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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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The nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead

The nuclear renaissance is stone cold dead
Dr Jim Green 25th December 2013

2013 has been the nuclear power industry's annus horribilis and the nuclear renaissance can now be pronounced stone cold dead. Dr Jim Green reveals the global unravelling of the nuclear dream ...

The industry is finding it increasingly difficult to profitably operate existing reactors - especially ageing reactors requiring refurbishments - let alone build new ones. This year has been the nuclear power industry's annus horribilis and the nuclear renaissance can now be pronounced stone cold dead.

Nuclear power suffered its biggest ever one-year fall in 2012 - nuclear generation fell 7% from the 2011 figure. Nuclear generation fell in no less than 17 countries, including all of the top five nuclear-generating countries. Nuclear power accounted for 17% of global electricity generation in 1993 and it has steadily declined to 10% now.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has downwardly revised its nuclear power projections, and now anticipates growth of 23% to 100% percent by 2030.

Historically, the IAEA's upper projections have been fanciful, and its lower projections are usually much closer to the mark. So annual growth of a little over 1% is about as much as the industry can realistically hope for. And the IAEA will further reduce its projections when it factors in this year's annus horribilis.

In the US, even existing reactors are money sinks

...


http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2211231/the_nuclear_renaissance_is_stone_cold_dead.html

ALEC - civil society fights back

ALEC - civil society fights back
Ben Whitford 28th December 2013

Few groups have done more to further the US conservative agenda - and harm progressive causes - than the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. But as Ben Whitford reports, civil society is fighting back.

Virtually every piece of controversial, right-wing legislation passed by America's statehouses in recent years has borne ALEC's grubby fingerprints.
A shadowy but extraordinarily powerful legislation-mill and stealth-lobbying outfit, ALEC specialises in quietly shepherding right-wing legislation through America’s statehouses - a process that, until recently, went all but unnoticed by the national media.

In recent months, however, ALEC has found itself the subject of a great deal of unwanted attention. The Occupy protests helped draw attention to ALEC’s activities, while the killing of Florida teen Trayvon Martin led to scrutiny of ALEC’s role in pushing legislation designed to make it harder to prosecute fatal shootings.

The cloak of secrecy is lifted

Internal ALEC documents, meanwhile, have been obtained by PR Watch, the Guardian and others, giving campaigners a rare look at ALEC’s inner workings - and allowing progressives to begin formulating more effective strategies for fighting back.

That’s especially painful for ALEC’s supporters...

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2210057/alec_civil_society_fights_back.html

Sharks of more than three metres to be caught, shot and dumped into sea

Sharks of more than three metres to be caught, shot and dumped into sea
Western Australia's controversial 'shark management' strategy aims to reduce public anxiety over attacks


theguardian.com, Thursday 26 December 2013 23.02 EST



A great white shark. Photograph: Chris Fallows/AAP Image/Murdoch Books


Sharks longer than 3 metres that get near popular beaches in Western Australia will be caught, shot and dumped back into the sea, in a series of measures aimed at reducing public anxiety over attacks.

Details of the WA government’s controversial “shark management” strategy have been released, with sharks bigger than 3 metres singled out for shooting and then discarding offshore.

A tender released by the government calls for an “experienced licensed commercial fishing organisation” to deploy and maintain up to 72 drum lines off popular beaches in Perth and elsewhere along the south-west coast.

The drum lines, containing a hook with bait on them, will catch and, eventually, kill passing sharks that come within 1km of the beach.

Should a live white shark, tiger shark or bull shark longer than 3 metres be found on the drum lines, they will be “humanely destroyed” ...

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/dec/27/sharks-to-be-shot-and-dumped

Climate deniers react to reddit science giving them the boot

This is worth reading; it's an 'insider' discussion on reddit's policy at the skeptic's haven Watts Up With That? The anger and sputtering is sure to warm your heart against the chilly December air.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/12/20/discussion-thread-reddit-bans-climate-change-skeptics/

Greg says:
December 20, 2013 at 11:44 am
Victoria Taylor, Reddit’s director of communications, told FoxNews.com that while it was Allen’s prerogative to ban climate-change skeptics from “/r/science,” his statements “do not reflect the views of Reddit as a whole, or other science or climate-oriented subreddits.”

Then Victoria had better decide how she wishes to see Riddit’s image as a defender of free speech and open debate in the future and whether they need the services of a self-opinionated bigot like Professor Allen.

This is too much like soviet Russia to be funny.


pokerguy says:
December 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm
I’m not as sanguine as others here. This is symptomatic of the rising hysteria on the part of mostly liberal warmists as the real world evidence continues to work against them. Didn’t the L.A. Times recently stop printing skeptical letters? Even if there’s nothing formal in place, the impulse to censor is in evidence. I can probably count on one hand the number of skeptical letters I’ve seen published in the NYT’s in the last few years. When Jeff Jacoby (I think it was) dared to write a skeptical column for the liberal Boston Globe, the outcry was deafening….

My sense is this will only get worse.


From your lips to FSM's ear poker guy; from your lips to FSM's ear...

"MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety"

Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors used subjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).


Explain these findings then.

And while you're at it, you can explain the method related failures of cost predictions and claims of reactor performance.

Classical probability (i), relative-frequency probability (ii), subjective probability (iii)

Classical probability (i), relative-frequency probability (ii), subjective probability (iii)
When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).



...typical atomic-energy advocates use (iii) not (ii) to assess core-melt probabilities, such as when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said core-melt accidents, for all 104 US reactors, would only occur once every 1000 years. Instead, the NRC should have made predictions based on government inspections, independent analyses, and accident-frequency data, not ‘on [subjective-probability] data submitted by plant owners’ (Broder et al., 2011, p. D1). The NRC predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) also has a long history of making BSC based on (iii). AEC said the probability of a US nuclear core meltdown is 1 in 17,000 per reactor year (AEC, 1957; Mulvihill et al., 1965).

Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors usedsubjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).




The Frequency Fallacy

A second illegitimate defense of BSC is through the frequency fallacy, confusing core-melt-relative-frequency data with subjective probabilities. Yet ‘probability’ can mean: (i) ‘classical probability;’ (ii) ‘relative frequency;’ or (iii) ‘subjective probability,’ not all of which are applicable to nuclear-core-melt assessment.

Classical probability (i) is illustrated by card games in which the deck contains a fixed number of cards, for example 52. The probability of an event (e) thus equals the number of possible favorable outcomes (f) divided by the total number of possible outcomes (n): P(e) = f/n. Provided the deck of cards is fair, each card has an equal chance of being picked, and the probability (i) of picking an ace = 4/52. Thus, (i) assumes that all possible outcomes are equally likely and that we know n—neither of which is the case regarding nuclear-accident outcomes.

Relative-frequency probability (ii) is often used for cases where the number of outcomes (n) is so great that all typically cannot be observed, as in the probability (ii) that current 5-year-olds will contract cancer. We cannot observe all 5-year-olds throughout their lifetimes, but can reliably predict cancer probability for random, typical 5-year-olds, if we observe a large-enough, long-enough sample. Thus, if we observed 1000 5-year-olds over their lifetimes, if samples were representative and large enough, and if we observed 350 cancer deaths, we could say this cancer probability was roughly P(e) = 35.0% (350/1000). We cannot predict with certainty, however, unless we know the frequency of all relevant events—whether lifetime cancers or total nuclear-core melts. Given that preceding core-melt lists include all occurrences (consistent with the three caveats), those lists suggest an almost-certain, core-melt probability (ii) = core melts/total reactors = 26/442 = roughly a 6% probability (ii)—roughly a 1 in 16 chance of core melt—which is hardly a low probability.

Subjective probability (iii) relies only on what people think particular probabilities are. The odds people get when they bet at racetracks are subjective probabilities because if the probabilities were objective, smart players would always win. Obviously (iii) does not provide reliable nuclear-core-melt probabilities because it is based not on facts, but on what people think about facts. Nuclear proponents think the facts are one way, and opponents think they are another. Both cannot always be correct. Since (iii) is subjective and could be inconsistent, and because (i) would require knowing n and knowing a falsehood (that all reactor outcomes were equally likely), (ii) appears most relevant to nuclear-core-melt assessment.

As preceding sections revealed, however, typical atomic-energy advocates use (iii) not (ii) to assess core-melt probabilities, such as when the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said core-melt accidents, for all 104 US reactors, would only occur once every 1000 years. Instead, the NRC should have made predictions based on government inspections, independent analyses, and accident-frequency data, not ‘on [subjective-probability] data submitted by plant owners’ (Broder et al., 2011, p. D1). The NRC predecessor agency, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) also has a long history of making BSC based on (iii). AEC said the probability of a US nuclear core meltdown is 1 in 17,000 per reactor year (AEC, 1957; Mulvihill et al., 1965).

Even universities erroneously use subjective probabilities (iii), not frequencies (ii), to assess nuclear-core-melt likelihood, particularly when pro-nuclear-government agencies fund their studies. For instance, although the classic, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)-authored, government-funded, reactor-safety study had frequency data for various nuclear accidents that already had occurred after decades of US-operating experience, it did not use them; instead the MIT authors used subjective, pro-nuclear assumptions and conjectures about these accident probabilities (Rasmussen, 1975). When independent, university mathematicians compared US nuclear-accident-frequency data, reported from operating experience, with MIT guesses (iii), they discovered that all ‘guesses’ were far too low, by several orders of magnitude. None of the nuclear-accident-frequency data, based on reactor-operating experience, was within the theoretical, 90% confidence interval of the MIT ‘guesses.’Yet there is only a subjective probability of 10% that any of these true (frequency-based) probability values (for different types of reactor accidents) should fall outside this 90% interval. The conclusion? University mathematicians said that MIT assessors were guilty of a massive ‘overconfidence’ bias toward nuclear safety, a typical flaw in most industry-government-funded, nuclear-risk analyses (Cooke, 1982).

This fallacious substitution of subjective probabilities (iii)—for nuclear-core-melt frequencies (ii)—has at least two interesting parallels, namely, nuclear-industry preferences for subjective opinions, over empirical data, in reporting both nuclear costs and carbon-equivalent emissions. Since most nuclear-industry-performed studies employ purely subjective economic estimates, instead of empirical-cost data, they counterfactually assume that nuclear-load factors are 90–95%, that average reactor lifetimes are 50–60 years, and that nuclear-construction-loan-interest rates are 0%. Yet in reality, industry-collected empirical data show average nuclear-load factors are 71%, not 90–95%; average reactor lifetimes are 22, not 50–60 years; and nuclear-interest rates are at least 15%, not 0%. When one corrects only five subjective (counterfactual) nuclear-cost assumptions with actual empirical data, nuclear costs rise 700% above industry-reported costs, revealing that fission is far more expensive than wind or solar-photovoltaic. Similarly, most nuclear-industry-performed studies claim that atomic energy is carbon-emissions-free—a claim dependent on subjectively counting only emissions from reactor operation, not emissions from the entire, 14-stage nuclear-fuel cycle. Once one counts all fuel-cycle emissions, the ratios of carbon emissions are roughly 112 coal : 49 gas : 7 nuclear : 4 solar : 1 wind. For low-grade-uranium ores, the nuclear ratios are even worse: 112 coal : 49 gas : 49 nuclear : 4 solar : 1 wind (Shrader-Frechette, 2011).


From the journal
Ethics, Policy & Environment

Fukushima, Flawed Epistemology, and Black-Swan Events
Dr Kristin Shrader-Frechette

The full discussion is available for download here
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21550085.2011.605851

Carbon-Free Energy Is Possible -- Without Nukes

Eleanor LeCain
President, The Breakthrough Way

Carbon-Free Energy Is Possible -- Without Nukes

<snip>

I asked him what he discovered in his research that made him believe it is possible. He replied: "We are in the midst of a technological revolution that is making renewables more economically feasible. We can make this happen." Since the book was published, the pace of technology change has continued to accelerate.

- Wind power has been economical for years. In 2006, solar electric was five times more expensive than it needed to be to compete as a source for home energy, but it is becoming competitive.

- As demand goes up, the cost of production goes down: manufacturers can shift from custom-made to larger scale production. The price of silicon needed for solar cells is down. A few years ago, you'd pay $4 a watt for a solar panel, now it's 70 cents a watt.

"I thought we'd need major legislation such as a price on carbon through a carbon tax or trading emissions," said Dr. Makhijani. "But the technological developments are making renewables economically feasible without any major legislation." Thank God we don't have to rely on legislation passed by our increasingly dysfunctional Congress. He continued, "I thought it would take to the middle of the century; now, if we try hard, it could be much faster -- by 2035 or 2040."

Demand for renewables is coming from many directions. After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japan increased its use of renewables, and is now the second largest market for solar energy, bigger than the U.S. Among the largest buyers of solar electricity in the US is that great bastion of radicals, the Pentagon. They are also leading in alternative energy. It makes sense, given that the military understands our vulnerability to disruption in oil supplies: if our oil supply were cut from the Mideast and elsewhere, we'd need renewables to ensure enough stable energy at home. Of course, climate is a security issue: more extreme weather increases the need for more domestic energy supplies.

<snip>

Dr. Makhijani offers a clear goal -- a zero CO2 economy -- which gives policy coherence and a yardstick by which we can measure progress. He identifies 12 critical policies to be enacted to achieve it....

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eleanor-lecain/carbonfree-energy-is-poss_b_4486153.html?utm_hp_ref=energy


Arjun Makhijani
Arjun Makhijani, President of IEER, holds a Ph.D. in engineering (specialization: nuclear fusion) from the University of California at Berkeley. He has produced many studies and articles on nuclear fuel cycle related issues, including weapons production, testing, and nuclear waste, over the past twenty years. He is the principal author of the first study ever done (completed in 1971) on energy conservation potential in the U.S. economy. Most recently, Dr, Makhijani has authored Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy (IEER Press), the first analysis of a transition to a U.S. economy based completely on renewable energy, without any use of fossil fuels or nuclear power. He is the principal editor of Nuclear Wastelands and the principal author of Mending the Ozone Hole, both published by MIT Press.



Short Curriculum Vita of Arjun Makhijani
http://ieer.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Short-Curriculum-Vita-of-Arjun-Makhijani.pdf

Iberdrola to sell stake in NuGen nuclear consortium to Toshiba

Iberdrola to sell stake in NuGen nuclear consortium to Toshiba
Spanish utility giant to be paid £85m for 50% share of NuGen, which plans to build 3.6GW nuclearfacility at Sellafield

Reuters The Guardian, Monday 23 December 2013 13.55 EST
Christopher Thomond for the Guardian

The Spanish utility provider Iberdrola has agreed to sell its 50% stake in the British nuclear consortium NuGen to Japan's Toshiba in a deal that will boost the UK's nuclear construction plans.

NuGen, a joint venture between Iberdrola and the French utility firm GDF Suez, owns a site at Sellafield in Cumbria, where its plan to provide 3.6 gigawatts of nuclear capacity has stalled amid government delays.

The government wants to replace aging and polluting power plants by the middle of the next decade and says it is keen to encourage investment in new nuclear power stations. But regulatory changes after Japan's Fukushima accident and squabbles about how much public money should be handed to companies for new plants have slowed progress.

Iberdrola said on Monday it had sold its NuGen stake to Toshiba, which owns nuclear plant builder Westinghouse, for £85m. Iberdrola has a large British presence as the owner of Scottish Power but has been selling assets to reduce debt...

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/dec/23/iberdrola-to-sell-nugen-nuclear-stake-toshiba

Uruguay President Mujica signs marijuana law

Source: AP via Mainichi Shimbun (Japan)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) -- A spokesman for President Jose Mujica of Uruguay says the leader has quietly signed into law the government's plan to create a regulated, legal market for marijuana.

Presidential secretary Diego Canepa told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Mujica signed the legislation Monday night. That was the last formal step for the law to take effect.

Bureaucrats now have until April 9 to write the fine print for regulating every aspect of the marijuana market, from growing to selling in a network of pharmacies...

Read more: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131225p2g00m0in007000c.html

EDITORIAL: Nuclear safety myth is raising its ugly head again

EDITORIAL: Nuclear safety myth is raising its ugly head again
December 24, 2013

Electric power companies have filed formal applications with the Nuclear Regulation Authority for permission to restart 14 idled nuclear reactors on grounds the facilities meet new regulatory standards. The Abe administration is keen to allow utilities to bring their reactors back online.

But the grim reality is that efforts by local governments to develop emergency evacuation plans have not made satisfactory progress.

Before any of the offline reactors are restarted, a workable plan must be in place in preparation for a possible serious nuclear accident.

No matter what precautions are built into a safety system, a totally unexpected situation can occur at any time. That’s a bitter lesson to be gleaned from the 2011 disaster that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN A BIND

The local governments that have been entrusted to work out evacuation plans are tearing their hair out...


http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201312240044
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