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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,798

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Confirmed: Hydraulic Fracturing Caused Drinking Water Contamination In Wyoming

Independent Analysis Confirms That Hydraulic Fracturing Caused Drinking Water Contamination In Wyoming
May 1, 2012 at 3:11 pm by Jessica Goad

A recent study from the Environmental Protection Agency showing that chemicals from hydraulic fracturing had contaminated groundwater has just been validated by an independent hydrology expert.


In December 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency found official evidence that poisonous chemicals from fracking had contaminated water near drill rigs in Pavillion, Wyoming. That study has now been backed up by an independent expert. In a report released today, commissioned by several environmental groups, Dr. Tom Myers writes that:
After consideration of the evidence presented in the EPA report and in URS (2009 and 2010), it is clear that hydraulic fracturing (fracking [Kramer 2011]) has caused pollution of the Wind River formation and aquifer… The EPA’s conclusion is sound.

Myers then details the Pavillion area’s unique geology and water pathways, as well as the shoddy construction of the wells that likely contributed to water contamination. He also outlines a number of ways that EPA can improve on its analysis and continue to collect critical data.

When EPA released the draft findings last December, the natural gas industry and its elected allies were quick to pounce and attacked it as “scientifically questionable,” “reckless,” and lacking “a definitive conclusion.”

Importantly, Myers notes in his report that:
The situation at Pavillion is not an analogue for other gas plays because the geology and regulatory framework may be different.



Yes they are. I didn't hear you objecting to their projections on nuclear.

There are a lot of criticisms leveled at them, and one of the main ones comes from a view that I share - they represent a view that is founded in preserving the existing systems we have, including our energy systems.
Whether I agree with them or not the significance of this projection on solar is important precisely because they are inclined towards finding more value in traditional energy sources like coal and nuclear than I think is warranted. In this report, in fact, they are quoting both new nuclear and new coal as competition at far lower costs than is justified by what is happening in the world where externalized costs are increasingly playing a significant role in decision-making.

In short, this report uses assumptions that are not particularly favorable to solar. It is primarily oriented towards market forces operating independently of policy direction and even then it doesn't take into account the erosion of market share that coal and nuclear will experience with rapidly escalating renewable penetration. As such, it is hard to see it as anything other than a conservative appraisal.

Nuclear industry success story

The emphasis is on "industry" in "nuclear industry success story".
For those paying the tab? Not so much.

At $24B this 2.2gigawatt facility is a complete economic clusterf&*k for the consumer (original price was $14B), but an incredible success for the industry that has taken the consumer hostage with "advanced cost recovery". I mean seriously, slipping the date from 2016 to 2024 isn't a clue to someone that there is a problem here? There is an awful lot of carbon reduction the money spent on this plant could have produced by the time the plant comes online.

Progress Energy raises price tag, delays start date of Levy nuclear plant
By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer
Posted: May 01, 2012 09:53 AM

Progress Energy announced Tuesday that the cost for its proposed Levy County nuclear plant could reach a new high of $24 billion with a new start date of 2024.

The new estimate, included among documents filed with the state Public Service Commission for its annual nuclear cost recovery, would raise the cost of the project almost $2 billion and delay when it comes online from 2021 to 2024 — almost a decade after its original projected date of 2016.


Progress' proposal would increase the amount customers pay from the current $3.05 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of usage for advances fees for Levy and its existing Crystal River nuclear plant to $5.09 beginning Jan. 1, 2013.


"Nuclear power," Dolan said, "remains a key component of Progress Energy's balanced solution strategy to meet our customers' future energy needs with efficient, carbon-free electricity."***


** See: 1000 gigawatts of new solar every year by 2020?

*** See: Nuclear Revival is Ruining Climate Protection Efforts and Harming Customers

The Death Of Public Support For Global Warming Action Is Greatly Exaggerated

Public Opinion Snapshot: The Death Of Public Support For Global Warming Action Is Greatly Exaggerated
By Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

by Ruy Teixeira

President Barack Obama recently observed that tackling climate change remains vitally important despite difficulties moving legislation forward. Conservatives, of course, are trying their utmost to remove the issue permanently from political discussion, claiming that the public is tired of the debate and no longer has an appetite for combating global warming.

But a just-released poll from the Yale and George Mason climate change communication programs reveals the lie in this claim. 63 percent of respondents said the United States should move forward to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of what other countries do, compared to 3 percent who said we should await action by industrialized countries, 8 percent who said we should wait for both industrialized and developing countries to move, and 5 percent who said we shouldn’t bother reducing emissions.

In the same poll, the public supported — by a margin of 63 percent to 37 percent — requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if that would cost the average household an extra $100 per year.

The poll also found that 65 percent of Americans support an international treaty to require a 90 percent cut in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.



That's what I'm talking about! 1TW new solar/yr by 2020?

Three Charts That Illustrate Why Solar Has Hit A True Tipping Point
By Stephen Lacey on Apr 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm
A new report from the prominent global consulting firm McKinsey shows why solar photovoltaics have hit a tipping point.
As the economics of solar PV continue to improve steadily and dramatically, McKinsey analysts conclude that the yearly “economic potential” of solar PV deployment could reach 600-1,000 gigawatts (1 million megawatts) by 2020....


1. Because solar mostly competes with retail rates, the economic potential for the technology in high resource areas is far bigger than actual deployment figures would suggest. McKinsey predicts that the cost of installing a commercial-scale solar PV system will fall another 40 percent by 2015, growing the “unsubsidized economic potential” (i.e. the economic competitiveness without federal subsidies) of the technology to hundreds of gigawatts by 2020.

2. The most important cost reductions in the next decade will come not through groundbreaking lab-scale improvements, but through incremental cost reductions due to deployment. The McKinsey analysis shows how the dramatically these cumulative cost improvements can change the economics of solar. (For more, see: Anatomy of a Solar PV System: How to Continue “Ferocious Cost Reductions” for Solar Electricity.)

3. Solar is already competitive in a variety of markets today. As the chart below illustrates, there are at least three markets where solar PV competes widely today: Off-grid, isolated grids, and the commercial/residential sectors in high-resource areas. Of course, the competitiveness of the technology varies dramatically depending on a variety of local factors. But this comparison shows just how steadily the cross-over is approaching.



Engineering offshore wind energy for volume production

This is a great introduction to the technologies involved in the installation of offshore wind in waters up to about 50-60 meters (<200ft) deep, and a discussion of how to streamline the process.

Wind energy gets serial
Solid foundations: onshore assembly could enable serial production of offshore wind turbines

30 April 2012 | By Andrew Czyzewski

When Germany announced that it was effectively turning its back on nuclear power by mothballing all of its reactors by 2022, there were more than a few surprised faces and some awkward questions.

How exactly did the country think it was going to meet its energy needs? Surely it would have to import considerable amounts from neighbouring France, thereby subscribing to nuclear by proxy.

The answer was perhaps even more surprising. On 1 January this year, the German parliament enshrined into law an act requiring that by 2020 35 per cent of all of its energy needs must be provided by renewable sources, followed by 50 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050 — far more ambitious in scope and magnitude than the European Union’s target of 20 per cent by 2020.


‘The market asks for some kind of serial manufacturing, and in fact you can’t do that out there off shore under all these conditions, so our concept is to do as much as possible on shore — not only foundations but assembly of the tower and converter, and most probably the rotor blades, and then transport it in a day. It is a huge competitive advantage; we’re convinced we can do a whole wind park in a year.’ ...

Read more: http://www.theengineer.co.uk/in-depth/the-big-story/wind-energy-gets-serial/1012449.article#ixzz1tZ30ylLG

The infighting that threatens to undermine US nuclear safety

"All of this in my opinion is a sign of a desperate struggle going on involving the NRC ... The majority of commissioners were put there largely with the blessing of the nuclear industry, and are now pushing back over potentially expensive upgrades to the reactor fleet after Fukushima."

The infighting that threatens to undermine US nuclear safety
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission became more powerful post-Fukushima, but it has been beset by division and dissent

Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 April 2012 11.29 EDT

It could be the latest Inside the Beltway TV drama: the safety guardians of America's nuclear industry working in a political environment so toxic that the White House was compelled to appoint the bureaucratic equivalent of a marriage counsellor.

Firstly, there have been testimonies to Congress of "outbursts of abusive rage" at the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The senior regulator, George Jaczko, was accused of bullying the sole woman on the five-member commission, a Republican nuclear engineer Kristine Svinicki. All four of his commissioners were in open revolt. Republicans in Congress also weighed in, with a letter last week demanding Jaczko justify his performance.

But the real drama, going largely unseen amid the infighting at the regulator, is over the future of America's nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year, nuclear experts say. "All of this in my opinion is a sign of a desperate struggle going on involving the NRC," said Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert at the Institute for Policy Studies. "The majority of commissioners were put there largely with the blessing of the nuclear industry, and are now pushing back over potentially expensive upgrades to the reactor fleet after Fukushima."

After a 30-year hold on new reactor construction, America's nuclear industry had been poised for an era of expansion until Fukushima occurred and NRC, under Jaczko's command, began a review of America's 100-plus reactors.

About one-quarter of America's 100-plus civilian reactors are the same General Electric model as the doomed Japanese reactor...


Defective (new) nuke plant generators cost $610M in 2010; who should pay?

Nuclear analyst, Edison clash over San Onofre's next step

A nuclear consultant for environmental group Friends of the Earth says defective new steam generators at the shut-down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station near San Clemente need to be replaced, not fixed.

"They need to order new ones and go back to Mitsubishi and force them to come up with new steam generators and eat the cost," Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education said during a visit Wednesday to the Surfrider Foundation in San Clemente. "The ratepayers in California shouldn't eat the cost. They've already paid for this thing once."

That would be a lot to swallow, considering the steam generators installed by Southern California Edison in 2010 cost more than $670 million. Gundersen said the generators can't be fixed, only replaced.

Edison shut down one of the plant's two nuclear reactors Jan. 31 after heated water leaked from a tube, releasing a small amount of radioactive gas. The other reactor already had been deactivated Jan. 9 for routine maintenance and refueling. Both reactors remain shut down to investigate the causes of premature wear to tubes in both and to inspect the tubes and make repairs.

Gundersen said plugging holes won't fix the problem, as tubes crowded close together will continue to flutter and hit one another. The tubes in the new steam generators are more densely packed than in the old generators, he said, because Edison installed 400 additional tubes in each generator to increase power generation. He called it a "stealth power increase."...


The plant operator replaced the old design with a modified design that allows them to uprate the plant and make more money....

German far-right extremists tap into green movement...

German far-right extremists tap into green movement for support
Support for ecological movement and conservation used to try to recruit a new generation of supporters

Kate Connolly in Berlin guardian.co.uk, Saturday 28 April 2012 18.51 EDT

German consumers are being warned that when they buy organic produce they may be supporting the far-right movement, following the revelation that rightwing extremists in Germany have embraced the ecological movement and are using it to tap into a new generation of supporters.

Debunking the popular view that equates eco-friendliness with cuddly, left-leaning greens, rightwing extremists have even begun to publish their own conservation magazine, which is believed to have the backing of the far-right National Democratic party (NPD). Alongside gardening tips and reports on the dangers of genetically modified milk are articles riddled with rightwing ideology and racial slurs. Bavaria's domestic intelligence agency has described the magazine, Umwelt und Aktiv (Environment and Active), as a "camouflage publication" for the NPD.

"We have to get used to the fact that the term 'bio' [organic] does not automatically mean equality and human dignity," said Gudrun Heinrich of the University of Rostock, who has just published a study on the topic called Brown Ecologists, a reference to the Nazi Brownshirts and their modern-day admirers.

Hotbeds of far-right eco-warriors are to be found throughout Germany. In the Mecklenburg region in the north, they have been quietly settling in communities since the 1990s in an effort to reinvigorate the traditions of the Artaman League – a farming movement whose roots lie in the 19th century romantic ideal of "blood and soil" ruralism, which was adopted by the Nazis. Heinrich Himmler, the SS leader, was a member. "They propagate a way of living which involves humane raising of plants and animals, is both nationalistic and authoritarian, and in which there's no place for pluralism and democracy," said Heinrich, adding that the NPD is closely linked to the settlers, helping the party become "deeply rooted in these rural areas".

The settlers ...


How did ALEC get exempted from South Carolina lobbying ethics law?

How did ALEC get exempted from South Carolina lobbying ethics law?

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a special interest group that writes laws favorable to its corporate sponsors, is specifically exempted from lobbying regulations in South Carolina’s ethics laws.

Several Republicans and Democrats in the General Assembly are members of ALEC, though at least one has dropped his membership amid criticism from a Democratic lawmaker and the press.

Fairfield Democratic Rep. Boyd Brown last week sent a letter to his colleagues calling on them to leave the group that offers legislators getaway retreats to fancy resorts.

Funded largely by the libertarian Koch brothers, ALEC creates model legislation for state legislatures to adopt, such as Voter ID laws and other controversial bills like the Stand Your Ground self-defense law. It deals with everything from health care to immigration to energy policy. ALEC bills are drawn up on behalf of corporate interests and introduced in states where lawmakers are members. The group holds conferences and treats its lawmaker members to vacations. It has 2,000 legislative members and 300 corporate members, according to a report on the group in The Nation.

It is such retreats where ALEC is exempt in the state’s lobbying laws. While other special interest groups would have to extend convention invitations to a discernable group from the Legislative Manual for lawmakers to accept them, ALEC does not -- the group is specifcally exempted by name. [Section 2-17-90]...

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