Top 100 Energy Stories (Dec. 11th – 15th)

radbullI’m compiling a growing number of stories about Steve Chu from various sources. Most are posted in the policy section, a couple are in the DOE section. Karl Grossman has a good presentation as well on Chu. The Nevada Governor has been sent a list of three finalists for who will head Nevada’s N-waste project opposition to Yucca Mountain. 

Obama’s Transition team has a website with hundreds of presentations on naitonal policy issues of all kinds. Two larger pro-nuclear coalitions have made presentations as have anti-nuclear groups. Sadly the anti-nuclear groups are not listed nor were their presentations:

The Clean Energy Group: Our Pro-nuclear folks at work
Western Governors’ Association: Our mining lobby at work
American Petroleum Institute
Consumer Energy Alliance: The energy industry in drag!
Composites for Renewable Energy
New Mexico Sierra Club: Fossil fuel plant
One Sky: Climate Change
Travel Industry Association: Climate Change
Transition to Green: Sustainability presentation
Dan Kammen: Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles
Dan Kammen: Call for Clean Energy
Renewable Fuels Association: Biofuels
National Congress of American Indians

Some of these are worth checking out. The two pronuclear presentations were done by the Clean Energy Group and the Consumer Energy Alliance. The latter has a huge list of endorsing industry associations.

In other news, the NRC posted two more COL’s and one FEIS, there was a major turnout for Areva’s proposed enrichment facility in Idaho.

The economic angle continues to be an important argument against further development. If you need to do any research work on this issue click on this link and it will take you to my library of several hundred economics related stories over the last year and a half.

There was an important victory for Downwinders as the Supreme Court refused to hear DOE Contractor attempts at blocking compensation for radiation victims. There is also a scandal brewing in South Dakota over the Govenor’s nepotism with a uranium mining company.

There are also a growing number of energy stories that I’m posting. A very interesting story on light pollution for example, or new discoveries on hydrogen fuel.

Enjoy


Top Nuclear Stories Index

Reactors Safety NRC Fuel Cycle N-Waste
Policy Weapons DOE Energy News OpEd

reactor

Nuclear Reactor News

Bnn, Bulgarian news network – Not a Single Employee Fired after Nuclear Plant Blocks Closing
Five years after the closing down of Bulgaria’s Nuclear Power Plant’s 1st and 2nd blocks and two since the closing of 3rd and 4th there isn’t a single employee fired from both sections, “Dnevnik” daily writes Monday.

There are 1095 people employed in the closed down parts out of the total 4492 in the whole AEC-Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant. The plant currently produces power with its 5th and 6th 1000 MW blocks.

The medium salary in the plant is around EUR530, as the money for employee payments is included in the final electricity tax consumers pay. “Dnevnik”‘s Calculations show that for 2008 alone EUR6,500,000 have been spent for the employees in the closed blocks.

Seismic refits too much for old N-plants: DAILY YOMIURI
Chubu Electric Power Co.’s plan to decommission two long-suspended nuclear reactors and build a new reactor in their place at its Hamaoka power station is mainly due to the old reactors’ deteriorating economic efficiency and the heavy cost expected for retrofitting the current facilities to meet the latest quake-resistance standards.

The Hamaoka nuclear plant covers about 1.6 million square meters in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and is located near the potential epicenter for a major earthquake expected to strike the Tokai region someday.

The power company completed retrofits of the station’s Nos. 3, 4 and 5 reactors in March.

Victoria Advocate – Is nuclear energy too costly?
Nuclear power critics cite an ailing U.S. economy as yet another reason to rethink the controversial energy source.

“We’re in a new world of hurt,” said longtime energy insider S. David Freeman. “The economy is shrinking. Take a fresh look. There are other alternatives.”

Freeman tours Texas newspapers this week to promote energy efficiency and alternative sources – solar, wind and other renewables.

Firefighters respond to nuclear power plant
The Seabrook Fire Department responded on Tuesday, Dec. 9, to a report of smoke in a building at FPL Energy Seabrook Station, the nuclear power plant, according to firefighter Koko Perkins.

Personnel were evacuated from the office building at the plant after smoke came from a heating system, according to Seabrook Station spokesman Al Griffith. The building is near the Science and Nature Center, on plant property, but well outside the nuclear power plant’s protected zone, Griffith said.

toledoblade – Attorneys say ex-worker not aware of Davis-Besse errors
Attorneys for Andrew Siemaszko Thursday sought an acquittal for their client on the grounds that the one-time Davis-Besse employee was oblivious to errors in key documents that went to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission weeks before the plant’s old reactor head nearly blew apart in 2002.

A former systems engineer who FirstEnergy put in charge of the reactor head despite inadequate training for that job, Siemaszko was convicted in August by a U.S. District Court jury in Toledo on three of five felony charges of withholding vital information from a government agency.

Now a resident of Spring, Texas, Siemaszko faces up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He is to be sentenced Feb. 6 unless Judge David Katz overturns the verdicts.

KSBY 6: PG&E workers picket outside Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant
Employees at Diablo Canyon picket outside the nuclear power plant. They are trying to call attention to what they say are unsafe working conditions.

Nuclear engineers claim the plant is putting profits before safety. They say that employees are not paid enough and because of that, it makes retaining qualified workers difficult.

Nuclear power company eyes decommissioning of 2 reactors due to stiffer quake standards – The Mainichi Daily News
Chubu Electric Power Co. is considering decommissioning two reactors at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant and building a new reactor in response to tougher earthquake resistance standards, it has been learned.

The power company is reportedly considering decommissioning the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at the plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, and building a new sixth reactor that would start operating from fiscal 2018 or later. Decommissioning work on the reactors, which are currently not operating, would be completed around 2035.

Beaver County Times & Allegheny Times: A jolt of reality: More radioactive waste is downside to building nuclear power plants

During the presidential campaign, Republican candidate John McCain pledged to build 45 nuclear reactors by 2030 to meet the nation’s energy needs.

With just about everybody but the most ardent of global-warming deniers recognizing the negative impact that coal-fired plants are having on the environment, the proposal was appealing politically because it rolled energy independence and global warming into one package.

It also was unrealistic.

The United States has neither the manpower nor the materiel to construct that many nuclear power plants in that time period, and the companies that develop and design nuclear plants would face similar constraints. Clearing regulatory hurdles can take decades and don’t forget the NIMBY factor.

STLtoday – Proposal for Callaway Nuclear Plant
Currently, the Callaway Nuclear Plant in Callaway County, MO is planning to build another nuclear unit. Nuclear power is a source of energy that has gotten a bad reputation in the Untied States. Incidents, such as Chernobyl, have scared the American public and have given Nuclear a bad connotation. Plants that are being built now are nothing like the one at Chernobyl. They have mechanisms that make it nearly impossible for a melt down ever to occur. The safety requirements created by the NRC have made nuclear plants safe in regards to radiation. Pilots receive more radiation than nuclear plant workers per year. Knowing this, and living in a country that is so dependent on fossil fuels made us very excited to see the potential for more energy to come from nuclear. Although, we support the additional reactor at Callaway, we think that the proposed plan has higher environmental cost than it needs to.

Nuclear cost law a “mistake,” state Sen. says
Tampa Bay legislators plan on taking a whack at a two-year-old law that allows Progress Energy to charge customers for its $17-billion nuclear project years before it starts producing electricity.

The law paved the way for the average Progress Energy bill to rise by about $13 a month, contributing to the 25 percent increase customers will see starting in January.

Customers just can’t afford it, said state Sen. Mike Fasano, who voted for the law in 2006. Fasano now says his vote was a mistake. He did not realize just how high bills would go, he said.

FOCUS Information Agency: The NPP Belene project becomes unstable

The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel turns its attention to the scandal in Germany surrounding the participation of RWE in the construction of NPP Belene. Jurgen Grosmann, the President and CEO of RWE, has received an unusual letter of protest from Bulgarian MPs, which showed the negative effect from the construction of the nuclear power plant on the tourism and agriculture in the region. The reason behind this letter was an answer to the plans of Grosmann to invest EUR 1.5 billion in the construction of NPP Belene.
Der Tagesspiegel explains that some of the members of the supervisory board of the German company have started to have doubts about the investment following a protest action of an environmental organization. Grosmann said that the project could not be renegotiated, which made the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of RWE – Thomas Fischer, try to change the interior regulations of the company. The planned changes would allow the supervisory board to take part in the approval of new investment projects. If such changes are made, there would be a majority, which would vote against the participation of RWE in the NPP Belene project.

BNFL’s ‘expensive failures’ earn £1m payoffs from taxpayer | The Guardian
Individual payments of up to £1m have been handed out from the public purse as a “golden goodbye” to directors at the loss-making nuclear holding group BNFL, according to the latest set of accounts.

David Bonser, executive director for human resources and a key figure in the development of BNFL’s troubled Thorp reprocessing plant, received £1,046,350 compensation for ending his employment last month. That was on top of an annual salary and bonuses worth £577,112 for the 12 months to March 31, 2008.

Two other directors left with well over £1m in combined salaries, bonuses and golden goodbyes as the company that once presided over a sprawling empire of nuclear assets was wound down.


safety

Nuclear Health and Safety News

Tests show uranium a problem in water systems — Courant.com
Tests on 16 well systems in Connecticut in the past year have shown uranium contamination in the water, according to state Department of Public Health records.

All residential public water systems serving 25 or more people must test quarterly for uranium. At the end of the third quarter in September, nine systems in four towns were out of compliance, according to the records, which were reviewed by The Hartford Courant. Seven other systems that had violated the uranium standard earlier in the year were in compliance after the latest round of tests, the newspaper reported Sunday.

knoxnews.com | Nuke worker advocates send letter to Obama
The Alliance of Nuclear Worker Advocacy Groups (ANWAG), which includes the Coalition for a Healthy Environment, has joined with others in a letter to President-elect Obama on recommended reforms to the sick nuclear worker compensation program.

Here’s the letter.

http://blogs.knoxnews.com/knx/munger/anwagblog.pdf

Years after he died, Flats worker a problem for feds : Deadly Denial : The Rocky Mountain News
Lane Christenson has been dead for more than a decade, but he is causing problems for the federal government.

The story of what’s happened to the family of this burly, former atomic bomb builder shows how federal officials have ignored evidence and their own rules to avoid compensating the nation’s sick nuclear weapons workers.

The government has steadfastly maintained for more than three years that no evidence exists to show Rocky Flats workers have been shut out of automatic compensation for certain victims of Cold War nuclear weapons production.

The problem Christenson’s case presents is this: His records do exist.

FR: NIOSH: Worker contamination cohort for CANEL Middletown Ct
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives notice of a decision to designate a class of employees at the Connecticut Aircraft Nuclear Engine Laboratory in Middletown, Connecticut, as an addition to the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. On October 24, 2008, the Secretary of HHS designated the following class of employees as an addition to the SEC: All employees of the Department of Energy (DOE), its predecessor agencies, and DOE contractors or subcontractors who worked at the Connecticut Aircraft Nuclear Engine Laboratory in Middletown, CT, from January 1, 1958 through December 31, 1965 for a number of work days aggregating at least 250 work days occurring either solely under this employment or in combination with work days within the parameters established for one or more other classes of employees in the Special Exposure Cohort.

Couple’s dreams of luxury home turn to radioactive dust – Times Online
When Peter and Michelle Vassiliou bought their luxury, waterfront house in one of Sydney’s most expensive suburbs, they looked forward to turning it into their dream home. Seven years later their dreams are lying in radioactive dust after they discovered that that their home, in upmarket Hunter’s Hill is so contaminated by uranium that it is unfit to live in. Tests on soil next to their bedroom showed radiation levels 350 times higher than that considered safe.

Tests show high radiation levels in Poolesville well
One of Poolesville’s wells may need to be taken out of use due to elevated levels of radiation-emitting elements, according to preliminary test results.

The town has been testing its water since the Maryland Department of the Environment detected elevated alpha-emitting radionuclide levels in three of Poolesville’s nine wells  4, 7 and 9/10  in November 2005. All community water systems were tested to ensure compliance with new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

EADT – Sizewell “cancer risk” fears
A COMMUNITY watchdog group is calling for more information about a German study which suggests that there are clusters of childhood leukaemia cases near nuclear power station sites.

The Sizewell Stakeholder Group – set up to improve liaison between the nuclear site, the local community and regulators – wants to know if there is any UK implication.

The new study, commissioned by the German Federal office for Radiological Protection, looked at childhood cancers in the vicinity of the country’s nuclear power plants.


radbull

NRC News

NRC – NRC Accepts Application For New Reactor At Nine Mile Point

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the Combined License application for an Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) at the Nine Mile Point site near Oswego, N.Y.

Unistar submitted the application and associated information Sept. 30. The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/nine-mile-point.html.

Unistar is seeking approval to build and operate an EPR at the site, approximately six miles northeast of Oswego. The EPR is an Areva-designed pressurized water reactor, with a nominal output of approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Areva filed its application Dec. 11, 2007, to certify the design. A version of the EPR is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto site in Finland and at Flamanville, France. The EPR application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert/epr.html.

NRC – NRC Accepts Application for New Reactor at Callaway
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review the combined license (COL) application for an Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) at the Callaway site near Fulton, Mo.

Ameren submitted the application and associated information July 28. The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/col/callaway.html.

Ameren is seeking approval to build and operate an EPR at the site, approximately 10 miles southeast of Fulton. The EPR is an Areva-designed pressurized water reactor, with a nominal output of approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Areva filed its application Dec. 11, 2007, to certify the design. A version of the EPR is currently under construction at the Olkiluoto site in Finland and at Flamanville, France. The EPR application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/new-reactors/design-cert/epr.html.

NRC disputes ‘turf war’ term: Rutland Herald Online
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is disputing an industry critic’s assertion that an appeal by NRC staff of a quasi-judicial review panel’s determination on the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant represents a “turf war.”

NRC staff reviewing Vermont Yankee’s request for a 20-year license extension have appealed a ruling by an oversight panel, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, that questioned the staff’s review of the issue of metal fatigue at the Vernon reactor.

NRC – NRC Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement for Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed its final environmental impact statement for the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Units 1 and 2, and concluded that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude license renewal for an additional 20 years of operation.

Vogtle Electric Generating Plant units are pressurized water reactors, located about 26 miles southeast of Augusta, Ga. The current operating licenses for Units 1 and 2 expire Jan. 16, 2027 and Feb. 9, 2029 respectively. The operator, Southern Nuclear Operating Co., Inc. submitted an application for renewal of its licenses June 27, 2007.

As part of its environmental review of the application, the NRC held public meetings near the plant to discuss the scope of the review and the draft version of the environmental impact statement. Comments were received and considered from members of the public, local officials, and representatives of state and federal agencies.

Publication of the final environmental impact statement does not represent final NRC action on the license renewal application. The agency staff is completing its safety evaluation report, and the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards will evaluate that report and make its recommendation before the agency makes a final decision.

The Vogtle final environmental impact statement is available on the NRC’s Web site at this address: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/nuregs/staff/sr1437/supplement34/ and can also be viewed in the NRC’s ADAMS online documents system at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams/web-based.html by entering accession number “ML083380325” in the search window.

NRC staffers contest metal fatigue ruling – Brattleboro Reformer
A decision by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staffers to oppose a recent Atomic Safety and Licensing Board decision is nothing more than “a turf war,” said Ray Shadis, a board member of the New England Coalition on Nuclear Pollution.

“You have to be completely blind to what they are doing to not be able to see that the NRC is putting turf ahead of public safety,” he said. “They want these decisions left with the staff.”

An ASLB panel that heard testimony in July on the license renewal application for Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon ruled in November that plant engineers needed to do more in-depth analyses of certain reactor components before the NRC authorizes the facility to extend operation to 2032. The judges also ruled that Entergy has to submit an aging management plan related to reactor nozzles prior to issuance of a license renewal, not after.


nonukes

Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

The News & Record: Chamber presents uranium study concerns

The Uranium Study Advisory Group formed by the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce presented its final report entitled “Community Concerns Related To Uranium Mining In Virginia” to the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission’s Uranium Mining sub-committee on Friday, Dec. 12, at the General Assembly Building.
This was the organizational meeting of the sub-committee, chaired by Del. Lee Ware and consisting of eleven delegates, senators and one citizen member.

David Thorpe: The effects of uranium mining are disastrous. To minimise the risks, the nuclear supply chain needs independent auditing | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
The increased sourcing of raw uranium that will arise from nuclear new build is an ethical and environmental nightmare currently being ignored by the government.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA), the trade body for companies that make up 90% of the industry, admits that in “emerging uranium producing countries” there is frequently no adequate environmental health and safety legislation, let alone monitoring. It is considerately proposing a Charter of Ethics containing principles of uranium stewardship for its members to follow. But this is a self-policing voluntary arrangement. Similarly, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s safety guide to the Management of Radioactive Waste from the Mining and Milling of Ores (pdf) are not legally binding on operators.

DAILY NATION – Two men held over suspected uranium
Police are holding a man after seizing a substance from him he said was uranium he smuggled into Kenya from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Acting on a tip, Flying Squad officers raided the house the man had rented in Nairobi’s Uthiru estate on Friday afternoon, according to police sources.

A suspected accomplice was arrested next door but not before the officers had to use tear gas to dislodge him.
Local lawmakers speak out on uranium mining study | GoDanRiver
A study to determine the safety of uranium mining in Pittsylvania County must be extensive and transparent, answer concerns from area residents and include a public hearing, local legislators told a uranium mining subcommittee Friday in Richmond.

Delegate Danny Marshall, R-Danville, and Delegate Don Merricks, R-Pittsylvania County, attended a meeting of the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission’s Uranium Mining Subcommittee held at the Capitol.

Recycling nuclear fuel topic of Bolingbrook hearing: Bolingbrook Sun
Just two years ago, Morris was in the running to become a nuclear fuel recycling site.

But a backlash – in evidence at a Bolingbrook hearing Dec. 4 – has the Department of Energy asking Americans if the U.S. should recycle fuel and how it should happen.

The department wanted three facilities: a research lab, a recycling center and a recycling reactor. The reactor would make electricity while destroying the long-lasting radioactive fuel leftovers.

The plan was part of President Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) to increase nuclear energy use.

Missed the hearing?

To submit comments to the Department of Energy on whether we should recycle spent nuclear fuel:

n Write to: Mr. Frank Schwartz, U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy – NE-5, 1000 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20585. n Fax: 866-645-7807

n Visit: www.regulations.gov

Pittsylvania uranium deposit to be assessed | Lynchburg News Advance
Proposed uranium mining presents another environmental issue that could stir debate in the coming year.

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said a study to assess the feasibility and environmental impact of mining a massive uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County should go forward, as long as a credible group is doing the study.

Environmental groups outraged over governor ties to uranium company | Lakota Country Times
The news yesterday in the Rapid City Journal by reporter Keven Woster, regarding Governor Mike Round’s family ties to a uranium mining company, has regional environmental groups outraged. The members of the South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment, who give approval to uranium exp…

Areva to speed up uranium enrichment plans -paper | Reuters
- Areva (CEPFi.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) plans to speed up its investment in uranium enrichment, Les Echos reported on Thursday, citing senior executives at the French nuclear group. The group has decided to bring forward by three years a plan to build a second uranium enrichment facility at its Tricastin site in France, the paper said, noting other nuclear projects have been thrown into doubt because of the financial crisis.

Work at the site will begin in the next few weeks, and be finished by the end of 2016, the paper said.

Hundreds attend Areva meeting in Idaho Falls- The Olympian – Olympia, Washington
About 350 people attended a meeting on a proposed $2 billion uranium enrichment plant planned by French-owned Areva SA to make fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors.

The meeting was held by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to outline its licensing process for the plant, slated to be operating by 2014.

In a community that’s been home to the Idaho National Laboratory since 1949, many at Wednesday’s event said they were eager for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow construction of the proposed plant to be located about 20 miles from Idaho Falls.


nwaste

Nuclear Waste News

UK Indymedia – Hands UP for a Nuclear Dump?
The Cumbria Cabinet’s complete reversal of any semblance of democracy is worthy of the most agile circus acrobat. The nuclear acrobatics continue in the news reports justifying the decision to bury high level nuclear waste by saying : This is the option being taken in the US at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, where highly radioactive fuel will go underground. The Yucca Mountain project involved URS Washington, a key partner in Sellafield’s parent body organisation NMP. Sounds wonderfully cosy and reasurring doesn’t it? But the truth is somewhat different with lawsuits against URS Washington and deep disposal of high level nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain now off the agenda because of contamination risks to the regions water, soil and air.

Call for end to nuclear waste doubt – Press & Journal
A Thurso Church of Scotland minister is calling on the Scottish Government to end the long-standing uncertainty over what is to happen to the country’s intermediate active nuclear waste.

The Rev Ronnie Johnstone said a decision is long overdue about what is to be done with the stockpiles of waste at Dounreay and other sites.

Mr Johnstone said people in the far north want a clear steer on whether the debris is to remain indefinitely on site, or is to be sent to a national waste dump.

He said the situation is muddied by the contradictory positions of the UK and Scottish Governments and Highland Council.

Finalists selected for nuclear waste job – Las Vegas Sun
The search for a successor to nuclear waste chief Bob Loux has been narrowed to three Northern Nevadans.

The Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects has selected former Sparks Mayor Bruce Breslow, former state Consumer Advocate Tim Hay and attorney Keith Tierney as the three names to submit to Gov. Jim Gibbons, who will make the final appointment.

Nuclear plant OK’d to continue dumping water into Schuylkill | The REPUBLICAN & Herald

Exelon Nuclear can continue with dumping as usual for another year, according to Clarke Ruppert, Delaware River Basin Commission spokesman.

“The commission did approve the resolution. It was approved by a 4-0 vote, Ruppert said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon. “It is a rather complex issue. We want to give ample time for the public to participate in the discussion.

Exelon, which operates the Limerick Generating Station, has been dumping water from an abandoned Wadesville coal mine into the Schuylkill River and sending it back downstream for the past six years. The nuclear power plant in Montgomery County uses the water as part of its cooling process.

No Yucca Mountain, no Hanford cleanup | TheNewsTribune.com
To understand how the cleanup of Hanford depends on a nuclear waste repository in Nevada, work backward.

Without the repository, there will be no permanent disposal of any of the nation’s intensely radioactive reactor wastes.

Opponents of the Yucca Mountain project talk vaguely of other possibilities, but there are no other possibilities in the real world. Yucca Mountain is more dry and isolated than any realistic alternative, and it’s been studied to death for more than 20 years.

Without permanent burial of reactor wastes, Hanford will be saddled with the radioactivity of 53 million gallons of waste now held in 177 steel tanks on the Eastern Washington reservation near the Tri-Cities.

Expanding Yucca Mountain? – Las Vegas Sun
Proposal to increase nuke waste capacity in Nevada makes a bad idea worse

On Tuesday the Energy Department asked Congress to pass legislation so the proposed high-level nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain could be built to handle far more of the deadly radioactive material than was intended when the site was first selected for study, in 1987. Congress had set a limit of 70,000 metric tons of waste for the site 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas but the department said in its report that Yucca Mountain can be expanded to accommodate three times, or more, the current statutory limit.

That is based on past studies that have suggested the dump, which is now proposed to encompass 1,250 acres, could be expanded to cover as much as 4,200 acres.

Whitehaven News: Concern over dumping of radioactive waste
LOW-LEVEL radioactive waste could be dumped at Lillyhall if proposals meet Environment Agency requirements.

But the plan has attracted concern within nearby Distington Parish Council.

The Waste Recycling Group, in conjunction with Energy Solutions, is soon to apply to the agency for authorisation to dispose of low-level nuclear sector waste at its landfill site at Lillyhall.

The waste disposed of at the site would be operational waste such as contaminated clothing, gloves or paper towels from nuclear sites and decommissioning wastes such as lightly contaminated building rubble.


nonukes

Nuclear Policy News

ENERGY-US: Obama Faces Hungry Nuclear Industry
As Democratic President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take office in a few weeks, he faces a hungry nuclear industry that wants to be included in his energy plan.

At least 31 new plants have been proposed throughout the United States, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) website. Twenty-six of these are already going through the NRC’s environmental impact review and site approval process.

Obama has included reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil and promoting alternative energies as key components of his campaign platform.

NEI Nuclear Notes: Legends and Facts: Steven Chu on Nuclear Energy
So how is Steven Chu playing as the purported candidate for Department of Energy secretary? Before we look at the developing narrative, let’s remember the lesson of John Ford’s movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Here’s the question: Did Senator Ransom Stoddard begin his sterling Senatorial career and usher in statehood for Arizona by shooting bad man Liberty Valance? After we learn the truth, a newspaper editor sagely concludes, “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” He had in mind the George Washington-cherry tree kind of legend, but it works equally well with, say, the Al Gore-internet kind of legend. Once a legend develops, it can be devilishly hard to shake loose of it. And it can warp the truth rather severely. So let’s see what legend is developing around Dr. Chu.

Experts discuss Obama energy secretary pick | Reuters
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Nobel physics laureate Steven Chu to fill the position of Energy Secretary in his cabinet.

Here are comments from energy analysts about Obama’s nominee:

Science/AAAS | ScienceNOW: ScienceInsider: Putting the E back into DOE: Three Ways Chu Could Energize Energy
Steve Chu could be a groundbreaking energy secretary for the energy research efforts of President-elect Barack Obama’s Administration in several ways. It’s not just that Chu will be the first life-long scientist and a Nobel prize-winning physicist at that to run a department which spends more than $15 billion a year on physical science research, including weapons work. (Previous energy secretaries have usually been political allies of the president, which Chu isn’t; a Naval Admiral and a power industry official have previously held the post.) But his selection, and new clues from Obama’s transition team, could signal some big changes in the way that the United States conducts science to tackle the energy challenge.

What Chu Should Do on Nuclear» The Heritage Foundation
So it looks like President-elect Obama is going to name his energy and environment team next week. Among the purported choices is Nobel-winning physicist Steven Chu to lead the Department of Energy. One of the questions on our minds is how will he handle nuclear energy policy.

It is impossible to judge whether he’ll make a good secretary of energy. He certainly has the technical background to know fission from fusion. But knowing the difference between cracking atoms and crashing them does not make a good energy secretary. The job will be to articulate and execute the policy vision set forth by President Obama. It is to be more of a manager and leader than a smarty-pants. After all, the law of comparative advantage says Dr. Chu might be better suited for a lab than the hot seat in the DOE offices.

EnergyBiz Magazine Online: The Energy Shadow Government
Washington civil servants are bracing for that personnel hurricane that sweeps through the federal bureaucracy every eight years or so, when a new administration places thousands of political appointees in all the top jobs — and some not-so-top jobs.

These bureaucrats call themselves the “we-be’s” — as in, “We be there when you arrive, and we be there when you leave.”

They enjoy a sometimes uneasy coexistence with the political appointees, adapting themselves to the priorities of a new administration, sometimes pushing back and influencing policy themselves. While those career staffers have a grasp of the critical issues, they are clearly in subordinated positions to both the political appointees and the elected officials, who are the ones held accountable by the people.

Nobel Physicist Chosen To Be Energy Secretary
President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, to be the next energy secretary, and he has picked veteran regulators from diverse backgrounds to fill three other key jobs on his environmental and climate-change team, Democratic sources said yesterday.

Obama plans to name Carol M. Browner, Environmental Protection Agency administrator for eight years under President Bill Clinton, to fill a new White House post overseeing energy, environmental and climate policies, the sources said. Browner, a member of Obama’s transition team, is a principal at the Albright Group.

Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Will Likely Be Obama’s Energy Secretary | Discover Magazine
President-elect Barack Obama has thrilled the scientific community with the leaked news that he plans to nominate a Nobel Prize-winning physicist with a passion for green technology for the post of energy secretary. The likely nominee, Steven Chu, currently heads the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and shared the Nobel in physics in 1997 for developing a method to cool and trap atoms.

Recently, however, Chu’s interests have shifted away from particle physics and towards finding scientific solutions for global warming. In an interview last year, Chu said he began to turn his attention to energy and climate change several years ago. “I was following it just as a citizen and getting increasingly alarmed,” he said. “Many of our best basic scientists [now] realize that this is getting down to a crisis situation” [Washington Post]. Since he became director of Lawrence Berkeley Lab in 2004 he has focused on making it a world leader in alternative energy research, spearheading research initiatives on solar energy and biofuels.


radbull

Nuclear Weapons News

Scientists ponder how to get nuclear genie back in the bottle – USA TODAY
A new nuclear weapons report by a panel of scientists and two new books by weapons scientists show just how deeply the nuclear genie still haunts the scientific heirs of the Manhattan Project.

“Scientists have always felt a special responsibility for nuclear weapons, the one weapon they have created of such import,” says physicist John Browne, a former head of Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory.

Now, amid pressing economic and wartime worries, nuclear weapons are poised once again to enter public debate, fueled by warnings from Congress and a campaign pledge by President-elect Barack Obama to support the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty, which bans nuclear weapon test explosions, has been ratified by 143 nations, but not the United States.

Nuke Umbrellas – by Gordon Prather
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, someone “close” to President-elect Obama told them that the Obama-Biden-Hillary administration intends to offer Israel a “nuclear umbrella.”

Now, you know what an ordinary umbrella is. And if you can find it and unfurl it in time, if the rain is coming straight down out of the sky, and if you are standing directly under it, it can protect you from getting soaking wet.

Okay, what if it’s extremely windy and the rain is coming at you almost horizontal? Well, don’t bother unfurling your umbrella.

BBC NEWS | Americas | Foes warned off ‘testing’ Obama
The US defence secretary has warned opponents of the US against trying to “test” Barack Obama with a crisis in the early days of his presidency.

Robert Gates said the new president’s security team was ready to defend US national interests from the moment he takes office next month.

Mr Gates, who is staying in his post, said Middle East and Gulf security would remain a key issue for the US.

He was speaking at a regional security forum in the Gulf state of Bahrain.

Epoch Times – Burma’s Nuclear Temptation
Over the past year, Southeast Asia’s diplomatic community has tried to sort fact from fiction in a stream of unconfirmed reports from Burma, the region’s most isolated and secretive country. Burma’s fledgling nuclear program with Russian assistance and its mysterious connections with North Korea raise concern in the region about its purpose.

When Obama should go to war – Los Angeles Times
The possible use of force against Iran is a good case in point. Its costs would likely be high and its consequences are difficult to map out fully. Yet, the consequences of allowing the current Iranian regime to acquire nuclear weapons are so dire that the U.S. may well have no choice but to launch military operations designed to destroy the Iranian nuclear infrastructure. Figuring out when this decision has to be faced would be a very difficult task, especially given the inherent intelligence uncertainties and the past intelligence failures associated with the predictions of the particulars of the late Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs.

No nukes: World leaders call for end to all nuclear weapons: Scientific American Blog
‘Tis the season to get rid of nukes? In an effort to achieve world peace and lessen the growing threat of nuclear power, a nascent group including the likes of former President Jimmy Carter, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa this week launched a campaign calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

The new organization, Global Zero, is planning a grassroots effort to spur world powers to rid the planet of nukes over the next 25 years. Meeting yesterday and Monday in Paris, 100 past and current world leaders signed a declaration imploring the U.S. and Russia to slash their nuclear arsenals and for a system to be created to verify that countries are complying with non-proliferation treaties, according to the Associated Press.


radbull

Department of Energy News

knoxnews.com |Vranicar to oversee K-25 cleanupVranicar to oversee K-25 cleanup

The Dept. of Energy has named Russell Vranicar to oversee the cleanup operations at the former K-25 uranium-enrichment plant (now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park).

As federal project director, Vranicar will oversee the management “of all clean-up, decontamination and decommissioning operations at the ETTP site, which encompasses more than 500 buildings and 2,200 acres,” DOE said in its announcement.

SR.com: Supreme Court rejects Hanford appeal
The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Hanford’s contractors in the massive downwinders’ lawsuit  raising hopes for a legal settlement for up to 2,000 radiation-exposed people after 18 years of court battles and millions of dollars in litigation costs.

The high court’s one-line denial of the contractors’ appeal was announced today. The contractors, including E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co., General Electric Co. and UNC Nuclear Industries Inc., filed their appeal in August, asking the court to review two recent 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that sided largely with the downwinders.

Karl Grossman: Dr. Chu’s Nuclear Prescription
The reaction from safe-energy advocates is mixed to the proposed appointment of Steven Chu as U.S. energy secretary by President-Elect Barak Obama. Mixed is a charitable response to the prospects of Chu being in charge of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Although he has a keen interest in energy efficiency and solar power and other clean forms of renewable energy, Chu is a staunch advocate of nuclear power.

Nuclear has to be a necessary part of the portfolio, declared Chu, the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, at an economic gathering last March in Palo Alto, California organized by Stanford University. http://news.cnet.com/8301-10787_3-9888608-60.html

Areva’s Savannah partners wins $3.3 bln U.S. deal: Reuters
Savannah River Remediation LLC, a business partnership that features French utility Areva has won a U.S. waste management contract worth $3.3 billion over a period of six years.


safety

Other Energy News

California Expected to Pass Most Radical Global Warming Plan in US, Possibly the World : Red, Green, and Blue
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is today expected to adopt the most radical global warming plan in the U.S., and possibly the world. If passed, it will force individuals, as well as the state’s utilities, refineries and large factories to fundamentally change the way they do business, and slash greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan will outline for the first time how people and businesses will be required to meet the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act’ and transform California into a global leader in the fight against climate change.

The board will be in session all day to consider approval of the AB 32 Scoping Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions in California.

Key aspects of the plan include:

* The creation of a carbon-credit cap and trade’ market designed to give the state’s major polluters cheaper ways to cut emissions;
* A Low Carbon Fuel standard;
* Stringent transport related greenhouse gas targets;
* A target of generating 33% of the states’s electricity from renewable energy by 2020;
* Ambitious vehicle efficiency measures;
* Implementation of a high speed rail system;
* A radical green building strategy.

Obama will Tap Colorado Sen. Salazar for Interior Secretary : Red, Green, and Blue
President-elect Barack Obama will nominate Colorado Senator Ken Salazar as the next Secretary of the Department of the Interior, three anonymous Democratic sources have confirmed. The sources say that Salazar has been offered the job, one telling the Rocky Mountain News “It’s a done deal.

Salazar, a Democrat, is four years into his first term as U.S. Senator from Colorado and has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration’s energy and environmental policies, especially those relating to oil and gas development in the American West. When current Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the draft rule designed to accelerate oil shale development across the West, Salazar reacted strongly, saying:

The five reasons for an energy-efficient stimulus
As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to tackle the vast problems ahead for America, he has consistently made two bold proposals.

First, he intends to make an immense investment in infrastructure  roads, bridges, railways  to jump-start jobs. Second, he plans to boost clean green technologies to make up for the squandered opportunities of the Lost Decade.

These are both powerful, worthy ideas. But they would be far more powerful if they were directly connected. The incoming administration has a historic opportunity to accomplish five major goals at once through a massive investment in stopping the waste of energy and dollars pouring out of American homes.

Giving serious consideration to compressed-air energy storage
My Clean Break column today is actually more of a feature looking at compressed-air energy storage (CAES) and how Ontario, geologically, would be an excellent location to give it a try. About 50,000 natural gas and oil wells have been drilled in southwestern Ontario over the past 150 years and most of them are depleted. Turns out that depleted gas fields are one of several types of underground reservoir that can be used to store compressed air. Salt caverns are another option, and we have plenty of those as well. In fact, 60 per cent of Canada’s natural gas storage is in the region. Compressing and storing air wouldn’t be that different technically.

Another benefit is that southwestern Ontario has strong wind resources, so building a 1,000 MW-plus CAES facility on its own or as part of a partnership with area wind developers could prove quite economical. The idea, of course, is that cheap wind power generated overnight when demand is down could be used to compress and store the air. The air could then be released to generate electricity during daytime peaks, making wind a dispatchable resource in Ontario and more of a realistic replacement for coal power as it gets phased out of the province. Surplus overnight nuclear power, when we have it (mostly during the summer), could also be stored this way.

Webinar On Energy Efficiency Supply Curves
My colleague Inês gave a webinar recently on her work on energy efficiency supply curves titled: “The US Energy Savings Potential and Who Pays for It”. Watch the webinar for free here.

Energy use and CO2 emissions from the residential sector are distributed among a variety of household services, each of which may use different fuels at different intensities. Efficiency supply curves help policymakers determine where the low-hanging fruit are for GHG mitigation.

Pittsburgh Councilman’s plan to convert all of the city’s street lamps to LEDs could save the city of Pittsburgh $3 million annually
Earlier today I received an email from the office of Pittsburgh city councilman Bill Peduto announcing an ambitious plan that will reduce Pittsburgh’s carbon footprint while saving the city millions in electricity costs. Peduto, who has been the only city legislator to propose green legislation of any sort over the last few years, wants the city to convert all 40,000 of its street lamps to energy efficient LED lighting. The cost of the program will be around $24 million and will be paid using a combination of the annual costs savings and funding from the state’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement. Pittsburgh would join cities such as Austin, Raleigh (home LED manufacturer CREE), and Toronto as major cities who have adopted LED lighting on a large scale. According to Peduto, Pittsburgh would be the largest city in the US to roll out a complete conversion to LED lighting. This would be great news for Pittsburgh’s green agenda, especially in light of today’s Pittsburgh Penguin’s press conference, where they announced the 21 year naming rights deal for their new arena, which will be known as the Clean Coal Center.

Obama Unveils Environmental, Energy Policy Team | Online NewsHour | PBS
U.S. PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: The pursuit of a new energy economy requires a sustained all-hands-on-deck effort, because the foundation of our energy independence is right here in America, in the power of wind and solar, in new crops and new technologies, in the innovation of our scientists and entrepreneurs and the dedication and skill of our workforce.

Those are the resources that we have to harness to move beyond our oil addiction and create a new hybrid economy. The team that I have assembled here today is uniquely suited to meet the great challenges of this defining moment.

Big energy project launched in NW Ningxia Xinhua
China on Monday began the construction of eight coal mining, power and chemical projects worth about 40 billion yuan (5.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the northwest in an effort to drive domestic demand and promote economic growth.

The projects in the Ningdong area in Lingwu City and Wuzhong City, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, included three coal mines with a total annual capacity of 22 million tonnes and three power plants with a combined capacity of 4.4 million kw.

Good news for wind, bad for ethanol in major energy study
Growing concerns over climate change and energy security have kicked research on alternative energy sources into high gear. The list of options continues to expand, yet few papers have comprehensively reviewed them. And fewer still have weighed the pros and cons in as much depth as a new study published earlier this month in the journal, Energy & Environmental Science. The results are a mixed bag of logical conclusions and startling wake-up calls.

The review pits twelve combinations of electric power generation and vehicular motivation against each other. It is a battle royal of nine electric power sources, three vehicle technologies, and two liquid fuel sources. It rates each combination based on eleven categories. And it was all compiled by one man, Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.

Crapo takes leadership position on renewable energy, energy efficiency caucus
Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, will serve as one of three co-chairman of the U.S. Senate Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, it was announced Dec. 12. The chairmanship puts the senator “in a leading role to advocate for nuclear energy issues at the Idaho National Laboratory, as well as further development of renewable energy sources like geothermal, wind and solar power,” according to a release from his office.

Crapo will share leadership of the caucus with Sens. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn.. He replaces Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., who helped found the bipartisan group in 1998 to increase awareness of the various forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

$28 billion in wave energy projects proposed – Green Machines- msnbc
A Seattle company is hoping to convert the motion of the ocean into electricity.

Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permits to harness energy from waves off the coastline of six states.

In all, the company would build seven harnessing sites  in federal waters off California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island each covering about 100 square miles.

Light pollution harms not just stargazers | csmonitor.com

But even on a clear night, many would-be astronomers are missing out on this rare celestial scowl, instead being treated to a dull haze punctuated by only the nearest or brightest objects, Jupiter not being one of them. So pervasive is this murky veil that the National Park Service estimates that two-thirds of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their homes. Had Carl Sagan spent his whole life in a contemporary US city, he’d no doubt have marveled at the dozens and dozens of lights dotting the firmament.

The cause of this stellar pall? Carelessly designed streetlamp fixtures, signs, and office lighting controls that pointlessly illuminate the sky, blocking our view of the universe.

Buy and Sell Electronics, Sell Cell Phone, Recycle Electronics – gazelle.com
We provide an easy, fast, and safe way for you to sell electronics and recycle electronics. When you sell cell phones, mp3 players, laptops, or other gadgets to us, you’ll earn cash and help save the environment by keeping old, used gadgets out of landfills. You get green while being green! The bottom line is you want to sell electronics and we want to buy electronics. A perfect match!

Sun shines on a solution for hydrogen production
UK scientists have made hydrogen from water in a simple experiment on a lab bench.

Fraser Armstrong, at the University of Oxford, and colleagues attached an enzyme and a light-harvesting dye to titanium dioxide particles to make a hydrogen-producing system powered by sunlight.

Home Made Energy: Renewable Energy For The Rest Of Us
If you have ever wished to stop wasting money on your electrical bill, help the global economy and save the Earth, then you’ve arrived at the right page.

HomeMadeEnergy.org is the website created to help you slash your electricity bill by 80% or even eliminate it completely!

With the ever increasing costs of living, there is no better time than right now to stop throwing money out the window and start generating your own electricity.

Wind, water and sun beat other energy alternatives, study finds
The best ways to improve energy security, mitigate global warming and reduce the number of deaths caused by air pollution are blowing in the wind and rippling in the water, not growing on prairies or glowing inside nuclear power plants, says Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford.

And “clean coal,” which involves capturing carbon emissions and sequestering them in the earth, is not clean at all, he asserts.

The Raw Story | Bush Administration drops effort to torpedo clean air rules
Six weeks before leaving office, the Bush administration is giving up on an effort to ease restrictions on pollution from coal-burning power plants, a key plank of its original energy agenda and one that put the president at odds with environmentalists his entire eight years in the White House.

President George W. Bush had hoped to make both changes to air pollution regulations final before leaving office on Jan. 20. In the midst of a coal-fired power plant construction boom, the rules would have made it easier for energy companies to expand existing facilities and to erect new power plants in areas of the country that meet air quality standards.

Alternative Energy Advice
# Responsible people see the very urgent need to do something to help our Global environment recover from our excesses.
# Do we want our children to be able to breathe clean air and be able to enjoy Nature at its finest?
# How can we immediately affect the Environment in a good way and in the shortest possible time?
# Most experts agree that the destruction of fossil fuels [ coal, oil, gas etc ] creates massive amounts of harmful materials and that Alternative Energy sources must be found. They suggest alternatives to destroying the Planets Fossil Fuels would be one of the biggest steps we could take on the path back to a cleaner and healthier Planet.
# Recent research has forced huge strides forward in Alternative Energy sources such as Wind and Solar Power technology, and in particular making that technology available to the average person for home use. After the initial costs of installation, annual bills could fall to less than 10% of a normal fuel bill!

GLOBE-Net: Scotland – The Saudi Arabia of Renewable Marine Energy
The Scottish Government has created one of the biggest international innovation prizes in history – a £10 million challenge for advances in wave and tidal energy.

At a ceremony this week in historic Edinburgh Castle, details of the ‘Saltire Prize’ were revealed to leading scientists, environmentalists and potential entrants after being finalised by a panel of international experts who comprise the prize Challenge Committee.

Dr Anne Glover, Scotland’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Chair of the Challenge Committee, said the Saltire Prize will be awarded to the team that can demonstrate in Scottish waters a commercially viable wave or tidal energy technology that achieves a minimum electrical output of 100GWh over a continuous two year period using only the power of the sea and is judged to be the best overall technology after consideration of cost, environmental sustainability and safety.

Can Obama cure U.S. oil addiction? — Orlando Sentinel
The election silenced the cries of “Drill, baby, drill.” Plunging oil prices have stilled the hand-wringing over energy security. With all eyes on the economy, veterans of past oil shocks may wonder whether Americans will once again forget about weaning the nation off suddenly cheap oil.

This time, though, looks different.

Nearly 30 states, including Florida, are forging plans to boost renewable energy and slash greenhouse gases. Business leaders nationwide have called for a clear, nationwide policy. A political consensus has emerged in Washington that something must be done.

Going After Clean-Coal Technology | Newsweek
In the elusive search for the reliable energy source of the future, the prospect of clean coal is creating a lot of buzz. But while the concept to scrub coal clean before burning, then capture and store harmful gases deep underground may seem promising, a coalition of environment and climate groups argue in a new media campaign that the technology simply doesn’t exist.

The Alliance for Climate Protection and several other prominent organizations including the Sierra Club and National Resources Defense Council launched a multipronged campaign to “debrand” the clean part of clean coal, pointing out that there’s no conclusive evidence to confirm the entire process would work the way it’s being marketed. In the campaign’s TV ad, a technician sarcastically enters the door of a clean coal production plant, only to find there’s nothing on the other side. “Take a good long look,” he says, standing in a barren desert, “this is today’s clean coal technology.”

Foreign Policy: The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2008
Think switching to solar energy will make you green? Think again. Many of the newest solar panels are manufactured with a gas that is 17,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming.

Nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3, is used for cleaning microcircuits during the manufacture of a host of modern electronics, including flat-screen TVs, iPhones, computer chips and thin-film solar panels, the latest (and cheapest) generation of solar photovoltaics. (Time named the panels one of the best inventions of 2008.) Because industry estimates suggested that only about 2 percent of NF3 ever made it into the atmosphere, the chemical has been marketed as a cleaner alternative to other higher-emitting options. For the past decade, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has actively encouraged its use. NF3 also wasn’t deemed dangerous enough to be covered by the Kyoto Protocol, making it an attractive substitute for companies and signatory countries eager to lower their emissions footprints.

Eco-Report to Obama Transition Team
Energy and environmental leaders, including representatives from the Nature Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Pew Environment Group, recently met with members of President-elect Obama’s transition team.

The groups came carrying a monstrosity of a document that describes their recommendations on energy and environmental issues for the new administration. The 391-page report, entitled Transition to Green, was made available Monday on Obama’s transition Web site.

The environmental groups had suggestions for a wide swath of federal departments, from Energy to Education and Homeland Security to Defense.

EU bans low-efficiency light bulbs from 2012: ENN
EU governments have agreed a phase-out timetable to remove from the market all incandescent light bulbs and low-efficiency halogen bulbs by 2012 at the latest. The restrictions will be introduced as “implementing measures” under the energy-using products (EuP) directive and will begin to bite from next year.

“It’s a groundbreaking measure that will change the way we consume energy,” EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs said after the decision was taken by a committee of member state representatives in Brussels on Monday. The move should be formally approved by the EU in early spring, following a three-month scrutiny period in the European parliament.

The Oil Drum | What should OPEC do?
When OPEC meet on 17th December, how will they go about deciding the size of the inevitable production cuts?

All OPEC states want the oil price to rise from current $44 / bbl (WTI). Some states will also be concerned that the price target is affordable by their OECD customers. But set against a backdrop of global economic turmoil and volatility in all markets, how do they judge the size of the production cut required to deliver the target price? Saudi Arabia is reported to favor a price of $75 / bbl, just short of the cost of new marginal supply in the OECD. Achieving this price in the medium term would keep OPEC in the driving seat.

This short post is intended to be a discussion thread. Below the fold, I outline one radical idea for OPEC to achieve their goal in the short term.

The Oil Drum | Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Steven Chu Is Obama’s Choice For Energy Secretary
It will be announced today that Dr. Steven Chu, Director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for Secretary of Energy. Dr. Chu shared the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on laser cooling and trapping of atoms. Prior to becoming director of LBL, he was a professor at Stanford University and also worked at the former Bell Laboratories in New Jersey. For a more complete overview of his work, there is this autobiography or a rapidly-updated Wikipedia entry.

Reaching deep into The Oil Drum archives, commenter Step Back pointed to an audio presentation of a talk and interview with Dr. Chu in July 2005 at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, CA.:

Gore’s Pozna speech is online: We cannot negotiate with the facts.
Gore’s terrific speech is here. Note: It plays for a minute and then stops. It takes 2 minutes for the video to buffer, then works fine. The last 10 minutes are here:

Energy from the wind is the best for Earth | Emerging Technology Trends | ZDNet.com
According to a Stanford University researcher, wind, water and sun beat biofuels, nuclear and coal for clean energy.’ The scientist ‘has conducted the first quantitative, scientific evaluation of the proposed, major, energy-related solutions by assessing not only their potential for delivering energy for electricity and vehicles, but also their impacts on global warming, human health, energy security, water supply, space requirements, wildlife, water pollution, reliability and sustainability.’ Wow! The researcher found that some sources of energy were 25 to 1,000 times more polluting than the best available options. Some of his conclusions make sense, some are controversial, but read more

Old Coal Mines Adapted to Generate Geothermal Energy
Recently the town of Heerlen in the Netherlands repurposed an old abandoned coal mine into a brilliant source of geothermal energy. The project takes advantage of flooded underground mine shafts, using their thermal energy to power a large-scale district heating system. Dubbed the Minewater Project, the new system recently went online and provides 350 homes and businesses in the town with hot water and heating in the winter and cool water in the summer.

Program Unveiled for Green Energy Summit 2009 – alt.solar.thermal
From March 4-6, world leaders in the
renewable, green, clean technology and energy efficiency sectors will
gather in Bangalore for Green Energy Summit 2009. The summit is a
highly efficient forum for varied stakeholders from solar, wind,
biomass, IT, transport, construction, aviation, nanotechnology and
biotechnology to bring together the business and science of the most
important and relevant Green Energy and Clean technologies (http://
www.greenenergysummit.com).

Peak Energy: Tidal Projects Flowing In Europe
Wales has laid down the gauntlet to Scotland and Northern Ireland in the race to develop tidal energy technology. Last week, Cardiff-based Tidal Energy Limited (TEL) announced plans for a 1MW trial installation at the Ramsey Sound in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

The company hopes its DeltaStream horizontal turbines will be in the water by summer 2010, making them Wales’ first signifcant tidal install. TEL says its 12-month test project will use technology that’s proven to be grid-compliant, enabling it to connect to the national grid and earn an income from generated power.

Peak Energy: Guerilla Gardening: Eating The Suburbs
The Age recently had an article on the emerging practice of “guerilla gardening”, taking a look at the “Gardening guerillas in our midst”. This concept seems to have steadily increased in popularity in recent years (admittedly from a very low base) as the permaculture movement’s ideas have been propagated through the community.

Unlike the usual approach taken when trying to grow food in the suburbs – converting spare land on your own property (as discussed by aeldric previously and, more recently, in Jeff Vail’s series on A Resilient Suburbia) – guerilla gardening involves cultivating any spare patch of urban land that isn’t being used for another purpose, which could provide a substantial addition to the food growing potential of suburbia.

Peak Energy: All Eyes On Obama’s Energy Plan
The Age has an article on the challenges awaiting Obama and the opportunity to make history via the green new deal – All eyes are on Obama, as history is his to write.

Franklin Roosevelt told Americans in his first inaugural address in 1933 that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”, before embarking on the New Deal, an ambitious and expansive recasting of government that lifted the country out of the Great Depression.

48 years later, Ronald Reagan stood on the same steps and declared: “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” With that, Reagonomics was born and FDR’s New Deal consensus was usurped by a philosophy built around free markets, privatisation, deregulation and lower taxes.

Get Solar Panels Without Dealing with Extra Bills: ENN
Going solar seems to get easier by the day both logistically and financially. Before, homeowners had to save up to pay the huge upfront cost of buying and installing solar panels. Now, would-be solar energy users don’t need to put up startup funds nor do they even have to deal with an extra repayment bill!

The latest company making solar power accessible is Renewable Funding, a financial company with a new solar-friendly product called CityFIRST. CityFIRST basically allows homeowners to install solar panels with no upfront cost  using a solar installer or contractor of their choice then pay for panels over 20 years via a line item on property tax bills.

The future of energy – Cosmic Log – msnbc.com
If the plans being laid for the economy and the environment work out the way President-elect Barack Obama’s advisers hope they do, the future of energy can be summed up in one word: electricity.

That one word covers a lot of policy twists, however: What will the economic downturn mean for initiatives to cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions? What will the recent drop in gasoline prices mean for efforts to boost alternatives to fossil fuels? Can the electrical grid handle increased demand? How do you smooth out the highs and lows of power generation? Where will all that power come from?

How domestic energy can become affordable | Spero News
President-elect Obama, throughout the campaign, you pledged to find ways to provide relief for the rising energy prices that affect millions of American households and businesses. This was a leading issue for voters, especially during the summer when gasoline exceeded $4.00 a gallon. Though gasoline prices have since plummeted in the global economic downturn, this respite will only be temporary unless you take strong steps now. The nation also faces continued increases in electricity costs and even the possibly of shortages and rolling blackouts, and you should take steps to ensure that new electric generation can meet the nation’s need for power.


nonukes

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

TheStar.com | Opinion | Nuke pursuit anything but PowerWise
As Canada’s industrial centre, Ontario needs a lot of electricity. At one time, it got most of this power from water-driven turbines, hence the name Ontario Hydro. But the name has changed to the Ontario Power Authority, an indication of the province’s increasing reliance on other sources of electricity, especially nuclear power.

Because Ontario’s demand continues to grow, it’s assumed that supply must also continue to grow  and nuclear has been touted as the most reliable source of that increasing power.

I’ve always thought it was crazy to plan on steady growth forever. It can’t be maintained in a finite system such as our biosphere. Energy conservation makes a lot more sense, and it has been proven to be effective. After the rolling brownouts engineered in California by Enron in 2001, the state embarked on a conservation program that slashed usage and saved billions of dollars.

Albert Lea Tribune | Nuclear power plants are not the way to go
The post-World War II Atoms for Peace program failed to convince the electric utilities to invest in nuclear power. Insurance companies would only cover $250 million of potential damages from an accident. The government brought the utilities cooperation with the Price-Anderson Act requiring each atomic plant to buy the maximum commercial insurance and provided a second level of coverage from a pool funded by a potential assessment of up to $10 million against each plant. Under the protection of this act about 109 nuclear plants were built, and licensed for 30 years. The act limited the industries liability to $10 billion with the public to absorb anything over that amount.

RIA Novosti – Opinion & analysis – Nuclear parity threatened
The 1991 Soviet-U.S. Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I) expires December 5 next year.

This brings to the fore the problem of reducing nuclear arsenals and the monitoring of the process because the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT), which is valid through 2012, does not provide for irreversible reductions and does not establish a permanent mutual verification mechanism.

The 1991 treaty, which entered into force in late 1994, limits the sides’ strategic offensive potential to 1,600 carriers and 6,000 warheads. START II, the successor of START I, banned the use of MIRVs on ICBMs but it was never validated. In 2004, Russia officially withdrew from START II in response to the U.S. pullout from the 1972 ABM Treaty in 2002.

American Chronicle | No more nukes
Picture a world without a nuclear threat. A world where peace would reign supreme. A world where all nations worked together to keep their people safe from harm. This is the world that the Obama Administration is working toward.

No doubt terrorism is a serious problem around the globe and one that need be dealt with even handedly by all nations who seek to keep their people safe. President-elect Obama has said that his Administration will work hard to bring our allies and foes back into the diplomatic fold. He has promised that with the world cooperating he would urge congress to set aside $1 Billion dollars to help remove nuclear warheads from vulnerable places and continue to press toward a nuclear free world. I applaud his efforts to work toward world peace and reconciliation.
The Top Nuclear Stories is published twice weekly. It is a produced
using a combination of social bookmarking and programming.
You can view or join the public group and add your own stories
by going here -> http://groups.diigo.com/groups/nukenews


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