nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

The week in climate and nuclear news

In our anglophone world, it doesn’t seem to matter that much, when floods  hit Asian countries. But USA?  That’s different. As I write, Hurricane Harvey is hitting Texas. Well, they’ve had hurricanes before, but climate change just makes them that much more severe.

I fear that we are all getting “nuclear-crisis-North-Korea-fatigue”. A pity, as North Korea and USA continue to ramp up the nuclear ante.

CLIMATE. Climate change threat: ALASKA’S PERMAFROST IS THAWING–   Coral bleaching is happening across the Pacific Ocean.  For the first time, tanker crosses the Arctic without icebreaker.  Investment fund company Vanguard calls for climate change risk disclosures.  Omigawd! Climate Change is messing up our wine supply!

NUCLEAR.    Ionizing radiation: Radiation protection standards need to be improved.    Women seen as powerful advocates for the nuclear lobby.

KOREAN PENINSULA. As USA and South Korea hold military exercises on Korean peninsula, Russia flies nuclear bombers around the peninsula. Clarifying the facts on North Korea. -Head of the U.S. military’s Pacific Command says diplomacy — not military action, is the answer to North Korea crisis. South Korean President Moon Jae-in warns USA against military action on North Korea.

USA.  Nuclear  

USA.Climate.   The Trump Southeastern States will cop the hardest costs of climate changeNo free speech in Trump’s America when it comes to climate research. – Exxon Mobil misrepresented climate change to deliberately mislead the public. -America’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has deleted references to climate change from its site. America’s federal advisory committee on climate change abolished by Trump!

INDIA. Massive protest : thousands against French Nuclear Project in Jaitapur.

JAPAN. Another $5bn US suit against TEPCO over Fukushima nuclear disaster. Japan’s Lobbying to Export Fukushima Produce. -Fukushima ice wall facing doubts as project nears completion. Fukushima aftermath: General Electric and Tokyo Electric Power Co sued by Navy families for wrongful death.

RUSSIA.  Mysterious forest explosion a year ago- now revealed to have been a failed Russian missile launch.  Russia’s Rosatom buying into the wind energy business in India, as well as in Netherlands.

INDONESIA. “Dirty radioactive bomb” planned for attack in Indonesia – using THORIUM

IRAN.   Iran fully compliant with its obligations under the nuclear agreement.   Inaccurate translations in media increase tensions between Iran and USA.

MARSHALL ISLANDSRemembering Tony de Brum.

UK. UK Royal Navy detonates the second bomb found in the sea near Hinkley Point.  Concern over dangers of nuclear bombs transport across Britain.  Vast majority of UK accept climate change is real, finds new poll.

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August 26, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Hurricane Harvey on verge of reaching Texas coast, could be ‘on par with Katrina’

 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-26/hurricane-harvey-forecast-to-be-on-par-with-katrina/8844584 The menacing Hurricane Harvey is on the verge of reaching Texas, bringing fierce winds and torrential rain to a wide swath of the state’s Gulf Coast and prompting tens of thousands of residents to flee inland in hopes of escaping its wrath.

Key points:

  • Hurricane makes landfall as Category four hurricane
  • Residents fleeing most powerful storm on US mainland since 2005
  • Locals told to take cover from wind, unprecedented flooding

The National Hurricane Centre said the eyewall of the dangerous category four storm has reached the Texas coast, suggesting that the eye of the storm will make landfall in the coming hours.

The system is packing winds of 215 kilometres per hour, and experts fear could be the most destructive since Katrina left 1,800 people dead in 2005.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has warned it could be “a very major disaster”, while US President Donald Trump made an early disaster declaration, unlocking federal funding.

Harvey is expected to generate storm surges along with prodigious amounts of rain. The resulting flooding, one expert said, could be “the depths of which we’ve never seen”.

Weather experts have warned areas of the state could be uninhabitable for weeks or months if Harvey is as bad as predicted.

Fuelled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, Harvey grew from an unnamed storm to a life-threatening behemoth in just 56 hours, an incredibly fast intensification.

It is on track to make landfall at Rockport, a fishing-and-tourist town about 50 kilometres north-east of Corpus Christi. The National Hurricane Centre warned life-threatening storm surges could affect low-lying coastal areas.

“We know that we’ve got millions of people who are going to feel the impact of this storm,” spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said.

“We really pray that people are listening to their emergency managers and get out of harm’s way.”

Thousands of people have fled, but many others stayed put, stocking up on food and water, and boarding up windows. Rockport Mayor Pro Tem Patrick Rios had a sombre message to anyone defying the orders to evacuate.

“We’re suggesting if people are going to stay here, mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number,” he said.

“We hate to talk about things like that.

“It’s not something we like to do but it’s the reality. People don’t listen.” Galveston-based storm surge expert Hal Needham of the private firm Marine Weather and Climate said forecasts indicated it was “becoming more and more likely that something really bad is going to happen”.

At least one researcher predicted heavy damage that would linger for months or longer.

It may also spawn tornadoes. Even after weakening, the system might spin out into the Gulf and regain strength before hitting Houston a second time as a tropical storm, forecasters said.

“In terms of economic impact, Harvey will probably be on par with Hurricane Katrina,” University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy said.

“The Houston area and Corpus Christi are going to be a mess for a long time.”

While Mr Trump encouraged “everyone in the path of Hurricane Harvey to heed the advice and orders of their local and state officials”. The heavy rain could turn many communities into “essentially islands” and leave them isolated for days, said Melissa Munguia, deputy emergency management coordinator for Nueces County.

“Essentially there’s absolutely nowhere for the water to go,” she said.

Galveston Bay, where normal rain runs off to, will already be elevated.

The heavy rain is expected to extend into Louisiana, driven by counter-clockwise winds that could carry water from the Gulf of Mexico far inland. The Texas Governor activated about 700 members of the state National Guard ahead of Harvey making landfall.

Harvey would be the first significant hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 177 kilometres per hour to the Galveston and Houston areas, inflicting $US22 billion in damage.

It would be the first big storm along the middle Texas coast since Hurricane Claudette in 2003 caused $US180 million in damage.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Climate change threat: ALASKA’S PERMAFROST IS THAWING

ALASKA’S PERMAFROST IS THAWING, Alaska’s permafrost, shown here in 2010 [on original] , is no longer permanent. It is starting to thaw. The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come.  By 2050, much of this frozen ground, a storehouse of ancient carbon, could be gone. NYT, AUG. 23, 2017 YUKON DELTA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, Alaska — The Arctic is warming about twice as fast as other parts of the planet, and even here in sub-Arctic Alaska the rate of warming is high. Sea ice and wildlife habitat are disappearing; higher sea levels threaten coastal native villages.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

For the first time, tanker crosses Arctic without icebreaker

http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/25/news/arctic-ice-tanker-ship/index.html?sr=twCNN082517arctic-ice-tanker-ship0141PMStory,   @CNNMoney, August 25, 2017:

Climate change is helping create new opportunities for shipping companies by melting the ice around the North Pole.

A Russian tanker carrying natural gas has become the first merchant ship to sail across the Arctic without the help of an icebreaker, finishing the journey in record time.

The ship, the Christophe de Margerie, traveled from Norway to South Korea in 19 days, about 30% quicker than the regular route through the Suez Canal, its Russian owner, Sovcomflot, said this week.

Every year, arctic ice naturally shrinks in the spring and summer before growing again during winter. But as global temperatures have risen, the old sea ice that lasts year after year has shrunk to its smallest level in three decades.

Thinner, younger sea ice — less than a year old — has become the majority across the Arctic. Young ice struggles to reach a thickness of 2 meters (6½ feet) during winter months and then is more likely to melt during the summer.

Related: Watch as old sea ice vanishes

It’s a huge concern. According to NASA, many global climate models predict that the Arctic will be ice-free for at least part of the year before the end of the 21st century. Some models predict an ice-free Arctic by midcentury. That would have a direct impact on weather patterns around the world.

The thinning ice also opens new paths for global trade, saving companies hundreds of thousands of dollars they would spend on longer journeys via more southerly routes.

“This is the paradox of climate change,” said Ben Ayliffe, a campaigner for Greenpeace. “The fossil fuels we’re burning are allowing access into areas that were previously protected by ice.” He expressed concern that increasing sea traffic in the inhospitable environment will bring new risks, such as a fuel spill that would be virtually impossible to clean up.

Shipping tankers making their way across the top of the world typically need to be accompaniedby massive, nuclear-powered Russian icebreakers to plow through patches of six-foot-thick ice.

But the Christophe de Margerie, named for a former CEO of French oil giant Total, is specially designed to sail independently through ice as thick as 2.1 meters (nearly 7 feet), its owner said.

That means it should be able to operate in the harsh Arctic waters year round rather than just the summer months.

Its recent journey ferrying liquified natural gas more than 2,000 nautical miles through ice as thick as 1.2 meters (4 feet) “demonstrates the economic potential of using the Northern Sea Route for large-capacity vessel transits,” Sovcomflot said.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change | Leave a comment

“Dirty radioactive bomb” planned for attack in Indonesia – using THORIUM

Indonesian militants planned ‘dirty bomb’ attack – sources, Yahoo 7   By Tom Allard and Agustinus Beo Da Costa, JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesian militants planned to detonate a radioactive dirty bomb, security sources said, highlighting the rising ambitions of extremists to wreak destruction in the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation.

But experts cast doubt on their expertise, equipment and chances of success.
The plot was foiled when police raided homes and arrested five suspects in Bandung, West Java, last week, the sources with direct knowledge of the plot said. After the raids, police spoke of a plan to explode a “chemical” bomb but provided no other details……

The three counter-terrorism sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the militants had hoped to transform low-grade radioactive Thorium 232 (Th-232) into deadly Uranium 233 (U-233).
The highly radioactive uranium would be combined with the powerful home-made explosive triacetone triperoxide (TATP) to create a “nuclear bomb”, according to an instruction manual used by the militants and reviewed by Reuters.
In fact, the device would be, at best, a radiological dispersal device or dirty bomb that could spray radioactive material when the conventional bomb exploded.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s national police, Inspector General Setyo Wasisto, declined to confirm or deny the plot to construct the device, but said it would have been more potent than the two bombs made from TATP that killed three police in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta in May.
“If this bomb was finished, it would have had a more destructive impact than the bomb made from ‘Mother of Satan’,” he said, using the nickname for TATP.
“It could burn anything and make it hard for people to breathe.”
Thorium-232 can be transformed into Uranium-233 but requires the Thorium to absorb a neutron, a process that needs powerful irradiation, generally from a nuclear reactor, according to three analysts contacted by Reuters and the website of the World Nuclear Association, which represents reactor vendors and nuclear engineers, among other industry stakeholders….

One senior Indonesian counter-terrorism source said the Bandung-based cell had bought a large amount of a household item and had begun to extract the Thorium. Reuters has chosen not to name the item.
“They needed three weeks. It was still only one week (into the process when police raided),” the source said…..

According to police, the suspected Bandung plotters were members of JAD and were considering targets like the presidential palace in Jakarta and police headquarters in Bandung and the capital….. (Reporting by Tom Allard and Agustinus Beo Da Costa Additional reporting by Stefanno Reinard; Editing by Ed Davies and Nick Macfie) https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/36844136/exclusive-indonesian-militants-planned-dirty-bomb-attack-sources/

 

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Indonesia, secrets,lies and civil liberties, thorium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Books about the big issues of today – in the Trump era

Worth reading in the Trump era: Nuclear nightmares, authoritarianism and climate change, The Conversation, MV Ramana, Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia August 25, 2017 Editor’s note: The Conversation Canada asked our academic authors to share some recommended reading. In this instalment, MV Ramana, a nuclear physicist and disarmament expert who wrote about small nuclear reactors, looks at a mix of new and recent books on nuclear disaster, weapons, authoritarianism and climate change.

My Nuclear Nightmare  Leading Japan Through the Fukushima Disaster to a Nuclear-Free FutureBy Naoto Kan. Translated from Japanese by Jeffrey S. Irish. (Non-fiction. Hardcover, 2017. Cornell University Press.)………..Naoto Kan was the prime minister of Japan during this critical period [of the Fukushima nuclear disaster] and this book, published in Japanese in 2012 and newly available in English, offers his inside perspective of how events unfolded at the highest levels.

Kan reveals how little even powerful individuals and institutions like him and the government can do in the face of a major nuclear accident. If a society like Japan that is so well-prepared for natural disasters like earthquakes is unable to deal with a severe nuclear accident like Fukushima, there is little doubt that no country would have been able to do much better.

Kan’s account is testimony of the prevalence of the safety myth: the comforting but illusionary idea that technology can prevent nuclear accidents. Sadly, that myth continues to prevail not just in Japan but in most countries that are operating or constructing nuclear power plants.

Command and Control     Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of SafetyBy Eric Schlosser (Non-fiction. Paperback, 2014. Penguin.) ……..The Sept. 18, 1980, incident was just one of the many close calls involving nuclear weapons that the world has experienced. Going through these experiences, it’s hard to attribute the fact that there have been no accidental nuclear explosions to anything but blind luck.

Eric Schlosser, an award-winning American journalist and author, has produced a very readable account of accidents and near-misses, as well as the decades-long history of trying to control these risks through technological and institutional fixes.

Command and Control reminds us of the extraordinary danger posed by the large nuclear arsenals possessed by many countries around the world — most importantly, the United States and Russia…..

Unmaking the Bomb  A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and NonproliferationBy Harold A. Feiveson, Alexander Glaser, Zia Mian, Frank N. von Hippel (Non-fiction. Hardcover, 2014. MIT Press.)…….. In contrast to proposals for nuclear disarmament that focus on diplomacy and international relations, this book by four physicists at Princeton University (my former colleagues) offers a more technical road map for nuclear disarmament: Namely, through the control and elimination of highly enriched uranium and plutonium — the fissile materials that are the essential ingredients of all nuclear weapons.

The connection is laid out in the introduction of the book: “If we are to reduce the threat from nuclear weapons, we must deal with the dangers posed by the production, stockpiling, and use of fissile materials. Unmaking the bomb requires eliminating the fissile materials that make nuclear weapons possible.”…….

The Rise of Hindu Authoritarianism  Secular Claims, Communal Realities  By Achin Vanaik (Non-fiction. Hardcover, 2017. Verso Books.)

The last few years have seen victories by right wing, authoritarian political parties and leaders in multiple countries. The same phenomenon in India, the “world’s largest democracy,” should be — and is — cause for worry…….. The Rise of Hindu Authoritarianism not only explores in great detail the growing communalization of the political arena and civil society, it also delineates what an oppositional and transformative project might look like.

The Great Derangement Climate Change and the Unthinkable  By Amitav Ghosh (Non-fiction. Cloth, 2016. University of Chicago Press.)…… climate change has appeared only sparingly in the world of fiction and literature…..Reading this book makes it clear, at least to me, that climate change is not a problem that can be dealt with through some clever technological inventions or some neat-looking financial instrument, but will require us to fundamentally reshape our economic, political and international structures.https://theconversation.com/worth-reading-in-the-trump-era-nuclear-nightmares-authoritarianism-and-climate-change-83024

August 26, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, resources - print | Leave a comment

Women seen as powerful advocates for the nuclear lobby

American Women Step Up as Nuclear Energy Advocates VOA August 25, 2017  Michelle Quinn

Women seen as powerful advocates, 

Industry experts say that women who work in nuclear power can be powerful advocates for nuclear. They can help change attitudes of other women who tend to be more skeptical than men about nuclear energy’s benefits.

At the recent U.S. Women in Nuclear conference in San Francisco, women working in the industry talked about how more should be done to make nuclear power’s case to the public, and how they may be the best suited to do it.

“As mothers, I think we also have an important role to play in letting the public know that we support nuclear for the future, for our children,” said Matteson. “And we don’t know other mothers supporting nuclear power in a vocal way. We thought there was a gap to fill.”

Young women say they look at careers in this industry because they are socially minded.

‘Do something good for the world’

“I went into this wanting to do something good for the world,” Lenka Kollar, business strategy director at NuScale, a firm in Oregon that designs and markets small modular reactors. “Wanting to bring power to people. There are still more than a billion people in the world who don’t have electricity.”

Critics of nuclear energy say it doesn’t matter who is promoting it.

“Using mothers’ voices to argue for a technology that is fundamentally dangerous and that has been demonstrated by disasters like Fukushima to be not safe for the communities that surround the power plants or even cities that are hundreds of miles away is disingenuous,” said Kendra Klein, a staff scientist with Friends of the Earth, an environmental group…….https://www.voanews.com/a/american-women-step-up-as-nuclear-energy-advocates/4000185.html

August 26, 2017 Posted by | media, spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Duke Energy Wants to Cancel Planned South Carolina Nuclear Reactors

Duke Asks to Cancel Planned South Carolina Nuclear Reactors https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-25/duke-asks-to-cancel-planned-south-carolina-nuclear-reactors

  • Utility cites Westinghouse bankruptcy in regulatory filing
  • Duke seeks $353 million in development costs from ratepayers

Duke Energy Corp. asked to cancel its planned nuclear plant in South Carolina, citing the bankruptcy of reactor manufacturer Westinghouse Electric Co.

North Carolina utility regulators should require customers of the company’s Duke Energy Carolinas unit to pay $353 million of pre-construction costs spent on the Lee Nuclear Station over the next dozen years, the Charlotte-based company said Friday in a state filing.

The decision is the latest blow to the U.S. nuclear industry in the wake of the Westinghouse bankruptcy. South Carolina utilities Scana Corp. and Santee Cooper pulled the plug on a half-finished plant earlier this month after delays and cost overruns, and Southern Co. is weighing whether to halt work on two Georgia reactors. Nuclear units that were operating for decades have shut, unable to compete with low-cost renewable energy and abundant supplies of natural gas from shale basins.

“Risks and uncertainties to initiating construction on the Lee Nuclear project have become too great and cancellation of the project is the best option for customers,” Duke said in a separate statement

A similar request will be made with South Carolina utility regulators in the future, Rick Rhodes, a company spokesman, said by phone Friday. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a construction and operating license for the plant last year and Duke will maintain that license “to build new nuclear at this site in the future if it is in the best interest of customers.”

NextEra Energy Inc. has said it’s decided to “pause” an expansion of its Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida, but the company is still seeking approval to obtain and then maintain a federal license for two reactors there.

Duke shares rose 0.8 percent to $87.46 at 12:28 p.m. in New York.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, USA | 1 Comment

Trump planning to decertify Iran’s compliance with the international nuclear deal?

Strong indications’ Trump won’t recertify Iranian compliance with nuclear deal

  • There are more signs the Trump administration is preparing a case to decertify Iran’s compliance with the international nuclear deal.
  • Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, this week visited the atomic watchdog agency in charge of monitoring Iran’s compliance.
  • On Thursday, Tehran said it “is abiding by its duties and responsibilities” and accused Washington of using the issue “for ill-wishing political means.” CNBC 
Jeff DanielsThe Trump administration is giving “strong indications” that it is preparing a case to decertify Iran‘s compliance with the international nuclear agreement, an expert says.

If that happens, though, some analysts believe it risks alienating U.S. allies. In addition to the United States and Iran, the 2015 nuclear agreement was signed by Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the United Nations.

The White House sent Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to Vienna on Wednesday to meet with officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for monitoring and verifying Iran’s commitments under the 2015 agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

 On Thursday, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency quoted from a letter sent by Iran’s foreign minister to the U.N. agency saying the country “is abiding by its duties and responsibilities” with regard to nuclear weapons and agreements. He accused Washington of using the issue “for ill-wishing political means.”

During her visit, Haley “discussed the IAEA’s verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments,” according to a statement by the agency. It provided no additional information, and a statement from Haley’s office discussed her visit but shed no light on imminent action.

Last week, Haley said the Tehran government should be held accountable for “its missile launchers, support for terrorism, disregard for human rights, and violations of U.N. Security Council resolutions. Iran cannot be allowed to use the nuclear deal to hold the world hostage.”

The Trump administration has certified Iran’s compliance twice under a law that requires it to notify Congress of Iran’s compliance every 90 days. The next review ends in October.

Analysts say recent actions by the U.S. demonstrate that President Donald Trump plans to renege on the Iran nuclear agreement. During the election campaign, he threatened to rip up the agreement, calling it “the worst deal ever.”

The actions include new U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran and a comment last week by a U.S. official that Iran is in breach of “the spirit” of the nuclear accord. New sanctions were designed to punish Iran for its human rights record, rocket launches as well as its role in terrorism and arms smuggling.

“He’s given strong indications that he’s just not going to recertify it,” said John Glaser, director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, the libertarian think tank.

“If we were to leave the deal or deliberately abrogate it, we’d be isolated internationally and we wouldn’t be able to do anything like reapply sanctions that would do any kind of damage on Iran,” he added. “That’s because the rest of the international community would not sort of play along.”

Glaser said the other parties to the agreement “agree that Iran is compliance with the deal and agree that the deal should be kept in place because it’s a robust, nonproliferation agreement. It has kind of taken military conflict against Iran because of the nuclear program off the table.”

Last week, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to quit the nuclear pact if the White House issues new sanctions. Iran charged those sanctions were a violation of the nuclear accord…..https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/25/strong-indications-trump-wont-recertify-iran-nuclear-deal.html

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Hurricane Harvey: what is the role of climate change in this?

Did climate change make Hurricane Harvey worse? https://qz.com/1062574/hurricane-harvey-and-climate-change-did-rising-temperatures-and-sea-levels-make-harvey-worse/ 25 Aug 17, As climatologist Katharine Hayhoe points out, seasonal hurricanes are a natural part of the weather system in the Gulf coast, and attributing the cause of a single storm entirely to climate change is currently an impossible task. “Once you get down to a small regional level, hurricanes are so rare and random that you would not be able to detect a robust trend even if there was one,” says John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas’ state climatologist.

But did climate change-driven factors make Hurricane Harvey more destructive?

The waters of the Gulf of Mexico have been warmer than average this year, with bathtub-like temperatures breaking heat records all last winter.

Researchers can point to a direct relationship between warmer water temperatures and an increase in tropical cyclone formations, but the link between warm water and hurricanes is less clear, in part because hurricanes require several other ingredients, like specific wind patterns, to form.

Climate change is definitely setting up conditions that are known to make storms more destructive, including heating up the oceans. “The warmer the Gulf water is, the greater the amount of moisture will be available” to fuel rainfall, Nielsen-Gammon says.

Officials at the National Hurricane Center predict Hurricane Harvey will bring torrential rainfall of 15 to 25 inches to Texas—with “isolated maximum amounts of 35 inches over the middle and upper Texas coast,” the Center wrote in its latest warning.

Climate change is also heating South Texas faster than most other regions in the US, and the area has been setting heat records all summer. Warmer air temperatures mean the air has a far greater carrying capacity for moisture—which translates to even more rainfall, and more floods.

“We’ve seen an increase of 30% in very heavy rainfall and intensity across Texas,” Nielsen-Gammon says. The US Environmental Protection Agency’s website notes that rainstorms in Texas are “becoming more intense, and floods are becoming more severe…In the coming decades, storms are likely to become more severe.”

And then there’s sea level rise; global warming is raising sea levels along Texas’ coast by almost two inches per decade, according to the EPA. Sea level rise makes storm surges “that much higher,” Nielsen-Gammon says.

Officials currently warn the storm surge for Harvey is expected to bring “life-threatening” flooding at heights of six to 12 feet above ground level along the coast.

Workers at 39 offshore petroleum production platforms and an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico were evacuated on Thursday in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey, CNN reports. Over the past century, offshore platform heights have risen with sea level and storm intensity, the Atlantic reports; in the 1940s, they were 20 to 40 ft above sea level. In the 1990s, they rose to 70 ft. Now, after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, platforms in the Gulf sit 91 ft above the sea surface.

Later, after the storm is over, scientists who work on “event attribution” may try to assess whether Hurricane Harvey would have been less intense in the absence of human-driven climate change, much like researchers did with Hurricane Katrina; for example, one team found that under the climate conditions of 1900, Katrina’s storm surge would have been anywhere between 15% and 60% lower.

But for now, researchers, including experts at NASA, point out that the already-clear effects of a changing climate—warmer air, warmer water, and sea level rise—could make any storm that develops more intense.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

USA’s Dept of Energy gives Rick Perry the pro coal pro nuclear report that he wanted

Rick Perry gets his electricity grid study. The coal and mining industries like it. WP,  August 24 A much-anticipated Energy Department report on the electricity grid made recommendations for regulatory changes that would bolster coal and nuclear power plants.

The changes, if adopted, would alter the way prices are determined in electricity markets, ease environmental reviews for coal plants and speed the permitting process for a variety of energy sources.

The 187-page report rejects the notion that the coal and nuclear plants that have been forced to shut down over the past 16 years had been closed prematurely, noting that cheap, abundant natural gas had been the main factor — not environmental regulations or renewable energy sources as Republican leaders have contended…..

The Energy Department document carries little weight on its own, and most of its recommendations fall in the turf of other departments and agencies.

 But the report has been seen as a test of whether the Trump administration is going to politicize government studies and disregard scientific evidence.

The in-depth look at the state of the grid quickly drew praise from coal and nuclear groups, and sharp rebukes from environmental and solar energy groups.

Among the recommendations is one that suggests that the Environmental Protection Agency ease permitting requirements for new investments at coal-fired plants, a process known as new source review…..

The report also endorsed price changes that would prevent solar and wind energy from providing energy at negative prices, which they can do thanks to federal tax credits.

This hurts other energy suppliers, especially in the nuclear industry, and the recommendation was welcomed.

 “We’re very pleased with the top line recommendation for the implementation of long overdue energy market reforms,” said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president of regulatory affairs at Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power utility.

The report suggested that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission speed up its permitting process ……

Environmental and renewable industry groups slammed the report for failing to deal with climate change and the drive toward low carbon electricity, and noted that the final report differed from earlier drafts that had been leaked……..https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/2017/08/23/fa4a506a-883e-11e7-a50f-e0d4e6ec070a_story.html?utm_term=.00a738b7bf7a

August 26, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, politics, USA | Leave a comment

China marketing nuclear power to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia signs cooperation deals with China on nuclear energy, Gulf News, 24 Aug 17 

Kingdom launched a renewable energy programme this year, and winning bid for first utility-scale solar project is due in November

Khobar, Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia and China are to cooperate on nuclear energy projects following discussions between the two countries this week on ways to support the kingdom’s nuclear energy programme, state news agency SPA reported.

Saudi Arabia has been for years trying to diversify its energy mix so that it can export more of its oil, rather than burning it at power and water desalination plants.

It launched a renewable energy programme this year with the announcement of the winning bid for its first utility-scale solar project due in November.

In addition to that programme, Riyadh is in the early stages of feasibility and design studies for its first two commercial nuclear reactors, which will total 2.8 gigawatts.

China’s leading state nuclear project developer China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) has now signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS) to promote further existing cooperation between the two sides to explore and assess uranium and thorium resources, SPA said…….

Saudi Arabia has also set up a joint investment fund with China and on Thursday signed 11 deals worth $20 billion (Dh73.4 billion) with China as part of an official visit of Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli to Saudi Arabia. http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/energy/saudi-arabia-signs-cooperation-deals-with-china-on-nuclear-energy-1.2079896

August 26, 2017 Posted by | China, marketing, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

Big mistake for Ontario to lock itself into nuclear power

Why Ontario shouldn’t lock itself in to nuclear power,  The province has committed to a dying technology when greener, safer energy innovations are just around the corner, TVO,  Aug 25, 2017, by Richard Laszlo, Richard Laszlo is the founder of Laszlo Energy Services and the author of Pollution Probe’s First Primer on Energy Systems in Canada.

We are at a critical juncture in Ontario, and no less than the economic future of the province is at stake. The Liberals are about to release their long-term energy plan, and the danger is that they’re going to foolishly reinvest in the Darlington and Pickering nuclear plants.

Nuclear power is inflexible, and going all-in on a centralized and costly technology just when solar power, energy storage, and co-generation are becoming more affordable is a big risk. The province could be locking itself out of safer, cheaper, and more flexible energy for generations.

I once supported nuclear power; I’m biased toward fancy technology. I studied engineering and physics and have been working in the energy field for almost 15 years. But I’m trying to look at this objectively, and as someone who winces at every wasted customer and taxpayer dollar.

Our overreliance on nuclear power leaves us with an overabundance of energy in off-peak hours. Nuclear plants are big, complicated, and have to be kept running 24/7 — which forces our energy system to do all sorts of crazy things. When the plants produce surplus electricity, we sell it to neighbouring jurisdictions at a loss or pay them to take it off our hands. Meanwhile, wind and solar owners get paid to produce unneeded power, while gas plants get paid to sit idle in the off chance they are needed.

The amount of waste this system generates is staggering: the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers recently estimated that Ontario squandered more than $1 billion-worth of low-emission electricity in 2016 — enough to power more than 760,000 homes for a year.

It’s a favourite pastime of think tanks like the Fraser Institute as well as certain conservative newspaper columnists to blame renewable power for Ontario’s high hydro rates, but as data from the Independent Electricity System Operator clearly shows, it’s nuclear and gas plants that are responsible for the lion’s share of increases. An overinvestment in nuclear power would make the problem worse.

Based on cost and performance, the Pickering plant should have been shut down already. Based on 1960s technology, it has among the highest operating costs of any nuclear facility in North America. Yet Ontario Power Generation wants to keep it running until 2024, so it’s asking the Ontario Energy Board for permission to raise the price of its nuclear-generated electricity nearly 180 per cent, to 16.5 cents per kWh — more than almost any other technology around, including solar. Dozens of groups — including Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Association of Major Power Consumers of Ontario, and the Consumer Council of Canada — have submitted responses to OPG’s request. Nearly all of them express concerns about the economics of the Pickering plan…….

what should the government do instead?

First, it should immediately halt the Pickering extension. The plant’s operating licence expires in 2018, and that’s a good time to shut it down. (Plant employees can work on to decommissioning the site, for which money has already been set aside.)

Second, take good hard look at the Darlington rebuild and seriously consider other options to meet the projected demand. While the rebuilding process has already started, it’s not too late for the government to change direction. The project is expected to cost at least $12.8 billion, but a long history of underestimating nuclear capital costs suggests that number will rise.

Third, plan to meet future demand via a mix of efficiency and clean-energy innovation. The government should set standards on emissions and performance, then let the market bring solutions and fight it out to deliver low-emissions power at the lowest possible price. New generation can be added to the system gradually so we can reap the benefits of falling tech prices.

All this will result in greater CO2 emissions over the short term; the fact is, there will be some increase regardless of whether Ontario continues to invest in nuclear energy. But this way, we’ll replace our supply gradually at much lower costs while still meeting our long-term climate change goals — and without tying ourselves to nuclear power for decades to come. http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/the-next-ontario/why-ontario-shouldnt-lock-itself-in-to-nuclear-power

August 26, 2017 Posted by | Canada, politics | Leave a comment

Investment fund company Vanguard calls for climate change risk disclosures

Call for climate change risk disclosures, news.com.au AUGUST 25, 2017 Ross Kerber, Reuters Vanguard Group has urged companies to disclose how climate change could affect their business and asset valuations, reflecting how the environment has become a priority for the investment industry.

August 26, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, climate change | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom buying into the wind energy business in India, as well as in Netherlands

Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp. is exploring an investment in Inox Group’s wind turbine manufacturing business, said two people aware of the development. The Russian government company’s interest in
India’s second largest wind-turbine maker by market share stems from its strategy to gain control over the supply chain, which in turn will help towards reining in costs and offer competitive tariffs in the country’s wind power space.

“Rosatom is exploring this investment given its interest in the Indian wind energy space. It is trying to build a
manufacturing presence. Through its unit JSC OTEK, it already has a partnership with the Netherlands’ wind turbine maker Lagerwey Wind BV,” said a person aware of the development, requesting anonymity.
http://www.livemint.com/Companies/3oXjwYjcSSF7WWiGh0MScN/Russias-Rosatom-eyes-Inoxs-wind-turbine-manufacturing-busi.html

August 26, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Russia | Leave a comment