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The thorium nuclear dream: 50 years later – still as far away as ever

Thorium nuclear power? go Green instead  https://www.westerntelegraph.co.uk/news/17600300.letter-thorium-nuclear-power-go-green-instead/  By Bruce Sinclair Reporter,Western Telegraph April 17CHRISTOPHER JESSOP, F Harbud wrote: “With all the letters on green energy appearing in the press, I wonder why there is no mention of the thorium reactors under development?”

When I was reading for my Energy Studies degree at University College Swansea in the late 1970s, the consensus within the nuclear power industry was that the thorium cycle could prove of interest, but a lot of investment would be required to develop a competitive and safe reactor design.

Forty years later, the nuclear power industry appears to be still saying this.

Meanwhile, onshore wind and solar PV are the cheapest means of generating electricity, and they are available NOW.

The climate emergency is so severe, we can’t wait for the future promise of any ‘long-haul’ energy technology, and that includes fusion: when I was a student, fusion was 50 years away from commercialisation, and more than 40 years later it is still 50 years away from commercialisation!

 

April 30, 2019 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Political leaders in Britain are not strong enough to tackle the climate change crisis- Lord Stern

Times 29th April 2019 , Political leaders in Britain are not strong enough to tackle the climate
change crisis, according to one of the country’s leading authorities on the
subject. Lord Stern of Brentford, author of the Stern Review on the cost of
tackling global warming, said that politicians were holding the country
back from making progress on the issue.

“Has the political leadership been
strong enough? No, I don’t think so,” he said. He added that protests by
campaigners such as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from
Sweden, and Extinction Rebellion, a group that caused disruption in the
capital last week, would help to build awareness and spur politicians into
action.

“Leadership is absolutely fundamental, but that doesn’t come out of
nowhere, it comes as these pressures build,” he said. Lord Stern, a former
chief economist at the Treasury and the World Bank, is among Britain’s most
respected thinkers on the environmental crisis. In 2006 he published The
Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, which described global
warming as the “greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen”.

He told The Times that policymakers needed to act to avert a catastrophic rise
in global temperatures. If they waited an additional ten to fifteen years
before taking radical steps to reduce carbon emissions, it would be too
late, he said.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/c233cb30-69e1-11e9-95be-9353feb218cd

April 30, 2019 Posted by | climate change, politics, UK | Leave a comment

The eloquence of Greta Thunberg

 https://thebulletin.org/2019/04/greta-thunberg-climate-change-eloquence/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=GretaThunberg_04252019

By Thomas Gaulkin, April 25, 2019  Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old student whose school strikes have inspired a global youth movement on climate change, has emerged as a chief orator of her generation, enthralling her Instagram peers and world political leaders alike while taking on new and more specific opponents.

That includes the members of Parliament she met with this week in London. Her speech Tuesday to a gathering of British MPs was remarkable, not only for the incongruity of a young Swedish woman giving the UK’s top politicians what for, but also for her focused targeting of the nation’s energy policies. Longer than her usual talks—at some 1,750 words it’s more than double the length of speeches she presented at Davos and the UN climate conference in the fall—the speech eschewed the finely tuned repertoire of scolding that propelled her into newscasts worldwide with persuasive and provocative headline-fodder like “I want you to panic,” “the house is on fire,” “I don’t want your hope,” and so on.

Instead, for her House of Commons speech, as with her address to the EU parliament a week earlier, Thunberg tailored her words to the climate-related failures of the adults in the room. “The UK is … very special,” she told the British MPs. “Not only for its mind-blowing historical carbon debt, but also for its current, very creative carbon accounting.” She then detailed how the UK’s carbon emissions reductions have fallen short (by neglecting emissions from aviation and shipping in estimates, for example). Lambasting the nation’s continued support for fossil fuels, Thunberg does not mince words: “This ongoing irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind.”

Thunberg has adjusted her rhetoric to respond to criticism from prominent figures like Theresa May (who was a no-show at a meeting between Thunberg and other UK party leaders), who think the school strikes “waste lesson time.” As for those winning metaphors like the “house on fire,” Thunberg seems confident moving beyond them (“I have said those words before,” she told the EU) to newly relevant and bigger metaphors: “Avoiding climate breakdown will require cathedral thinking. We must lay the foundation while we may not know exactly how to build the ceiling.”

It’s worth reading Thunberg’s entire speech, to appreciate both her crisp eloquence on the world’s most complex environmental problem and her satisfying rejection of grown-ups who praise her actions without committing to any themselves.

“Did you hear what I just said?” she asked a few times. “Is my English OK? Is the microphone on? Because I’m beginning to wonder.”

April 30, 2019 Posted by | climate change, PERSONAL STORIES, UK | Leave a comment

Subsidies to nuclear industry – legislation “anti-competitive” and “anti-consumer.”

Free-market advocate chastises nuclear energy subsidies in committee hearing, Ohio Watchdog, By Tyler Arnold | Watchdog.org, Apr 24, 2019, 

    • A representative of an Ohio-based free-market think tank cautioned state lawmakers during a Wednesday committee hearing about adopting a measure that would subsidize two nuclear power plants that are no longer viable on their own.

“The Buckeye Institute opposes government subsidies, pure and simple,” institute Research Fellow Greg Lawson said in his testimony to the Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy Generation. “Any subsidy given to one entity puts other competitors at a disadvantage. And using the power of government to disadvantage market competitors makes for bad public policy.”

House Bill 6, sponsored by state Reps. Jamie Callender, R-Concord Township, and Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, is designed to boost the state’s investment in clean energy and incentivize the building and maintenance in facilities that produce few carbon emissions and reduce energy bills.

Critics of the bill have classified the legislation as a bailout aimed at saving two FirstEnergy Solutions nuclear power plants – the Davis-Besse and Perry plants. The company, which has lobbied for legislative help, has said that the plants will be shut down without financial aid from taxpayers.

If passed, the legislation would impose a $2.50 monthly fee for every residential customer, a $250 fee for industrial customers and a $2,500 fee for large users. This would generate about $170 million to keep the plants open……

Lawson’s testimony criticized the subsidies further.

“Although described as incentives, the policies … are classic examples of government subsidies being used to prop-up declining businesses…,” Lawson testified. “[The bill] deals more broadly than just FirstEnergy Solutions, leaving leftover funds for other utilities to draw down, but everyone understands that FirstEnergy Solutions, or whoever eventually buys the two nuclear power plants, will be the bill’s primary beneficiary.”…….

Several other organizations testified in the committee hearing, touching on how the legislation would affect competition as well as jobs and workers.

Luke Harms, who testified on behalf of the Ohio Manufacturer’s Association, said that the legislation would put an unfair cost on industrial consumers for the purpose of propping up two nonviable plants. He called the legislation “anti-competitive” and “anti-consumer.”

Bill Siderewicz, who testified on behalf of Clean Energy Future, said that it is inconsistent to label the bill a clean energy bill because it replaces a cheaper form of clean energy with a more expensive form through a bailout and a regressive tax…….https://www.watchdog.org/ohio/free-market-advocate-chastises-nuclear-energy-subsidies-in-committee-hearing/article_a0208772-66cb-11e9-abed-c3d999e15c7f.html?fbclid=IwAR3z3zHqrFMqarwjugRTeXRnDFjymsM7S0LU2nf-43IIyaR9XOEtWj8lbjI

April 30, 2019 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

The Last Time There Was This Much CO2, Trees Grew at the South Pole

   Dahr Jamail, Truthout , 29  April 19,   It is palpable now. Even the most ardent deniers of human-caused climate disruption can feel the convulsions wracking the planet…..


This anxiety that increases by the day, this curious dread of what our climate-disrupted future will bring, is difficult to bear. Even those who have not already lost homes or loved ones to climate disruption-fueled extreme weather events have to live with the burden of this daily tension.

The signs of our overheated planet abound, and another collection of recent reports and studies shows things are only continuing to accelerate as human-caused climate disruption progresses.

A recently published study showed that Earth’s glaciers are now melting five times more rapidly than they were in the 1960s.“The glaciers shrinking fastest are in central Europe, the Caucasus region, western Canada, the U.S. Lower 48 states, New Zealand and near the tropics,” lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich told Time Magazine. Glaciers in those places are losing an average of more than 1 percent of their mass each year, according to the study. “In these regions, at the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” added Zemp.

Meanwhile, the World Meteorological Organization announced that extreme weather events impacted 62 million people across the world last year. In 2018, 35 million people were struck by flooding, and Hurricanes Florence and Michael were just two of 14 “billion-dollar disasters” in 2018 in the U.S. More than 1,600 deaths were linked to heat waves and wildfires in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The report also noted the last four years were the warmest on record.As an example of this last statistic, another report revealed that Canada is warming at twice the global rate. “We are already seeing the effects of widespread warming in Canada,” Elizabeth Bush, a climate science adviser at Environment Canada, told The Guardian. “It’s clear, the science supports the fact that adapting to climate change is an imperative.”

Another recent report showed that the last time there was this much CO2 in the atmosphere (412 ppm), in the Pliocene Epoch 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago, sea levels were 20 meters higher than they are right now, trees were growing at the South Pole, and average global temperatures were 3 to 4 degrees Centigrade (3°-4° C) warmer, and even 10°C warmer in some areas. NASA echoed the report’s findings.

And if business as usual continues, emissions will only accelerate. The International Energy Agency announced that global carbon emissions set a record in 2018, rising 1.7 percent to a record 33.1 billion tons……….. https://truthout.org/articles/the-last-time-there-was-this-much-co2-trees-grew-at-the-south-pole/

April 30, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Concerns Raised About Three Mile Island Steam Generator Tube Defects; Could Rupture Leading To LOCA-Meltdown — Mining Awareness +

The Three Mile Island (TMI) Nuclear Power Station Unit 1 is still operating and owner Exelon is pressuring Pennsylvania to approve subsidies to keep it open. The TMI replacement steam generators (by Areva-Le Creusot) apparently have a design defect, but may have material defects, as well. These could lead to another partial, or full, Three […]

via Concerns Raised About Three Mile Island Steam Generator Tube Defects; Could Rupture Leading To LOCA-Meltdown — Mining Awareness +

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Biodiversity Loss and Human Extinction — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

“The numbers are staggering,” says the former Romanian environment minister. “I hope we aren’t the first species to document our own extinction.”

via Biodiversity Loss and Human Extinction — GarryRogers Nature Conservation

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 29 Energy News — geoharvey

Video: ¶ “Finland’s New Generation Of Climate Heroes” • The town of Ii in northern Finland wants to be the world’s first zero-waste community. They stopped using fossil fuels, and the community is reducing CO₂ emissions faster than any other in Finland. Their target is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2020, 30 years ahead […]

via April 29 Energy News — geoharvey

April 30, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment