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

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Nuclear power hush-up causes scholar to quit hosting long running show on Japan Public Radio

Scholar quits NHK over nuclear power hush-up
JAN 30, 2014

A noted professor who regularly provides commentary on an NHK AM radio show has resigned from the program in protest over the public broadcaster’s demand that nuclear power not be discussed until after the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election.

Toru Nakakita, a professor of economics at Toyo University in Tokyo, said the director of the “Radio 1″ morning news program told him Wednesday to change the subject of his commentary, after he had submitted an outline for a segment to air the following day.

The segment, “Business Tenbo” (“Business Outlook”), which is broadcast every weekday morning, features guest commentary from academics in the fields of business and economics. For the Thursday morning edition, Nakakita was planning to talk about the rising operating costs of nuclear power worldwide, in light of a recent surge in insurance premiums and safety costs. He was also intending to discuss the fact that in Japan the cost of decommissioning nuclear plants is not adequately reflected on the utilities’ balance sheets.

After reviewing his draft, the director of the news program told him to wait until after the election, on grounds his comments “would affect the voting behavior” of the listeners, Nakakita quoted the NHK director as saying.

An official in NHK’s public relations department acknowledged the demand had been made...


Nuclear power and authoritarianism - a natural match.

W. Australian grid may become first big victim of “death spiral”

WA grid may become first big victim of “death spiral”
By Giles Parkinson on 30 January 2014

The chances of the West Australian electricity grid becoming the first to fall victim to the so-called “death spiral” for utilities appears to have increased after it was revealed this week that the gap between the cost to generate, transmit and sell electricity and the charge to consumer has widened.

The “death spiral” is a term coined by utilities in an attempt to defend their business models against the rise of the “pro-sumer”, customers who are no longer just buying energy but who are sourcing cheaper electricity from their own generation, usually rooftop solar, and cutting demand from the grid.

swisThe WA grid, however, has helped create its own death spiral because it has never recovered the cost of its largely fossil-fuel fired electricity from the consumer. The costs keep rising, and now it has emerged that electricity demand has fallen so low that the major utilities may be forced to pay for fossil-fuel generation they will never use.

It is hard to imagine a more unsustainable situation, and it is quite possible that the WA grid is the most at risk in the developed world from the emergence of cheaper solar and storage solutions.

Synergy, the WA Government-owned electricity and gas retailer...


Intermittent or variable: Are our wires crossed on renewables?

Intermittent or variable: Are our wires crossed on renewables?

By Craig Morris on 29 January 2014


The use of “intermittent” certainly is well established for renewables; see this Wikipedia entry, for instance, which only mentions nuclear and coal in terms of reacting to intermittent energy – not as intermittent sources themselves. Likewise, “variable” sounds like the energy source is “capable of varying,” but wind and solar are not dispatchable. Taken literally, they are varying, but not variable.

But recently, someone finally took the time to explain to me why a clear distinction should nonetheless be made – with conventional plants being called intermittent and wind & solar called variable. The idea is that, while production of wind and solar power fluctuate (to use the German term), giant amounts of renewable generation capacity do not simultaneously go off-line.

Conventional plants can fail quickly. In a recent storm that hit Europe, the social media world was concerned about wind turbines being blown away, but I could not find any news of such a thing happening. We do know that the Ringhals nuclear plant, with a capacity of 878 MW, failed completely, however, as one of its blocks did again just a few weeks later.

In North America, the recent Arctic cold knocked out power plants across the country, with 39,500 MW going off-line in a single day within the PJM grid, 21 percent of PJM’s total generation capacity. Roughly 19,000 MW was coal plants, followed by 9,000 MW of natural gas turbines, 1,600 MW of nuclear (probably a single plant), and “nearly 1,500 MW of wind.” (One wonders whether it was the wind turbines themselves that failed or grid connections to the turbines.)

The PJM area was not alone, either. In Texas, 3,700 MW of conventional capacity had to be shut down during the polar vortex...


Level of security alert at Ukrainian NPPs increased to the second level

Source: ForUm

The level of security alert at Ukrainian nuclear enterprises has been increased to the second out of three existing levels, head of the nuclear energy and nuclear industry department of the Energy and Coal Ministry Petro Chernov told the roundtable "Terrorist acts at power plants: how real is the threat".

"As of today the security alert level has been increased at all nuclear facilities. Now we have the second out of three levels of security, which are the regular security system, enhanced and crisis management systems. The enhanced security system provides for enhanced patrolling and health protection coverage area expansion," he said, a ForUm's correspondent reports.

According to the official, the situation is under control, and Ukraine meets all requirements of international agreements and conventions, including agreements with IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on nuclear nonproliferation.

"In accordance with the international legislation and Ukrainian laws, all necessary measures for physical protection at nuclear facilities are observed. Security alert is a part of the physical protection system, and the responsibility lies with the internal troops," Chernov summed up...

Read more: http://en.for-ua.com/news/2014/01/30/131219.html

Controlled EV charging cuts power costs 50% – even more with wind

Controlled EV charging cuts power costs 50% – even more with wind
By Silvio Marcacci on 29 January 2014


Two truths are clear about electric vehicles today: Charging them is cheaper than filling up with gasoline, and they hold immense potential to boost renewable energy integration by serving grid operators as countless energy storage units. So what if those benefits were combined?


According to the study of various EV charging scenarios modeled across New York State’s regional grid, controlled EV charging by grid operators holds the key to unlocking the combination of lower power prices, higher wind energy integration, and more emission-free vehicles on the road.

Misplaced Fears Of EV Charging Spiking Power Costs?

It stands to reason as more EVs plug into the grid, grid operators will have to dispatch more generation to keep all those Leafs and Teslas juiced up. ...

Controlled Charging + Wind Energy = Big Savings

....regardless of power generation capacity scenarios, EV charging costs fall even further when large amounts of wind energy are present on the grid. In fact, when wind penetration reaches 20%, controlled charging creates an additional 6-13% in cost reductions.

That level of wind penetration isn’t typically sustained on U.S. grids, but it has absolutely been reached with growing frequency on regional grid systems in Texas and the Midwest – meaning the CMU results could already be manifesting themselves if proper vehicle-to-grid controls were in place.

Even better, the CMU research underlines the value EVs can have on maximizing renewable energy when it’s available. “Controlled charging could also help manage fluctuations from renewable energy sources like wind and solar power,” said Jaramillo.

Accelerating Toward A Smarter, Cleaner, Cheaper Future

While the researchers noted additional studies were needed to fully understand the total cost and emissions implications of EV charging, the CMU study is yet another example of how important EVs are to our clean energy future and adds to research showing the the grid can handle EV integration without crashing.

Read more at http://cleantechnica.com/2014/01/28/controlled-ev-charging-cuts-power-costs-50-even-wind-energy/#sT9k9QIrszAoiGy2.99

Carnegie Mellon Press release
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Carnegie Mellon Study Says Electric Vehicles Could Be Cheaper To Recharge if Electricity Providers Control Charging Speeds
CMU Researchers Studied New Vehicle Charge Loads on New York Power Plant Operations


BP Rig Supervisors Must Face Manslaughter Charges For Deepwater Horizon Deaths, Judge Rules

BP Rig Supervisors Must Face Manslaughter Charges For Deepwater Horizon Deaths, Judge Rules

The Deepwater Horizon rig one day after it exploded April 21, 2010

The two BP supervisors on board the Deepwater Horizon rig who made the last critical decisions before its tragic and historic explosion in 2010 won’t be able to easily escape involuntary manslaughter charges over the deaths of eleven fellow workers, a Louisiana federal judge ruled Monday, saying the case should be decided by a jury.

Donald J. Vidrine and Robert Kaluz had pled not guilty in 2012 to the charges in their 23-count indictment, which accuses them of mishandling an important safety test and failing to report abnormally high pressure readings that attorneys say were were obvious signs of an impending disaster. The blast, which blew out of BP’s Macondo well, immediately killed 11 workers and resulted in the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

The supervisors had tried to get the involuntary manslaughter charges dismissed from the case before it went to trial, but U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval Jr. was not convinced by their arguments.

“Provided that the government is able to prove that the defendants’ actions caused the blowout that caused the eleven deaths on the Deepwater Horizon, the facts as alleged are sufficient to conclude that an ordinary person would reasonably understand that the improper administration of the negative testing and actions surrounding such administration of the test in light of the inherent danger in deepwater drilling would subject one to criminal sanctions,” Judge Duval wrote.

Attempting to get the case dismissed...


Threat of nuclear civil war in Ukraine frightens IAEA, although guard promises to shoot radicals

Source: abc.az

The IAEA has responded quickly to the threat to launch a nuclear civil war in Ukraine.

Today in Kiev Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Eduard Stawicki has stated that IAEA experts are going to arrive in the country next week with an unscheduled inspection.

"The inspection is conditioned with the fact of threats of seizure and blocking Ukrainian thermal, nuclear and hydro power stations. We have permanent inspection regime, but now the situation is very difficult with such kind of tension in the society," Stawicki claimed.

Today, the threat of nuclear terrorism has been stated by the Security Service of Ukraine.

Read more: http://abc.az/eng/news/main/78965.html

Earlier reporting here:

World’s first nuclear civil war may begin in Ukraine – Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) statement

Source: abc.az

The first-in-the-history-of-the-world nuclear civil war may start in Ukraine. Anyway this is the statement of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).

According to SBU statement, the recent events in the country have led to tension in the society as a result of illegal actions of separate radically- inclined organizations and citizens.

"Along with the manifestation of extremism, anonymous threats to explode hydroelectric and nuclear power facilities, the damage of which can have unforeseen particularly serious consequences for the population of Ukraine and neighboring countries have become more frequent," the SBU statement says.

..."The events that occur around the facilities of the national energy system have negative impact on the level of security of our country and threaten its functioning, as well as the life and health of citizens. The Ukrainian Security Service warns that possible seizure, destruction or damage to objects that have important economic or military significance with the purpose to weaken the state, violate public security, intimidate the population, influence decision-making by state or local authorities is punishable under Articles 113 (diversion ) and 258 (terrorism) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. These acts are punishable by imprisonment for a term of up to 15 years," the SBU statement says....

Read more: http://abc.az/eng/news_27_01_2014_78942.html

The Ukraine has 15 reactors in operation and 4 non-operational reactors at Chernobyl.

The Hockey Stick Lives: Canadian Arctic Warming Unprecedented In 120,000 Years

The Hockey Stick Lives: Canadian Arctic Warming Unprecedented In 120,000 Years

Recent warming has been unprecedented in speed, scale, and cause. Last year, we reported on a study that found the rate of warming since 1900 is 50 times greater than the rate of cooling in the previous 5000 years, which threatens to destroy the stable climate that enabled civilization.

The warming is so fast that it’s easy to forget how cold it used to be just a few decades ago, which is the point of a recent Climate Central analysis and the awesome xkcd cartoon based on it (above).

We’ve known for a while that the Arctic — which is warming at twice the rate of Earth as a whole — is now warmer than it has been in at least 2000 years. As a National Center for Atmospheric Research study found in 2009:

Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reached their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years, new research indicates. The study, which incorporates geologic records and computer simulations, provides new evidence that the Arctic would be cooling if not for greenhouse gas emissions that are overpowering natural climate patterns.

That is one long hockey stick. But now a new study led by UC Boulder Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research Associate Director Gifford Miller takes things way, way back:
Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years….
Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.
“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller…. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”



UK Govt seems guided by same policy agenda as ALEC (complete with Doublespeak)

First they deliberately sabotaged the very effective energy efficiency program they inherited, then they gutted the UK's commitment to renewable energy in favor of nuclear, and now...

David Cameron to rip up green regulations
Prime minister says plans to scrap or amend more than 3,000 regulations will save businesses £850m a year

Rowena Mason, political correspondent
The Guardian, Sunday 26 January 2014

David Cameron will on Monday boast of tearing up 80,000 pages of environmental protections and building guidelines as part of a new push to build more houses and cut costs for businesses.

In a speech to small firms, the prime minister will claim that he is leading the first government in decades to have slashed more needless regulation than it introduced.

Among the regulations to be watered down will be protections for hedgerows and rules about how businesses dispose of waste, despite Cameron's claims to lead the greenest government ever.

Addressing the Federation of Small Businesses conference, Cameron will argue that the new rules will make it "vastly cheaper" for businesses to comply with their environmental obligations.

...No 10 sources insisted that the new rules would not necessarily mean the environment suffers...

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