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

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"...primarily our energy is coal, natural gas, nuclear, water to a certain extent”


Politician says:
We can't afford tax breaks for renewables!
We can't afford not to have tax breaks for fossil fuels and nuclear!

(PA Gov.) Corbett’s support for solar energy only skin deep
Thursday, June 07, 2012

When Gov. Tom Corbett came to Schuylkill Township two months ago and smiled for the cameras as he cut the ribbon on the eighth largest solar farm in Pennsylvania, he talked about the “symbiotic relationship” between solar energy and industry.

Corbett said the benefits of the $6.5 million Aqua PA power plant, established to run its Pickering Reservoir treatment plant, include “cheap energy for Aqua Pennsylvania and better air for area residents. We need to continue to develop cheap energy,” Corbett said. But Corbett told a different tale during a recent meeting with editors and reporters from newspapers operated by Digital First Media, including The Mercury.

...“I look at it this way, right now Pennsylvania is, if not the world leader, soon to be the world leader in energy,” Corbett told the Digital First Media panel. “Wind and solar is part of that, but primarily our energy is coal, natural gas, nuclear, water to a certain extent,” he said. “We’re trying to build our economy and you will see a different economy 10 years from now than you see right now based upon energy.”




ALEC Says It Plans To Craft Legislation To Take Down State Renewable Energy Targets
By Stephen Lacey on Apr 24, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Two leading conservative political organizations say they are stepping up coordinated efforts to repeal state-level renewable energy targets.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a “stealth business lobbyist” that works with corporate interests to help them write and implement “model” legislation — says it may soon start crafting laws designed to kill or weaken state targets for renewable electricity, heating and fuels.

ALEC has come under fire in recent weeks for its support of voter ID laws and the controversial Stand-Your-Ground law that opponents blame for the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin. After progressive groups began an aggressive campaign to educate the public about ALEC, 13 companies have since pulled their membership from the organization.

Last July, Bloomberg News acquired tax documents showing that Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil and other energy companies paid membership fees to ALEC in order to help write legislation repealing carbon pollution reduction programs in states around country.
Bloomberg now reports that ALEC is looking to take aim at renewable energy programs in states:
ALEC, a group of state lawmakers and corporations recently criticized for its support of Stand-Your-Ground laws highlighted in the Florida shooting of Trayvon Martin, may write model legislation for state lawmakers to repeal or weaken the mandates later this year, said Todd Wynn, energy, environment and agriculture task force director for the group, in an interview. Stand-Your-Ground laws allows citizens to use force when threatened, even when they can retreat.

The group may also develop an “energy freedom” index that ranks states based on regulation, market intervention and taxes.
ALEC has already attempted to write legislation preventing targets for renewable energy on ...


Rightwing Merkel Govt now overtly blocking renewable transition

They got rid of the pro-renewable environment minister by blaming him for the recent election loss caused by Merkel's policies. Now they are overtly coming out to derail the transition to renewables.

Many claims are made about how difficult or expensive the transition is, but none of that is new information. The key to their actions is found in the last paragraph of the article:

Germany Rejects Subsidies for Energy Projects, Says Market Can Provide
By Beate Preuschoff and Franziska Scheven

BERLIN--Germany's economy minister and environment minister Tuesday rejected demands for more state subsidies for the construction of new power plants and grid expansion in Germany.

"The market alone is best suited to handle a task of that size," Energy Minister Philipp Roesler said during an energy conference in Berlin.

...Many power utilities have called for some form of subsidies for building and running fossil-fueled power plants that are needed to complement the intermittent generation from renewable energies. The companies face an increasingly difficult task in operating fossil-fueled power plants profitably, because of the number of hours they produce power has dramatically reduced due to increased production from renewable energies.


The right wing attack on renewables is a global event, it is not limited to the Koch Brothers, ALEC and the US.


Did you know that radiation is like the screaming voice of an angry wife?

Radiation: Shall I compare thee to an angry Japanese wife?
by Miki Kayaoka
TOKYO | Tue Jun 5, 2012 4:42am EDT
(Reuters) - A Japanese research agency has dropped a controversial public relations campaign aimed at educating women about nuclear safety that compared radiation to the screaming voice of an angry wife.

The Japanese Atomic Energy Agency devoted a page on its website to an effort to "make the hard words used in the nuclear power industry" more easy to understand, particularly for women.

The page, which included a cartoon of an angry, fist-waving wife and her cowering husband, compared the wife's yell to radiation. It continued the metaphor by saying that the women's increasing agitation could be compared to "radioactivity", while claiming the wife herself was comparable to "radioactive material"...


Buyer's remorse - Japanese opposition to nuke power stronger

Expecting the government to fix a problem that can't be fixed is inevitably going to lead to this type of dissatisfaction. The potential damage from a large scale nuclear accident is not something you deal with after the fact - it can only be prevented. And the only way to prevent it, is to stop using it. Extending the life of existing plants is an open invitation to disaster.

Poll: Japanese opposition to nuke power stronger
By Malcolm Foster Associated Press / June 5, 2012

TOKYO—Japanese oppose nuclear power more strongly than they did while the tsunami-damaged Fukushima plant was still in crisis a year ago, according to a poll that found widespread dismay with the government's handling of that disaster and the ongoing recovery.

The survey released Tuesday by the Washington-based Pew Research Center said 70 percent of Japanese believe the country should reduce its reliance on nuclear energy, up from 44 percent last year.

Before the disaster, Japan relied on nuclear power for about a third of its energy needs. All 50 of Japan's usable nuclear reactors have been shut down as of last month due to routine inspections and safety concerns, straining the country's ability to meet power demands.

The survey found that 80 percent of Japanese are dissatisfied with the government's handling of the nuclear crisis, caused by a massive earthquake and tsunami on March 11 that damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, which spewed radiation into the surrounding air, soil and water...


Vogtle nuclear plant > 12 months behind schedule and $1B over budget before foundation poured

Used with permission:

Persistent and New Problems at Vogtle Nuclear Project Signal Over 12 Months of Delay and Well Over $1 Billion in Cost Overruns – Even Before Foundation is Poured- June 1st, 2012

Statement from NC WARN Director Jim Warren regarding the independent construction monitor’s testimony, which was made public today:

Although it is heavily redacted, I encourage reporters to read Dr. William Jacobs’ testimony to see the very damning verbage on many fronts, which give lie to industry claims the project is going well. This complicated construction project is a mess and it’s getting worse. A few highlights (all quotes are Jacobs’ words):

- Vogtle appears to be at least 12 months behind schedule, including Jacobs’ estimates for correcting cited problems. In addition to the 7.5 month delay Southern has admitted, Jacobs cites additional delays for reworking rebar installation and a months-long design revision that is redacted. (p. 10)

- Construction cost overruns appear to exceed $1 billion. (pp 6-7), Additional changes and costs have been requested and more are expected (p. 17). “[M]any of the potential changes with significant cost implications in my 5th VCM testimony have not been resolved.” *

- There still is no Integrated Project Schedule, which Jacobs deems a serious challenge to the project. “(pp. 10 and 13) “… a realistic, achievable IPS supported by all parties does not exist at this time. The Project is being managed based on short-term forecasts … A first of a kind project of this magnitude and complexity cannot be effectively or efficiently managed using 60 to 90 day forecasts over the long term.” (p. 17)

- Additional delays are likely. “The cause for Project delays, the responsibility for the delays, the cost of the delays and the cost for recovering some of these delays must be resolved before all parties can agree on a schedule. (p. 17)

- Performance by lead contractors and suppliers has been troubled: “The Consortium’s performance to date does not demonstrate the ability to achieve a xxxxxxxxxxx construction schedule. (p. 13). “In addition, it is likely that the xxxxxxxxxx schedule may not be achievable based on the Consortium’s poor performance to date on many Project activities.” (p. 11)

- Serious problems with Shaw’s component fabrication facility remain unsolved after over two years, and delays in delivery are already mounting: “[M]any of the issues and concerns that were identified and discussed in the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Semi-annual VCM proceedings have not been resolved at this time. …the Consortium has not yet demonstrated the ability to produce complete modules and CFC design packages as needed to support the Project schedule.” (p. 8 ) … Issues related to quality assurance, material and fabrication problems at the Shaw Modular Solutions facility continue to be a significant concern for the Project. … Fabrication of these modules and submodules is a very significant task and critical to the success of the Project. SMS has not yet demonstrated the ability to meet the required production rate of high quality modules needed to support the Project schedule. (p. 19)

- “Finalization of the detailed Vogtle specific AP1000 design … remains a concern.” “The number of late [design] packages continues to grow each month. Late delivery of detailed engineering packages can have a significant negative impact on the Project. Late engineering will delay required procurement activities and could result in late delivery of required equipment to the site. However, without an Integrated Project Schedule as described above, it is difficult to even determine the impact of these late engineering packages and to know which packages must be accelerated.” (p. 20)

- public claims that the project is on budget are false. “As in past reports, EPC capital expenditures continue to be under budget primarily due to the failure of the Consortium to achieve certain milestones in accordance with the Project milestone schedule.” (p. 15)

* Cost estimates in Jacobs’ report refer to Southern Company’s 45.7% ownership of the project.


Myanmar Abandons Nuclear Program: Defense Ministe

Myanmar Abandons Nuclear Program: Defense Minister
June 4, 2012 9:20 AM EDT

Myanmar has formally abandoned its pursuit of nuclear power and has also scaled back its military and political ties with North Korea, the country’s defense minister said over the weekend.

"We have already said very clearly [our nuclear program] was not for defense, it was not for weapons, it was just research in the past," Lieutenant General Hla Min said at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Dialogue, an annual security forum, in Singapore.

Hla Min also indicated that his country’s nuclear program had not progressed very far anyway.

"In reality we were just ... doing academic studies. But in this new government, we have already given up all activities on nuclear issues. And we have no further plans to extend on this."

As a result, he asserted, there is no need for the U.N. nuclear watchdog...


And from the BBC:
Burma 'has given up nuclear power research' - minister
Burma has abandoned research into nuclear power generation, its defence minister says

The new government had "already given up all activities on nuclear issues", Lt Gen Hla Min told the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore.

In 2010, a defecting Burmese soldier and mechanical engineer accused his country of starting work on a nuclear-weapons programme.

But Hla Min insisted that the country had never pursued nuclear weapons.

Delegates said his remarks - spoken through a translator - were remarkably frank and an illustration of the reforms sweeping Burma, reported Reuters news agency...


Nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change

Press release, no copyright concerns.

Nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change

Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River's water was too warm to use it for cooling.

A study by European and University of Washington scientists published today in Nature Climate Change projects that in the next 50 years warmer water and lower flows will lead to more such power disruptions. The authors predict that thermoelectric power generating capacity from 2031 to 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the U.S. and 6 to 19 percent in Europe due to lack of cooling water. The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation—complete or almost-total shutdowns—is projected to almost triple.

"This study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we're going to have to revisit," said co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Thermoelectric plants, which use nuclear or fossil fuels to heat water into steam that turns a turbine, supply more than 90 percent of U.S. electricity and account for 40 percent of the nation's freshwater usage. In Europe, these plants supply three-quarters of the electricity and account for about half of the freshwater use.

While much of this water is "recycled," the power plants rely on consistent volumes of water, at a particular temperature, to prevent the turbines from overheating.

Reduced water availability and warmer water, caused by increasing air temperatures associated with climate change, mean higher electricity costs and less reliability.

While plants with cooling towers will be affected, results show older plants that rely on "once-through cooling" are the most vulnerable. These plants pump water directly from rivers or lakes to cool the turbines before returning the water to its source, and require high flow volumes.

The study projects the most significant U.S. effects at power plants situated inland on major rivers in the Southeast that use once-through cooling, such as the Browns Ferry plant in Alabama and the New Madrid coal-fired plant in southeastern Missouri.

"The worst-case scenarios in the Southeast come from heat waves where you need the power for air conditioning," Lettenmaier said. "If you have really high power demand and the river temperature's too high so you need to shut your power plant down, you have a problem."

The study used hydrological and water temperature models developed by Lettenmaier and co-author John Yearsley, a UW affiliate professor of civil and environmental engineering. The European authors combined these with an electricity production model and considered two climate-change scenarios: one with modest technological change and one that assumed a rapid transition to renewable energy. The range of projected impacts to power systems covers both scenarios.

The U.S. and Europe both have strict environmental standards for the volume of water withdrawn by plants and the temperature of the water discharged. Warm periods coupled with low river flows could thus lead to more conflicts between environmental objectives and energy production.

Discharging water at elevated temperatures causes yet another problem: downstream thermal pollution.

"Higher electricity prices and disruption to supply are significant concerns for the energy sector and consumers, but another growing concern is the environmental impact of increasing water temperatures on river ecosystems, affecting, for example, life cycles of aquatic organisms," said first author Michelle van Vliet, a doctoral student at the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.

Given the high costs and the long lifetime of power plants, the authors say, such long-range projections are important to let the electricity sector adapt to changes in the availability of cooling water and plan infrastructure investments accordingly.

One adaptation strategy would be to reduce reliance on freshwater sources and place the plants near saltwater, according to corresponding author Pavel Kabat, director of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and van Vliet's doctoral adviser.

"However, given the life expectancy of power plants and the inability to relocate them to an alternative water source, this is not an immediate solution, but should be factored into infrastructure planning," he said. "Another option is to switch to new gas-fired power plants that are both more efficient than nuclear- or fossil-fuel-power plants and that also use less water."

The study was supported by the European Commission.

Other co-authors are Fulco Ludwig at Wageningen University and Stefan Vögele at the Institute of Energy and Climate Research in Germany.

Of course we could also transition to a distributed, renewable grid - which is exactly what is in the process of happening.

Xpost Good Reads: New "bulge" in wall of Fukushima reactor building 4 worries public


Lapses at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant worry public
By Hiroko Tabuchi and Matthew Wald
The New York Times

TOKYO — What passes for normal at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant today would have caused shudders among even the most sanguine of experts before an earthquake and tsunami set off the world's second most serious nuclear crisis after Chernobyl.

Fourteen months after the accident, a pool brimming with used fuel rods and filled with vast quantities of radioactive cesium still sits on the top floor of a heavily damaged building, covered only with plastic.

The public's fears about the pool have grown in recent months as some scientists have warned that it has the most potential for setting off a new catastrophe. The three nuclear reactors that suffered meltdowns are in a more stable state, but frequent quakes continue to rattle the region.

The worries gained traction in recent days after the operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, said it had found a slight bulge in one of the walls of the reactor building, stoking fears over the building's safety.

To try to quell such worries ...

Read more: Lapses at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant worry public - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_20719791/lapses-at-japans-fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-power-plant#ixzz1w4tW0g7k

The 311 Tohoku earthquake that damaged Fukushima NPP was centered almost 100 miles from Fukushima. Researchers are now concerned that an earthquake prone fault in the Fukushima area might soon result in another quake that would be strong enough to cause Building 4 spent fuel pool (discussed above) to collapse.
This study is what has brought attention to the issue. It looked at a magnitude 7 earthquake in Iwaki (about 40miles from Fukushima) that occurred in April 2011, and concluded that there exists a heightened possibility of a severe earthquake centered under Fukushima presenting forther concerns about the plant's safety. You can download the full paper. It even has some nuce graphics if you like that sort of thing.

Tomography of the 2011 Iwaki earthquake (M 7.0) and Fukushima nuclear power plant area
[font size="1.5"]P. Tong1,2, D. Zhao1, and D. Yang2 1Department of Geophysics, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8578, Japan
2Department of Mathematical Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
Correspondence to: P. Tong, D. Zhao Published: 14 February 2012
Solid Earth, 3, 43–51, 2012 [/font]

High-resolution tomographic images of the crust and upper mantle in and around the area of the 2011 Iwaki earthquake (M 7.0) and the Fukushima nuclear power plant are determined by inverting a large number of high-quality arrival times with both the finite-frequency and ray tomography methods. The Iwaki earthquake and its aftershocks mainly occurred in a boundary zone with strong variations in seismic velocity and Poisson’s ratio. Prominent low-velocity and high Poisson’s ratio zones are revealed under the Iwaki source area and the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which may reflect fluids released from the dehydration of the subducting Pacific slab under Northeast Japan. The 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake (Mw 9.0) caused static stress transfer in the overriding Okhotsk plate, resulting in the seismicity in the Iwaki source area that significantly increased immediately following the Tohoku-oki mainshock. Our results suggest that the Iwaki earthquake was triggered by the ascending fluids from the Pacific slab dehydration and the stress variation induced by the Tohoku-oki mainshock. The similar structures under the Iwaki source area and the Fukushima nuclear power plant suggest that the security of the nuclear power plant site should be strengthened to withstand potential large earthquakes in the future.

Download study here: http://www.solid-earth.net/3/43/2012/se-3-43-2012.pdf

Monbiot seem disillusioned with the pronuclear government he has been promoting

His magic pony turns out to be made of coal...

I don't know how much evidence it takes to convince people that nuclear and fossil fuels are part of an integrated system. Take this, the actions of the utilities in the US who are trying to build nuclear, and the policies Merkel was pursuing while she planned to extend the use of nuclear power, and you have a crystal clear picture of an established energy system highly resistant to change which includes both nuclear and coal.

The energy bill is misleading, manipulative and destructive
Ed Davey has manipulated quotes to support the bill and a clause has been inserted to allow any coal plant to be built

My conversation with Ed Davey began badly. Two weeks ago the Liberal Democrat secretary of state rang me to explain that his energy bill would be the best legislation drafted since the 10 commandments. It happened that earlier that day, Ed Davey's deputy, the Conservative energy minister Charles Hendry, whom it would be inaccurate to describe as petite, had delivered a statement to the House of Commons, after which he had tried to reverse into his seat. But he missed, and instead sat on the secretary of state. I told Davey that I hoped he had recovered, and that it seemed to me symbolic of the Lib Dems' role in the coalition.

To say that he took this in the wrong spirit is to state the case mildly. He insisted that it is "inaccurate and unwarranted to suggest that the Liberal Democrats are being sat on by the Conservatives". Ten minutes later, halfway through a long and riveting disquisition on "feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference", he suddenly and unexpectedly returned to the theme, hotly insisting that his role in government proved that the Liberal Democrats were not in any sense or any manner being sat on. That clears it up then.

Our relationship is about to deteriorate further, as I will use this article to accuse Davey of some of the lowest and most deceitful tactics in the politician's armoury.

On Tuesday, the Guardian published a letter from Davey, in which he claimed that I mistake his "short-term methods" (approving more gas and coal plants) for his "long-term goals" (stopping climate change). It's easy to mix them up, isn't it? Approving more gas and coal plants looks so much like stopping climate change that I'm sure he can understand my confusion.

But the question...


The definition of "baseload power plant" seems to be evolving.

Apparently it is now one which load shapes around wind and solar...
"Another plus is that geothermal power, while renewable and low-carbon, can provide baseload electricity. That means it can be used to back up intermittent sources of renewable energy such as wind and sun."

Geothermal energy could meet a fifth of UK's power needs – report
The study found that subsidising geothermal technology initially would help to bring down costs rapidly as UK sites were developed

Fiona Harvey, guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 May 2012 13.52 EDT

...the report found that the current subsidy regime does not provide sufficient incentive to develop the technology in the UK - even as Charles Hendry, minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, flew to Iceland on Wednesday afternoon and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with his Icelandic counterpart Oddný G. Harðardóttir to explore a possible new interconnector that could be used to import geothermal electricity from the country's volcanoes.

Geothermal power stations use water pumped down to hot rocks under the earth that returns to the surface heated, fuelling electricity generation or to be used for space heating.

There are promising sites for geothermal power spread throughout the UK, from Cornwall to the Lake District, East Yorkshire, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Another plus is that geothermal power, while renewable and low-carbon, can provide baseload electricity. That means it can be used to back up intermittent sources of renewable energy such as wind and sun. The study found geothermal could supply 9.5GW of electricity, about 20% of current demand, but also 100GW of heat, which would be enough for the whole of the UK's space heating needs. The government has struggled to encourage the take-up of renewable forms of heat, such as wood-fired boilers and underground heat pumps.

However, geothermal power receives a relatively low level of subsidy

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