Top Nuclear Stories (June 23rd-27th)

What week of news! I’m hoping that my health will finally turn around and I can get back to work a bit. This week, the Wall Street Journal finally discovered nuclear economics 101. But they want to rub things in with opponents by implying that the other issues don’t count. Their article should have shown up last February when the FPL numbers about a $12 billion reactor price tag first came out.

Nuclear Reactor News

Activists block restart of French nuclear reactor construction | Greenpeace International
Flamanville, France — Twenty of our activists have successfully stopped construction of a new nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, France, from restarting, for over 50 hours. Although building was halted because of safety problems, these are still unresolved.

EnergyBiz Magazine: Nuclear costs estimates
The rising cost of materials and labor has the potential to put an end to the nuclear renaissance before it ever gets started. Company estimates that have been released show costs for an individual unit could be as high as $12 billion, and one consultant expects those estimates could rise if material prices continue to escalate.

Development of nuclear pricey choice: Greenpeace
REGINA — Greenpeace Canada is warning taxpayers to hold on to their wallets if nuclear power gets the go-ahead in Saskatchewan, even with the provincial government pledging not to put public money into any project. Greenpeace energy co-ordinator Dave Martin questioned how serious Bruce Power LP is about the province’s nuclear prospects after the company announced last week it would undertake a feasibility study in Saskatchewan.

South Shore has its own nuclear watchdog – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger
DUXBURY — In the rare moments when Mary Lampert wonders if her crusade against the Pilgrim Nuclear Station is worth all the time and effort, she looks out her upstairs window at the plant’s square metal reactor building in the distance across Duxbury Bay.

The Zion connection – Salt Lake Tribune
Under the decommissioning proposal from owner Exelon, the plant would be torn down and shipped in pieces to Utah by EnergySolutions (aka ZionSolutions for the project). Under the plan, the decommissioning funds would be turned over to ZionSolutions to ship the low-level radioactive rubble to its dump in Clive.

Nuclear energy isn’t the pure solution to our problems | The Tennessean
Thanks, Tennessean, for the good job covering the issue of nuclear waste, particularly the June 13 editorial and the article by Don Safer. I would like to point out, however, that the opposing views of Steve Creamer are full of untruths and distortions.

Luminant seeks to build 2 new reactors | Dallas Morning News
Energy Future Holdings generation business, called Luminant, informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday it plans to file an application on September 19 for a license to build and operate two new reactors. Luminant is considering building the reactors at its Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Glen Rose. : It’s the Economics, Stupid: Nuclear Power’s Bogeyman
It turns out nuclear power’s biggest worry isn’t Yucca Mountain, Three Mile Island ghosts, or environmental protesters. It’s economics. Rebecca Smith reports today in the WSJ (sub reqd.) on the biggest hurdle to the nascent nuclear-energy revival in the U.S.”skyrocketing construction costs. Though all power sectors are affected to different degrees by rising capital costs, nuclear power’s vulnerability puts it in a class by itself. Notes the paper:

Europe.view | Lithuania split by the atom |
As part of the deal to join the European Union, Lithuania agreed to close its perfectly serviceable nuclear-power station at Ignalina. No engineering or safety case for this was ever made: the requirement was a political one, sprouting from a neurotic strand of greenery in western Europe.

Nuclear Health and Safety News

Vue Weekly : : Well, Well, Well – Health risks from radiation make nuclear power an unsafe option
Although those in the industry have recently been pulling out all the stops to convince us otherwise, nuclear power makes little economic or environmental sense, and even less health sense. Can you tell I’ve been reading nuclear guru Dr Helen Caldicott?

‘We’re not going away,’ Flats workers say at rally : The Rocky Mountain News
Former Rocky Flats employees demanded Wednesday that the federal government cut red tape and provide quicker compensation for work-related illness.

TVA lets leaks go unreported, must pay fines | The Tennessean
A whistleblower reported that leaky ducts at a TVA coal plant in northeastern Alabama allowed gases to bypass pollution controls. TVA paid $100,000 in fines, but a TVA Inspector General report discloses that “significant” duct leaks also occurred at one of the agency’s Tennessee plants and another plant in Kentucky.

Sick nuclear workers gather to push for better compensation : Knoxville News Sentinel
OAK RIDGE — About 60 sick workers and their advocates gathered today for a rally to reform the compensation program to help those made ill at the government’s Cold War nuclear weapons facilities.

Independent – June 25, 2008: Eastern Navajo health facility returns to 24/7 operation
WINDOW ROCK — Producers of the 2000 documentary, “The Return of Navajo Boy,” were back on the Navajo Reservation Tuesday to showcase an epilogue to the acclaimed film before Navajo Environmental Protection Agency staff.

The Sydney Morning Herald:Luxury home is too radioactive to live in
A WATERFRONT home on the site of an old uranium smelter at Hunters Hill is so radioactive that it is “unfit for human habitation”, independent tests have found. Peter and Michelle Vassiliou, who bought their property at 11 Nelson Parade from the NSW Health Department seven years ago, are too scared to go home after radioactive soil next to their bedroom was measured at 350 times safe levels.

Chris Ames: Nuclear scare stories | Comment is free |
Recent reports that blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon could have been sold to “some of the most treacherous regimes in the world” are pretty frightening. But is there less to the story than meets the eye? It seems the only thing really new is the suggestion that the designs are for a bomb small enough to suit Iran’s requirements – so is the story more about politics than proliferation? | Rally for sick workers
Sick nuclear workers and their advocates will hold a rally Wednesday to protest “unfair practices and illegal actions” in the current compensation program and call for legislative reform of the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program. Here’s a link to the proposed reforms. The Oak Ridge rally will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Jackson Plaza Office Complex, 800 Oak Ridge Turnpike. That’s the site of the Department of Labor’s Resource Center, which was set up to help sick workers with their claims.

MOD claims nuclear vets too old to remember what happened in court case – Sunday Mirror
Defence chiefs are trying to wriggle out of paying nuclear test veterans compensation – by claiming they are now TOO OLD to remember what happened.

Safety reviewed after plutonium leak – The Denver Post
The acting director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology called the June 9 plutonium spill at the Boulder campus unacceptable and said Friday that the agency is strengthening its safety program. The statement by Dr. James Turner came hours after U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Colo., called for a review of NIST safety practices, saying he is “seeking answers . . . as to how this situation could have been allowed to have occurred in the first place.”

Pacific Magazine: Bikini Islanders Helped By Guantanamo Detainees’ Court Ruling
Bikini Islanders attempting to overturn the recent dismissal of their billion-dollar compensation lawsuit against the United States government have received help from an unexpected source. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week on the rights of terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay could help the Bikini case, which is now pending in a U.S. federal appeals court, Bikini attorney Jonathan Weisgall says.

Chris Ames: Nuclear scare stories | Comment is free |
Recent reports that blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon could have been sold to “some of the most treacherous regimes in the world” are pretty frightening. But is there less to the story than meets the eye? It seems the only thing really new is the suggestion that the designs are for a bomb small enough to suit Iran’s requirements – so is the story more about politics than proliferation?

Niagara Falls Review – Nuclear plan carries risks
Ontario’s decision to build new nuclear reactors to maintain the province’s generating capacity as it shuts coal-fired plants carries long-term risks and will have consumers digging deeper into their pocketbooks to cover inevitable cost overruns, a Niagara opposition MPP warns. “It has inherent dangers. It has long-term risk in terms of disposing of spent fuel and also it’s very, very expensive electricity,” says Welland NDP MPP Peter Kormos. “The cost overruns are huge, inevitably, and that means the consumer will be paying and paying and paying more and more and more.”

Nuclear Security News

Radioactive vulnerability: Borderline security – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
From January 2003 to September 2007, GAO investigators discovered numerous border security vulnerabilities — at ports and at unmanned and unmonitored border locations in four states on the northern border, three on the southern and two other states requiring international air travel.

Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

IOL: Recycling of spent nuclear fuel on the cards
The government is in favour of recycling the hundreds of tons of highly-radioactive spent uranium fuel that has passed through the country’s three nuclear reactors, members of parliament’s minerals and energy portfolio committee heard on Wednesday.

Ohio nuclear processing plant to close –
WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Energy says it has given Restoration Services Inc. a contract for assistance in decommissioning an Ohio nuclear facility. The contract requires the Oak Ridge, Tenn., woman-owned company to provide technical services for the remediation, decontamination and decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant at the Energy Department’s site in Piketon, Ohio. Idaho Falls, Pocatello – Industrial park gets uranium mill
GREEN RIVER, Utah (AP) – A Canadian company plans to build a uranium-processing mill just west of the town of Green River. Mancos Resources Inc. of British Columbia says producers can’t make enough yellowcake for the world’s growing number of nuclear-fueled plants.

Uranium mill signs on for site in Emery – Salt Lake Tribune
Emery County is revisiting an old theme in search of new prosperity. Hoping to ride the latest energy bubble – in uranium – county officials have signed an agreement with a Canadian company to build a $100 million uranium mill just west of Green River.

Stop uranium mining until study is done on impact: coalition
Uranium exploration should be suspended in Ontario until its impact on health, the environment and aboriginal land rights is properly addressed, said a report released yesterday by the Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium. The report emerged from a series of public meetings in Ottawa, Sharbot Lake, Kingston and Peterborough in April. It also called for a royal commission to review Ontario’s Mining Act, deeming it out of date.

GOAT – A High Country News Blog » Out of the frying pan…
A prairie fire at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver site, an Army training facility in southeastern Colorado, was reduced to smoldering ash earlier this month after consuming more than 45,000 acres. But now Fort Carson officials are drawing a different sort of fire.

The Associated Press: Mining temporarily halted near Grand Canyon
WASHINGTON (AP) — One million acres of public land near the Grand Canyon would be off limits to new uranium mining under an emergency declaration adopted Wednesday by a House committee. Tapping a rare provision not used in more than 20 years, the House Natural Resources Committee voted 20-2 to stop any new claims to uranium on lands adjacent to the national park for up to three years.

Gordon Brown seeks Sellafield nuclear deal with Japan – Telegraph
The Prime Minister Gordon Brown will talk to his Japanese counterpart, Yasuo Fukuda, at the G8 meeting in Hokkaido next month about a potential £1bn a year deal which would boost the UK’s nuclear industry. UK seeks nuclear reprocessing deal with japan
June 23 (Bloomberg) — British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will meet with his Japanese counterpart Yasuo Fukuda next month to discuss a nuclear-fuel reprocessing contract, worth about 1 billion pounds ($1.98 billion) a year, the Telegraph reported.

US House bill excludes amendment on US imports of Russian uranium
A legislative provision that would have linked US import limits on Russian low-enriched uranium to additional downblending of Russian high-enriched uranium was not included in a funding bill passed by the House of Representatives late Thursday. The provision, which was written by Pete Domenici, a Republican senator from New Mexico, was included in the Senate version of the bill.

Canadian firm, GE join on uranium enrichment | | Courier-Post
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Canadian uranium producer has joined a GE joint venture that aims to enrich the radioactive metal for nuclear power plants, the companies said Friday.Cameco Corp., a uranium producer based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, will invest $123.8 million to acquire a 24 percent stake in the venture, Global Laser Enrichment, which is 51 percent owned by General Electric Co. and 25 percent owned by Hitachi Ltd.

Mohave Daily News: Uranium: Vegas official raises worry about Colorado River water
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Southern Nevada’s top water official is raising concerns about ‘‘measurable quantities” of uranium showing up in the Colorado River, the region’s primary source for drinking water. Southern Nevada Water Authority chief Pat Mulroy blames uranium mining, particularly near Moab, Utah.

Expect more uranium mines, company director says (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The managing director of mining company Uranium Equities says there is no doubt more uranium mines will pop up across the Northern Territory in the near future.

Independent: Living near the Homestake
MILAN — Michael and Christina Simonson might have gotten more than they bargained for when they bought a house about seven months ago within a half-mile of the former Homestake uranium mill. The Superfund site, however, is not necessarily the problem.

Resolution filed to stop uranium mining near Grand Canyon | The Spectrum
Flagstaff, Az. – Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, announced Thursday that the House Committee on Natural Resources, chaired by Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., introduced an emergency resolution to prevent uranium mining near Grand Canyon National Park.

French Areva plans $750 mln Namibian uranium mine | Reuters
WINDHOEK, June 20 (Reuters) – French nuclear reactor maker Areva (CEPFi.PA: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to build a $750 million mine in Namibia after it gets a mining licence, and construction could start as early as next month, a senior official said on Friday.

Local firm beats big names to Brazil uranium mine | Reuters
Brazil’s state-run nuclear mining and fuel company INB on Thursday chose local fertilizers producer Galvani as the private partner to mine phosphate and uranium at the Santa Quiteria reserve.

FR Doc E8-13310: Abandoned Mine Land Program
us uranium mining program rules

U.S. agencies to clean up uranium on Navajo land
The U.S. government will spend tens of millions of dollars to assess and clean up uranium contamination across the vast Navajo Reservation, but the effort is unlikely to erase decades of frustration over what has been characterized as a slow and sporadic federal response. The new five-year plan is the first coordinated push to measure and fix the environmental damage that resulted from a Cold War hard-rock mining boom in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Namibia licenses uranium mine to French group Areva – International Herald Tribune
WINDHOEK, Namibia: Namibia has licensed its third uranium mine, giving the contract to French nuclear reactor builder Areva. Africa’s second largest producer of the mineral granted Areva a mining license and environmental clearance certificates Wednesday for the Trekkopje Uranium Project. – Uranium concerns voiced at meeting
MEMRAMCOOK – About 75 people filled the Abbey-Landry School auditorium in Memramcook last night, anxious for assurances that uranium mining in their midst would not be a threat to their health and the environment. The people, like those at similar meetings held elsewhere in the province in past weeks, are worried about the long-term effects of mining the radioactive material and of the disposal of the mine tailings which remain a hazard to air, soil and water sources for a very long time.

Nuclear Waste News

News & Star: D-day for decision on The Dump
Details of the planned deadline has emerged as interest increases about who could take over the former arms depot – rebranded Derwent Forest – and lead a potentially lucrative multi-million pound development.

STLtoday – Radioactive landfill cover is criticized
CLAYTON — About a dozen residents opposed to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to cover a radioactive landfill near Earth City asked the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday to formally protest the plan. The group says the material at West Lake Landfill should instead be removed because of potential flooding and water contamination. – trusted local news for Aiken , SC
Since 2002, a total of 263 buildings at the Savannah River Site have been torn down, said John Gilmour, chief engineer for deactivation and decommission. Only four of those buildings met the criteria as nuclear facilities and needed extensive coordination with federal and state regulators, Gilmour told Rotary Club of Aiken members Monday.

County Council to hear landfill radioactive waste issue – St. Louis Business Journal:
The mayors of several North St. Louis cities are being asked to encourage the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday to request that the Environmental Protection Agency excavate radioactive waste, not just cover it up, from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., that is upstream from a plant that provides drinking water to some St. Louis residents.

Garowe Online – UN Special Envoy raises specter of nuclear waste in Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia June 21 (Garowe Online) – The United Nations’ Special Representative to Somalia, Mr. Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, has raised growing concern about years of environment destruction in the East African country of Somalia. Speaking with the BBC last week, Mr. Ould-Abdallah indicated that the UN has “reliable information” that chemical, toxic and possibly nuclear waste has been dumped along Somalia’s shores for years by unnamed companies and individuals.

NT nuclear waste dump fuels debate on uranium | Herald Sun
WHEN Kevin Rudd unveiled his push for a world free of nuclear weapons, he was saying nothing unusual as leader of a party averse to almost all things nuclear. However, eyebrows were certainly raised when a few days earlier his energy minister Martin Ferguson declared the Government would break an election promise by building a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.

Nuclear waste site threatens Lake Huron | | The Times Herald
Kay Cumbow isn’t the only one alarmed by a possible nuclear waste repository dangerously near one of our Great Lakes, but she is right to raise her voice. Advertisement The Lynn Township resident is chairwoman of Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination. Her mission is to stoke opposition to a plan to bury radioactive waste in an underground receptacle less than a mile from Lake Huron in Kincardine, Ontario.

Nuclear waste dump is closed 062008 – The Augusta Chronicle
On Thursday, Savannah River Site celebrated the end of an 18-year, $56 million project to formally close the 76-acre area that once served as the site’s primary burial ground for low-level nuclear waste.

DOE gives details on erroneous waste shipment – Carlsbad Current-Argus
CARLSBAD — The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office has provided its regulators with information detailing why a drum of transuranic waste may have been mistakenly shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad despite extensive procedures designed to keep such a problem from happening.

Nuclear Policy News

The anti-nuclear movement can achieve change | Comment is free |
Today we heard that the US has secretly withdrawn its 110 free-fall nuclear bombs from an RAF base at Lakenheath in Suffolk. The US has had nuclear bombs in Britain, under the guise of Nato, since the 1950s – outside any accountability or democratic control from the British government or parliament. They have been the focus of protest since they first arrived and similar stocks in western European countries have also been the subject increasing protest.

Nuclear industry spins new mythology
The nuclear myth of the 1950s and ’60s was atomic power would be “too cheap to meter.” That didn’t pan out, so the nuclear industry is spinning a new mythology, also designed to win popular support. At a meeting of the Regina Chamber of Commerce last week, Hugh MacDiarmid, president and CEO of Atomic Energy of Canada, described nuclear power as “environmentally sustainable.” At the same time, Premier Brad Wall stated that Saskatchewan would not proceed with the nuclear option “unless we can demonstrate, obviously, environmental sustainability.”

Gordon Brown invites Saudi Arabia to invest in Britain’s nuclear industry – Telegraph
Gordon Brown has invited oil-rich states like Saudi Arabia to invest in the next generation of British nuclear power stations. Saudi Arabian King Abdullah has been invited by Gordon Brown to invest in Britain’s nuclear industry King Abdullah, pictured on a visit to the UK, will be invited to invest in the UK The Prime Minister extended the invitation to OPEC members as part of a deal he will propose at a summit in Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

Nuclear Weapons News

No nuclear weapons :: Sarah van Gelder interviews former Secretary of State George Shultz
George Shultz was there when nuclear disarmament slipped through our fingers. Today, he says, action is even more urgent. Sarah van Gelder interviews George Shultz, former Secretary of State.

Truthdig – Reports – The Nuclear Expert Who Never Was
I am a former U.N. weapons inspector. I started my work with the United Nations in September 1991, and between that date and my resignation in August 1998, I participated in over 30 inspections, 14 as chief inspector. The United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM, was the organization mandated by the Security Council with the implementation of its resolutions requiring Iraq to be disarmed of its weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities.

Politicians Urge Removal of US Nuclear Weapons From Germany | Deutsche Welle
Politicians in Germany are calling for the US to remove nuclear arms stored in Germany after a report pointed to safety deficits at US atomic weapon sites in Europe.

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israelis ‘rehearse Iran attack’
Israel has carried out an exercise that appears to have been a rehearsal for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, US officials have told the New York Times.

The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Is Obsolete –
If claims by Iran that it’s building 3,000 more centrifuges to enrich nuclear fuel are true, then the Bush administration and Congress face a more serious challenge than we first thought. Even assuming that Iran intends to use nuclear energy solely for peaceful purposes – and there are very good reasons to doubt Iran’s stated intentions – the dangers posed by unsupervised, weapons-grade material in the hands of a regime that has threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” are unacceptable.

Department of Energy News

Department of Energy – Jeddah Energy Meeting
Everyday — and around the world — we are seeing the significant negative effects that high energy prices have on our economies, our industries and, most profoundly, on our citizens. We face an extraordinary set of circumstances that demands responsible action from producing and consuming nations alike.

GAO looks at DOE pension, retirement benefits – Tri-City Herald
Hanford is one of the two Department of Energy nuclear cleanup sites with employee benefits more than 5 percent higher than comparable organizations, according to the Government Accountability Office. It issued a report last week to Congress providing information on DOE’s management of costs and liabilities for pensions and post-retirement benefits for which it must reimburse DOE contractors. DOE is concerned about future costs for pensions and benefits for retirees, such as health care and life insurance, and congressional leaders find budgeting for fluctuating amounts difficult each year.

HANFORD: Explosives take down two towers (w/video) | Tri-City Herald
The Department of Energy exploded two towers and then used more explosives to demolish two large water tanks Saturday at N Reactor along the Columbia River.

Daily Herald – Federal agencies release plan for uranium cleanup
CHURCH ROCK, N.M. — This community has become a poster child on the Navajo Nation, but residents don’t brag about it. Among the more than 500 abandoned uranium mines on the vast reservation the size of West Virginia, the Northeast Church Rock Mine here tops the list as the most contaminated. No one lives on the 220-acre property that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fenced off to keep livestock and people from roaming onto it.

Y-12 chief gives details of 2007 fire : Knoxville News Sentinel
OAK RIDGE – The small uranium fire extinguished itself within a matter of seconds March 15, 2007. But there were signs of broader concern when a radiation alarm went off in another area of the large building where warhead parts are assembled and taken apart.

Precious Metal With a Caveat: Limited Uses for Nickel Give Recycling Firms Second Thoughts – redOrbit
Jun. 22–Tight federal restrictions are discouraging commercial attempts to recycle hundreds of millions of dollars worth of mildly radioactive scrap nickel at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Once the nickel is cleaned, the Department of Energy will allow its use only in reactors and other nuclear applications, said Mike Hargett, president of Chemical Vapour Metal Refining-USA in Union Mills, N.C. Idaho Falls, Pocatello – INL Whistleblower Claims Victory
Localnews 8 has learned Friday night that The Department of Energy Office of Hearings and Appeals ruled in favor of a whistleblower at the INL in several claims he made.

Other Energy News

6 Myths About Oil Speculators – Yahoo! Finance
So now we know who’s really responsible for $4 gas. Finger-pointers from Washington, the International Monetary Fund, and even Saudi Arabia no longer seem to buy the idea that the demand for oil around the world is simply growing faster than the supply, driving prices to record highs close to $140 per barrel. There must be a more nefarious reason, it seems. So now entering this drama is a villain everybody can hate: The Evil Speculator.

Bill Moyers Journal: Bill Moyers & Michael Winship: It Was Oil, All Along
Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn’t a war about oil. That’s cynical and simplistic, they said. It’s about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom turns out to be….the bottom line. It is about oil.

Foreign Policy In Focus | The Military-Petroleum Complex
In November 2002, before the invasion of Iraq, then secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld told Steve Kroft of CBS that U.S. saber-rattling toward Iraq had “nothing to do with oil, literally nothing to do with oil.” In 2003, Rumsfeld called the assertion that the United States had invaded Iraq to get at its oil “utter nonsense.” (“We don’t take our forces and go around the world and try to take other people’s . . . resources, their oil. That’s just not what the United States does.”) In 2005, speaking to American troops in Fallujah, Rumsfeld reiterated the point: “The United States, as you all know better than any, did not come to Iraq for oil.” Strong denials for sure, but were they true?

Bush and McCain Happily Presiding Over Massive Transfer of Wealth to Oil Companies | AlterNet
The Bush/McCain gas price escalation is an Enron rerun. It is Chapter 2 of the scam that Bush crony “Kenny Boy” Lay used in 1999-2001 to steal $100 billion from California ratepayers.

Fuel Prices Shift Math for Life in Far Suburbs –
ELIZABETH, Colo. — Suddenly, the economics of American suburban life are under assault as skyrocketing energy prices inflate the costs of reaching, heating and cooling homes on the distant edges of metropolitan areas.

The Hindu : Opinion / Editorials : Green buildings
A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) finds fault with the property industry for being too slow in addressing its increasing environmental footprint. The energy consumption of the buildings and that caused by their location in relation to transport account for more than half of all global CO2 emissions.

The Sietch Blog » Solar Powered Solar Power
Something that has long been a dream of mine looks like it will be a reality soon. I have always wanted to see a solar powered solar panel factory, or a wind powered wind turbine factory. Basically you use a little fossil fuels to get started, then the first however many turbines/panels off the line power the factory, from then on in it’s all carbon neutral.

news journal: FPL plans world’s largest solar plant
MIAMI — FPL plans to build three photo-voltaic solar energy plants in Florida in the coming year, including one at Kennedy Space Center in Brevard County. The three plants will provide up to 110 megawatts of energy, enough to meet the needs of about 35,000 customers, said Lew Hay, FPL’s chief executive officer. A planned 75-megawatt solar center in Martin County would become the largest of its kind in the world, he said.

Santa Barbara fumes over McCain drilling plan – Los Angeles Times
SANTA BARBARA — John McCain came to California promoting an array of ideas to spur the market for clean cars and otherwise reduce carbon emissions. But in this coastal city, the site of a disastrous oil spill in 1969, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was dogged by critics at nearly every turn for his recent embrace of offshore drilling. – Business – Experts air solar grievances at hearing
Pick your poison when it comes to producing energy.

The Oil Drum | Saudis announce oil production increases…again…and again…and again…
Saudi Arabia confirmed it would pump *9.7m barrels a day* next month, an increase of 200,000 and the highest level in nearly 30 years, as it repeated its standard offer of extra barrels if customers demanded them.

How a Shady Citigroup Subsidiary Secretly Makes Billions in the Oil Market | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet
If you want to flush out market manipulation, don’t turn to the sleuths in Congress. They’ve been probing trading of the oil markets for two years and completely missed a company at the center of the action. During that period, a barrel of crude oil has risen from $50 to $140, leaving a wide swath of Americans facing a choice this coming winter of buying food or paying their heating bill.

Trade winds |
ON A ridge near Toledo in Castile-La Mancha stands a row of white windmills. Literary buffs, even if they have never been to Spain, will recognise them as the ferocious giants attacked by Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes’s fictional 17th-century hero. These days, however, they are dwarfed by legions of modern wind turbines that grind out not flour but power, helping to make Spain one of the leading producers of wind-based electricity in Europe.

Another silicon valley? |
WIND power works, and will work better in the future. But wind is only an interim stop on the way to a world where electricity no longer relies on fossil fuels. The ultimate goal is to harvest the sun’s energy directly by intercepting sunlight, rather than by waiting for that sunlight to stir up the atmosphere and sticking turbines in the resulting airstreams.

Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientist | Environment | The Guardian
James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.

The power and the glory |
The next technology boom may well be based on alternative energy, says Geoffrey Carr (interviewed here). But which sort to back?

Gas could fall to $2 if Congress acts, analysts say – MarketWatch
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — The price of retail gasoline could fall by half, to around $2 a gallon, within 30 days of passage of a law to limit speculation in energy-futures markets, four energy analysts told Congress on Monday. Testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Michael Masters of Masters Capital Management said that the price of oil would quickly drop closer to its marginal cost of around $65 to $75 a barrel, about half the current $135

Anatomy of a Price Surge
As the pain induced by higher oil prices spreads to an ever growing share of the American (and world) population, pundits and politicians have been quick to blame assorted villains–greedy oil companies, heartless commodity speculators and OPEC. It’s true that each of these parties has contributed to and benefited from the steep run-up. But the sharp growth in petroleum costs is due far more to a combination of soaring international demand and slackening supply–compounded by the ruinous policies of the Bush Administration–than to the behavior of those other actors.

ABC: The end of the petroleum age: Richard Heinberg
KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: Tonight, oil was again in the headlines across the globe. The world’s main oil producers and consumers will meet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Sunday for a summit of home truths, we hope, about whether anything substantial can really be done to force the price of oil down, not just for a few weeks or months, but beyond. And the truth seems to be: no, it can’t. Australia’s Energy Minister Martin Ferguson will be there, he says, to push for increased production. But there’s serious doubt about OPEC’s (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) capacity to sustain a meaningful boost.

The Oil Drum | Peak Oil Media: Hirsch, Simmons, House Dem(s?) on Nationalizing Refineries, Klare, O’Reilly, and Gas is F*-ing Expensive
Bob Hirsch talking “Worst Case Scenarios” for Oil…as in “maybe $500/bbl” in the next few years…with increasing uncertainty/volatility (yes, that’s right, oil could snap back down to $100/bbl, but then snap back up even higher again in a few months…without even considering geopolitics and other “above ground factors,” which of course we must.)

Fuel fears have US over a barrel |
REFINED, distilled and then burnt, petrol’s explosive power propels the world’s largest economy. But its soaring price is punching holes in the US engine – and the rest of us are anything but immune. The globe’s thirstiest energy consumer is reeling from high petrol prices, with a barrel of oil hitting $US137 ($145) on Thursday’s markets. Even if there is still division about whether the high point of global production – “peak oil” – has been reached, most analysts agree that cheap oil is finished.

Opec chief dismisses Brown’s call to boost production as ‘irrational’ |
Crude oil prices rose sharply on the world’s commodity markets tonight after the head of Opec dismissed as “irrational and illogical” a call by Gordon Brown for the cartel to pump more oil.

Dollars & Sense: Elasticity! Why cutting gas taxes won’t lower prices, but will fatten oil companies
When Clinton and McCain proposed cutting gas taxes, I asked my environmental economics students, “So how much do you think drivers will save?” The students diligently Googled the numbers. “Well,” said one, “the federal gas tax is 18.4 cents and the average state tax is 28.6 cents, so that’s 47 cents a gallon drivers will save!” “But what about elasticity of demand and supply?” I asked. “Oh!!! Forgot about that!”

Revealed: UK’s blueprint for a green revolution | Environment | The Guardian
One in four British homes could be fitted with solar heating equipment and 3,500 wind turbines could be erected across Britain within 12 years as part of a green energy revolution to be proposed by the government next week.

MIT team plays with fire to create cheap energy |
Out on a lawn at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with joggers and traffic passing nearby, Spencer Ahrens is demonstrating what looks like either the future of solar power – or perhaps a death ray.

DailyTech – MIT Students Develop Revolutionary Solar Dish That is Hot Enough to Melt Steel
The solar industry is booming. With waves of investment and grants, the solar power industry is for the first time becoming a serious business. New power plants will soon be pumping power out to consumers, while other firms market to sell panels directly to the consumer, providing them with a more direct means of experiencing solar energy.

Reid Statement on Federal Solar Power Development Moratorium
Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid today made the following statement regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) moratorium on new applications to develop solar power plants, which could delay development by close to two years: “This notice of intent is the wrong signal to send to solar power developers, and to Nevadans and Westerners who need and want clean, affordable sun-powered electricity soon. While the BLM’s proposed delay won’t affect developers with existing applications, it could discourage or slow new development to a crawl.

A surprising solution to our energy needs | Greenpeace UK
No one will be surprised that Greenpeace is against the construction of new nuclear power stations, but what some may find unusual is one of the solutions we are proposing to meet our energy needs and reduce our CO2 emissions – industrial CHP, or combined heat and power.

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

The Whig Standard – Going nuclear is a bad bet
Premier Dalton McGuinty’s plan to increase Ontario’s dependency on nuclear power smacks of the actions of an inveterate gambler poised to roll the dice one last time for that elusive “big score.” Why else would he bet the farm on a technology that could bankrupt the entire country in the event of a single catastrophic accident? The minimum bid to get into McGuinty’s high-stakes game, $45 billion, could easily top a mind-boggling $135 billion given the nuclear industry’s history of at least tripling initial cost projections.

Times-News: How to make an easy few billion dollars
Last Tuesday night in Glenns Ferry, I didn’t find out much I didn’t already know about AEHI/IEC or its plans to build a 1,600-megawatt nuclear power plant near Hammett. But I learned a few things about how to make $3 billion-plus. For starters:

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