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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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Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission

Nuclear Rubberstamp Commission
Posted: 05/30/2012 5:07 pm

The resignation last week of the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is another demonstration of the bankrupt basis of the NRC. Gregory Jaczko repeatedly called for the NRC to apply "lessons learned" from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster in Japan. And, for that, the nuclear industry -- quite successfully -- went after him fiercely.

The New York Times, in an editorial over the weekend, said that President Obama's choice to replace Jaczko, Allison Macfarlane, "will need to be as independent and aggressive as Dr. Jaczko."

That misses the institutional point.

The NRC was created in 1974 when Congress abolished the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission after deciding that the AEC's dual missions of promoting and at the same time regulating nuclear power were deemed a conflict of interest. The AEC was replaced by the NRC, which was to regulate nuclear power, and a Department of Energy was later formed to advocate for it.

However, the same extreme pro-nuclear culture of the AEC continued on at the NRC. It has partnered with the DOE in promoting nuclear power.

Indeed, neither the AEC, in its more than 25 years, nor the NRC...


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karl-grossman/nuclear-regulatory-commission-chairman_b_1549012.html

Solar at "socket parity" in most parts of Australia

18GW of solar by 2022? That depends on who’s connected

By Giles Parkinson on 31 May 2012

It seems that the greatest barrier to the rapid deployment of solar in Australia will not be about cost or a lack of demand – it will be the ability to get connected.

That has been the common theme from a range of reports from different sources in recent weeks – from the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission’s inquiry into feed-in tariff’s in Victoria, the Australian Energy Market Operator’s landmark report on solar this week, the accompanying analysis from Sunwiz and Solar Business Services, and the Australian PV Association’s annual report for 2012, which will be released later today.

The APVA report says most parts of Australia have reached grid parity, which might better be described as “socket parity,” meaning that solar panels now offer a cheaper alternative than power from the grid – a reality that will become increasingly obvious to the public as more solar leasing products and programs are rolled out to consumers.

The APVA notes that in 2011, a total of 837 MW of solar PV was installed in Australia, more than twice the capacity of 2010, taking the total installed capacity in Australia to 1.4 GW. The report noted that 36 per cent of the new electricity capacity installed in Australia in 2011 was rooftop PV – even if it still only accounted for 3 per cent of total electricity capacity and 1 per cent of actual generation.

This is set to grow dramatically in coming years, because...


http://reneweconomy.com.au/2012/18gw-of-solar-by-2022-that-depends-on-whos-connected-45308

Globally 1 in 5 do not have electricity; enter the "Eradication of Darkness Program".

SunEdison Provides Solar Power to Indian Villages
30 MAY 2012

SunEdison, a worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, today announced a rural electrification program called Eradication of Darkness. Through the program, SunEdison will design, install and manage distributed-generation solar power plants, to provide energy to Indian villages that have never before had access to electricity.

According to the United Nations, one in five people in the world do not have electricity. Over 400,000 of these people live in India. Lack of electricity limits education and economic opportunities and makes populations more vulnerable to sickness and famine. The SunEdison Eradication of Darkness Program aims to address this situation.

The program will be implemented in stages. There are 29 villages in the Guna District that have been identified for the next phase. Appropriate financial and other partners are being sought to electrify these remote communities.

SunEdison has more than 50MW of interconnected solar electricity in India today. The company’s projects range from small rooftop installations to South Asia’s largest solar field in Gujarat. Also in Gujarat, the company recently completed a 1MW project suspended over the Narmada Canal. This project is conserving drinking water while producing clean energy.

SunEdison also ...


http://www.solarnovus.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5010:sunedison-uses-solar-to-bring-indian-villages-electricity&catid=41:applications-tech-news&Itemid=245

edited to add - No Kurt, SunEdison is not and has never been owned by Monsanto. Did you not read your own reference? Seems like that point is a difficult one to miss by accident.

Geothermal Power to The People: Forget Iceland, Hot Rocks Are Everywhere

Geothermal Power to The People: Forget Iceland, Hot Rocks Are Everywhere
By Mark Halper, Contributor
May 29, 2012

When British geologist Ryan Law lined up to meet the Queen in Exeter, England, earlier this month, he did something not everyone would do: He showed her a drill bit....

The Common Man's Geothermal

The concept is called EGS, which stands for engineered geothermal systems, or, according to preference, enhanced geothermal systems. Some people refer to it as “hot dry rocks,” others as “deep geothermal.”

Perhaps an even better name for it would be geothermal power for the rest of us, because it allows you to build utility-scale geothermal electricity and heat stations almost anywhere. Unlike conventional geothermal places — think Iceland — EGS does not require dramatic, bubbling geology full of volcanoes, fault lines, lava and near-surface heat.
...

Rocks Star

“You can do it almost everywhere,” claims Horst Kreuter, CEO of GeoThermal Engineering GmbH, a Karlsruhe, Germany, consulting company that is not affiliated with Law’s firm. “You can do it in sandstone, you can do it volcanic stone, you can do it in any brittle rock.”

In the U.S., a 2007 study by MIT for the U.S. Department of Energy, entitled The Future of Geothermal Energy, concluded that the country has enough EGS potential to theoretically meet 2,000 times its primary energy needs, and that realistically, EGS could contribute 10 percent of its electricity by 2050...

More at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/05/geothermal-power-to-the-people-forget-iceland-hot-rocks-are-everywhere?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-May30-2012

Germany's renewable energy revolution leaves UK in the shade

Germany's renewable energy revolution leaves UK in the shade
The country expects renewables to contribute 35% electricity by 2020 – no matter what the cost


Damian Carrington, Feldheim, Germany
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 30 May 2012 07.37 EDT

The blazing blue skies that Germany baked under last weekend added a fresh gleam to the nation's renewable energy revolution: a new world record for solar power generation, equivalent to 20 nuclear power stations. It is the battle between nuclear, fossil fuels and renewables, and between the big utilities and the community-owned renewables eating into their profits, that has driven Germany's radical energy transformation to the top of its political agenda, with success seen as vital to chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes of re-election in 2013.

"We are still occupied by the four powers," says Werner Frohwitter, standing in the harsh sunlight below an 85-metre tall wind turbine in the flat east German countryside – referring to the four giant energy companies that have carved up the nation. They are RWE, E.ON, Vattenfall and EnBW.

The hamlet of Feldheim, set amid rippling rye fields and foxy-barked forests, rebelled. Its 128 inhabitants now get all their power by tapping into some of the 43 turbines dotting the fields around, some solar panels and a plant that turns farmyard manure into gas-powered electricity. When leasing of the local grid that connects the village's squat, steep-roofed homes was made prohibitively expensive, Frohwitter's company, Energiequelle, built its own.

Germany and UK energy statistics


...


More at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/30/germany-renewable-energy-revolution?newsfeed=true

What does "disruptive" mean to you?

This does not relate to any specific jury service, so there is no link to provide an example.

When alerting this is the first choice: "This post is disruptive, hurtful, rude, insensitive, over-the-top, or otherwise inappropriate."

These are subjective terms, the meaning of which is very individualized.

In my case "disruptive" is the most difficult. I see it as somewhat different than "hurtful", "rude", "insensitive" and "over the top" because I really don't have an easy point of reference in my mind that I could relate to a single post I'm asked to judge. For example, in my case over the top is easier than disruptive because in my own mind I judge it by whether I think it is "crazy talk".

I'd appreciate hearing thoughts on how DUers judge alerted posts; especially for me, disruptive. Others might feel the same way about the benchmark for other words (like "insensitive" though, so any thought is welcome.

Coal Industry Pays Fake Activists $50 To Wear Pro-Coal Shirts At Public Hearing

Coal Industry Pays Fake Activists $50 To Wear Pro-Coal Shirts At Public Hearing
By Rebecca Leber on May 25, 2012 at 11:38 am



"Activists" offered $50 to wear pro-coal shirts.



Apparently unable to find real activists, the coal industry paid astroturfers $50 to wear pro-coal t-shirts at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing yesterday.

The EPA hearings, held yesterday in Chicago and Washington, D.C., were focused on the agency’s first-ever carbon standards for new power plants. The industry has adamantly opposed these standards, as well as standards on mercury — a pollutant that even Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) admits is harmful.

This year, coal is throwing around its weight by spending tens of millions of dollars on media advertising and political contributions.

Coal is also engaging in fake advocacy campaigns, known as astroturfing. In a Craigslist ad found by the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago, a coal group promised participants $50 to “wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project.” Upon further digging, the Sierra Club blog pieced together much of the deleted Craigslist ad:

People needed to attend a public meeting (Tinley Park /Chicago)

Reply to: px6mq-3031150602@gigs.craigslist.org (email address no longer valid)

Looking for people THIS THURSDAY, MAY 24 who want to make a couple of dollars for a few hours of your time.

All you need to do is wear a t-shirt in support of an energy project for two hours during the public meeting. We will be departing the Tinely Park convention center at 8:15 am for the meeting and we will be back by 1:30 pm. For your time we will pay you $50 cash and provide you lunch once we return to the convention center.


...

See screenshot of ad at: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/25/490340/coal-astroturfing-epa-hearing/

Humans Are Not Like Slowly Boiling Frogs … We Are Like Slowly Boiling Brainless Frogs

Humans Are Not Like Slowly Boiling Frogs … We Are Like Slowly Boiling Brainless Frogs
By Joe Romm on May 28, 2012 at 12:23 pm




Even though people keep using the famous simile — “the fatally slow human response to climate change makes us like a slowly boiling frog” — it is not quite right.

As Wikipedia puts it, German physiologist Friedrich Goltz “demonstrated that a frog that has had its brain removed will remain in slowly heated water, but his intact frogs attempted to escape the water.” Other 19th Century studies appeared to have different results, but modern experiments (!) show that frogs with brains are in fact smart enough to leap out of water as it is heated up.

James Fallows of The Atlantic, who I am quite certain holds the world record for boiling frog posts, has one from Michael Jones who cites “Sensation in the Spinal Cord” from Nature, Dec. 4, 1873:

“Goltz observed that a frog, when placed in water the temperature of which is slowly raised towards boiling, manifests uneasiness as soon as the temperature reaches 25° C., and becomes more and more agitated as the heat increases, vainly struggling to get out, and finally at 42° C., dies in a state of rigid tetanus. The evidence of feeling being thus manifested when the frog has its brain, what is the case with a brainless frog? It is absolutely the reverse. Quietly the animal sits through all successions of temperature, never once manifesting uneasiness or pain, never once attempting to escape the impending death.”


Even so, I am inclined to agree with Jones that this should not be fatal to the metaphor. It just needs to be tweaked.

Technically, we are the...


http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/05/28/491155/humans-are-not-like-slowly-boiling-frogs-we-are-like-slowly-boiling-brainless-frogs/

French state nuclear giant puts new UK nuclear reactor "on hold"

EDF puts planned Somerset nuclear plant on hold
Uncertainty over nuclear power renaissance grows as French energy firm delays decision on Hinkley Point

Terry Macalister
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 27 May 2012 14.06 EDT


The award of a £1.2bn civil engineering contract for a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset has been put on ice by EDF Energy, triggering more uncertainty over the nuclear renaissance.

Two consortiums led by Balfour Beatty and Laing O'Rourke were hoping to have heard about the huge deal in recent days but now expect no decision until 2013 at the earliest. The move is a blow to employment prospects in the area and comes weeks after £100m worth of site preparation was postponed.

The soonest a new reactor will be built in Somerset could now be 2021, around four years later than originally hoped. EDF declined to comment on the latest setback, with a spokesman for the 83% state-owned French power company saying: "I am afraid it is not our practice to comment on open tenders."

The group insisted that its wider plans remained intact and it aimed to start work on the £100m contract, which was awarded last year to construction partner Kier Bam, "as soon as practicable, and all necessary steps are being taken to ensure that work can start in good time".

EDF says it...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/may/27/edf-nuclear-delay


(from an earlier post)
The Cameron government is going all out to build an economic platform that will support new nuclear plants. They know that should energy efficiency measures deliver the goods, they will be reducing the potential electricity sales they must have to enable the nuclear plants to run enough to pay for themselves (and even then they'll have to use subsidies).

That begs the question of why their energy efficiency program was designed to fail, and why they haven't responded to continued warnings that it will fail, doesn't it?

From December 2011
'Green deal' will fail, government's climate advisers warn
Scheme to make 14m UK homes more energy efficient will only reach 2-3m households, Committee on Climate Change says

Damian Carrington
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 20 December 2011 11.38 EST

...The daft thing is that at the same time [as delivering the green deal plan], the government has put out a national carbon budget plan that states with complete confidence that they will get all the lofts and cavity walls done - but there is no programme to do it," said Warren.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/dec/20/green-deal-fail


May 2012
David Cameron briefed on concerns over green deal for homeowners
Impact assessment shows loft insulations and cavity wall insulations are set to fall dramatically under current plans

Damian Carrington
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 16 May 2012 11.43 EDT

...The green deal aims to provide "pay as you save" loans to homeowners to improve their energy efficiency and cut bills. It is due to launch in October but has faced widespread criticism from energy companies, the building industry, consumer groups and charities. The government's own impact assessment shows loft insulations and cavity wall insulations – the most cost-effective measures by far – are set to fall by 93% and 67% respectively under current plans. "The impact assessment says it is going to be a train crash," said Andrew Warren, director of the Association for the Conservation of Energy.

The escalation of the issue to Downing Street came on the same day as official data revealed that average home energy bills have shot up by up 12% – £140 – in 12 months, following a doubling in the past six years due largely to rising gas prices. Furthermore, national statistics on fuel poverty due to be published on Thursday are certain to show a rise from the current 5 million homes, a quarter of the total.

The green deal is intended to address fuel poverty, as well as being a crucial policy in cutting the carbon emissions driving climate change, but the Cabinet Office has been told it will flop unless fundamental changes are made. Warren and a series of other senior stakeholders were interviewed by Cabinet Office officials, who reported to Cameron, Clegg and energy secretary Ed Davey on Wednesday.

A Downing Street spokesman said: "As we implement all policy, we maintain constant dialogue with stakeholders and businesses who have an interest. The deputy prime minister and prime minister are fully committed to the green deal." While the commitment to the green deal is not under review, government sources said the implementation of the policy is being discussed...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/16/david-cameron-green-deal-homeowners


Ooooops. What do you know, it didn't work. Well, at least they'll have a larger market for the desired nuclear plants.


See also this study that looked at the relationship of nuclear power and the alternatives of energy efficiency and renewable energy. The study looks at the US and France, with a separate comparison among the states within the US.
States where utilities have not expressed an interest in getting licenses for new nuclear reactors have a better track record on efficiency and renewable and more aggressive plans for future development of efficiency and renewables, as shown in Exhibit ES-3. These states:
- had three times as much renewable energy and ten times as much non-hydro renewable energy in their 1990 generation mix and
- set RPS goals for the next decade that are 50 percent higher;
- spent three times as much on efficiency in 2006;
- saved over three times as much energy in the 1992-2006 period, and
- have much stronger utility efficiency programs in place.


Policy Challenges of Nuclear Reactor Construction: Cost Escalation and Crowding Out
LESSONS FROM THE U.S. AND FRANCE FOR THE EFFORT TO REVIVE THE U.S. INDUSTRY WITH LOAN GUARANTEES AND TAX SUBSIDIES
(September 2010). Dr. Mark Cooper, Vermont Law School.
Access pdf here: http://www.psr.org/nuclear-bailout/resources/policy-challenges-of-nuclear.html

Ministers must resist the siren call of spin to prevent climate failure
Trying to tackle the huge challenge with policies that contradict each other and silly spin makes a tough job unnecessarily harder


No one thinks it will be easy to slash the carbon emissions driving climate change while keeping the lights on and at an affordable price. But trying to tackle the challenge with policies that contradict each other and silly spin makes a tough job unnecessarily harder.

Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary, launched a good report on Friday, suggesting the damage wrought on the UK's economy by spikes in global oil, gas and coal prices could be reduced by over half in 2050 as a result of climate change policies.

"Only last year, the impact of the Arab spring on wholesale gas prices, pushed up UK household bills by 20%," he said. "Every step the UK takes towards building a low-carbon economy reduces our dependency on fossil fuels, and on volatile global energy prices."

"The more we can shift to alternative fuels, and use energy efficiently, the more we can ensure that our economy does not become hostage to far-flung events and to the volatility of market forces," he added. So far, so sensible.

But what about the impact of far-flung events on the UK's faltering ambition to build new nuclear power stations? Well, that's a completely different story, apparently. Energy minister Charles Hendry was asked exactly that on Tuesday by MPs...


http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/may/18/energy-climate-davey-fossil-fuel-nuclear


Japan’s Former Leader Condemns Nuclear Power

Source: New York Times

TOKYO — In an unusually stark warning, Japan’s prime minister during last year’s nuclear crisis told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday that the country should discard nuclear power as too dangerous, saying the Fukushima accident had pushed Japan to the brink of “national collapse.”

In testimony to a panel investigating the government’s handling of the nuclear disaster, the former prime minister, Naoto Kan, also warned that the politically powerful nuclear industry was trying to push Japan back toward nuclear power despite “showing no remorse” for the accident.

Mr. Kan’s was the most closely watched testimony in the six-month inquiry, which was started by lawmakers who felt an earlier internal investigation by the government had papered over problems. Mr. Kan used the appearance to criticize the relatively pronuclear stance of the current prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, who replaced him in August.

Mr. Noda has called for restarting Japan’s undamaged nuclear plants, which have all been idled since the accident because of public safety concerns. He says the plants are needed to avoid economically crippling power shortages. Mr. Noda has met stiff resistance from many Japanese voters, who say the government is rushing to restart the plants without proving that they are safe, or allowing time for a proper public dialogue over whether Japan actually needs nuclear power.

In his testimony,

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/asia/japans-naoto-kan-condemns-nuclear-power.html



the Fukushima accident had pushed Japan to the brink of “national collapse.”

In testimony to a panel investigating the government’s handling of the nuclear disaster, the former prime minister, Naoto Kan, also warned that the politically powerful nuclear industry was trying to push Japan back toward nuclear power despite “showing no remorse” for the accident.
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