisms. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Dong Energy has officially opened its 582-MW Gode Wind 1&2 offshore wind complex in the German North Sea. Offshore construction of 97 Siemens 6-MW turbines started in April 2015 and was wrapped up in May…

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June 27, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For Tepco’s new president the town of Futaba does not belong to the No-Go Zone

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The new president of Tepco, Tomoaki Kobayakawa, did not even know that the city of Futaba is still part of the evacuated No-Go Zone, a forbidden zone to enter, except for a part of the town for short time visits only during the day.


Quite shameful and irresponsible from a man presiding the company which caused the nuclear disater responsible for the still unfortunate present situation of thousands of evacuees.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japanese government conveys regret over Moon’s Fukushima nuclear crisis remarks

Japanese government now would like also to censor South Korea President Moon Jae-in speaking about the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. How arrogant! Does it want also to impose its law of secrecy beyond Japan’s borders?

Japan wake up! South Korea is not your colony anymore! It is a free independent country, a developped nation, with an elected democratic government which cares about its people, a government which was smart enough to learn from your mistakes so as to not make the same mistakes themselves.

n-moon-a-20170627-870x582South Korea President Moon Jae-in speaks on the country’s nuclear power policy last week at the Kori nuclear power plant. | YONHAP / VIA KYODO

 

SEOUL – The government has expressed regret over recent remarks by South Korean President Moon Jae-in about the March 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, according to sources.

The accident in 2011 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant brought the death toll to 1,368 as of March 2016,” Moon said in a speech June 19 in which he announced plans to review South Korea’s nuclear power policy comprehensively based on lessons from the Fukushima accident.

The Japanese government told a counselor at the South Korean Embassy in Tokyo that “the remark is very regrettable as it is not based on a correct understanding of the accident,” informed sources said Monday.

The regret was conveyed Thursday, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

After Moon made the remark, some people pointed out that the comment could cause misunderstanding since it has no clear basis.

A ministry official said Japan will boost its efforts to provide correct information about the accident in order to dispel harmful rumors.

The plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. was heavily damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, with three reactors suffering a meltdown. Nobody was killed directly in the accident.

Also in the speech, delivered at a ceremony to mark the closure of the oldest nuclear reactor in South Korea, Moon said, “Worse yet, it is impossible to even grasp the number of deaths or cancers caused by radioactive contamination.”

In documents released Friday to explain Moon’s remarks, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said some Japanese media reported on March 6 last year that 1,368 people had died during protracted life in evacuation.

An interim report on health surveys on Fukushima residents that was compiled in March 2016 by the prefectural government said cases of thyroid cancer that had been detected in the prefecture since the accident are unlikely to have been caused by effects from radiation.

The report also said that external exposure suffered by Fukushima residents are not at levels that pose health hazards.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/06/26/national/japanese-government-conveys-regret-moons-fukushima-nuclear-crisis-remarks/#.WVJQ_CcTEwg

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Three European nations spanned in human chain demanding closure of Belgian nuclear reactors

Human chain against aging nuclear plants spans three countries http://www.dw.com/en/human-chain-against-aging-nuclear-plants-spans-three-countries/a-39408428  Thousands have protested to demand the closure of two nuclear reactors in Belgium over safety concerns. Demonstrators formed a human chain that stretched from Germany, through the Netherlands and into Belgium. Organizers claimed that some 50,000 protesters took part in the demonstration on Sunday, forming a human chain that stretched from Aachen, Germany, to Liege, Belgium, and Maastricht, the Netherlands.

The chain also passed close the Tihange nuclear power plant some 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) southwest of Liege. The Tihange 2 and Doel 3 reactors have been the subject of safety concerns about microcracks in their structures.

Doel lies in northern Belgium, close to the port city of Antwerp, about halfway between Brussels and Amsterdam. Numerous safety incidents, mostly low-level, have been reported from the two reactors which have each been in operation for more than 30 years.

Protesters who massed in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium complain they are living with excessive risk

German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks last year urged Belgium to take the two reactors offline until open safety questions were cleared up. However, the request was dismissed by Belgium’s nuclear regulator.

Aachen takes legal action

The city of Aachen and some 100 communities in the border region are currently suing the operators of Tihange 2.

Sunday’s demonstration was organized by numerous environmental organizations in all three countries and spearheaded by Belgian actor and director Bouli Lanners. The mayors of Aachen and Cologne also lent their weight to the protest.

“It is the strongest message the region could send,” said the administrative head of the Aachen city region, Helmut Etschenberg. “We no longer want to live with the element of uncertainty that is Tihange 2 and we will keep on and on.”

As well as demanding the closure of the plant, demonstrators are calling for an end to deliveries of fuel elements to the two power stations from Germany’s Lingen nuclear power plant, in the state of Lower Saxony.Such is the level of concern about Belgium’s aging reactors in Germany that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has stocked up with iodine tablets in an effort to limit human exposure to radiation. 

June 27, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Hackers trading passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants

Russian hackers trade passwords used by managers at British nuclear power plants – including ‘Rad1at10n’ and ‘Nuclear1’ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4635420/Russian-hackers-trade-passwords-UK-nuclear-plant-staff.html, 

  • The passwords of two senior EDF nuclear plant managers were traded online
  • French-owned firm EDF Energy operates all 15 of Britain’s nuclear reactors 
  • Comes as thousands of government officials – including MPs – were hacked 

The passwords – ‘Nuclear1’ and ‘Radiat10n’ – are thought to have been used on the business site LinkedIn.

They were being traded by hackers who had easily guessed the letters and numbers.

EDF, which operates Britain’s 15 nuclear reactors, did not comment about the breach.

But the French-owned firm did say, according to The Times, that it is ‘continually reviewing its defences and preparedness in this area’.

The lists on which the passwords appeared were traded privately before being made public.

It comes as around 1,000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7,000 police employees and more than 1,000 Foreign Office officials were all understood to have had confidential information traded online without their knowledge.Even some of the prime minister’s closest government ministers, including education secretary, Justine Greening, and business secretary, Greg Clark, are thought to have been affected by the hack.

The huge database was being sold for just £2, with the low price justified by the fact it had already spent months being passed around. Its original price is likely to have been much higher.

Hackers can easily guess many passwords, especially those which are merely a word associated with a certain person but with ‘3’ instead of ‘E’ or ‘1’ instead of ‘I’.

There have been warnings that the hacked passwords could be used to blackmail workers in sensitive jobs, or even to break into government servers.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | incidents, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | 6 Comments

Trump adminstration upsetting balance of power in Middle East

Iran’s Nuclear Chief Warns U.S. Against Tilting Power Balance In Middle East https://www.rferl.org/a/iran-nuclear-chief-wars-us-against-tilting-power-balance-middle-east-saudi-arms-sales-/28576396.html, 24 June 17 Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi, who helped forge the 2015 nuclear agreement, warned the United States on June 23 against upsetting the balance of power in the Middle East by siding with arch-rival Saudi Arabia.

Writing in The Guardian newspaper, Salehi said Tehran views a “lavish” deal U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration recently announced to sell Saudi Arabia $110 billion in weapons as “provocative.”

“This is especially the case if the national defense efforts of Iran…are simultaneously opposed and undermined,” he said, alluding to steps the Trump administration has taken to increase U.S. sanctions on Iran for developing ballistic missiles even as it has ramped up arms sales to Riyadh and its allies.

“It would be unrealistic to expect Iran to remain indifferent to the destabilizing impact of such conduct,” said Salehi, an MIT graduate who has also served as Iran’s foreign minister and was a senior negotiator on the nuclear deal.

Salehi stressed that Washington’s strong tilt toward Tehran’s rivals in the Middle East not only risks setting off a regional arms race and “further tension and conflict” in the region, but it imperils the “hard-won” nuclear deal, which took two years to negotiate.

If the nuclear deal is to survive, he said the West must change course. “The moment of truth has arrived.”

Trump and the Saudis frequently blame Iran for wars ranging from Yemen to Syria, as well as for restive minority Shi’ite populations within the borders of the kingdom and other Persian Gulf states ruled by Sunni Muslims.

The Saudis, like Trump, were strongly opposed to the nuclear deal. But while Trump has promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal,” he has not so far taken any concrete steps to do so. His administration has indicated it will adhere to the deal, which requires Iran to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, as long as Tehran continues to do so.

But Salehi’s article in the Guardian suggested that — what Iran says is — its so-far strict honoring of the deal may come into doubt in the future if the United States continues to disregard Iran’s “genuine security concerns” and “stokes Iranophobia” in the region.

Salehi urged the United States and its Western partners to “save” the nuclear deal with “reciprocal gestures” showing a commitment to engagement with Iran.

Iranian voters recently showed their preference for engagement with the West by re-electing President Hassan Rohani with his pro-Western platform, but “engagement is simply not a one-way street and we cannot go it alone,” Salehi said.

“Unfortunately, as things stand at the moment in the region, reaching a new state of equilibrium might simply be beyond reach for the foreseeable future,” he said.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | MIDDLE EAST, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Donald Trump leads the world to war against Iran

The Saudi war in Yemen is really directed at…Iran. Donald Trump’s first overseas visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel was specifically targeted at… Iran. The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar is actually about… Iran.

The escalation of U.S. military actions against the Syria government is… well, do I really need to spell this out any further?

Donald Trump has identified several number-one enemies to target. Throughout the campaign, he emphasized the importance of throwing the full weight of the Pentagon against the Islamic State. More recently, his secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, identifiedNorth Korea as “the most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security.”

Other threats that have appeared at one time or another in the administration’s rotation include China, Cuba, the mainstream media, former FBI director James Comey, and Shakespeare (for writing Julius Caesar and then somehow, from the grave, persuadingthe Public Theater to run a scandalous version of it).

Through it all, however, Iran has loomed as the primary bogeyman of the Trump crowd. Fear of Iranian influence has prompted the administration to all but cancel the 2015 nuclear deal, intensify a number of proxy wars, consider pushing for regime change in Tehran, and even intervene in the mother of all battles between the Shia and Sunni variants of Islam.

You’re worried about Trump and the nuclear football? The prospect of blowback from an all-out U.S. assault on the Islamic State keeps you up at night? A preemptive strike against North Korea, which Mattis acknowledges would be disastrous, has you rethinking that upcoming trip to Seoul?

Sure, those are all dystopian possibilities. But if I had to choose a more likely catastrophe, it would be a direct confrontation between the United States and Iran. After all, everything seems to be pointing in that direction.

The Fate of the Deal

The nuclear deal that Iran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the European Union is hanging by a thread. Trump made no bones about his distaste for this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He promised to tear it up.

He hasn’t done so. It’s not just that he’s gotten pushback from the usual suspects in Washington (diplomats, foreign policy mavens, talking heads, journalists). Even members of his inner circle seem to see value in the agreement. Mattis, who is otherwise hawkish on Iran, has stood by the JCPOA and diplomacy more generally. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has, albeit reluctantly, acknowledged that Iran has lived up to its side of the agreement. Then there are all the American jobs on the line from the Iranian purchase of Boeing jets.

Even though Trump hasn’t torn up the agreement, he has certainly attempted to give it a good crumple. He has directed the Treasury Department to apply additional sanctions on Iran’s missile program. He’s considering the option of declaring the Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization. Congress, meanwhile, is pursuing its own complementary set of sanctions against Iran (though, because it’s bundled with sanctions against Russia, the legislation may not meet Trump’s approval).

None of this violates the terms of the JCPOA. But it challenges the spirit of the accord.

Adding insult to injury, Trump damned Iran with faint condolences after the recent terrorist attacks in Tehran. “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times,” Trump wrote. “We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”

Talk about bad taste. After September 11, Iranians gathered for candlelight vigils to mourn the mostly American victims of the attacks. The Iranian government didn’t say anything about chickens coming home to roost after U.S. military interventions in the Middle East, for that would have been inappropriate (though accurate).

But Iran might yet have to make a statement that echoes Trump’s tone-deaf remark: States that tear up international agreements risk falling victim to the evil they promote.

Proxy Wars

The conflict is escalating in Syria, where Iran backs the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports a shifting set of anti-regime groups.

Both countries could decide to team up against the Islamic State. And indeed, Iran launched a missile attack against ISIS in Syria this last weekend in retaliation for the terrorist attacks in Tehran. As after September 11, when Tehran and Washington briefly worked together, cooperation against Sunni extremists would seem a no-brainer.

But the would-be caliphate, having lost most of Mosul and now teetering on the verge of conceding its capital in Raqqa, is shrinking at a rapid clip. Which may well explain why the United States has been wading deeper into the Syrian conflict. For the first time since the war in Syria began, U.S. forces shot down a Syrian government plane this last weekend. It’s only the latest in a series of attacks on Assad’s forces, according to The Atlantic:

Three times in the last month, the U.S. military has come into direct conflict with the combined forces of the Assad regime, Iran-supported Shiite militias, Hezbollah, and possibly even Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The clashes have reportedly resulted in the deaths of a small number of pro-regime forces, and are much more strategically important than the much-ballyhooed U.S. air strike on the al-Shayrat airfield back in April in response to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.

Several administration figures, notably Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Derek Harvey in the National Security Council, are eager to confront Assad and his Iranian backers more aggressively. Mattis, however, has reportedly opposed several of their risky propositions. Regardless of the Pentagon chief’s somewhat more risk-averse behavior, both Iran and the United States are maneuvering to control as much territory as possible in the vacuum created by the collapse of ISIS………

Back in 2013, Trump said,

We will end up going to war with Iran because we have people who don’t know what the hell they are doing. Every single thing that this administration and our president does is a failure.

Who knew that Donald Trump could be so prescient? The president has proven himself high-performing in at least this one regard: self-fulfilling prophecies.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-coming-war-with-iran_us_594ec1fce4b0f078efd9821c

June 27, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Once again, the world’s nuclear nations race toward catastrophe

The World’s Nuclear Powers Are Renewing their Race to Catastrophe,  http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/166175  by Lawrence Wittner Dr. Lawrence Wittner (http://www.lawrenceswittner.com) is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. He is the author of Confronting the Bomb (Stanford University Press).  For as long as they have existed, nations have clung to the illusion that their military strength guarantees their security.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that the military power that one nation considers vital to its security fosters other nations’ sense of insecurity. In this climate of suspicion, an arms race ensues, often culminating in military conflict. Also, sometimes the very military strength that a nation intended for protection ends up emboldening it to engage in reckless, aggressive behavior, leading to war.

By the twentieth century, the devastation caused by wars among nations had grown so great that the general public and even many government officials began to recognize that a world left to the mercies of national military power was a dangerous world, indeed. As a result, after the mass slaughter of World War I, they organized the League of Nations to foster international security. When this proved insufficient to stop the march of nations toward World War II and its even greater devastation, they organized a new and stronger global entity: the United Nations.

Unfortunately, however, bad habits die hard, and relying on military force to solve problems is one of the oldest and most destructive habits in human history. Therefore, even as they paid lip service to the United Nations and its attempts to create international security, many nations slipped back into the familiar pattern of building up their armed forces and weaponry. This included nuclear weapons, the most effective instruments of mass slaughter yet devised.

Not surprisingly, then, although the leaders of highly militarized nations talked about building “peace through strength,” their countries often underwent many years of war. Indeed, the United States, the most heavily-armed nation since 1945, has been at war with other countries most of that time. Other nations whose post-World War II military might has helped embroil them in wars include Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.

Given this sorry record, it is alarming to find that the nine nuclear-armed nations (the United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, India, Israel, Pakistan, and North Korea) have ignored the obligation under the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to divest themselves of nuclear weapons and, instead, recently embarked on a new round in the nuclear arms race. The U.S. government, for example, has begun a massive, 30-year program to build a new generation of U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear production facilities to last the United States well into the second half of the twenty-first century. This program, slated to cost $1 trillion, includes redesigned nuclear warheads, as well as new nuclear bombers, submarines, land-based missiles, weapons labs, and production plants.

However, as the nuclear powers renew their race to catastrophe, the non-nuclear powers are beginning to revolt. Constituting most nations of the world, they have considerable clout in the UN General Assembly. In late 2016, they brought to this body a resolution to launch negotiations on a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. Critics of the resolution maintained that such a treaty was ridiculous, for, ultimately, only the nine nuclear powers could negotiate their disarmament―not an assembly of other nations. But supporters of the resolution argued that, if the overwhelming majority of nations voted to ban nuclear weapons―that is, make them illegal under international law―this would put substantial pressure on the nuclear powers to comply with the world community by acting to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

To avoid this embarrassment, the nuclear powers and their allies fought back vigorously against passage of this UN resolution. But, on December 23, 2016, the resolution sailed through the UN General Assembly by an overwhelming vote: 113 nations in favor and 35 opposed, with 13 abstentions.

And so, on March 27, 2017, a diplomatic conference convened, at the UN headquarters in New York City, with the goal of crafting what the UN called a “legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination.” Some 130 countries participated in the first round of these negotiations that included discussions with leaders of peace and disarmament groups and a range of experts on nuclear weapons. But the nuclear powers and most of their allies boycotted the gathering. In fact, at a press conference conducted as the conclave began, Nikki Haley, the U.S. representative to the United Nations, and representatives of other nuclear powers denounced the proceedings.

Perhaps because of the boycott by the nuclear powers, the UN negotiations went forward smoothly. On May 22, Ambassador Elayne Whyte of Costa Rica, president of the conference, released a first draft of the UN treaty, which would prohibit nations from developing, producing, manufacturing, possessing, or stockpiling nuclear weapons. The UN conferees plan to adopt necessary revisions and, then, produce a final treaty for a vote in early July.

As this treaty directly challenges the long-time faith in the value of national military power, typified by the scramble for nuclear weapons, it might not get very far. But who really knows? Facing the unprecedented danger of nuclear war, the world community might finally be ready to dispense with this national illusion.

June 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, weapons and war | 1 Comment