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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

If Amazon forest catches fire, world climate will be in even bigger trouble

Why we should all worry about the Amazon catching on fire this year, WP, By Chris Mooney July 12 When you Google “Amazon fires,” the first thing you encounter is a tablet device. But in the coming months, if scientific forecasts prove correct, that may change.

Researchers are increasingly concerned that the Amazon rain forest — the world’s largest tropical forest, a huge repository of carbon and a vital cycler of water into rainfall across much of South America — will soon burn in a way that has not been seen in many years.

The reason is the lingering effect of the recent El Nino event. Forecasts from NASA and the University of California-Irvine, and from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society suggest that because of how El Nino reduced precipitation in the region earlier this year, the Amazon is far drier than usual, and primed to burn once the dry season reaches its height this summer (the fire season runs from June through November with a September peak).

According to the NASA/U.C. Irvine forecast, the Amazon is currently “far drier than 2005 and 2010 — the last years when the region experienced drought.” The years 2005 and 2010 also saw major blazes in the Amazon.

Indeed, the NASA/U.C. Irvine researchers shared data suggesting that the storage of water in the Amazon in March of 2016, as measured by NASA’s twin GRACE satellites (which detect gravitational anomalies at the Earth’s surface), is far lower now than it was in March during these prior years.

“We have the possibility of killing hundreds of thousands of trees in the Amazon in 2016, if you let these fires start,” says Paulo Brando, an Amazon fire expert at the Woods Hole Research Center and Ipam (the Amazon Environmental Research Institute).

If these forecasts are verified, there will be a great deal at stake. It isn’t just that huge, dangerous clouds of smoke could reach major urban areas ranging from Manaus to Rio. It’s that the fires risk helping to tip the Amazon into a new state that scientists fear — one in which it will be drier, store less carbon, cycle less water and generate less rainfall.

That would be disastrous for the Earth’s climate overall. The Amazon alone stores an enormous amount of carbon,  120 billion tons worth. Put that stuff in the atmosphere and the result would be justly termed catastrophic………

It is important to note that so far, what we are looking at are bad fire forecasts for this summer in the Amazon — but not a catastrophe at this point. The forecasts may not be realized. (That happens!) And the forecasts could also drive at least some action in Brazil and other Amazon countries to take steps to prevent people from starting fires, blunting the potential consequences of drought.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that scientists continue to talk about the Amazon in the same way they talk about, say, West Antarctica or the overturning circulation of the Atlantic Ocean — as a delicate system that we could tip, with enormous consequences. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/12/the-ultimate-forest-fire-whatll-happen-when-the-amazon-burns/

July 15, 2016 Posted by | Brazil, climate change, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Chile producing too much solar energy

Chile Has So Much Solar Energy It’s Giving It Away for Free , Bloomberg, 2 June 16 

  • Spot prices reached zero for 113 days this year through April
  • Solar power on Chile’s central grid quadrupled since 2013
  • Chile’s solar industry has expanded so quickly that it’s giving electricity away for free.

    Spot prices reached zero in parts of the country on 113 days through April, a number that’s on track to beat last year’s total of 192 days, according to Chile’s central grid operator. While that may be good for consumers, it’s bad news for companies that own power plants struggling to generate revenue and developers seeking financing for new facilities.

    Chile’s increasing energy demand, pushed by booming mining production and economic growth, has helped spur development of 29 solar farms supplying the central grid, with another 15 planned. Further north, in the heart of the mining district, even more have been built. Now, economic growth is slowing as copper output stagnates amid a global glut, energy prices are slumping and those power plants are oversupplying regions that lack transmission lines to distribute the electricity elsewhere………

  • Inadequate Infrastructure

    The government is working to address this issue, with plans to build a 3,000-kilometer(1,865-mile) transmission line to link the the two grids by 2017. It’s also developing a 753-kilometer line to address congestion on the northern parts of the central grid, the region where power surpluses are driving prices to zero…….

  • When power companies aren’t giving away electricity, it’s cheap. At the Diego de Almagro substation in the Atacama region, for example, prices didn’t exceed $60 a megawatt-hour for most of March. That’s less than the $70 minimum price for companies that won long-term contracts to sell solar power in Chile’s energy auctions in October and March……..http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-01/chile-has-so-much-solar-energy-it-s-giving-it-away-for-free

 

June 3, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear power to Bolivia

Russian-BearBolivia Hopes to Gain Knowledge From Nuclear Deal With Russia, Sputnik News, 29 Mar 16,   “……..Russia and Bolivia signed an agreement on peaceful nuclear cooperation in 2015. Rosatom and the Bolivian Hydrocarbon and Energy Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for peaceful uses of nuclear energy in November.  http://sputniknews.com/business/20160329/1037166194/bolivia0russia-rosatom-nuclear.html#ixzz44KHYmPUv

March 30, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Tropical countries need solar power, more than free cooling

text-relevantTropical sites need solar power, not free cooling, Data Center Dynamics 24 March 2016 By Paulo Cesar de Resende Pereira  Free cooling can improve some measures of efficiency, but tropical countries may be better off looking at where their power comes from

solar _photovoltaic_cells-wide

The importance of data centers to the average citizen should not be underestimated. They are vital for even the most common daily function – from a simple internet search to a bank transaction. Their importance can even extend to, for example, the monitoring of the electricity delivered to one’s home.

But data centers are accused of being environmental villains due to their exorbitant consumption of energy, so reducing their environmental impact is vital. In this context, photovoltaic generation is an interesting alternative to free cooling, and especially suitable for tropical regions such as Brazil.

Using the wrong metricEcological footprint (ecofootprint), according to WWF Global, is connected to the impact of human activities, measured according to the production area and the amount of water needed to produce goods and assimilate the waste produced.

Data center efficiency is usually rated by PUE, a parameter conceptualized by the US, the EU and Japan to establish a single metric to assess the energy efficiency of data centers. The concept is not new, because the relationship between useful energy and invested energy is used in many other processes.

The calculation of this indicator is based on the relationship between the energy consumption by the installation as a whole (total energy) and the energy consumption exclusively by IT equipment (IT energy). Like any indicator, PUE may be called into question, but it remains a useful metric nonetheless.

It did not take long for the cooling system to be considered the greatest enemy of PUE; as a consequence, its efficiency has become closely related to its reduction. There is nothing more tempting than getting something for free; for instance, a data center that could potentially be cooled by nothing more than the forces of nature. Since this is not possible, the solution is to decrease a good percentage of energy consumed by central chilled water, taking advantage of free cooling, thus decreasing PUE………

Free energy, not free coolingThe concept of free energy emerges as an alternative to free cooling, on the grounds that it is more suitable to the Brazilian reality and to other countries with similar weather. It is related to power generation using any renewable energy source that has been obtained directly from nature through an environmentally sustainable process. This solution, as well as free cooling, aims to improve data center effectiveness and reduce the ecofootprint from data centers in general. Because of the distributed generation and the ability of interaction between the minigeneration and the energy provider, free energy has become a feasible concept.

Taking photovoltaic power as an example of free energy, when data centers are transformed into generation plants, they may apply this energy to the grid and offset it – not only from an energy standpoint but also economic. Once the concept of free energy is settled, it is inserted into another new term – EcoPUE – bringing a new idea for calculating PUE that is now even more environmentally friendly and presents a sustainable aspect, where the reduction of energy consumption in the data center is linked to the subtraction of the energy generated by the photovoltaic generation system. This renewable generated energy is called ‘free energy.’

Use what works

The increased demand for processing and storage of data, together with the environmental problems caused by high energy consumption, are forcing data centers in Brazil, and elsewhere, to seek more technological solutions and become increasingly green, using energy more efficiently and sustainably while providing a quality service to customers

. A combination of existing technology and techniques, along with new government legislation in Brazil, are now in place, so significant improvements have already been achieved. As an alternative to free cooling, the use of photovoltaics is increasingly being seen as a viable option in countries with a high solar radiation index – like Brazil – where renewable energy can be obtained for free from the natural resources available on the planet.

The concept of EcoPUE demonstrates that greater efficiency from a data center can be enforced with the use of photovoltaic generation, thus reducing their environmental footprint.

Paulo Cesar de Resende Pereira is director of Fox Engenharia e Consultoria in Brazil

This article is translated from the Portuguese-language section of the latest magazine at Datacenterdynamics.es    http://www.datacenterdynamics.com/power-cooling/tropical-sites-need-solar-power-not-free-cooling/95907.fullarticle

March 26, 2016 Posted by | Brazil, renewable | Leave a comment

Russia marketing nuclear reactors to Bolivia

Russian-BearBolivia agrees $300 million nuclear complex with Russia’s Rosatom, Reuters, 6 Mar 16, LA PAZ Bolivia and Russia’s state-owned atomic energy corporation Rosatom said on Sunday they had signed a provisional agreement for the construction of $300 million nuclear complex in the Andean nation.

Under the terms of the accord, which needs to be approved by Bolivia’s Congress, Rosatom will help Bolivia develop infrastructure for its embryonic nuclear program.

The center will include a research reactor, a cyclotron for radiopharmaceuticals and a multi-purpose gamma irradiation plant. Opposition politicians have criticized the project over fears of environmental risks……..http://www.reuters.com/article/us-bolivia-rosatom-idUSKCN0W80R3

March 7, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Murder of indigenous activist Green Nobel winner Berta Caceres

Environmental activist, Green Nobel winner Berta Caceres killed  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/environmental-activist-green-nobel-winner-berta-caceres-killed/news-story/8399e153bdf91f483868c9e9d63e6dac  AFP MARCH 5, 2016 TEGUCIGALPA: Honduran indigenous activist Berta Caceres, an award-winning environmentalist, has been shot and killed in her home, her family labelling her death an assassination.

Ms Caceres won the 2015 Goldman Prize, the world’s top award for grassroots environmental activism, for leading the indigenous Lenca people in a struggle against a hydro-electric dam project that would flood native lands and cut off water supplies to hundreds.

Her mother, Berta Flores, said yesterday police had indicated her daughter was killed in a robbery, “but we all know it was because of her struggle”.

The 43-year-old mother of four, who had received death threats for her activism, was shot dead in the early hours of Thursday at her home in the western town of La Esperanza.

In awarding her the prize, the Goldman organisation commended her for carrying on her campaign despite the threats, writing: “Her murder would not surprise her colleagues, who keep a eulogy — but hope to never have to use it. “Despite these risks, she maintains a public presence in order to continue her work”.

President Juan Orlando Hernandez called the killing “a crime against Honduras” and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice, and secretary-general of the Organisation of American States Luis Almagro condemned the crime as “horrific.”

As Ms Caceres’s body lay in a hall at a union headquarters in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa yesterday, supporters outside shouted, “Berta is alive, the fight goes on”. About 3000 students blocked a road elsewhere in Tegucigalpa before police dispersed them with tear gas.

Security Minister Julian Pacheco said a security guard at the complex where Ms Caceres lived and another suspect who was wounded had been arrested.

Ms Caceres had won a ruling by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights granting her special security measures. Police formerly provided her with an around-the-clock guard, but switched to an occasional security detail at her request, Mr Pacheco said. But the Centre for Justice and International Law denied that Ms Caceres had turned down bodyguards and accused the government of providing “deficient” security.

Mr Pacheco said Ms Caceres had spent the night away from the home that was registered with the authorities. Fellow activists said she had moved to a safe house, fearing for her life. Gustavo Castro, a Mexican activist who was with Ms Caceres at the time of the attack, was grazed with a bullet.

Labor leader Carlos Reyes joined Ms Caceres’s mother in insisting that she was not just another victim of violent crime.“The information from the police is that attackers broke into her home from the back and shot her twice, but we all know it’s a lie, that they killed her because of her struggle,” he said. “It’s a political crime by the government.”

Ms Flores said her daughter had recently had a “very big altercation” with soldiers and representatives of a hydro-electric company during a visit to the Gualcarque River.

Ms Caceres founded the Civic Council of Indigenous and People’s Organisations in 1993 with her then husband Salvador Zuniga. She was best known for her battle to save the Gualcarque River, which earned her the Goldman Prize — dubbed the “Green Nobel” — last year.

On accepting the prize, Ms Caceres linked her environmentalism to her indigenous roots.“In our cosmic vision we are beings born of the Earth, the water and the maize plant. We are the ancestral custodians of the rivers,” she said.

March 5, 2016 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Theft of radioactive material in Mexico

Mexico issues alert after theft of radioactive material, ABC News 29 Feb 16  Five Mexican states have been put on alert after a truck carrying a container of potentially dangerous radioactive material was stolen, the Interior Ministry says.

The National Co-ordination of Civil Protection issued the warning after a company in the central state of Queretaro reported that a ute carrying radioactive iridium-192 had been stolen.

The Ministry said the material “can be dangerous for people if not handled safely” and could cause “permanent or serious injury to a person who is handling or in contact with it for a short time”.

Such damage could occur after contact lasting anywhere from minutes to hours, it added.

Officials said the radioactive material represented a significant health risk if taken outside its container, but was not dangerous if kept sealed…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-29/mexico-issues-alert-after-theft-of-radioactive-material/7209140

March 2, 2016 Posted by | incidents, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Solar power an economic winner for Chile

Green Energy Boom Helps Chile Contain Surging Power Prices [excellent graphs] ,Bloomberg Business,  Philip Sanders Vanessa Dezem  January 28, 2016

Chile leads Latin America in installation of solar power
Success achieved without the help of government incentives

solar-aghast

Chile’s solar industry is proving a win win. Not only has it cut emissions of the global warming gas carbon dioxide, but it has also helped slash some of the highest electricity costs in Latin America. Those benefits have come at no expense to the government, which refused to offer any of the subsidies that drained resources in countries such as Spain and Japan. Looking ahead, the industry could even turn into a major export earner.

At an auction of electricity supply contracts in October, three solar parks offered distributors energy at $65 to $68 per megawatt-hour, while coal power was offered at $85 megawatt-hour, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. Two wind farms bid at $79 megawatt-hour. Unsurprisingly, the contracts went to renewable energy suppliers.

Just seven years earlier it was a very different story. ……..

In the Shade

Chile’s solar industry is putting the rest of the continent in the shade.

The reason for that turnaround lies in the sun baked northern desert of the Atacama, where some towns have had almost no rain in living memory. It is a natural advantage that Chile will continue to exploit. As of November last year, the Energy Minister had registered solar projects with an additional capacity of 1.3 gigawatts.

 The government is now looking into the expansion of the electricity grid, allowing the power to be exported to neighbors such Argentina, Energy Minister Maximo Pacheco says.

“We feel very proud to be a country that is leading the energetic transition in Latin America and to have reached this renewable boom without fiscal subsidies,” Pacheco told Bloomberg on Dec. 15. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-28/green-energy-boom-helps-chile-contain-surging-power-prices

January 28, 2016 Posted by | renewable, SOUTH AMERICA | 1 Comment

China to finance and build two nuclear stations in Argentina

Buy-China-nukes-1China to build two nuclear plants in Argentina in $15bn deal, Ft.com, Jamil Anderlini in Beijing and John-Paul Rathbone, Latin America Editor , 17 Nov 15

China will finance and build two nuclear power plants in Argentina in a deal worth up to $15bn underlining Beijing’s continued presence in Latin America despite its slowing economy.

The deal comes amid a push to export China’s homegrown atomic technology, often by offering cheap technology and generous financing. It follows China’s move last month to take a one-third stake in a French-led project to build the first in a new generation of UK nuclear plants.

The agreement with Argentina, signed in Turkey during the G20 meetings, will see China provide most of the financing for the two new plants at a time when Buenos Aires is locked out of global credit markets……..
The first plant will cost about $6bn and use Canadian “Candu” nuclear technology, while the second will use China’s homegrown Hualong One reactor, which Beijing is promoting for export……

Buenos Aires has been one of Beijing’s larger clients, with $19bn of lending for Chinese-led infrastructure projects since 2007, according to the Inter-American Dialogue’s China database.

Although China has started to scale back its exposure to more risky Latin American borrowers, such as Venezuela, it provided an $11bn currency swap arrangement last year to bolster Argentina’s sagging reserves.

Both reactors will be built by state-owned China National Nuclear Corp in co-operation with Argentina’s state-owned Nucleoeléctrica. When finished, they will roughly double the country’s nuclear power capacity provided by its existing three nuclear plants.

Chinese banks and companies will provide loans and investment to cover 85 per cent of the projects’ costs, with the loans to be paid back over 18 years with an annual interest rate below 6.5 per cent, according to Argentine media.

CNNC’s domestic state-owned rival, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), will apply to UK regulators next year for approval of its similar nuclear power technology as it seeks to build more plants in Britain.

CGN has already agreed to take a one-third stake in the French group EDF’s £18bn Hinkley Point power station, and wants to build a series of new reactors in the UK.

Analysts say success in exporting its nuclear technology to Britain will help China sell more nuclear plants around the world because of the perceived rigour of the UK’s regulatory regime.

“We have our first foot in the UK,” Zheng Dongshan, senior vice-president at CGN, told the Financial Times during a visit to the UK last month. “This could have a good effect to kick the door of other countries.”

Chinese economic planners have identified more than 60 countries between China and Europe as potential customers. They hope to provide 30 of the 200 nuclear plants they estimate will be under construction in those countries by 2030……

In recent years Beijing has stepped in to provide financing and investment to several countries locked, like Argentina, out of international credit markets or shunned by global investors because of war, sanctions or corruption.

Latin America has been an area of particular interest to China because of the ruling Communist party’s desire to expand Chinese influence into America’s traditional “backyard”.

…… Some in Argentina have raised concerns about the country’s growing reliance on China and Buenos Aires’ decision to sign the deals just before a presidential electoral runoff, after which Ms Fernández will step down at the end of her second term…….http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2d264e78-8cf9-11e5-a549-b89a1dfede9b.html#axzz3rmjJx7wx

November 18, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Argentina to buy nuclear technology from China

Buy-China-nukes-1Argentina says signs nuclear plant construction deals with China, Reuters,  BUENOS AIRES Nov 15 Argentina has signed two nuclear power plant construction deals with China for about $15 billion, the Argentine government said in a statement on Sunday, calling the deals “a fundamental step toward diversifying our energy matrix.”…...”Between both deals we are talking about financing of close to $15 billion” over 18 years, the Argentine statement said. (Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Leslie Adler)
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/15/argentina-china-energy-idUSL1N13A0GF20151115#0Y2dUv0yhLfBpo7L.99

November 16, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

Corruption and mismanagement stall Brazil’s nuclear programme

13a47-corruptionflag-BrazilTurbulent Times for Brazil’s Nuclear Projects, Carnegie Foundation, TOGZHAN KASSENOVA October 29, 2015 “……….Othon was at the heart of Brazil’s nuclear program during the military government that lasted until 1985, and he remained indispensable for the decades that followed. In 2005, he became the chief executive of Eletronuclear, an operator of nuclear power plants and a subsidiary of Eletrobras, a state-controlled power company. Eletronuclear operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants—Angra 1 and Angra 2—and is building a third plant in the picturesque region of Angra dos Reis, not far from Rio de Janeiro. Work on Angra 3 began in 1984. But after two years and the amassing of 70 percent of the equipment at the site, construction was suspended. Only after twenty-four years, in 2010, did construction resume on Angra 3.

The corruption charges against Othon stemmed from the construction of Angra 3. It was while he headed Eletronuclear that Othon was accused of receiving bribes from companies vying for Eletronuclear’s contracts. He was arrested on July 28 as part of an operation called Radioactivity, the sixteenth stage in Operation Car Wash.

Othon is currently accused of receiving 4.8 million Brazilian reais (or approximately $1.2 million) in bribes through Aratec Engenharia, a company he owned. Brazilian media report that Othon’s company accepted payments for the development of turbines that generate electricity using river flow.

Othon’s arrest is not the only nuclear dimension of Brazil’s corruption scandal. Marcelo Odebrecht, whose eponymous company is Brazil’s largest construction conglomerate, was arrested on corruption charges in June. His company is accused of paying bribes to Petrobras executives to gain lucrative contracts, overcharging Petrobras for construction projects, and siphoning off illegal profits to politicians who, in turn, facilitated the conglomerate’s operations.

Odebrecht is one of the largest companies in South America. With operations in 21 countries and a workforce of 168,000, the equivalent of the population of a medium-sized U.S. city, it has been involved in major infrastructure projects in places as diverse as Saudi Arabia and Angola.

Odebrecht is the main contractor for Brazil’s nuclear submarine program. In 2009, when Brazil and France signed a cooperation agreement to build five submarines—four conventional and one nuclear—together, Odebrecht received a contract worth $1.9 billion to construct a new naval shipyard in Itaguaí. In 2013, Brazil’s then president Dilma Rousseff attended the shipyard’s inauguration ceremony. With Odebrecht’s CEO under arrest, the immediate future of the company is uncertain.

Brazil’s Nuclear Ambitions   ………..

Funding was pouring steadily into the nuclear submarine program. Since 2009, Brazil has spent $3.2 billion to build a submarine shipyard and a naval base. Brazil’s leaders promoted the program as one that would once again prove Brazil’s technological might—just as Embraer planes did decades earlier.

In 2010, construction of the Angra 3 nuclear power plant resumed, and while the government never touted nuclear energy as its priority, commitments were made to build up to four to eight new nuclear power plants.

Five years later, a very different Brazil has emerged. Foreign policy, let alone nuclear diplomacy, has decreased significantly on the ladder of Brazilian government priorities. Unlike Lula, President Dilma from the very beginning was less inclined to invest in an active foreign policy. Now she is too preoccupied with domestic problems to spend time on diplomacy. With her approval ratings hovering at 8 percent, foreign policy is unlikely to become a priority for the current government in the near future. The possibility that the government will actively pay attention to matters of global nuclear politics is even less likely.

National fiscal limitations and now the problems with Odebrecht will potentially slow down the nuclear submarine program. The broader challenges in Brazil’s energy sector, economic problems, and the investigation of Angra 3 contractors means that nuclear power plant construction might be further delayed. As a result of an ongoing corruption investigation, Eletronuclear suspended contracts with two Brazilian consortiums slated to work on certain parts of the construction process….http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/10/29/turbulent-times-for-brazil-s-nuclear-projects/ikk6

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Former head of Brazil’s nuclear company will face trial

Judge accepts charges filed against former head of Brazil nuclear power firm Fox News, 3 Sept 15 SAO PAULO –  A federal judge Thursday accepted the charges filed by prosecutors against the former head of Eletronuclear, the state-owned company that operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, for his suspected role in a bribery scandal.

Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva will face trial for allegedly taking 4.5 million reals ($1.22 million) in bribes from construction companies for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Judge Sergio Fernando Moro said in a statement that he also accepted the charges filed against 14 others, including Flavio David Barra, the top energy executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez and da Silva’s daughter, Ana Cristina Toniolo…….http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/09/03/judge-accepts-charges-filed-against-former-head-brazil-nuclear-power-firm/

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Police asks prosecutors to charge former head of Brazil’s nuclear power on corruption

corruptionPolice ask that charges be filed against former head of Brazil’s nuclear power company http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2015/08/28/police-ask-that-charges-be-filed-against-former-head-brazil-nuclear-power/ SAO PAULO –  Police say they have asked prosecutors to file charges against the former head of Eletronuclear, the state-owned company that operates Brazil’s two nuclear power plants, for his suspected role in a bribery scandal.

A federal police spokesman who was not authorized to be quoted by name said late Thursday that the department wants prosecutors to charge Othon Luiz Pinheiro da Silva with money laundering and corruption for allegedly taking as much as $10 million in bribes from construction companies for contracts involving the construction of the Angra 3 nuclear plant in Rio de Janeiro.

Da Silva was taken into custody in late July and one week later stepped down as Eletronuclear’s chief executive officer.

The spokesman said the department also wants charges filed against Flavio David Barra, the top energy executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez and da Silva’s daughter Ana Cristina Toniolo for their suspected roles in the scheme. Da Silva, his daughter and Barra have denied any wrongdoing.

During Brazil’s military regime from 1964-1985, the retired navy admiral and nuclear engineer headed Brazil’s secret program to master the technology needed to transform uranium into fuel to generate electric power in nuclear plants. Da Silva also oversaw the ongoing project to build a nuclear powered submarine.

The request for charges to be filed come as police and prosecutors try to determine whether a kickback scheme engulfing state-run oil company Petrobras extends to other state firms, including electric utilities company Eletrobras, of which Eletronuclear is a subsidiary.

Prosecutors have said the scheme involved roughly $2 billion in bribes and other illegal funds. Some of that money was allegedly funneled back to the ruling Workers’ Party and its allies’ campaign coffers. It also allegedly included the payment of bribes to Petrobras executives in return for inflated contracts.

For Alexandre Barros, a political risk consultant with the Brasilia-based firm Early Warning, the Eletronuclear case shows that Petrobras-like corruption and kickback schemes are “probably present in other state-run companies.”

“Schemes like these have long been part of our culture and I think other similar schemes start emerging all over the place”, Barros said  “My big fear is that the armed forces may start feeling uneasy,” he added, without elaborating.

August 29, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Corruption scandal may halt Brazil’s nuclear power programme

corruptionIldo Sauer, a nuclear physicist who worked under Pinheiro in the late 1980s, says Brazil’s nuclear program is too expensive and has been co-opted by politicians and major construction and engineering firms.

“The problem is the lobbyists who see nuclear as a chance to build expensive megaprojects with little regard for cost,” said Sauer, a former head of natural gas at Petrobras. “It’s no longer about science or energy. It’s about politics and money, and that brings corruption.

Brazil Nuclear Leader’s Arrest May Stymie Atomic Ambitions Reuters, VOA, July 30, 2015  RIO DE JANEIRO— The arrest of the longtime head of Brazil’s nuclear energy utility on corruption charges could disrupt a plan to revive Brazilian nuclear ambitions whose roots go back to its atomic-bomb program in the 1980s. Continue reading

July 31, 2015 Posted by | Brazil, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Refrigeration, air-conditioning done cheaply by solar cooling system

Solar cooling system keeps water at 9 degrees Celsius for up to three monthshttp://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150402081756.htm April 2, 2015 Source: Investigación y Desarrollo

Summary:
Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost,  it is now possible with new technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system.

Maintaining food in places where high temperatures prevail, using little energy at a low cost, it is now possible with Mexican technology, thanks to the creation of a solar cooling system designed by Susana Elvia Toledo Flores.

The prototype developed in the Research Department in Zeolites, at the Institute of Science of the Meritorious University of Puebla (BUAP), in center Mexico, works 24 hours and keeps the cold for up to three months.

The researcher developed the prototype in the Black Mountain Range of the state, where she has achieve to maintain water at nine degrees Celsius “with that temperature we can cool food, though the goal is to get as low as five, with this fish can be preserved without denaturing its proteins.”

The BUAP design is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and environmentally beneficial. “Normal cooling systems use chlorofluorocarbon chemicals that destroy the ozone layer and contribute to greenhouse gases, ours is friendly to the environment,” explains Toledo Flores.

It works with solar radiation and the cooling is achieved by means of a thermodynamic adsorption-desorption cycle lasting 24 hours. Methanol is used as a refrigerant and as zeolite (mineral) as an adsorbent.

Toledo Flores says the system has two stages, during the day “warming, desorption and the period of condensation happens. Solar energy heats the zeolite and increases the methanol vapor pressure, the refrigerant is condensed and stored in a tank flowing to the evaporator. ”

Overnight the cooling process is achieved, adsorption and evaporation period is performed. “The adsorbent bed temperature decreases after sunset, therefore, the refrigerant pressure is reduced and evaporates while the absorbent is cooled. During this period the coolant begins to evaporate and is again adsorbed by zeolite generating cooling temperatures of five degrees Celsius. The adsorption process continues all night until morning. ”

The equipment is composed of a solar collector, adsorbent bed, condenser and evaporator. To build it, the researcher calculates the amount of water to be cooled, thereby knows how many zeolite to use. She also considers the room temperature, in this case of 20 degrees Celsius.

Furthermore, the system “is not only designed to cool foods. It may also serve as an air conditioning, for example, in communities like Tecali de Herrera, Puebla, where there are areas without electricity and the system could adapt well to preserve their foods and medicine, bringing them better quality of life,” says Toledo Flores.

The project was presented at the International Congress of Solar Energy at Germany.


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The above story is based on materials provided by Investigación y Desarrollo

April 4, 2015 Posted by | decentralised, SOUTH AMERICA | Leave a comment

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