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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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EU opens probe into Areva rescue package

EU opens probe into Areva rescue package
Review to ensure nuclear group does not need ‘further government support

JULY 19, 2016 by: Alex Barker in Brussels and Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in Paris

Brussels has opened a full probe into France’s state-backed rescue package for Areva, raising the possibility of stricter restructuring conditions being attached to public support for the nuclear reactor maker.


While Ms Vestager cast the investigation as a routine decision, such full-scale probes are typically launched when there are serious doubts over the legality of the aid or the adequacy of the restructuring conditions. There is no deadline to complete such probes.


Once the pride of France, the largest reactor designer has been negotiating a government-backed rescue package that will see it raise as much as €5bn in cash. The company is also selling a majority stake in its reactor-making division Areva NP, valued at €2.5bn, to rival French nuclear group EDF.

In December, Areva’s credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s to B plus — four notches below investment grade. In February, it reported a €2bn net loss for 2015 after taking further writedowns on its long-delayed reactor project in Finland as well as impairments related to restructuring and weak market conditions.



Their project in Finland is 10 years behind schedule and $5.5 billion over budget in as nuclear business friendly environment as is possible.
They have another project in France that is similarly screwed up.

Solar Power Saves Everyone Money

Solar Power Saves Everyone Money
Study finds benefits for all ratepayers and greater reduction in greenhouse gases

07.25.2016 By Nancy Averett

Robert Kaufmann, professor of earth and environment (shown here with rooftop solar panels at the School of Education), found in a study that rooftop solar panels in Massachusetts are reducing electricity costs for all electric ratepayers in the state, even those with no solar panels. Photo by Cydney Scott

Hoping to reduce their greenhouse emissions, Kelley Hippler and her husband, Tom, installed solar panels on the roof of their Colonial-style home in suburban Sharon in summer 2015. “We had, like a lot of folks, become more aware of global warming and we wanted to look into forms of sustainable energy,” Kelley says.

The couple took advantage of a federal tax credit that lowered the cost of installing their system from $45,000 to $31,500. A state tax credit saved them another $1,000. The solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV) systems, have cut the electric bill for their 3,500-square-foot home from an average of $200 a month to basically zero, says Kelley. With the exception of the coldest winter months, they also send enough power back to their electric company most months to earn a small credit on top of the $200 savings. The couple has two meters, one showing how much electricity they draw from their utility company and one showing how much electricity they send back to it. Between September 2015 and April 2016, Kelley says, they earned $100 in credits.

It’s not surprising that the Hipplers are saving a considerable amount of money with their solar panels. What is remarkable is that, as revealed in a new study by Robert Kaufmann, a professor of earth and environment at Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences, their solar panels, along with those of about 40,000 other Massachusetts households and community groups, are reducing electricity prices for all of the approximately three million electricity ratepayers in the state, even those with no solar panels.

“Until now, people have focused on how much was being saved by those who owned PV,” says Kaufmann. “What this analysis quantified was that it actually generates savings for everybody.”

Kaufmann’s study, which was ...

In major shift Japan business lobby wants government focus on renewables, not nuclear

Japan business lobby says Abe government can't rely on nuclear energy


Renewables supplied 14.3 percent of power in the year to March 2016 and the government's 2030 target is 22-24 pct.

"In the very long term, we have to lower our dependence on nuclear. Based on current progress, nuclear power reliance may not reach even 10 percent," said Asada, adding the association wanted measures to encourage private investment in renewables and for public funding of infrastructure such as transmission lines.

The influential business lobby has a membership of about 1,400 executives from around 950 companies.

Andrew DeWit, a professor at Rikkyo University in Tokyo focusing on energy issues, said the push signaled "a profound change in thinking among blue-chip business executives."

"Many business leaders have clearly thrown in the towel on nuclear and are instead openly lobbying for Japan to vault to global leadership in renewables, efficiency and smart infrastructure."...


Stop the Blank Check’ Coalition

‘Stop the Blank Check’ Coalition forms to oppose SCE&G rate hikes
South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce President Frank Knapp announces his organization is joining a group of environmental and social work organizations to oppose a rate increase by South Carolina Electric & Gas to pay for cost overruns on two new nuclear plants. The nuclear plants are $4 billion over budget and years behind schedule. Jeffrey Collins AP


A statewide coalition has formed to fight SCE&G’s ability to raise electric rates in South Carolina for nuclear construction when a project goes over budget and falls years behind schedule.


Stop The Blank Check is a coalition of organizations that want the South Carolina Public Service Commission to deny SCE&G’s pending request to increase the cost of the two reactors by $846 million and to raise electric rates by 3 percent.

“This coalition has come together to oppose both of those (requests),” said Frank Knapp, president and CEO of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce and a coalition organizer. “We ask, if they are going to have a rate hike, let it be smaller. If they are going to have an increase in costs, which they will, that it be smaller.”


The total projected cost of the nuclear construction at V.C. Summer has risen by $2.46 billion since 2009, Boomhower noted, rising from $11.4 billion to $13.8 billion currently, a 21.6 percent increase. The Unit 2 reactor completion date has slid from 2017 to 2019 and the Unit 3 reactor completion has fallen from 2018 to 2020....

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/news/business/article90377452.html

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance; The game is already over for nuclear energy.

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance
The game is already over for nuclear energy.

July 18, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.

Dear editor,

Desperate times for the nuclear industry call for desperate rhetoric. Hence the reach, once again, for "renaissance," even though the facts support no such thing and the industry itself dare not even resurrect the mythological moniker.

With nuclear power priced out of the market – not only by natural gas but, more importantly for climate, by renewables – die-hard nuclear proponents are dressing up old reactors in new propaganda.

Sodium-cooled, fast and even small modular reactors are all designs that have been around – and rejected – for decades.

Sodium-cooled reactors are prone to fires, explosions and super-criticality accidents. A rapid power increase inside the core of such a reactor could vaporize the fuel and blow the core apart. Far from "walk away safe," these on-paper designs have not been submitted to the kind of rigorous "all scenarios" testing that could definitively designate them as meltdown proof.

The reactor that consumes its own radioactive waste as fuel is not the waste management panacea its sounds like...


My dream from Aug 2015

13. I had a dream about Stewart and Trump the other day

In my dream Trump was massively popular with the GOP but before the primary was decided he announced he was dropping out of the race...

<dream gibberish about people angry>

Next he is onstage getting ready to speak and huge crowd of people are chanting Trump Trump Trump...

He starts speaking by calling Jon out on stage...

He then tells everyone that his entire campaign was a plan hatched between the Jon and himself to punk the idiots in the GOP (politicians) that were ruining the country.

Plan was:
- Tell them (the tea party crowd) anything they might want to hear - truth is no obstacle.

- Conduct a campaign designed to be completely lacking in any substantive information about what kind of president he might be.

- Offer 'policy solutions' that are as unrealistic as possible - the crazier the better.

Last part of plan - tell the political class of the GOP - publicly and to their faces - what idiots they are and how their approach to elections is what creates most of the real economic problems that make the lives of regular people so frightening.

I still have this rattling around in my brain. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw the predictable and dishonest defense by Fox of Melania's plagiarized speech.

It would be a nation-changing event if Trump aired such a documentary as part of his acceptance speech. Dumb, I know, but if only...

Trump's hair found to be map of known universe


We Can Stop Searching For The Clean Energy Miracle. It’s Already Here.

We Can Stop Searching For The Clean Energy Miracle. It’s Already Here.
BY JOE ROMM MAY 12, 2016 2:40 PM

Key climate solutions have been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. These solutions include such core enabling technologies for a low-carbon world as solar, wind, efficiency, electric cars, and battery storage.

That’s a key reason almost everything you know about climate change solutions is probably outdated. In Part 1 of this series, I discussed other reasons. For instance, climate science and climate politics have moved unexpectedly quickly toward a broad understanding that we need to keep total human-caused global warming as far as possible below 2°C (3.6°F) — and ideally to no more than 1.5°C. But the media and commentariat generally have not kept up with the science or solutions and their utterly game-changing implications.

This post will focus on the light-speed changes in clean energy technology that have left even the most informed journalists and experts behind, which in turn means the public and policy-makers are receiving outdated information.

The Clean Energy Miracle Is Already Here
Consider solar power. In recent days, both the Council on Foreign Affairs and the New York Times have published claims that were literally out-of-date the instant they were put on the internet.

Last week, Varun Sivaram, a smart young physicist who has worked on advanced solar, wrote this on the Council on Foreign Relations’ “Energy, Security, and Climate” blog:
Indeed, just this week, a Saudi-backed consortium placed an astonishingly low bid to build a solar farm in Dubai for only 3¢/kWh, half the local price of power from natural gas. Existing technologies may surprise us, as Dr. Romm suggests, especially if this bid turns into a contract and Dubai’s prices can be replicated elsewhere in the world. (I am skeptical, though, of the latter possibility).

This was part of a response...

‘An ugly mess’

‘An ugly mess’
U.P. ratepayers might still be on hook for millions in power plant refunds

July 10, 2016
By RYAN JARVI - Journal Staff Writer , Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - Some Upper Peninsula electric customers may see rate increases if a federal oversight committee approves a compliance filing related to millions of dollars in overdue subsidy payments for the operation of three coal-fired generating facilities, including the Presque Isle Power Plant in Marquette.

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator, or MISO, which oversees the electrical grid in the Upper Midwest and part of Canada, filed a cost allocation plan in mid-June with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC.

The plan allocates to multiple utilities System Support Resource payments, or SSR payments, of nearly $50 million, which was the total cost of operating the Presque Isle, White Pine and Escanaba power plants for a period between April 2014 and June 2015.

Andy Schonert, spokesman for MISO, said MISO previously assigned the costs but was ordered by FERC to create a new cost allocation method, which was later supported by FERC....


UK Hinkley nuclear plant estimate skyrockets $30 billion in past year.

Estimated cost of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant rises to £37bn
Critics point to volatility of scheme but energy department says price ‘will not affect bill payers’

Terry Macalister Energy editor Thursday 7 July 2016 15.57 EDT

The total lifetime cost of the planned Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant could be as high as £37bn, according to an assessment published by the UK government. The figure was described as shocking by critics of the scheme, who said it showed just how volatile and uncertain the project had become, given that the same energy department’s estimate 12 months earlier had been £14bn.

The latest prediction comes amid increasing speculation about the future of the controversial project in Somerset, whose existence has been put in further doubt by post-Brexit financial jitters.

Hinkley has been a flagship energy project for the British government and in particular for the chancellor, George Osborne, who lobbied hard and successfully for China to take a stake in the scheme.


... experts said the extra money, if the cost did remain at £37bn, would have to come from somewhere – probably the taxpayer – or be shaved off other DECC budgets available for different energy projects, such as windfarms and solar arrays. “This whole-life cost of £37bn is a truly shocking figure. It is an extraordinary ramp-up from last year’s figure, and just underlines how hard it is to get a real handle on the long-term cost of Hinkley,” said Paul Dorfman, senior research fellow at the Energy Institute, University College London...

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