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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:55 PM
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DSCOVR/Triana/Goresat Is Ready For January Launch


DSCOVR Is Finally Poised for Liftoff

Press Release - Source: NOAA
Posted October 1, 2014 11:42 AM

With the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite mission in early 2015, the United States will extend its ability to give accurate warnings of solar activity that could potentially wreak havoc throughout society and the economy on Earth.

The refrigerator-sized satellite is scheduled to soar into orbit in early 2015 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

DSCOVR, a partnership between NOAA, NASA and the U.S. Air Force, will orbit the sun at the L1 libration point - a stable point in space, where gravitational forces of Earth and the sun are in equilibrium - approximately one million miles away from Earth toward the sun. From the L1 location, the satellite's sensors can detect solar storms before their impacts reach Earth. The satellite will also host NASA-funded secondary sensors for Earth and space science observations.

NOAA will manage the DSCOVR mission, giving advanced warning of approaching solar storms with the potential to cripple electrical grids, disrupt communication systems, throw off GPS navigation, reroute air travel, affect satellite operations and endanger human spaceflight. According to a National Research Council Report (See "Severe Space Weather Events--Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts: A Workshop Report" ), damages from the most extreme solar storms could range between $1 trillion-$2 trillion within the first year and four to 10 years for full recovery.


For more information and to follow DSCOVR News, visit the homepage at: http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov/DSCOVR


DSCOVR Quick Facts

Scheduled launch date and location: January 2015 from Cape Canaveral, FL

Launch vehicle SpaceX Falcon 9 v 1.1 provided by U.S. Air Force


Via http://nasawatch.com/archives/2014/10/dscovrtrianagor.html

Report IDs 'Weaknesses' at Nuclear Weapons Lab

Source: Associated Press

A report issued Wednesday by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Energy squarely places blame for the shutdown of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository on failures at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


The inspector general has outlined several recommendations to correct the lab’s failures, saying changes need to be made before the cleanup of radiological waste continues.


Watchdog Greg Mello said he was pleased that the latest report identified the lab’s role in causing the contamination and shutdown of the waste repository.

Mello described the violations of well-established procedures by the lab as shocking and said lab officials need to be held accountable for violating their operating permit and causing the leak at the waste repository.


Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/report-ids-major-weaknesses-nuclear-arms-lab-25895487

Pinellas Republican state lawmakers say the gloves are off regarding Duke Energy and the PSC

Source: Creative Loafing Tampa

Paraphrasing the Howard Beale character from 1976's Network, Clearwater area state Senator Jack Latvala said today that he's "mad as heck and I'm not going to take it anymore" when it comes to the excesses of Duke Energy and the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC).

But a leading energy advocate in Florida still says the veteran Pinellas lawmaker's new proposal to rein in Duke and the equally controversial PSC is still not hard-hitting enough.

Flanked by state Representatives Kathleen Peters and Larry Ahern to his left and GOP House candidates Chris Sprowles and Chris Latvala to his right at a Sonny's Bar-B-Q in Largo, Latvala said he and his colleagues had been "besieged" over the past few weeks by their constituents regarding several issues concerning Duke, the exclusive energy provider in Pinellas County and up the west coast of Florida.


The announcement was made at a Sonny's Bar-B-Q because Latvala said that Duke had recently informed the owner of the Largo eatery that his security deposit was going to rise from $7,345 a month to $24,605, the third time the Senator said that his office had learned of deposit issues with Duke this year.

But the issue that has seemed to galvanized Republicans to join Pinellas County Democrats in jointly denouncing Duke has been the recent situation regarding the utility's changes to its meter-reading process. That led to changes to their billing process that resulted in serious increases in some customers' energy bills. Senator Latvala said when he learned that was happening, he contacted Alex Glenn, Duke's CEO in Florida, to have him voluntarily discontinue the practice.


But Duke has no desire to return $54 million it has collected from consumers for nuclear equipment for the now-canceled Levy County nuclear power plant proposal that will never be built. Calling it "ridiculous," Latvala hinted that issue may be inserted into the proposed bill if the PSC doesn't make Duke refund the money (which they are not expected to do).


Read more: http://cltampa.com/politicalanimal/archives/2014/09/30/pinellas-republican-state-lawmakers-say-the-gloves-are-off-regarding-duke-energy-and-the-psc

US DOE will offer $12.6 billion in new nuclear loan guarantees

Source: Platts

The US Department of Energy plans to make available federal loan guarantees totaling $12.6 billion for uranium enrichment facilities, new nuclear reactors, small modular reactors and capacity upgrades at existing nuclear plants.

In a draft solicitation issued Tuesday, the agency said up to $2 billion will be available for uranium enrichment, conversion and nuclear fuel fabrication project loan guarantees, while the remaining $10.6 billion will be available for three categories of nuclear power projects.

The categories of projects are nuclear reactors with "state-of-the-art design improvements," small modular reactors of 300 MW or less, and capacity increases, or uprates, as well as other upgrades to existing units that contribute to efficiency.


"I am shocked that uprates and upgrades were included ... it may be their way of saying there are so few new reactor projects going forward," said Sara Barczak, head of SACE's high-risk energy program.


Several US utilities have canceled recent plans for uprates, citing low power prices and sluggish demand. In a fact sheet, DOE said loan guarantees could go to reactors that have shut or will have to shut because they need required upgrades.


Read more: http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/washington/us-doe-will-offer-126-billion-in-new-nuclear-21310862

Throwing good money after bad.

I am so glad the San Onofre dinosaur was shut down.
There's no reason taxpayers should foot the bill for botched "upgrades" like we had at San Onofre.

But that's what you'll see with these new loan guarantees - desperate attempts to squeeze more money out of these dangerous old rustbuckets until they "Halt and Catch Fire".

We already know SMR's will not be economical - there's no reason to provide loans, the technology is a waste of money, and will just add to the growing piles of nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste tank OK'd to keep leaking for 1 year

Source: Associated Press

A new deal allows a radioactive waste storage tank to continue leaking for more than a year before its contents are pumped out at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, the nation's most polluted nuclear site.

The deal to pump nuclear waste tank AY-102, announced late Monday, is between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Washington State Department of Ecology. Under the deal, pumping of the double-walled tank would not begin until 2016, and it would take a year to complete.

The deal has outraged critics of Hanford, which for decades made plutonium for the nation's nuclear weapons.

"Every day this tank leaks creates additional dangers," said Gerry Pollet, executive director of Heart of America Northwest, a long-time Hanford watchdog group. "Federal and state laws require that leaking tanks of any toxic waste must be emptied immediately. The Energy Department should not get special dispensation just because Hanford officials failed to take action over the past three years to have equipment in place to remove the wastes or to plan to build new storage tanks."


Read more: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Nuclear-waste-tank-OKd-to-keep-leaking-for-1-year-277658371.html

The nuclear industry’s game plan: kill the competition and fleece the ratepayers


The nuclear industry’s game plan: kill the competition and fleece the ratepayers
Michael Mariotte
September 24, 2014

What was that we said just two days ago? Now that the climate march is over, the real work begins….

The past two days have demonstrated, in almost shocking fashion, the immutable truth of that statement. The nuclear industry, especially the nation’s largest nuclear utility Exelon, is laying down the gauntlet and acknowledging its game plan–which is following just about exactly the scenario a NIRS paper published last week described.

At a hearing before the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) on Tuesday, Exelon finally revealed the bribe it wants the state to approve in order to keep Exelon’s unprofitable reactors running: a rate increase that would add $580 million per year to Exelon’s coffers.

That amounts to a stunning 8% rate increase for northern Illinois ratepayers just to keep five currently unprofitable reactors operating. For southern Illinois ratepayers, whose rates are lower than those upstate, the percentage increase would be even higher.


But it’s not just Illinois at issue here. Exelon’s Barron also again went after the production tax credit (PTC) for new wind power (even though new nuclear power has a similar production tax credit; the problem is that few want to build new reactors). Low-cost (and clean) wind power in the Midwest is a major reason Exelon’s reactors are uneconomic–they can’t compete with that growing renewable energy source. And the gap is likely to continue to grow, not just in Illinois but across the country–which is why Exelon wants to kill the PTC everywhere, and not just for wind but solar power as well.


The reality is that until a few years ago, renewables were still expensive. But for decades, advocates predicted that as the technology became better and mass production was achieved, their prices would plummet. And that’s exactly what has happened. As the graphic to the right indicates, the U.S. Department of Energy this week reported that solar power costs dropped 14% per year from 2009-2013, and continue to fall.


In short, if the nuclear/coal utilities win, the climate loses. It really comes down to being that simple.

That’s the message of NIRS new paper, written by executive director Tim Judson. Titled Killing the Competition: The Nuclear Power Agenda to block climate action, stop renewable energy, and subsidize old reactors, the paper details this industry game plan. It is essential reading for every clean energy activist as we move to the type of battles described above in every state as the nuclear industry flails about to save itself from its own shortcomings and as every state must address its carbon footprint under the EPA’s proposal, which will be finalized early next year. Download it here.

Comments on the EPA’s proposal have been extended until December 1, 2014. You can tell the EPA to take all support for nuclear power out of the proposal here. Please do, and please ask your friends, colleagues, e-mail lists, congregations and any group you are involved with to do the same.

Sierra Nevada Corp. Takes NASA to Court for ISS Transport Contracts

Source: Latin Post

The Sierra Nevada Corporation, one of four primary commercial space transport outfits competing to carry human crews to the International Space Station, has taken the program's contract awarding process to court.


In mid-September, however, while many in the industry believed SNC was one of the top two contract contenders, NASA awarded contracts exclusively to Boeing and SpaceX, for amounts of $4.4 billion and $2.6 billion respectively.


Through its 51 years in business, SNC "has never filed a legal challenge to a government contract award. However, in the case of the award, NASA's own Source Selection Statement and debrief indicate that there are serious questions and inconsistencies in the source selection process. SNC, therefore, feels that there is no alternative but to institute a legal challenge," said a company statement.


Read more: http://www.latinpost.com/articles/22404/20140926/sierra-nevada-corp-takes-nasa-to-court-for-iss-transport-contracts.htm

World must move toward total elimination of nuclear weapons - UN chief

Source: United Nations

The time has come for the total elimination of nuclear weapons stockpiles, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today declared as he urged the revival of nuclear disarmament as a “top international priority.”

In his message, delivered in observance of the first annual International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, the Secretary-General voiced concern about the delayed status of ongoing negotiations to eliminate the atomic threat still present around the world.

“The lack of such negotiations is disrupting the delicate balance between international commitments to disarmament and non-proliferation,” affirmed Mr. Ban. “The time has come for those negotiations to begin.”

The International Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 2013 in a resolution calling for the “urgent commencement of negotiations in the Conference on Disarmament of a comprehensive convention on nuclear weapons to prohibit their possession, development, production, acquisition, testing, stockpiling, transfer and use or threat of use, and to provide for their destruction.”

Following the creation of the International Day against Nuclear Tests in 2010, the measure was the latest effort by the UN body to raise public awareness and work for deeper engagement on nuclear disarmament issues.


Read more: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48879

US Court Summons PM Narendra Modi in Gujarat Riots Case

Source: New Delhi Television

A US court has ordered Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer allegations that he failed to stop the communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, overshadowing his first trip to the United States in over a decade.

The petitioner in the case is the American Justice Center, a non-profit human rights organisation, acting on behalf of two survivors of the 2002 riots in Gujarat. Mr Modi was serving his first term as Chief Minister of his home state when the riots erupted. More than 1,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims.

The US court has given Mr Modi 21 days to respond.

The civil case before a New York court seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Mr Modi for "crimes against humanity" and extrajudicial killings under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Torture Victim Protection Act. "There is evidence to support the conclusion that minister Modi committed both acts of intentional and malicious direction to authorities in India to kill and maim innocent persons of the Muslim faith," the petition said.

After years of being unwelcome in the United States, Mr Modi arrives for a five-day visit on Friday in New York, where he will speak at the United Nations before heading to Washington for talks with President Barack Obama.


Read more: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/us-court-summons-pm-narendra-modi-in-gujarat-riots-case-598243

Water on Earth is older than the sun, scientists say

Source: Los Angeles Times

In a study published Thursday in Science, researchers say the distinct chemical signature of the water on Earth and throughout the solar system could occur only if some of that water formed before the swirling disk of dust and gas gave birth to the planets, moons, comets and asteroids.

This primordial water makes up 30% to 50% of the water on Earth, the researchers estimate.

“It’s pretty amazing that a significant fraction of water on Earth predates the sun and the solar system,” said study leader Ilse Cleeves, an astronomer at the University of Michigan.

This finding suggests that water, a key ingredient of life, may be common in young planetary systems across the universe, Cleeves and her colleagues say.


Read more: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-old-water-on-earth-20140923-story.html
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