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kristopher

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

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Duke-Progress merger puts restart of Florida reactor in doubt

Duke-Progress merger puts restart of Florida reactor in doubt
By Eileen O'Grady
Thu Jul 12, 2012 5:59am IST

(Reuters) - The likelihood that the damaged Crystal River nuclear reactor in Florida will produce another megawatt of electricity appears to have dimmed following the merger of owner, Progress Energy, with Duke Energy, and the surprise exit of Progress' top executive Bill Johnson, according to testimony by Duke's chief executive Jim Rogers this week.

...
On Tuesday, Duke's Rogers told a special hearing called by the North Carolina Utilities Commission to look into Johnson's unexpected departure that Duke's board members had lost confidence in Johnson's management style.

...Crystal River "is one area we had great concern about," Rogers said, citing insight gained from Duke director James Rhodes, the retired chief executive of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), a nuclear industry group that promotes safety and reliability.

Progress' Florida unit, the state's second largest utility, has been struggling since 2009 to return the 838-megawatt Crystal River reactor to service after cracks began to be found in the containment building's 42-inch thick walls.

A series of mistakes ...


http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/07/12/us-utilities-nuclear-crystalriver-idINBRE86B00E20120712


See also:
Broken Crystal River nuclear plant is Duke Energy's problem now

By Ivan Penn, Times Staff Writer In Print: Sunday, July 8, 2012




It was a marriage proposal made in utility heaven: Progress Energy and Duke Energy joining to form the nation's biggest power company.

Then came the suspicions. Did Duke know everything it needed to about its partner-to-be? Was Progress holding back about its Florida nuclear troubles?

The marriage went forward last week, but with a major twist.

The merger agreement called for Bill Johnson, the head guy at Progress, to take over as CEO of the new Duke Energy. And on Monday, when the merger was completed, he did.

For not even a day.

Then ...

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/broken-crystal-river-nuclear-plant-is-duke-energys-problem-now/1239145

First-ever Terawatt-Hours Tally of Renewable Energy Released

First-ever Terawatt-Hours Tally of Renewable Energy Released
JANUARY 18, 2012 BY SUSAN KRAEMER


Renewable energy generated between 665 and 673 terawatt-hours of electricity in the EU in 2010. With total energy consumption of between 3,115 and 3,175 terawatt-hours, this means that clean energy supplied about 21% of all the EU electricity used in 2010.

<snip>

The report extrapolated that if renewable electricity production in the EU continued to grow at the same rate as it did from 2005 to 2010 it would account for over 36% of electricity produced in 2020 and over 50% in 2030.

(With this data on hand, it is no wonder the EU approached the Durban climate talks at the end of last year with the offer to raise their target to 30% by 2020. They are easily on track to exceed that, even with wriggle room for any growth-slowing recessions.)

The tally shows that if the whole world followed its example, we could beat dangerous climate change. Simply reducing emissions 2% a year gets us to the 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 that underpins climate legislation. And building renewable energy at the pace of the EU will do it – increasing renewable energy reduces carbon emissions.

...

More at source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/15idx)

Nuclear Foxes In Charge of the Nuclear Hen Houses

Nuclear Foxes In Charge of the Nuclear Hen Houses
By Karl Grossman


The conclusion of a report of a Japanese parliamentary panel issued last week that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry "collusion" and thus was "man-made" is mirrored throughout the world. The "regulatory capture" cited by the panel is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the six Fukushima plants] and the lack of governance by said parties," said the 641-page report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission released on July 5. "They effectively betrayed the nation's right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly "man-made,'" said the report of the panel established by the National Diet or parliament of Japan.


<snip>


In fact, the nuclear regulatory situation in Japan is the rule globally.


In the United States, for example, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, neverdenied a construction or operating license for a nuclear power plant anywhere, anytime. The NRC has been busy in recent times not only giving the go-ahead to new nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. but extending the operating licenses of most of the 104 existing plants from 40 to 60 years--although they were only designed to run for 40 years. That's because radioactivity embrittles their metal components and degrades other parts after 40 years making the plants unsafe to operate. And the NRC is now considering extending their licenses for 80 years.

Moreover, the NRC's Chairman...


http://www.opednews.com/articles/Nuclear-Foxes-In-Charge-of-by-Karl-Grossman-120711-653.html

Nuclear corruption 2012 to date

Nuclear corruption 2012 to date

Nautilus Peace and Security Weekly Report—Contributor’s blog entry for Climate Change and Security.

Go to the Weekly Report for 5 July 2012.

Fukushima will teach many lessons, but one that does not seem to have sunk in yet is the global link between nuclear power and corruption. There is plenty of evidence that the corruption, collusion and nepotism that characterized the Japanese “nuclear village” contributed to what former Japanese PM Kan Naoto called the “myth of nuclear safety” in his country. Yet, this is far from being something peculiar to Japan with its squirrelly politics and industry-regulator-politics with feet happily inter-twined under the kotatsu.

It’s already been a busy year for nuclear corruption. Last month a US company, Data Systems & Solutions (DS&S), agreed to pay $8.8 million in fines to resolve charges of bribing officials at a Lithuanian nuclear power plant to obtain orders. DS&S executives paid substantial bribes in return for influence in awarding contracts to a range of officials at the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant (INPP) which included the plant Director-General, the heads of the International Projects Department and the Instrumentation & Controls Department, and “the lead software engineer at INPP with influence over the award of contracts”. Court records show that DS&S executives involved knew exactly what they were doing, with one asking colleagues “How do I put my nerves on an expense report?”

DS&S, a subsidiary of global power company Rolls Royce, has a very large number of contracts for “reactor integrity solutions” and reactor support services in nuclear power plants in both North America and Europe. In the case of the Lithuanian Ignalina NPP, the Department of Justice objected to DS&S’s activities over a number of years to “obtain and retain contracts for DS&S from INPP to design, install, and maintain INPP’s instrumentation and controls systems through the promise and payment of bribes to foreign officials employed by INPP.”

In Taiwan in June this year the Control Yuan impeached four senior officials of the state-owned Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) and the former Bureau of Energy director-general over procurement corruption that lead to orders exceeding requirements by NT$5.9 billion (US$196 million). Charges against other Taipower personnel are expected in the face of a $4 bn. loss in 2011.

In April this year South Korean prosecutors ...


Lots more here: http://nautilus.org/napsnet/napsnet-weekly/nuclear-corruption-2012-to-date/

EV Myths and Realities, Part 1—The Battery Crisis (good look at material & production constraints)

This is a must read if you are following EV development and deployment. I've made no attempt to provide details of the conclusions because the presentation leading up to them is so strong it would be an injustice to the author to skip it.

EV Myths and Realities, Part 1—The Battery Crisis
If Tesla, or anyone else, wants to make 10 million long-range performance EVs per year in eight years’ time, neither raw material reserves nor market production capacity will stop them.


Let's start with the myth. John Peterson recently stated it quite explicitly:
The bottom line is that grid-powered electric vehicles are unconscionable waste masquerading as conservation. There are enough batteries and battery materials to make electric vehicles for the few, the rich and the mathematically challenged, but there will never be enough batteries or materials to permit the implementation of grid-powered electric vehicles at a large enough scale to impact global, national or even local oil consumption. It's not an effective solution.



...

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Guest-Post-EV-Myths-And-Realities-Part-1-The-Battery-Crisis/

S. Korea prosecutors charge 32 over nuclear graft

S. Korea prosecutors charge 32 over nuclear graft
Foreign 2012-07-10 16:36

Seoul, July 10, 2012 (AFP) - South Korean prosecutors said Tuesday they had charged 32 people with corruption involving the state nuclear power agency and its contracts with suppliers.

Among those charged are 23 Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power officials and engineers accused of taking bribes, said the prosecutors' office in the southeastern city of Ulsan.

...

"The case confirmed structural corruption such as bribery, bid-rigging and favours at one of the country's major state firms," prosecutor Koo Bon-Jin told reporters.

The probe came amid concern over the safety of 21 nuclear reactors that meet about 35 percent of South Korea's electricity needs, following last year's nuclear disaster in Japan...


http://www.mysinchew.com/node/75295


Earthquake triggering and large-scale geologic storage of carbon dioxide

Earthquake triggering and large-scale geologic storage of carbon dioxide
Mark D. Zobacka,1 and Steven M. Gorelickb


Departments of aGeophysics and Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305
Edited by Pamela A. Matson, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, and approved May 4, 2012 (received for review March 27, 2012)

Abstract

Despite its enormous cost, large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) is considered a viable strategy for significantly reducing CO2 emissions associated with coal-based electrical power generation and other industrial sources of CO2 [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2005) IPCC Special Report on Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. Prepared by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, eds Metz B, et al. (Cambridge Univ Press, Cambridge, UK); Szulczewski ML, et al. (2012) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109:5185–5189]. We argue here that there is a high probability that earthquakes will be triggered by injection of large volumes of CO2 into the brittle rocks commonly found in continental interiors. Because even small- to moderate-sized earthquakes threaten the seal integrity of CO2 repositories, in this context, large-scale CCS is a risky, and likely unsuccessful, strategy for significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


http://www.pnas.org/content/109/26/10164

LA Times coverage:
Underground carbon dioxide storage likely would cause earthquakes


The notion of mitigating harmful carbon dioxide emissions by storing the gas underground is not practical because the process is likely to cause earthquakes that would release the gas anyway, according to a commentary published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the scientists do not expect that the approach would cause any large and dangerous seismic activity, they say it is likely that the earthquakes would be severe enough to jeopardize the ability to store the gas underground over the long term.

Some scientists and government officials have proposed dealing with human-generated carbon emissions with a process called “carbon capture and storage,” or CCS, in which the gas is separated from the emissions of a coal-burning power plant, captured, and then injected underground at high pressure.

The problem is that...


http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-carbon-storage-may-cause-earthquakes-20120618,0,5073255.story

Companies To Develop 34-Meter (110 ft) Solar Module On A Roofing Membrane

Companies To Develop 34-Meter Solar Module On A Roofing Membrane
Friday 06 July 2012

ISOVOLTAIC, Isosport, Renolit, Konarka AIT and Hymmen are developing a 34-meter-long flexible solar module on a roofing membrane. The companies say these modules have potential to produce more cost-effective power due to reduced production and installation costs.

Flexible solar modules that combine the roofing membrane and solar module in one structural element can be handled like conventional roofing membranes. A roll-to-roll process can be used to manufacture the modules, which employ flexible solar cells.

Upon completion ...


http://solarindustrymag.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.10673

Ocean Acidification Is Climate Change's 'Equally Evil Twin,' NOAA Chief Says

Ocean Acidification Is Climate Change's 'Equally Evil Twin,' NOAA Chief Says
AP | Posted: 07/09/2012 12:51 am Updated: 07/09/2012 12:51 pm

SYDNEY (AP) — Oceans' rising acid levels have emerged as one of the biggest threats to coral reefs, acting as the "osteoporosis of the sea" and threatening everything from food security to tourism to livelihoods, the head of a U.S. scientific agency said Monday.

The speed by which the oceans' acid levels has risen caught scientists off-guard, with the problem now considered to be climate change's "equally evil twin," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco told The Associated Press.

"We've got sort of the perfect storm of stressors from multiple places really hammering reefs around the world," said Lubchenco, who was in Australia to speak at the International Coral Reef Symposium in the northeast city of Cairns, near the Great Barrier Reef. "It's a very serious situation."

Oceans absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, increasing sea acidity. Scientists are worried about how that increase will affect sea life, particularly reefs, as higher acid levels make it tough for coral skeletons to form. Lubchenco likened ocean acidification to osteoporosis — a bone-thinning disease — because researchers are concerned it will lead to the deterioration of reefs.

Scientists initially assumed that the carbon dioxide absorbed by the water would be sufficiently diluted ...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/09/ocean-acidification-reefs-climate-change_n_1658081.html?ref=topbar

Did you know that nuke regulators are not ALLOWED to examine nuke plant accident guidelines?

This piece provides great insight into the nature of the problems that cause the only safety conscious Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner to lose his job.

White House Moves Swiftly To Replace NRC’s Jaczko

...In the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, Jaczko found himself at odds with the other four and the staff over the assessment of safety margins at Mark 1 boiling water reactors – including Hope Creek and Oyster Creek in New Jersey – which are the same as those destroyed due to loss of power and an inability to operate their safety systems in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. While all such plants are required to have Severe Accident Management Guidelines – written plans as to what to do to protect the public in the event of a reactor meltdown – they had not been evaluated to determine if they actually worked.

“I used to teach students – who were becoming NRC reactor inspectors – about the SAM Guidelines,” said David Lochbaum, nuclear safety engineer at UCS who taught at the NRC in 2009. “The first thing we taught our students was you are not allowed to look at these guidelines at your plant sites. You can’t find out if they are good, bad, or indifferent.

“You have procedures to protect the public and the NRC can’t look at them. What kind of game is this? It seems that in severe accidents you don’t have to provide training, or have the right equipment. All you have to do is have written procedures somewhere and then wave a magic wand and everything will be fine.”

In the wake of the March 11 disaster in Japan the NRC ordered special inspections of the SAMG documents in all 104 of the nation’s reactors. They found at Indian Point, near New York City, and others, that while plants may have been designed to meet earthquake standards, the necessary systems to protect the reactor – such as fire equipment or the water mains coming in from the municipality – were not seismically hardened and, therefore, could be useless in a real emergency.

Jaczko’s last showdown...


http://spoonsenergymatters.wordpress.com/
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