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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Good review of where the coal/nuclear (centralized thermal system) has left us.

First a couple of basic facts of life: Whether you like it or not, coal and nuclear are two sides of the same economic coin and since we live in a world of market systems this means that promoting nuclear is exactly the wrong thing to do if you want to shut down coal plants. The economics of nuclear plants drive consumption rather than promoting efficiency and conservation - which means they expand energy markets and that keeps coal plants operating.

Renewables, on the other hand, change the economic rewards of the energy delivery system in a way that works to shut down large scale thermal.

It is good to remember that it was Dick Cheney and that pushed for an extremely active public relations effort from the nuclear industry about climate change. (And we all know how worried he and Shrub were about the problem.) Any time climate change is brought up and renewables are shown to be the answer for cost, safety, and sustainability reasons, the nuclear acolytes show up with their fangs dripping falsehoods and misinformation just like the pack of starving attack dogs Dick Cheney designed them to be.

We'd be much further along in response to climate change if the nuclear pushers would end their economically rationalized alliance with coal.

(UK) This government's energy policies are a timebomb

Barry Gardiner MP is special envoy for climate change and the environment to the leader of the opposition

This government's energy policies are a timebomb
When the energy crisis comes around 2018, remember George Osborne and co, and how they misread the markets

Sometime in 2018 or shortly thereafter, the UK will experience a crisis. Electricity supply will not be enough to meet demand. When this happens, people will look back to 2012 and the disastrous policy decisions taken by the UK.

The first is the publication of the draft bill on electricity market reform. The second is the imminent decision to cut potentially as much as 25% from onshore windfarm subsidies.

What has become clear is that the government cannot rely on the market to supply the £110bn of investment in generating capacity that will be required to replace the old nuclear and coal power stations, which are likely to be turned off after 2017. What should perhaps cause the most surprise is that it is George Osborne and the Treasury who have so singularly failed to understand the logic of the markets.


In the words of one senior city analyst: "The government's policy is based on a lie." He is too generous. It is based upon three. The government wants to tell people that their electricity will become cheaper. It will not. The government wants people to believe that new nuclear can be built without government subsidy. It cannot. The government wants to persuade people that it is neutral as between technologies. It is not.

There are five main risks ....


National Diet* of Japan: Report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation

*The Diet is the parliamentary body in Japan.

Executive summary in English



THE UNPRECEDENTED NUCLEAR ACCIDENT that began on March 11, 2011 is the subject of the following report, which we hereby present to the members of the National Diet of Japan for their review. We do this in accordance with the Act Regarding the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.

Our investigative task is adjourned today, some six months after the appointment of our Chairman and Members in December of 2011.

This report is meant to reinforce the administrative authority of the legislative body and strengthen oversight activities on issues related to nuclear power. As the first independent commission chartered by the Diet in the history of Japan’s constitutional government, we would like to emphasize how important it is that this report be utilized, for the Japanese people and for the people of the world.

So there is nothing to learn from Fukushima?

I'd say it epitomizes the problems Fukushima highlighted.

Press releasefrom Physicians for Social Responsibility - intended for distribution

Troubling Parallels Seen: The “U.S. Has the Same Colluding System Between Industry, Regulators and Government”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2012 – The same underlying “man-made” problems that contribute significantly to the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan are in place in the United States and require preventative actions that go far beyond the limited steps taken far by the U.S. industry and its regulators, according to five groups commenting today on the English-language version of the official report of the Japanese Parliament’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.

The 85-page executive summary of the report can be viewed in English.

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Executive Director Catherine Thomasson said: “American regulators and the federal government should take heed. This report should serve as a warning that the U.S. has the same colluding system between industry, regulators and government. There are some reactors that will never have adequate evacuation plans as they are too close to human populations to be managed without severe consequences should a catastrophic accident occur. Others will remain problematic because there is the same mindset as in Japan that such accidents could not occur in our country hence there is inadequate preparation.”

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) President-Elect Dr. Jeffrey Patterson said: “This report demonstrates that no government or industry is prepared to adequately deal with the short or long term consequences of disasters such as Fukushima. From a medical standpoint Fukushima, Chernobyl and other radiation disasters are dangerous experiments which are releasing unknown quantities of long lived radiation on non-consenting populations who will be repeatedly exposed as the radioactive materials recycle through the environment. The results of this unconscionable experiment will not be fully known for generations, if ever. There is no ‘safe’ dose of radiation.”

Other groups in the U.S. speaking out today include: Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Georgia WAND, and Nuclear Information and Resource Service.

Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), said: “The report concluded that regulation in Japan was not rigorous. Sadly that applies to the United States as well. Just ten days after the start of the Fukushima disaster, the NRC extended the license of Vermont Yankee for 20 years, though it is the same design as the Fukushima reactors and it has more spent fuel in its pool than all four stricken reactors there put together. The report should jolt the NRC into implementing the lessons of Fukushima before licensing new reactors and relicensing existing ones.”

Dr. Stephen A. Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) said: "This is an extremely important report especially to those of us here in the Southeast given the high percentage of existing and proposed nuclear reactors in this region. Since Fukushima, we've listened to industry proponents and nuclear utilities constantly telling the public that a tsunami can't happen here or an earthquake of the scale of Fukushima. But this report is saying that the devastating Fukushima accident was 'man-made.' That a ‘witch’s brew’ of regulator, utility and government negligence led to this tragedy. Unfortunately, that collusion and lack of oversight occurs right here. And it's beyond time for the nuclear industry, its cheerleaders and its regulators to wake up and take notice so that Fukushima doesn't ever happen here in the U.S."

Bobbie Paul, executive director, Georgia WAND, said: "It is tragic that this report was not published before Southern Company's reactors 3 and 4 in Burke County Georgia were given the green light by the NRC. Recalling the lone dissenting voice of NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko in the 4-1 vote: ‘I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima had never happened.’ This report validates the NRC chairman and should cause every citizen to challenge claims made by the nuclear industry that ‘it can never happen here.’ Man-made disasters - whether made in Japan or made in the USA - can and do happen.”

Michael Mariotte, executive director of Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) said: "Japan didn't learn the lessons of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and a Fukushima became inevitable. Unfortunately, the U.S. reality is no different: a powerful nuclear power industry consistently gets its way at a weak and accommodating Nuclear Regulatory Commission. And thus, another nuclear accident also becomes inevitable. One area where Japan flunked the test was emergency evacuation. In a move to incorporate the lessons of Fukushima, NIRS has proposed strengthening emergency planning regulations and expanding emergency planning zones. But the industry wants less, not better emergency planning. Comments on NIRS' petition for rulemaking are due July 16. What the NRC does with this petition will go a long way toward defining whether the agency is prepared to take strong steps to protect the public, or whether it will continue to allow nuclear industry interests to rule.”

The NIRS petition and related documents are available.

The groups highlighted segments of the Japanese independent commission report showing the following troubling parallels to the situation with nuclear reactors in the U.S.:

- "The TEPCO Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO, and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation's right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man made.’”

- “The Commission concludes that there were organizational problems within TEPCO. Had there been a higher level of knowledge, training, and equipment inspection related to severe accidents, and had there been specific instructions given to the on-site workers concerning the state of emergency within the necessary time frame, a more effective accident response would have been possible.”

- “The Commission concludes that the residents' confusion over the evacuation stemmed from the regulators' negligence and failure over the years to implement adequate measures against a nuclear disaster, as well as a lack of action by previous governments and regulators focused on crisis management.”

- “The Commission recognizes that the residents in the affected area are still struggling from the effects of the accident. They continue to face grave concerns, including the health effects of radiation exposure, displacement, the dissolution of families, disruption of their lives and lifestyles and the contamination of vast areas of the environment. There is no foreseeable end to the decontamination and restoration activities that are essential for rebuilding communities. The Commission concludes that the government and the regulators are not fully committed to protecting public health and safety; that they have not acted to protect the health of the residents and to restore their welfare.”

- “Approximately 150,000 people were evacuated in response to the accident. An estimated 167 workers were exposed to more than 100 millisieverts of radiation while dealing with the accident. It is estimated that as much as 1,800 square kilometers of land in Fukushima Prefecture has now been contaminated by a cumulative radiation dose of 5 millisieverts or higher per year.“

- “The Commission has concluded that the safety of nuclear energy in Japan and the public cannot be assured unless the regulators go through an essential transformation process. The entire organization needs to be transformed, not as a formality but in a substantial way. Japan's regulators need to shed the insular attitude of ignoring international safety standards and transform themselves into a globally trusted entity."

The above-quoted experts and others are available to comment on the report findings.

Fukushima and the Nuclear Pushers

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.

“We believe the root causes were the organizational and regulatory system that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions,” it went on. “Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organization that deals with nuclear power.” It said nuclear regulators in Japan and Tepco “all failed to correctly develop the most basic safety requirements.”

The chairman of the 10-member panel...


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 ...


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 ...


First-ever Terawatt-Hours Tally of Renewable Energy Released

First-ever Terawatt-Hours Tally of Renewable Energy Released

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.


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.


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...


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.



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...


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