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August 17 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “On the climb to renewable energy, solar and wind prices tumble” • When so little is getting done in Washington, it is heartening to see how much has already been accomplished. A report from the Environment New York Research & Policy Center highlights past growth of renewable energy and says it is set for more dramatic growth. [GreenBiz]

Looking at how far we have come (Shutterstock | kopov58)

¶ “US Power Companies Have A History Of Walking Away From Nuclear Projects” • William Freebairn explains how the story of the Summer project in South Carolina demonstrates the capital-intensive nature of nuclear energy and the substantial risks of cutting-edge nuclear plant design. Will the Vogtle project  be abandoned next? [Platts]

¶ “Pace of renewables shift leaves city planners struggling to keep up” • Renewable energy is driving changes in cities much more quickly than expected. Networks of…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Heart Faileth When I Behold Radioactive Rainbows In The Sky

Mining Awareness +


A UK so-called planning firm “One Creative Environments” has proposed the most bizarrely stupid idea for “beautifying” the proposed Westinghouse-Toshiba AP 1000 Nuclear Power Station (Moorside) in Cumbria, UK – fake rainbows over the nuclear site. But, there will be real radioactive rainbows due to the planned radioactive discharges from the nuclear power station, making the fake rainbows as sickening as silly. The uranium might even come from the area of the Grand Canyon, as explained further below.

As Radiation Free Lakeland points out “This isn’t a spoof, wish it was it would be the best ever….” In an embarrassment to the concept of planning in general and British Town and Country planning in particular the “plan” calls for “two large glass towers that would use light and mist to create a continual arching rainbow over the site….” See image and more here: https://mariannewildart.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/nuclear-power-farts-rainbows-official/

A…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

August 16 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ A new study by the National Renewable Energy Lab tabulated data collected from Proterra electric buses and buses powered by compressed natural gas. When driven on the same route, average fuel economy for the CNG buses came to 2.1 miles per diesel gallon equivalent. By contrast, the Proterra electric buses had an observed MPDGe of 17.35. [CleanTechnica]

Proterra electric buses

¶ Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder claim they have invented a new passive cooling material that can reduce temperatures even in direct sunlight while using no energy and no water. The new metamaterial is a glass/polymer sheet that is 50 μm thick, just slightly thicker than a piece of household aluminum foil. [CleanTechnica]

World:

¶ Soon plastic waste will no longer clog up Costa Rica’s landfills. The country announced it will have a ban on single-use plastics by 2021. Costa Rica…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Life under capitalism: Early deaths a ‘silver lining’ for corporations

Systemic Disorder

Participating in Monday evening’s demonstration at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, I couldn’t help thinking of the connections between a Bloomberg article proclaiming that people dying earlier contains a “silver lining” because corporations will save pension costs and the ongoing savagery of the Trump administration.

Not simply the naked symbiosis between the Trump administration and white supremacists, neo-Nazis and assorted far-right cranks — all too sadly on display in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend — but the alliance of corporate titans, Republican Party leaders and President Trump himself. The rush by even conservative congressional Republicans to condemn the tweeter-in-chief for his refusal to condemn his so-called “alt-right” allies for two days should not distract us from the Trump administration’s all-out assault on regulations, civil rights laws, health care and the environment. (Let’s please retire the useless term “alt-right” and call them what they are: white supremacists, fascists and fascist wannabes.)

The health…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

No El Nino, But July of 2017 was the Hottest on Record. So What the Hell is Going on?

robertscribbler

According to NASA’s GISS global temperature monitoring service, July of 2017 was 0.83 C hotter than the NASA 20th Century baseline (1.05 C hotter than 1880s). That’s the hottest July ever recorded in the 137 year global climate record.

In the Pacific, ENSO conditions remain neutral. And since 2014-2016 featured one of the strongest El Ninos on record, you’d expect global temperatures to back off a bit from what should have been a big spike in the larger warming trend. So what happened?

(Top image shows July of 2017 global temperature anomalies compared to July of 2016 global temperature anomalies [bottom image]. July of 2016 was cooling into a weak La Nina relative to one of the strongest El Ninos on record. This year, ENSO neutral conditions prevail coordinate with rather strong polar amplification in the Southern Hemisphere as temperatures in the Southern Ocean off West Antarctica hit…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Intensifying Equatorial Rains: 3.3 Million Afflicted by Flooding in India and Bangladesh as Hundreds Lose Lives to Landslides from Sierra Leone to Nepal

robertscribbler

There’s something wrong with the rain these days. For many regions of the globe, when the rain does fall, it more and more often comes with an abnormally fierce intensity.

This increasing severity of heavy rainfall events is just one aspect of human-forced climate change through fossil fuel burning. For as the Earth warms, both the rate of evaporation and precipitation increases. And as atmospheric moisture loading and convection increase coordinate with rising temperatures, so do the potential peak intensities of the most powerful storms.

(Climate and extreme weather news August 13 through 15)

Sierra Leone — More than 300 Dead, 600 Missing After Deadly Mudslide

This past week, in Sierra Leone — already one of the wettest regions of the globe at this time of year — a very heavy rainfall event generated a severe mudslide that ripped a huge swath of devastation through Freetown. 3,000 people were immediately…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“A Shocking Threat to the World”: Biographer Wayne Barrett on Donald Trump (July 2016)

Mining Awareness +


Link: http://youtu.be/YsaUeyg_oAA
By DemocracyNow.org:
A Shocking Threat to the World”: Biographer Wayne Barrett on Donald Trump STORY JULY 05, 2016

GUESTS
* Wayne Barrett investigative reporter who wrote for The Village Voice for 37 years. His 1991 biography of Donald Trump was just republished as an ebook with the title of “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, the Downfall, the Reinvention“.



Wayne Barrett began covering Donald Trump in the late 1970s. He continues today even though he is largely homebound due to lung cancer.

“He’s really not qualified to run the Trump Organization. He’s not fit to run the Trump Organization. So he’s certainly not fit to run America,” Barrett said. “I think he represents not just a danger to America, but because we are such an influence in the world, it’s really a shocking threat to the world. And so, you know, I’m in…

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Delicious Fukushima Peaches at the “konbeni” Checkout

Via Bruce Brinkman on August 16, 2017
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Don’t forget to pick up some delicious Fukushima peaches at the *konbeni* checkout
 
Never mind the “harmful rumors”
(a.k.a. measurements of cesium 137, cesium 134, strontium 90, americium, plutonium, uranium, and a splattering of other radionuclides)
 
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and as the next days those peaches just aren’t moving: ¥50 off to help sales !

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

High-priced Fukushima ice wall nears completion, but effectiveness doubtful

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A subterranean ice wall surrounding the nuclear reactors at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant to block groundwater from flowing in and out of the plant buildings has approached completion.

Initially, the ice wall was lauded as a trump card in controlling radioactively contaminated water at the plant in Fukushima Prefecture, which was crippled by meltdowns in the wake of the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. But while 34.5 billion yen from government coffers has already been invested in the wall, doubts remain about its effectiveness. Meanwhile, the issue of water contamination looms over decommissioning work.

In a news conference at the end of July, Naohiro Masuda, president and chief decommissioning officer of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co., stated, “We feel that the ice wall is becoming quite effective.” However, he had no articulate answer when pressed for concrete details, stating, “I can’t say how effective.”

The ice wall is created by circulating a coolant with a temperature of minus 30 degrees Celsius through 1,568 pipes that extend to a depth of 30 meters below the surface around the plant’s reactors. The soil around the pipes freezes to form a wall, which is supposed to stop groundwater from flowing into the reactor buildings where it becomes contaminated. A total of 260,000 people have worked on creating the wall.

ice wall 16 august 2017 2.jpgThis photo shows pipes to freeze soil for the ice wall next to the No. 4 reactor at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on June 1, 2016. (Mainichi)

 

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) began freezing soil in March last year, and as of Aug. 15, at least 99 percent of the wall had been completed, leaving just a 7-meter section to be frozen.

Soon after the outbreak of the nuclear disaster, about 400 tons of contaminated water was being produced each day. That figure has now dropped to roughly 130 tons. This is largely due to the introduction of a subdrain system in which water is drawn from about 40 wells around the reactor buildings. As for the ice wall, TEPCO has not provided any concrete information on its effectiveness. An official of the Secretariat of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) commented, “The subdrain performs the primary role, and the ice wall will probably be effective enough to supplement that.” This indicates that officials have largely backtracked from their designation of the ice wall as an effective means of battling contaminated water, and suggests there is unlikely to be a dramatic decrease in the amount of decontaminated groundwater once the ice wall is fully operational.

TEPCO ordered construction of the ice wall in May 2013 as one of several plans proposed by major construction firms that was selected by the government’s Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment. In autumn of that year Tokyo was bidding to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the government sought to come to the fore and underscore its measures to deal with contaminated water on the global stage.

Using taxpayers’ money to cover an incident at a private company raised the possibility of a public backlash. But one official connected with the Committee on Countermeasures for Contaminated Water Treatment commented, “It was accepted that public funds could be spent if those funds were for the ice wall, which was a challenging project that had not been undertaken before.” Small-scale ice walls had been created in the past, but the scale of this one — extending 1.5 kilometers and taking years to complete — was unprecedented.

At first, the government and TEPCO explained that an ice wall could be created more quickly than a wall of clay and other barriers, and that if anything went wrong, the wall could be melted, returning the soil to its original state. However, fears emerged that if the level of groundwater around the reactor buildings drops as a result of the ice wall blocking the groundwater, then tainted water inside the reactor buildings could end up at a higher level, causing it to leak outside the building. Officials decided to freeze the soil in stages to measure the effects and effectiveness of the ice wall. As a result, full-scale operation of the wall — originally slated for fiscal 2015 — has been significantly delayed.

ice wall 16 august 2017.jpgA worker makes checks with a hammer on an impermeable wall near TEPCO’s No. 4 reactor in the town of Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture on Feb. 24, 2017. (Mainichi)

 

Furthermore, during screening by the NRA, which had approved the project, experts raised doubts about how effective the ice wall would be in blocking groundwater. The ironic reason for approving its full-scale operation, in the words of NRA acting head Toyoshi Fuketa, was that, “It has not been effective in blocking water, so we can go ahead with freezing with peace of mind” — without worrying that the level of groundwater surrounding the reactor buildings will increase, causing the contaminated water inside to flow out.

Maintaining the ice wall will cost over a billion yen a year, and the radiation exposure of workers involved in its maintenance is high. Meanwhile, there are no immediate prospects of being able to repair the basement damage in the reactor buildings at the crippled nuclear plant.

Nagoya University professor emeritus Akira Asaoka commented, “The way things stand, we’ll have to keep maintaining an ice wall that isn’t very effective. We should consider a different type of wall.”

In the meantime, TEPCO continues to be plagued over what to do with treated water at the plant. Tainted water is treated using TEPCO’s multi-nuclide removal equipment to remove 62 types of radioactive substances, but in principle, tritium cannot be removed during this process. Tritium is produced in nature through cosmic rays, and nuclear facilities around the world release it into the sea. The NRA takes the view that there is no problem with releasing treated water into the sea, but there is strong resistance to such a move, mainly from local fishing workers who are concerned about consumer fears that could damage their businesses. TEPCO has built tanks on the grounds of the Fukushima No. 1 plant to hold treated water, and the amount they hold is approaching 800,000 metric tons.

In mid-July, TEPCO Chairman Takashi Kawamura said in an interview with several news organizations that a decision to release the treated water into the sea had “already been made.” A Kyodo News report on his comment stirred a backlash from members of the fishing industry. TEPCO responded with an explanation that the chairman was not stating a course of action, but was merely agreeing with the view of the NRA that there were no problems scientifically with releasing the treated water. However, the anger from his comment has not subsided.

Critical opinions emerged in a subsequent meeting that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry held in the Fukushima Prefecture city of Iwaki at the end of July regarding the decontamination of reactors and the handling of contaminated water. It was pointed out that prefectural residents had united to combat consumer fears and that they wanted officials to act with care. One participant asked whether the TEPCO chairman really knew about Fukushima.

The ministry has been considering ways to handle the treated water, setting up a committee in November last year that includes experts on risk evaluation and sociology. As of Aug. 15, five meetings had been held, but officials have yet to converge on a single opinion. “It’s not that easy for us to say, ‘Please let us release it.’ It will probably take some time to reach a conclusion,” a government official commented.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170816/p2a/00m/0na/016000c

 

August 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japanese Nuclear Regulator Permits Completion of ‘Ice Wall’ Beneath Fukushima

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Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has approved the completion of the remaining parts of the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s “ice wall” ground freeze beneath the station in order to prevent groundwater from entering the damaged reactor’s facilities, local media reported Tuesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The plan stipulates creating a 0.9 mile long barrier by circulating coolant of 30 degrees below zero in pipes buried around the building. The “ice wall” is expected to keep groundwater from entering the station and therefore prevent an increase in amounts of water contaminated by radioactive substances. Initially, the Nuclear Regulation Authority was concerned with the fact that if the whole wall was created, it would probably lead to a drastic decrease in water in the area around the station and cause leakages of contaminated water outside the damaged reactor’s building. Experts thus previously ruled to leave a 23-foot section of the wall unfrozen.

According to the NHK broadcaster, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), responsible for the project, claimed that the completion of the wall would not result in a sudden decrease of water levels, and even if it would, the company promised to take immediate measures. After considering the company’s position, experts allowed to complete the “ice wall.”

The broadcaster said that TEPCO will begin the remaining work on August 22, completing the soil freeze that first began in March 2016. It was also reported that after the works are completed, the Nuclear Regulation Authority would carefully assess the results and examine whether there have been any positive improvements in water contamination.

In 2011, a major earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s Fukushima NPP and led to the leakage of radioactive materials and the shutdown of the plant. Following the incident, Tokyo shut down all the NPPs in Japan and began to restart them after introducing new security standards.

https://sputniknews.com/asia/201708151056482387-japan-fukushima-ice-wall/

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August 17, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment