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Donald Trump to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest

Trump plans to declare that Iran nuclear deal is not in the national interest, WP,   October 5   President Trump plans to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress, people briefed on an emerging White House strategy for Iran said Thursday.

The move would mark the first step in a process that could eventually result in the resumption of U.S. sanctions against Iran, which would blow up a deal limiting Iran’s nuclear activities that the country reached in 2015 with the U.S. and five other nations.

Trump is expected to deliver a speech, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 12, laying out a larger strategy for confronting the nation it blames for terrorism and instability throughout the Middle East.

Under what is described as a tougher and more comprehensive approach, Trump would open the door to modifying the landmark 2015 agreement he has repeatedly bashed as a raw deal for the United States. But for now he would hold off on recommending that Congress reimpose sanctions on Iran that would abrogate the agreement, said four people familiar with aspects of the president’s thinking.

All cautioned that plans are not fully set and could change. The White House would not confirm plans for a speech or its contents. Trump faces an Oct. 15 deadline to report to Congress on whether Iran is complying with the agreement and whether he judges the deal to be in the U.S. national interest…….

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Very high radiation levels in Europe’s wild boars: record high in boar shot in Sweden

Radioactive boar shot dead in Sweden – 31 years after Chernobyl disaster, The Local  @thelocalsweden A wild boar with radiation levels more than ten times the safe limit has been shot in central Sweden.

The reason for the unusually high radiation is that the animal lived in fields which are still affected by fallout from the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, 31 years ago.

After the explosion at the reactor in what is now Ukraine, much of Sweden was covered in a toxic cloud of radioactive iodine and cesium-137. When the rain came, the area around Gävle in the centre-east of the country took the brunt of the radioactive pollution.

READ ALSO: Why Sweden’s reindeer are still radioactive 30 years after Chernobyl

But while levels of radiation in animals such as elk and reindeer have been continually decreasing, wild boar have now begun to move north into the areas worst affected by the nuclear fallout – meaning the level of radiation among the boar population seems to be on the rise.

One boar shot in August had a radiation of 13,000 becquerel per kilogram (Bq/kg), whereas the limit set by Sweden’s Food Agency (Livsmedelsverket) for safe consumption is 1,500 Bq/kg.

And another boar, which was shot a while ago but was kept in freezer storage, has just had its radiation level measured at 16,000 Bg/kg, or in other words, more than ten times the safe limit. That animal was killed in Tärnsjö, located between Uppsala and Gävle.

“This is the highest level we’ve measured,” Ulf Frykman, an environmental consultant who tests radiation levels in game meat, told SVT.

Frykman said his team had measured around 30 samples of meat so far this year, and found that only five or six of those were below the safe limit.. The animals themselves rarely suffer any negative health effects from the radiation due to their short life spans, but people who consume meat with high radiation levels face an increased risk, albeit still a small one, of developing cancer.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | environment, EUROPE | Leave a comment

America’s power markets will be wrecked by foolish subsidy for failing coal and nculear plants

Rick Perry’s new coal subsidy could wreck America’s power markets, The Hill, When old, established industries are threatened by new, better technologies, they often go running to Washington for special protections. It is an old practice, generally taxing the common good for private interests. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Energy has set a new record for gall in this practice in a fairly stunning move that would impose a new tax on electricity consumers and roil America’s power markets for years to come.

Here’s the story: Renewable energy — especially wind and solar — has plummeted in price. Today a new wind farm, for example, is often cheaper than just the operating costs of an old coal power plant. Cheap natural gas creates additional price threats to existing coal or nuclear. And these favorable economics for renewables and gas don’t even count the public benefits they create through clean air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and avoided fuel price spikes.

This transition motivated DOE’s recent study of grid reliability, after coal and nuclear owners warned that closing their plants and adding renewables would cause blackouts. It turns out, though, even DOE’s study found this wasn’t the case, and that clean energy works just fine on our grid.

So, across the country, in power grids where economic dispatch reigns, renewables are booming, and coal plants are shutting down. This is not a “war on coal” nor is this reality susceptible to change through political pro-coal statements. It is free-market economics, plain and simple.

What can the owners of these old power plants do? They posit changing the rules, so instead of simply being paid for electricity, they get paid for “other attributes” as well, including a novel term among utilities, “fuel-secure power plants.” The idea is that having a pile of coal next to your uneconomical power plant should be richly rewarded, bringing your 1970s technology back into the black.

At first blush, this may seem sensible. Surely having a deep inventory of on-site fuel, be it a pile of coal, nuclear fuel or water behind the dam benefits the grid? Well, it turns out that reliable power is better delivered by a diversity of sources, rather than a few huge power plants. It also turns out that wind, for example, is often more reliable than coal. ……..

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has ignored this evidence, and proposed a rule to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to subsidize the oldest power plants on the grid. His request is anti-innovation, anti-economy, and anti-environment. It is a wholesale repudiation of the free market. And it flatly contradicts Texas’ experience………

It’s not surprising that increasingly obsolete industries go to Washington for protection. This is an unseemly, though regular, tradition. It is outrageous, though, when the government agency charged with delivering reliable, affordable and clean electricity dispenses all these values to invent new rationales, wholly at odds with real-world experience, market forces and their own study, to protect the worst operators on the system. This is a shame at every level.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Keeping uncompetitive nuclear and coal plants going – is Rick Perry’s unwise energy plan

Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants is bonkers, By keeping uncompetitive plants open, it would blow up energy markets. VOX by The Trump administration has not typically put a premium on transparency or fealty to empirical fact. So it was somewhat puzzling when the Department of Energy released its long-awaited study of power grid reliability in August and it looked … mostly normal.

By all accounts, DOE’s experts were allowed to work on it unimpeded. Its conclusions lined up with the broad consensus in the energy field: The loss of coal plants has not diminished grid reliability; in fact, the grid is more reliable than ever. Reliability can be improved further through smart planning and a portfolio of flexible resources. Regulators should work on ways to better compensate reliability in competitive energy markets.

The summary bits of the report added a bit of political spin, but the analytic work and core conclusions were solid — and very much not in line with the administration’s position, which is that reliability is immediately threatened and coal and nuclear plants are necessary to preserve it.

Where, wondered the more cynical observers [waves], was the hackery? Where was the political interference to prop up a favored industry, the blithe disregard of expert knowledge? This is not the Trump administration we’ve come to know and … know.

Well, it turns out, we just needed a little patience. The hackery has landed. Repeat: The hackery has landed.

Unfortunately, the hackery comes obscured by a thick cloak of acronyms — it’s an NOPR from DOE about ISOs that contradicts NERC, FFS — so it takes a little unpacking.

Here’s the short summary: Perry wants utilities to pay coal and nuclear power plants for all their costs and all the power they produce, whether those plants are needed or not.

That may sound a little blunt and ridiculous to you, but don’t worry. Once you understand some of the background and the technical details, you will see that it is in fact more blunt and ridiculous than you could have imagined.

DOE has lurched, on this subject, from minimum to maximum hackery. Even in our new Trumpian world, it is astounding.

Let’s walk through it.

DOE to FERC: address a crisis we determined does not exist

Remember, the administration’s position is that, as Perry put it in his memo requesting a grid study, “regulatory burdens, as well as mandates and tax and subsidy policies, are responsible for forcing the premature retirement of baseload power plants.”

Suffice it to say, he’s not referring to the regulations, mandates, tax, and subsidy policies that benefit coal and nuclear plants. He means renewable energy subsidies, which he says “create acute and chronic problems for maintaining adequate baseload generation and have impacted reliable generators of all types.”

Putting it more explicitly, the administration’s claim is twofold: First, that power plants with large amounts of fuel on-site — coal and nuclear, basically — are necessary to grid reliability, and second, that those plants are unfairly being driven out of business by subsidies to renewable energy.

The problem is, neither claim is true, which poses something of a dilemma for Perry, who has been put in charge of an agency filled with genuine technical experts. And sure enough, DOE’s grid study found, as many other studies before it have, that a) the loss of coal and nuclear plants has not diminished reliability, and b) it is cheap natural gas, not renewable energy subsidies, that has driven coal and nuclear out of business.

Whether through ignorance or cleverness, Perry stumbled on a different communications strategy. He seems to have realized that he didn’t need to mess with the study at all. Why bother? He could simply pretend that it supported the administration’s position. The media would he-said, she-said it for a day or two and then move on. He simply behaved as though the study had confirmed his claims.

Which brings us to last Friday, when DOE proposed a new rule for the electricity system, premised on the very suppositions its own grid study disproved. To wit:

The resiliency of the nation’s electric grid is threatened by premature retirements of power plants that can withstand major fuel supply disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters and, in those critical times, continue to provide electric energy, capacity, and essential grid reliability services. These fuel-secure resources are indispensable for the reliability and resiliency of our electric grid — and therefore indispensable for our economic and national security. It is time for the Commission to issue rules to protect the American people from energy outages expected to result from the loss of this fuel-secure generation capacity.

Again, this is all wrong. Having fuel on-site does little for resilience. The plants are not indispensable. No one expects energy outages if baseload plants continue closing.

Nonetheless, based on these faulty premises, DOE issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC), suggesting that FERC adopt a rule forcing utilities in competitive energy markets to pay the full cost of plants that have 90 days’ worth of fuel on-site.

This is a deeply messed-up thing to do, on so many levels it’s difficult to know where to begin. It is the crudest imaginable intervention on coal’s behalf.

But let’s start with a quick note on the authorities involved here.

FERC will determine the fate of this monstrosity

When Congress consolidated various agencies into DOE with the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, it deliberately maintained a separate regulatory authority (the Federal Power Commission, renamed FERC).

A quirk of the law allows DOE to propose rules to FERC — an authority is has used only rarely, and for fairly small matters.

But FERC is independent. It is not under DOE’s authority and does not have to do what DOE proposes.

It is highly unlikely to adopt this rule as-is. (It would effectively be impossible, for reasons we’ll discuss.) But it’s also unlikely to ignore the NOPR. These are, after all, both Trump administration agencies, run by Trump appointees.

So what exactly FERC does with the NOPR — what balance of expertise and hackery it brings to bear — will determine the actual impacts of this thing.

Now, let’s go deeper into the proposal.

Competitive energy markets work fine. Perry’s rule would lob a grenade into them……..

October 6, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Is America’s $1.25 trillion to $1.46 trillion spending on nuclear weapons really in the nation’s interest?

The enormous cost of more nuclear weapons Is the expansion of our nuclear arsenal in America’s best interest, or is it just Trump’s latest boastful display? Salon,  GUY T. SAPERSTEINKELSEY ABKIN 2017-10-05  This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

An analysis by the Arms Control Association of U.S. government budget data projects the total cost over the next 30 years of the proposed nuclear modernization and maintenance at between $1.25 trillion and $1.46 trillion. This expenditure is not included in our defense budget of $700 billionwhich leads the world in military spending and represents more than the spending of the next seven countries combined – three times what China spends and seven times what Russia spends on defense.

To put this into perspective, this number exceeds the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development (including disaster relief); law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.

With climate change deemed by the Pentagon as an immediate national security threathealthcare costs rising, and an increasing number of natural disasters, one might think nuclear weapons would lose their place as the top recipient of federal spending. But this is far from the case and there is a reason why.

As long as other countries continue to harbor nuclear weapons, we will do the same. And vise versa. As Donald Trump said at the start of his campaign, “If countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”

This sentiment followed him into his presidency. The Trump administration just last week considered proposing additional, smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs. However, these mini-nukes are not some new, profound proposal. We have had nuclear weapons capable of being dialed down to the power of “mini nukes” since the 80’s. The 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima would now be classified as a “mini-nuke” yet its destruction was monumental. Adding more, smaller nukes is an unnecessary, potentially dangerous addition. Proponents of the proposal claim these “mini-nukes” would give military commanders more options; critics, however, contend that it will also make the use of atomic arms more likely. Christine Parthemore, International Affairs Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, says, “Our investments should be careful lowering our threshold of use.” Further, the proposed addition will only add trouble to the already fraught international conversation opposing nuclear weapons.

As former Secretary of State George Shultz so eloquently put it, “proliferation begets proliferation.” One state’s nuclear acquisitions only drive its adversaries to follow suit. The reality is adding to our nuclear arsenal will only force our international opponents to defensively order a mad dash for the bomb.

In today’s political arena, as Russia remains volatile and North Korea’s threat grows, is funding the expansion of our nuclear arsenal in the country’s best interest or just Trump’s latest boastful display of American power?

Having a nuclear arsenal is supposed to ensure the raw principle behind nuclear deterrence: You won’t destroy us because we can destroy you. As Andrew Weber, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense & former Director of the Nuclear Weapons Council, says, “The sole purpose of having a nuclear arsenal is to deter an attack on the United States of America.”

This cold war era mindset relies on the relationship between acting and reacting. With the recognition that retaliation is likely, if not guaranteed, nuclear weapons are supposed to restrain the possibility of action on behalf of nuclear leaders. They are supposed to make them cautious, regardless of which states we are talking about or how many weapons they might possess.

According to a 2017 report by the Arms Control Association, The United States currently maintains an arsenal of about 1,650 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs), and Strategic Bombers and some 180 tactical nuclear weapons at bomber bases in five European countries.

The ICBM is arguably the most controversial piece of America’s nuclear triad, yet in August, the Air Force announced major new contracts for a revamp of the American nuclear force: $1.8 billion for initial development of a highly stealthy nuclear cruise missile, and nearly $700 million to begin replacing the 40-year-old Minuteman missiles in silos across the United States.

This plan was born from the Obama administration but enthusiastically hightailed by Trump. Obama’s reasoning was that as our weapons became increasingly safe, their numbers could be reduced.

However, Trump’s reasoning has proven to be different. His threat that North Korea will be met with “fury and fire” combined with his proposals of mini-nukes only propel the notion that he is not following past leaders in enforcing a no first strike policy.
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The danger of revamping this shaky leg of the nuclear triad is in part due to Trump’s demonstrated impulsiveness. As Andrew Weber explains, “There is a 2-3 minute threat of the land-based missiles and it is impossible for the target to determine whether the weapon has a nuclear or conventional tip.” An impulsive president with nuclear codes capable of starting a nuclear war in 2-3 minutes using a weapon that must fly over Russia and has the possibility of mistaken identity, is essentially a recipe for disaster………

Ultimately, there is no military option that would not entail a mind-bogging gamble with the lives of millions of Americans, Japanese and especially South Koreans……

Now is not the time to build up our nuclear arsenal and respond to threats with military action, especially as we face an already threatened North Korea. It is crucial now more than ever not to proliferate the use of nuclear weapons. The goal is to deter and when it comes to deterrence, more is not better, especially when it is so incredibly expensive.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

The Human Cost of War on the Korean Peninsula

A Hypothetical Nuclear Attack on Seoul and Tokyo: The Human Cost of War on the Korean Peninsula [excellent charts  and aerial photographs] 38 North, BY: MICHAEL J. ZAGUREK JR., OCTOBER 4, 2017 At various times over the past few weeks, US President Donald Trump and other members of his administration have threatened to use military force to prevent North Korea from conducting additional nuclear or ballistic missile tests. The US carrying out any military option raises a significant risk of military escalation by the North, including the use of nuclear weapons against South Korea and Japan. According to the calculations presented below, if the “unthinkable” happened, nuclear detonations over Seoul and Tokyo with North Korea’s current estimated weapon yields could result in as many as 2.1 million fatalities and 7.7 million injuries……….

If the status quo is unacceptable and diplomacy has been ineffective, then at what point do military responses become probable?  The tension between North Korea, its neighbors and the United States are now extremely high, antagonized further by bombastic exchanges between the US and DPRK during the United Nations General Assembly meetings and continued tweets from Trump. History is replete with “rational actors” grossly miscalculating, especially in crisis situations. It is possible that another North Korean nuclear test—especially if detonated in air or under water—an ICBM test, or a missile test that has the payload impact area too close to US bases in Guam for example, might see Washington react with force. This could include such options as attempting to shoot down the test missiles or possibly attacking North Korea’s missile testing, nuclear related sites, missile deployment areas or the Kim Regime itself. The North Korean leadership might perceive such an attack as an effort to remove the Kim family from power and, as a result, could retaliate with nuclear weapons as a last gasp reaction before annihilation. Therefore, it is worth reviewing the consequences if the “unthinkable” happened.

A Hypothetical Attack  Let us assume that North Korea has 25 operational nuclear weapons and that when under attack, it decides to launch its entire arsenal against both Seoul and Tokyo. The warhead yield ranges from 15 to 250 kilotons (current and possible future capabilities) and are timed for airburst at optimal altitude. Based on these assumptions, seven scenarios were run, one for each of the seven different warhead yields.

There are dozens of variables in calculating the potential effects of nuclear detonations on population centers. One can run countless simulations with many combinations of these variables with a wide range of results [12]. For simplification purposes, the calculations in this simulation are based on traditional population vulnerability due to blast overpressure [13]. The blast areas for the seven weapon yields were calculated using the Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer [14].

Current estimated population, area, and population density for Seoul and Tokyo [chart on original]

The population density at the center of both Seoul and Tokyo is significantly higher. For example, the population density of Seoul Special City is 17,002/km2 [16], the population density of Tokyo’s Special Wards is 14,950/km2 [17]. Moreover, the population density levels of these special areas can significantly increase during the work week.

Casualty Estimates

Based on these assumptions, the number of casualties expected from a single reliable 250 kt warhead airburst over the centers of Seoul and Tokyo is as follows [18]: [chart on original – total over 6 million] ……. [excellent references] more

October 6, 2017 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

European Union struggling to continue diplomatic back channel with North Korea

EU’s diplomatic back channel in Pyongyang goes cold,  Robin Emmott, BRUSSELS (Reuters) 4 Oct 17,  – While European powers France and Britain are lobbying Washington to cool tensions since North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test a month ago, EU nations with embassies in Pyongyang are directly pressing the North Koreans.

A group of seven European Union countries – the Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as Britain and Germany – held at least two formal meetings with North Korean officials in Pyongyang in September, three EU diplomats said.

But they felt frustrated because the higher-level access that they had obtained in Pyongyang last year had fallen away, with only medium-ranking foreign ministry officials now attending the meetings, the diplomats said.

“There was a sense that we weren’t really getting anywhere because they sent these department heads,” said a Brussels-based diplomat who had been briefed on the meetings, which were described as “very serious” in atmosphere and tone.

“They want to talk to the United States.”

The White House has ruled out such talks, with President Donald Trump telling Secretary of State Rex Tillerson he would be “wasting his time” negotiating with the North Koreans.

The United States has no embassy in Pyongyang and relies on Sweden, the so-called U.S. protecting power there, to do consular work, especially when Westerners get into trouble.

In contrast to recent meetings, when North Korean officials met EU envoys in the Czech Republic’s embassy in 2016 to discuss issues including cultural programs and regional security, a deputy foreign minister would attend, one EU diplomat said.

For the small club of European Union governments with embassies in North Korea, that reflects Pyongyang’s anger at the EU’s gradually expanding sanctions that go beyond those agreed by the United Nations Security Council.

It could have repercussions for broader EU efforts to help mediate in the nuclear crisis, according to the EU diplomats briefed by their colleagues in Pyongyang, as the bloc prepares more measures against North Korea.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who chaired talks on the historic 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, says the bloc is ready to mediate in any talks aimed at freezing North Korea’s missile and nuclear weapons programs.

But at the same time, the European Union wants an oil embargo on Pyongyang that it hopes other countries will follow.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

UK Navy officer bungled: torpedo fired into nuclear dockyard. A nuclear close call.

TORPEDOH! Bungling Navy officer accidentally fired a torpedo into a nuclear dockyard while doing maintenance  Seaman was given a ‘get well soon’ package to restore his confidence after he attempted spur-of-the-moment missile test without an instruction manual while moored in Plymouth , The Sun, UK By Jacob Dirnhuber 6th October 2017

October 6, 2017 Posted by | incidents, UK | Leave a comment

Why Christiana Figueres chose optimism over climate doom

Christiana Figueres: why I chose optimism over climate doom, The leading climate change diplomat called for “stubborn optimism” New Statesman, INDIA BOURKE. 6 Oct 17,  “…….doom and gloom is not the method counselled by Christiana Figueres. The Costa Rican diplomat has won global acclaim for her leadership of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

As its executive secretary of the organisation, she was responsible for steering the world towards the epic success of the 2015 Paris Agreement – an accord which has so far seen 167 countries ratify their pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

 Speaking to a group of young environmentalists at a PeaceBoatevent last weekend, Figueres explained that she achieved this feat by refusing to give up on a message of hope:

“Name one battle that has been won with pessimism: None!” she told the assembled room. “You do not go at a battle or a challenge with pessimism, because by definition you will not win. So that is why I bring [a] tsunami of optimism to this whole darn thing – because we have to.”

“I call myself a stubborn optimist. And I invite you all to be stubborn optimists.” Then she added: “But you also have to be stubborn and don’t give up.”

If someone says they’re going to build a wall in your path, then “go around” it, “fly over” it, or “dig under” it, she counselled the audience. “Whatever barrier is put in front of you, if you know that you want to obtain something, do not give that barrier the power of paralysing you.”

 It’s a message Figueres herself has come to live by. Six years ago, when she first took over the secretariat, the prospect of a reaching a global agreement on climate change seemed impossible…….

This optimistic resolve eventually helped pull off an international agreement on climate change, in the form of the 2015 Paris Agreement. According to the event’s chair, Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, it was an essential change of approach. “This whole thing was revived in Cancun, really, by you and Patricia Espinosa. And it was a very different dynamic – it was very consensual, very bridge building.”

So how can the world add to these achievements and prevent the climate from breaching the all-important 1.5 degrees celcius rise? And how can individuals replace feelings of despair with a sense of empowerment and hope? Here are eight thoughts from Figueres’s talk:…….

Number 5. Change the system – not just individual behaviour:………

October 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

European States anxious about Britain’s ‘nuclear revival’ in Hinkley project

Romandie 5th Oct 2017, [Machine Translation] Luxembourg on Thursday said it feared “unfair
competition” between nuclear and renewable energies, on the occasion of the
examination by European justice of the complaint lodged by Austria and the
Grand Duchy against the payment of public aid for the Hinkley Point plant.

“We want to avoid this nuclear renaissance because all this public money
will be blocked and will not be able to go into energy efficiency and
renewable,” explained to the press at the end of the hearing the Luxembourg
Minister of the Environment, Carole Dieschburg. The arguments of the
representatives of Austria and the European Commission on the United
Kingdom aid measure at Unit C of the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant were
held before the EU Court in Luxembourg on Thursday.

Support for the Republic of Austria, Luxembourg continued for ten minutes. For the Grand
Duchy, the outcome of the dispute will have an influence on the direction
of the EU’s energy policy. “Subsidizing could set an important precedent
and give the green light to a new model of state nuclear financing in
Europe,” Dieschbourg said.

“For us, the important thing is to avoid a
nuclear revival,” she insisted. At the heart of the dispute is the decision
of the European Commission in October 2014 to validate the price support
mechanism provided by London, which is deemed compatible in Brussels with
EU rules. Backed by Luxembourg, Austria filed an appeal on 6 July 2015
against that decision. This mechanism, also known as the “offset gap
contract”, guarantees stable revenues to the operator of the Hinkley Point
nuclear power plant, in this case EDF, for a period of 35 years.

In addition to the procedure initiated by Austria, Greenpeace Energy also
brought an action for annulment against the same decision of the European

In collaboration with Areva and the Chinese companies CGN China
General Nuclear and CNNC China National Nuclear Corporation, EDF is building
a new nuclear power plant with two reactors in Hinkley Point, southwest
England, in March, a controversial an estimated cost of about 21 billion
euros. By 2025, the plant will produce 3.300 MWh of electricity, the
largest single-station power plant in the United Kingdom and 7% of total UK
electricity generation.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | EUROPE, opposition to nuclear, politics international | Leave a comment

German authorities puzzled over increase in radioactive particles in air

Deutche Welle 5th Oct 2017, German authorities have measured an increase in radioactive material in the
air. Officials say there is no risk to human health whatsoever, but are
puzzling over its source. Since September 29, a slight increase in the
isotope Ruthenium-106 has been measured in the air in Germany, Italy,
Austria, Switzerland and France.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | environment, Germany | Leave a comment

Climate models have not ‘exaggerated’ global warming

Factcheck: Climate models have not ‘exaggerated’ global warming ,
Skeptical Science,  by Zeke HausfatherThis is a re-post from Carbon Brief 6 Oct 17 A new study published in the Nature Geosciences journal this week by largely UK-based climate scientists has led to claims in the media that climate models are “wrong” and have significantly overestimated the observed warming of the planet.

Here Carbon Brief shows why such claims are a misrepresentation of the paper’s main results. In reality, the results obtained from the type of model-observation comparisons performed in the paper depend greatly on the dataset and model outputs used by the authors.

Much of the media coverage surrounding the paper, Millar et al, has focused on the idea that climate models are overestimating observed temperatures by around 0.3C, or nearly 33% of the observed warming since the late 1800s. For example, the Daily Mailreported:

According to these models, temperatures across the world should now be at least 1.3 degrees above the mid-19th century average, which is taken as a base level in such calculations. But the British report demonstrates that the rise is only between 0.9 and 1 degree.

Lead author Dr Richard Millar and his co-authors have pushed back against such media coverage, releasing a statement which says:

A number of media reports have asserted that our [study] indicates that global temperatures are not rising as fast as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and hence that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer urgent. Both assertions are false. Our results are entirely in line with the IPCC’s 2013 prediction that temperatures in the 2020s would be 0.9-1.3 degrees above pre-industrial [levels].

[Carbon Brief’s guest post by Dr Millar earlier this week includes the paper’s key figures. Additionally, one of his co-authors, Prof Piers Forster, provides further reaction at the end of this article.]

Contrary to media claims, the study found that warming is consistent with the range of IPCC models, albeit a bit lower than the average of all the models.

Indeed, as Carbon Brief explains in detail below, the difference between models and observations turns out to depend largely on what climate model outputs and observational temperature series are used……….

October 6, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran is working well: Trumps is dishonest

Donald Trump’s demonisation of Iran is dishonest and dangerous, Guardian, Michael Axworthy, 6 Oct 17,  The Iran nuclear deal is doing what it was designed to do. It is a force for stability in the unstable Middle East, and to endanger it is irresponsible “…….as we get further into Trumpworld, the more disturbing and dangerous a place it seems to be. And in a strange way, it seems he is not really president at all, but still running for president, still trying to convince people he deserves to be there. He is preoccupied with his predecessor and his policies, and with competing against his record, whether it is the size of the crowd at his inaugurationObamacare, or now, the Iran nuclear deal that was negotiated while Obama was in office.

With all the difficulties of the world at the moment – a dangerous confrontation with North Korea, the looming threat of trade wars and consequent economic slump, and a Middle East region strewn with failed states, unresolved conflicts and misery, to name just a few – the Iran nuclear deal is a rare example of a recent diplomatic initiative that has actually enhanced stability.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the full title of the agreement) is working. The International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), responsible for overseeing its verification and inspection provisions, is satisfied that it is working and that Iran is meeting its JCPOA commitments. The other countries that are party to the agreement, the UK, Germany, France China and Russia, agree with the IAEA and are satisfied too. But Donald Trump is not satisfied.

 The JCPOA doesn’t do things it was never framed to do, of course. It doesn’t address missile development – its negotiators judged that to attempt that would be too much, and would make an already difficult negotiation (which many pundits around the world said would never be successful), impossible to bring to a successful outcome………

Trump’s demonisation of Iran is dishonest. The instability of the region is not in any significant measure the consequence of Iranian actions. To blame Iran for terrorism in the region is misleading at best – most terrorism there, and most of the Islamist terrorism worldwide, is inspired by extreme versions of Sunni Islam, not by the Shia Islam of Iran and the Iranian regime.

The Republican right in the US, historically, has disliked arms control agreements, largely because they involve compromise by both sides and therefore fall short of what might appear the ideal from a narrow US perspective. But that is the nature of diplomacy too. Treaties have to be negotiated; only in exceptional circumstances can you dictate terms. Some commentators in the US have called the JCPOA a flawed agreement, but it is only flawed agreement from that skewed and immature perspective.

The JCPOA is doing what it was designed to do: limit Iran’s ability to make a bomb. It is a force for stability in the chronically unstable Middle East, and to endanger it is irresponsible. Not just the IAEA and most of the world, but most of Trump’s own military and civilian advisers, all agree on that. From their near silence on the matter, the deal’s previous enemies in Saudi Arabia now seem to agree too.

If Trump decertifies the deal – which seems to be his intention in the next few days – he weakens it, but gives responsibility for reimposing sanctions, which would wreck the agreement, to the US Congress.

To do that would be an abdication of his responsibility as president. It would be the action of a spoilt child who breaks the toys in the kindergarten because the adults won’t agree to do what he wants them to do. And if Trump abdicates responsibility in this way, the logical next step is that he should have the responsibility taken away from him.

 Michael Axworthy is author of Revolutionary Iran and a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Iran, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

A new minor cave-in halts work to stabilize Hanford nuclear waste tunnel

More dirt caves in during work to stabilize Hanford nuclear waste tunnel OCTOBER 04, 2017   Work to fill a Hanford nuclear waste tunnel that partially collapsed started, and then stopped, overnight Tuesday after some of the dirt used to initially stabilize the tunnel began to cave into it.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | incidents, USA | Leave a comment

Energy industries unite in urging Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject govt support to coal, nuclear

Behind the Backlash to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s Demand for Coal-Nuclear Market Intervention, Almost everyone outside the coal and nuclear industries wants FERC to turn down DOE’s grid market rule. Here’s why.

Greentech Media, by Jeff St. John , October 05, 2017 Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s demand for market-disrupting price supports for coal and nuclear power plants has broken multiple rules for how energy policy is made, from upending the facts to subverting regular order. And it’s being pushed through on a hyper-fast, 60-day review period that’s not only unjustified by the Department of Energy report it cites as justification, but “practically and legally impossible” to meet.

This is a collection of the critiques that have emerged since Friday’s shock DOE filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In a rarely used notice of public rule making (NOPR), DOE asked FERC to create market rules to provide compensation for power plants that, among other features, have a 90-day supply of fuel on hand — something that only coal and nuclear power plants can do.

The NOPR cited the grid reliability study ordered by Perry in April to argue that baseload power plants need compensation to shore up grid reliability. But as we covered when it was released in July, the report doesn’t actually support that conclusion, stealing some of the thunder from clean energy and environmental groups’ arguments that the report was a Trojan horse for pro-coal and nuclear power policies all along.

Friday’s NOPR seems to have vindicated those views, however, as well as drawing the fire of a much broader coalition of energy industry players. On Tuesday, FERC received a joint motion from a coalition representing literally every sector of the energy economy except coal and nuclear power, asking it to deny DOE’s request for an interim final rule to take effect within 60 days, and to extend the comment period out to at least 90 days. ……..

October 6, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment