Top Nuclear Stories (July 24th-28th)

radbull European Accidents and the earthquake in Japan last week has rattled the public’s nerves overseas. The superb nuclear worker contamination/compensation series last week in the Rocky Mountain News has politicians calling for change in Colorado. With safety issues popping up in Vermont, Oak Ridge and elsewhere on a regular basis isn’t it time to start boning up on the industry’s history of scandals and accidents? Remember, what the Wall Street Journal said recently! “So it isn’t about safety anymore”… I paraphrase!

The movement is clearly needing to find a few more dedicated medical professionals willing to stand up and speak out against the growing push to nuke the planet’s genetic mutation rate so that only rats and cockroaches can survive without getting cancer.  We are still living in a country where radiation standards are governed by that of a healthy 21 year old male.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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

Nuclear Reactor News

France’s Nuclear Worries: Chain of Accidents Prompts Soul Searching  SPIEGEL ONLINE
France’s confidence in atomic energy has been shaken by a recent series of mishaps at nuclear facilities. Although none of the incidents appears to be on a major scale, politicians and the population are starting to question industry practices.

FACTBOX-Nuclear projects in central and southeast Europe | Reuters
A number of countries in central, eastern and southeastern Europe plan to build new nuclear power reactors or extend the life of existing ones to meet growing domestic demand and replace ageing power capacity. The plans mirror a worldwide nuclear boom as part of the solution to climate change.

AFP: Huge losses for Japan’s TEPCO as energy costs soar
Tokyo Electric Power Co., Japan’s biggest electric utility company, said Monday it lost more than 700 million dollars in the three months to June due to soaring fuel costs at its power plants. The operator of the world’s largest nuclear plant, which was shut down by an earthquake last year, warned it expects to end the year deep in the red. The company, known as TEPCO, reported a net loss of 76.24 billion yen (707 million dollars) for the fiscal first quarter, compared with a net profit of 31.07 billion yen in the same period of the previous year.

Fed hearings shine light on venerable anti-nuke group | Burlington Free Press
As David vs. Goliath confrontations go, the one that unfolded last week at the Atomic Safety Licensing Board hearings ranks right up there. Advertisement The issue before the board, meeting inside the quaint Windham County Superior Court building, was whether the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is ready and able to deal with aging component problems should the facility win permission to stay in operation until 2032.

MidHudson News: Two Indian Point Meetings scheduled
Two sessions have been scheduled over the course of the next two weeks regarding issues related to the Indian Point nuclear power plant. The Indian Point Independent Safety Evaluation Panel will present the findings of its study at a public session on Thursday, July 31 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at Colonial Terrace in Cortlandt Manor. The panel was hired by Indian Point to conduct a complete safety review of the plant.

EDF nuclear deal could value British Energy at £12.4bn | Guardian
France’s EDF and Britain’s nuclear generator, British Energy, are understood to have reached agreement in principle on the terms of an agreed bid. Although work on an offer is continuing, the French company is understood to be keen to finalise a deal next week, ahead of publication of its latest figures on Friday.

Ontario gives nuclear companies three more months to make pitch for new build:  Oilweek Magazine
Three companies vying to build Canada´s first new nuclear power reactors in 15 years will have an extra three months to make their pitch to the Ontario government, Energy Minister George Smitherman said Friday. The extension of the deadline until the end of the year is needed because of the complexity of the multibillion-dollar project, Smitherman said.

NRC: NRC Seeks Public Input on Environmental Impact Statement for Prairie Island License Renewal Application
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct public meetings on Wednesday, July 30, to solicit public comments on possible environmental impacts of 20 additional years of operation at the Prairie Island nuclear power plant, Units 1 and 2. The Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Station has two pressurized water reactors, located 28 miles southeast of Minneapolis. The plant’s operator, Nuclear Management Co., submitted its license renewal application April 15.

VPR Regional News: Scientists detect increased radiation near Vermont Yankee plant
(Host) Scientists have detected increased radiation near Vermont Yankee since the nuclear power plant boosted its power level by 20%. That’s according to a report released this morning by the Vermont Department of Health.

Judges question Yankee review: Times Argus Online
Judges from the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board renewed their questioning of staff from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Entergy Nuclear Thursday on just how effective its computer model was in determining the effects of aging in the plant’s piping. The three judges also had sharp words for the NRC staff about who was really in charge of its re-licensing review, at one point uttering the infamous words, “Where is the beef?”

Study: Yankee radiation up 30%: Rutland Herald Online
Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is releasing 30 percent more radiation into the environment since it boosted power production by 20 percent two years ago, according to a study from the Department of Health released Friday. The increase in radiation is larger than what was expected, according to William Irwin, radiological health safety chief for the health department, but is still within state limits.

Nuclear Health and Safety News

TEPCO:Don’t expect quake-hit plant to restart ’08/09: Reuters
Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO), Asia’s biggest utility, said on Monday its earnings forecasts for the year to March 2009 were based on the premise that it would not be restarting its quake-hit Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant.

Accidents Tarnish Nuclear Dream By Angelique Chrisafis
nukeSylvie Eymard’s Provence farmhouse kitchen should be the picture of French rural calm. But the stockpiles of bottled water, disinfectant rinse and disposable paper plates hint at something strange.

Ontario nuclear plant weld failure “unprecedented,” documents show
When the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was struggling last December with a shortage of medical isotopes sparked by the Chalk River reactor shutdown, it was also dealing with another Ontario nuclear plant where there had been an “unprecedented” weld failure on one fuel bundle. In all, 10 defective welds were found on the fuel bundle, a collection of processed uranium rods resembling the barrel of a Gatling gun about a half-metre long.

Germany reports 122 ‘notifiable incidents’ at nuclear power plants
German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety said Saturday that 122 incidents were subject to reporting at the country’s nuclear power plants last year, according to the Munich-based Focus news magazine.

Vermont Yankee fence line dose up 30 percent – Brattleboro Reformer
Radiation levels measured at the fence line of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant were 30 percent higher in 2007 than in 2006. Despite the 30 percent increase, the report stated the highest fence line measurement recorded by the Vermont Department of Health was less than 18 millirem. “At no time has Vermont Yankee posed a measurable risk to public health,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis.

Nuclear workers’ searing cry for help : Editorials :Rocky Mountain News
The U.S. Department of Labor, if you can believe it, refused to talk to Rocky Mountain News reporter Laura Frank during the investigation that led to this week’s series Deadly Denial – her description of grotesque red tape and foot-dragging inflicted upon those who once built nuclear arms for this country and who have been struck down since with terrible diseases.

Feds warned on nuke workers :The Rocky Mountain News
If the Labor Department doesn’t improve the way it treats sick nuclear weapons workers and survivors, officials there may be subject to an investigation, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., said Friday. “I don’t want to have to ratchet it up,” Perlmutter said. “But if that’s what it takes for them to see that we mean business, then that’s what we’ll do.”

Democrat Vows Bill to Block ‘Secret Rule’ on Workplace Toxins – washingtonpost
A congressional leader pledged yesterday to introduce legislation that would block an eleventh-hour proposal by the Labor Department that would make it more difficult to limit workers’ exposure to chemicals on the job.

More help for Flats workers – The Denver Post
The manner in which sick workers at Rocky Flats and other U.S. Department of Energy sites have been treated is a national disgrace. Even after a federal fund was established in 2000 to get them health care and compensate them for the illnesses acquired as they worked, they have faced missing records, insurmountable red tape and a bureaucracy that seems determined to deny them at every turn.

Congressmen criticize treatment of sick nuclear workers :The Rocky Mountain News
Two Colorado congressmen say it was “completely irresponsible” for the Department of Labor to fail to explain decisions that make it more difficult for sick and dying nuclear weapons workers — or their survivors — to qualify for federal compensation. This week, the Rocky Mountain News reported that the Labor Department, which oversees the program, derailed aid to workers by keeping reports secret from them, constantly changing rules and delaying cases until sick workers died.

‘It feels like a sci-fi film’ – accidents tarnish nuclear dream | Guardian
French nuclear companies are hoping to play a central role in the government’s plan to build a new generation of reactors. At home, however, the industry has been buffeted by a series of mishaps.

Nuclear Security News

Press TV – Egypt seizes Israeli radioactive cargo
Egypt has refused to allow entry to an Israeli truck carrying 3.5 ton of ceramics after high radiation levels were detected in the shipment. Egyptian officials seized the goods at the Al-Oja border crossing after radiation detection equipment showed a high presence of radioactive material in the cargo, a security official told AFP.

Bloomberg: Bruce Plant Missing Radiatioactive Part for Two Months, Globe say
A radioactive part at the Bruce nuclear power station on Lake Huron was missing for about two months until an employee came across it in June, the Globe and Mail of Toronto reported. Staff working for Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. lost the metal part while refurbishing the plant, which is about 250 kilometers (155 miles) northwest of Toronto. The contractor isn’t required to immediately disclose when it loses track of highly radioactive materials, the newspaper said.

Envoy turned away from Russian nuclear facility | Reuters
The British ambassador to Moscow and two of his diplomats were refused entry to a UK-funded nuclear fuel storage facility in Russia when they turned up on a scheduled visit, an embassy spokesman said on Friday.

Nukes Are Not the Best Way to Stop an Asteroid |
Nuclear weapons could be used to stop earth-bound asteroids, but in most instances, they are not the best option, said Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart during a public lecture this Wednesday in San Francisco.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

FR Doc: NRC: Notice of availability of Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for Uranium milling facilities.
SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), with the cooperation of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Quality Division, is issuing for public comment a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft GEIS) that identifies and evaluates on a programmatic basis, the potential environmental impacts from the construction, operation, aquifer restoration, and decommissioning at in-situ leach (ISL) uranium milling facilities located in particular regions of the western United States. The Draft GEIS addresses environmental issues common to ISL milling facilities to aid in making more efficient environmental reviews of individual site-specific ISL license applications.

NRC: NRC Seeks Public Comment on Draft Generic Environmental Study of In-Situ Leach Uranium Recovery Operations
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on a draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) for in-situ leach uranium recovery operations in the western United States. The draft GEIS, developed with the cooperation of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, identifies and evaluates potential environmental impacts common to the construction, operation, aquifer restoration and decommissioning of in-situ leach facilities in Western states. In-situ leach is a process in which local non-potable groundwater with added oxygen and sodium carbonate or bicarbonate is injected into an underground ore deposit to leach out (or dissolve) uranium, which is then pumped to the surface for additional processing.

Independent – Casino site uranium-free
navajo Soil being used by the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise for construction of its Fire Rock Casino parking lot has been analyzed and shown to be free of any uranium radiation contamination. Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency Executive Director Stephen B. Etsitty said Friday that his agency’s Superfund Program conducted a surface radiological survey of the Becenti Trails Road borrow pit and determined the soil is safe to use.

Nuclear Waste News

Locals to oppose £110m nuclear waste dump construction – Contract Journal
Local residents are set to oppose the construction of a proposed £110m nuclear waste treatment next to the Dounreay power plant in Scotland. The opposition comes despite the scheme winning the conditional backing of the Scottish Environmental Proection Agency (Sepa), according to the Scotsman.

Plutonium shipments halted – Fleetwood Today
Top-secret shipments from Sellafield of weapons-ready plutonium through British waters have been stopped. The Department for Transport has taken “regulatory action” to prohibit the shipments to Normandy on a ferry with few safety or security features.

Radioactive mineral has star role in ABC’s case – Queensland – BrisbaneTimes
A mineral Queensland Health is testing for radioactivity on North Stradbroke Island has also been found at the planned site of new Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Brisbane studios. On July 18, Queensland Health agreed to test radioactivity levels on the Moreton Bay island after residents voiced concerns about monazite, a naturally occurring phosphate mineral that contains radioactive thorium.

U.S. DOE nuclear shipment Q&A – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Question: What safeguards are put in place to ensure safe transit of spent nuclear fuel or other atomic shipments through heavily populated areas, such as Pittsburgh? | Residents doubt Tallevast safety plan
Lockheed Martin Corp. announced Friday night its timetable for the cleanup of the Tallevast pollution plume could be cut almost in half, but failed once again to calm the fears of neighborhood residents who believe the project is putting them at risk.

Waste storage issue continues to dog German nuclear debate – Irish Times
GERMANY: With a return to nuclear power set to be a key election topic next year, a leaking waste site has refocused attention on safety, writes Derek Scally . ST BARBARA has learned to be flexible in her job description. For 40 years, a statue of the patron saint of miners has watched from an illuminated shrine in the wall of the Konrad mine shaft, one kilometre underground near the German city of Braunschweig.

Whitehall farce explodes over nuclear clean-up and clean energy commitments | Greenpeace UK
Well, what do you know? Another news story has broken which demonstrates that the UK’s nuclear industry is not the robust, well-managed machine our ministers would have us believe. The government has sneaked out a report assessing the working practices of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which is managing the clean-up of existing power stations and waste. They were clearly hoping no one would notice as there’s no doubt that many people have been caught with their pants anklewards.

List of sites for possible nuclear waste recycling facilities scrapped —
In February of 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy stirred controversy by announcing it was considering recycling nuclear waste and building facilities at Argonne National Laboratory and on a site near Morris to aid in the effort. Now, the Department of Energy is stepping back, announcing it is not considering any sites for the facilities. The department still is examining the feasibility of reprocessing nuclear waste.

Nuclear Policy News

Deal puts Wylfa power station hopes in doubt – Daily Post North Wales
ONE of the front runners in the race to build a new nuclear power station at Wylfa looks poised to complete an £12bn deal for British Energy which could cool its interest on Anglesey. UK nuclear firm British Energy is expected to be snapped up by French power giants EDF (Electricité de France), which recently revealed it was buying up farmland around Wylfa, owned by the National Decommissioning Authority.

NRC: Speech – Global Nuclear Renaissance Summit
When I spoke at the first Summit about a year and half ago the NRC was just preparing to issue its new procedures for reviewing Combined Operating License, or COL, applications for new nuclear power plants. And we were just beginning to anticipate how many such applications we might be receiving from industry.

NRC: NRC Staff Approves Transfer of Entergy Operating Licenses to New Corporate Structure
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has approved the transfer of operating licenses for the FitzPatrick, Indian Point Units 2 and 3, Palisades, Pilgrim and Vermont Yankee nuclear power plants from owner Entergy Corp. to new owner Enexus Energy Corporation. The transfer also covers the licenses for the permanently shut down Indian Point Unit 1 and the independent spent fuel storage installation at Big Rock Point. The staff’s approval of the transfer is effective July 28. Japan to Boost Nuclear Accident Compensation Fund, Kyodo Says
Japan plans to increase mandatory contributions to a fund for compensating victims of accidents at nuclear power plants, Kyodo News said. The government aims to boost payments by electric power producers to as much as 120 billion yen ($1.1 billion) next year from 60 billion yen, Kyodo reported, citing government officials it didn’t identify. It would be the first change in the fund since 1999, Kyodo said.

Alex Green: The nuclear genie | The Gainesville Sun
The Nuclear Energy age began on Dec. 2, 1942, with the first sustained nuclear fission reactor at the University of Chicago. The Nuclear Weapon age, relying on the same nuclear physics and chain reaction processes, began on July 16, 1945, with the Trinity explosion at Alamogordo New Mexico. It was soon followed by the Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions of Aug. 6 and 9.

Victoria Advocate – Review of nuclear firm’s units is renewed
The review of South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company’s two new units appears to be on again. Company officials met with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to discuss revisions to the application for the addition of STP units 3 and 4 in Matagorda County.

New Vision Online : Uganda hailed on nuclear energy
THE International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is satisfied with Uganda’s commitment and progress in using nuclear energy in the health sector. “Uganda has so far implemented about 80% of the IAEA programmes for 2008. This is ahead of most of the African client countries. We are waiting for the next step of setting up a regulatory agency on nuclear use in the country,” said IAEA cabinet chief Antonie van Dongen.

House panel sets terms for US nuclear cooperation with Russia
The US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee voted Thursday to approve a bill establishing conditions for US-Russian nuclear cooperation, which also may increase the chances that the two countries’ cooperation deal will go into effect before the end of the year. Before approving the bill (H.R. 6574), some members of the panel emphasized that it was “first and foremost” a bill approving the cooperation agreement, as one Democrat put it.

FR Doc: NRC: Nuclear Management Company; Notice of Withdrawal of Application for Amendment to Facility Operating License
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (the Commission) has granted the request of Nuclear Management Company, LLC (the licensee), to withdraw its March 31, 2008 (Agencywide Document Access and Management System Accession No. ML081010189) application, as supplemented by letters dated May 20, May 28, May 30, June 3, June 5, June 12, and June 25, 2008 (Accession Nos. ML081430494, ML081490639, ML081550504, ML081550640, ML081570467, ML081640435, and ML081770562) for proposed amendment to Renewed Facility Operating License No. DPR-22 for the Monticello Nuclear Generation Plant, located in Wright County, Minnesota.

FR Doc: NRC: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying a petition for rulemaking (PRM-20-26) submitted by James Salsman
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is denying a petition for rulemaking (PRM-20-26) submitted by James Salsman (petitioner). The petitioner requested that NRC amend its regulations to modify exposure and environmental limits for heavy metal radionuclides, in particular uranium. NRC is denying the petition because current NRC regulations provide adequate protection of public health and safety. The petitioner has not presented sufficient peer-reviewed data, pertinent to the types and levels of exposures associated with the concentration values used in NRC’s regulations, to provide a sufficient reason for NRC to initiate a revision of its regulations. Thus, the NRC has decided not to expend limited resources on initiating a rulemaking at this time.

Panel denies contention to group opposed to relicensing | Asbury Park Press
A divided panel of three administrative judges of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Thursday denied a contention on Thursday by an environmental coalition opposed to the relicensing of the Oyster Creek Generating Station based in Forked River. A memorandum issued on July 24 by the Atomic Safety Licensing Board in the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station license renewal proceeding denied a contention by a coalition of six environmental groups that was filed on April 18.

NRC approves Areva’s work in Lynchburg | Lynchburg News Advance
For the sixth year in a row, Areva’s nuclear fuel processing and equipment work in Lynchburg has won the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s approval. “No specific areas needing improvement were identified,” said Charles Payne, the NRC’s chief of an Atlanta inspection branch that oversees Areva and two other nuclear-fuel plants.

Nuclear Weapons News

Letters: The new boom in nuclear weapons | Politics | The Guardian
The revelation that a senior defence official has told the arms industry that the government plans to spend £3bn to replace the UK’s 160 nuclear warheads is truly deplorable (Report, July 25). If the government has reached even a preliminary view on the matter this should first be made known to parliament, and not to industrial interests.

doe Department of Energy News

DOE – U.S. and New Zealand Take Steps to Launch International Partnership to Further the Development of Clean Energy on Island Nations
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander “Andy” Karsner and New Zealand’s Ambassador to the U.S. Roy Ferguson today signed terms of reference for the International Partnership for Energy Development in Island Nations

Operational emergency terminated at ORNL: Knoxville News Sentinel
About 30 employees were evacuated this morning because of elevated radiation readings inside the Holifield facility.

USEC Inc. Submits Application for DOE Loan Guarantee – MarketWatch
USEC Inc. has submitted its application for a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to fund construction of the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio. DOE invited nuclear energy projects to submit loan guarantee applications on June 30, 2008. The omnibus fiscal year 2008 appropriations act authorized DOE to issue $38.5 billion worth of loan guarantees through the end of fiscal year 2009, with $2 billion for advanced “front-end” nuclear fuel cycle facilities.

Savannah River nuclear site behind on safety studies |
The U.S. Department of Energy is behind schedule to complete environmental and safety analyses at Savannah River Site, the federal facility near Augusta that is preparing to process and dispose of 25 million tons of nuclear materials starting in 2010. In a study released Friday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that some required analyses have been delayed as much as two years due to staffing shortages.

Study: Early Los Alamos toxin leaks higher –
Contamination in the early years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico may have been higher than originally reported, health officials say. The Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment Project of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has been studying and declassifying documents about contaminant releases at the lab. Investigators said they found plutonium and other toxic contaminants leaked into the air surrounding the lab in its early years of operation, The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported Friday,

Other Energy News

A full portfolio of resources can ease the energy crunch – Salt Lake Tribune
Rocky Mountain Power and Questar Gas rate increase requests before the Utah Public Service Commission would add about $20 a month to the typical customer’s energy bills. Consumers are struggling to pay for fuel at the gas pump and facing increased costs to keep the lights on and warm and cool their homes. The economic ripple effect of higher energy costs today could become a destructive wave in the months and years ahead.

The Hindu: ‘Clean energy’ will help tackle climate change threats: Saran’
With the Indo-US civilian nuclear energy initiative back on track after the recent trust vote in Parliament, government’s key negotiator on Climate Change Shyam Saran on Saturday pinned hope that “clean energy” would help tackle climate change threats. Speaking at a seminar on “Climate change: Will India’s Growth story confront new constraints?” he said, “We may look forward to a major expansion in nuclear power generation in the period upto 2030-31,” to meet growing energy needs.

Govt aiming to halve cost of solar power generation: Daily Yomiuri
The government plans to announce policy measures aimed at halving the price of solar power generation in the next three to five years as part of its action plan on greenhouse gas emissions, government sources say. According to the sources, the measures will form part of an action plan designed to bring about a 60 percent to 80 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and thereby create a low carbon-emission society.

Energy efficiency, electricity, power plants | Salon News
Suppose I paid you for every pound of pollution you generated and punished you for every pound you reduced. You would probably spend most of your time trying to figure out how to generate more pollution. And suppose that if you generated enough pollution, I had to pay you to build a new plant, no matter what the cost, and no matter how much cheaper it might be to not pollute in the first place.

Termite Bellies and Biofuels | Smithsonian Magazine
Warnecke, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute in Walnut Creek, California, has been generating lots of attention lately for his work with termites. The insects are remarkably efficient at turning cellulose into sugar—the first step in making fuel from plants like switchgrass or poplar trees. Scientists can’t compete with termites.

Office Building Lit With 100% LED Light | MetaEfficient Reviews
Last year, we featured a nightclub lit entirely by LEDs, but here’s an office building that is said to be the first to be lit by 100% LED light. The lighting was provided by the Netherlands-headquartered Royal Philips Electronics. To showcase the potential of LED light, Philips designed the lighting system to be warm and visually comforting. A total 422 LED fixtures were installed into the building’s false ceilings. The offices are lit with fixtures that incorporate 12-16 high power LEDs, each rated at 2.6 watts. LED spotlights are used to illuminate the corridors.

Climate Solutions: Need for workers on wind turbines grows
With wind turbine towers popping up on the U.S. landscape at a rate of almost 10 per day, the need for people to maintain and repair them is reaching the critical point. Community colleges in North Dakota and other states are jumping at the chance to help fill that need and develop a niche for themselves at the same time through wind tech programs.

What Is the Strategic Petroleum Reserve? – Yahoo! News
The U.S. Congress is considering legislation that would require 70 million barrels of crude oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be released to the open market in an effort to drive down gas prices. That would mean pumping oil out from man-made caverns where it is stored. Only twice in the reserve’s 31-year history has oil been extracted for emergencies.

Stagflation and Peak Oil: How Related Are They? (Part I) – Seeking Alpha
Two terms that definitely scare investors (at least those who don’t know what implications both have on their portfolio) are Stagflation and Peak Oil. One (Stagflation) might be happening soon but could be avoided, while the other (Peak Oil) might not happen soon, but cannot be avoided.

Green Blog » What Top World Scientists Say About the Climate Emergency
We are familiar with the notion of getting an expert second opinion when an expert medical specialist has diagnosed life threatening circumstances. However a second opinion that is a bit more optimistic simply decreases the perceived odds of death somewhat – the dire initial prediction remains.

Canadian government mimics US quiet release method for major climate and health report (posting from Climate Science Watch)
“The Conservative government is planning a quiet release for a major Health Canada report that warns of the harmful impact of climate change on the health of Canadians, particularly the young, elderly and aboriginals.” Only days after the “quiet release” of a major US climate science program report on the same topic, Canada appears to be following the Bush administration’s bad example: Instead of highlighting these reports and using them to advance broader public awareness of the consequences of unchecked global warming, current US and Canadian government “leaders” leave them to be released by middle management and discussed by a relatively few experts.

Life after oil | The Burlington Free Press
Humanity is sitting on a railroad track, and a train is speeding toward us. The name of that train is global oil shortages. But, let’s start at the beginning. Oil was discovered in 1859 in the United States. However, we did not appreciate its many uses, so production and consumption began slowly. During the years between World War I and World War II we learned of its many uses, but only in the last few decades have we built our dependency on oil. Now, all our clothes, food, transportation, construction depend on petrochemicals. As the oil production/consumption line has risen, the food production line has followed and also the global population line.

Would You Drive 55? – Yahoo! News
Liberals say Iraq is another Vietnam; conservatives say Barack Obama is Jimmy Carter redux. ABBA’s a mega-hit and Elton John’s going to be performing at Madison Square Garden. Had enough of these ’70s flashbacks? Brace yourself for another: the return of the national speed limit, courtesy of one of the country’s most venerable politicians.

Energy policies – July 27 | Energy Bulletin
EPTV Executive news roundtable — Corporate energy efficiency (video) Energy Policy TV Judi Greenwald, Director of Innovative Solutions, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, is interviewed about a partnership between the Pew Center and Toyota to undertake a study and project to improve corporate energy energy efficiency nationwide. Such improvements are aimed at reducing corporate carbon emissions. (23 July 2008)

10 Steps in 10 Years to 100 Percent Renewable Power | Post Carbon Institute
Below is a conceptual plan for achieving the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2018. We will be updating this document with specific recommendations and additional resources in the near future. 1. Reduce 6. Reinvest 2. Share 7. Relocalize 3. Diversify 8. Reengineer 4. Distribute 9. Reskill 5. Store 10. Remobilize

Review: ‘Plan C’ by Pat Murphy and ‘Small is Possible’ by Lyle Estill | Energy Bulletin
Plan C is a luminous book. Whereas so many other books on curtailing energy usage simply describe ways to cut consumption, Plan C goes way beyond mere description to take a truly penetrating look at how our individual choices make a difference. Author Pat Murphy’s sharp analysis, which draws on hard numbers from the Department of Energy and other sources, allows us to truly quantify the impact of our everyday habits, and to realize that we’re capable of making far more of a difference than many believe.

Daily Kos: Thoroughly Modern Mastodons
There are 98 oil producing countries in the world, which makes it seem as if we should have a lot of choices in our sources. However, 68 of those countries have, like the United States, passed peak production. 60 of them are in terminal decline. That means that the remaining 30 will have more, and more, and more control every single day that we continue to use oil. If we want to reduce our demand for foreign oil, there is exactly one way in which it can be done: use less oil.

The Young Turks: If We Drill in the US, We Don’t Get the Oil
One thing has been driving me crazy about this drilling debate – everyone seems to assume that if we drill for oil in the US, that we will get the oil. And hence, we won’t be dependent on foreign oil anymore. But we won’t get anything, Exxon-Mobil will. The oil that comes from that drilling will not be United States property (Republicans aren’t suggesting we nationalize the oil companies, are they?). It will be the property of whichever oil company got the rights to that contract. They can then sell it to whoever they like – and they will. They will sell it on the world market, so the Chinese will have just as much access to the oil that comes out of the coast of Florida as we will.

Human Race Faces “Oblivion” From Global Warming, Says UN Chief
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has warned that without a comprehensive international agreement to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming, humanity faces “oblivion.” “The world’s scientists have spoken with one voice: the situation is grim and urgent action is needed,” Ban said. “The situation is so desperately serious that any delay could push us past the tipping point, beyond which the ecological, financial and human costs would increase dramatically.

Greenhouse bees spread disease to wild bees | Reuters
Disease spread to wild bees from commercially bred bees used for pollination in agriculture greenhouses may be playing a role in the mysterious decline in North American bee populations, researchers said on Tuesday.

Cow Power Could Generate Electricity For Millions
Converting livestock manure into a domestic renewable fuel source could generate enough electricity to meet up to three per cent of North America’s entire consumption needs and lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), according to new research.

Technology Review: A Concrete Fix to Global Warming
A Canadian company says that it has developed a way for makers of precast concrete products to take all the carbon-dioxide emissions from their factories, as well as neighboring industrial facilities, and store them in the products that they produce by exposing those products to carbon-dioxide-rich flue gases during the curing process. Industry experts say that the technology is unproven but holds great potential if it works.

Solar power from Saharan sun could provide Europe’s electricity, says EU | Environment | The Guardian
solarA tiny rectangle superimposed on the vast expanse of the Sahara captures the seductive appeal of the audacious plan to cut Europe’s carbon emissions by harnessing the fierce power of the desert sun. Dwarfed by any of the north African nations, it represents an area slightly smaller than Wales but scientists claimed yesterday it could one day generate enough solar energy to supply all of Europe with clean electricity.

Think Progress» Bush Cronies Tried To Redefine Carbon Dioxide To Save Power Plants From Emissions Regulations
Earlier this month, former EPA official Jason Burnett wrote to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) with explosive revelations on how the White House has neutered climate change science to protect corporate interests. For example, OMB general counsel Jeffrey Rosen asked for multiple memos on whether carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars and plants could be regulated differently.

US Senator Barbara Boxer reveals details of a climate change document that the White House is refusing to make public |
The row over US inaction on carbon emissions reached new heights yesterday after the White House allowed Congress to look at last year’s government proposal to officially deem climate change a threat to public health – a plan that aides to George Bush refused to acknowledge or read. The climate plan was finished in December by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to a supreme court ruling that required the Bush administration to state whether carbon emissions should be regulated to protect public health.

BBC NEWS | Business | Arctic ‘has 90bn barrels of oil’
The Arctic is estimated to hold 90bn barrels of untapped oil, according to figures from the US Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS says the area has three times as much untapped natural gas as oil.

DailyTech – Energy Efficient LCD Competitor Invented at Microsoft
For a number of years now, the LCD display has all but made the older CRT displays extinct. While LCD screens are still being improved on by making them thinner, brighter, and produce better image quality, researchers are always on the lookout for the next technology breakthrough.

DailyTech – EU Officials: Just 0.3% Of Sahara’s Sun Energy Could Power Entire EU
The largest fully industrialized populus in the world could be entirely powered by a small fraction of solar desert energy, according to new plan The U.S. has some big plans for solar, both with building new power plants and through businesses and consumers adding solar panels to rooftops and unused land. However, no U.S. solar effort thus far compares to the ambitious plan that European Union (EU) officials are considering.

Newsvine – Effort to curb oil speculation stalls in Senate
Senate Democrats failed Friday to advance a measure to rein in oil market speculators, one of a series of efforts to tell voters they are serious about addressing $4-a-gallon gasoline, and they

Newsvine – GOP Kills Effort To Release Oil From U.S. Stockpile…is it really that simple?
House Republicans yesterday scuttled a bill that Democrats had hoped would help lower gasoline prices by forcing the Energy Department to release 70 million barrels of oil–about a three-day supply–from the national stockpile. Democrats promised that the action would have produced immediate relief at the pump, as was the case with similar releases in ’91, 2000 and ’05. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve now holds about 700 million barrels. Despite winning a clear 268-157 majority, the measure still lost. Democratic leaders had brought the proposal up for debate under rules requiring two-thirds vote to pass. But passing the bill by just a majority would have meant allowing Republicans to force a vote on new offshore drilling leases.

Debbie Cook: Taking Al Gore’s Challenge: A 10-Point Plan to Repower America
Last week, Vice President Al Gore presented the American people with a challenge: meet 100% of our electricity needs through renewable energy within 10 years. Al would be the first to acknowledge this is not a minor task. And yet it is an urgent one, a challenge that will require a transformation in how we invest our time and money, and how we view ourselves.

Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

My Turn: Nuclear not the best solution | The Burlington Free Press
Construction costs for new nuclear plants have risen far faster than they have for the other competitive green options. The nuclear industry’s shiniest new plant, built in Finland by France’s most expert builder, Areva, has come in $2 billion over budget and more than two years behind schedule. The newest U.S. plant on the drawing boards is projected to cost between $12 billion and $24 billion dollars. The enormous costs, protracted timelines for build-out, and inevitable delays discourage private investors who want to see a rapid bang for their buck. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly clear that the key to solving the global warming crisis is speed. Nuclear power is now so expensive and so slow to build that a dollar spent on end-user conservation or on any of the other green alternatives saves between three and 10 times the carbon from entering the atmosphere as the same dollar spent on nuclear, and saves it now.

Has the time come for nuclear power? No: Price is high in so many ways |
Georgia Power and its utility partners Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia, Oglethorpe Power and Dalton Utilities are headed toward a nuclear relapse, betting billions of ratepayer and taxpayer dollars on nuclear power when the dollar is down, when filling up the gas tank is painful, when droughts have become the norm, and when the threat of climate change cannot be ignored.

Nuclear reaction: Emery County should think twice about nuke plant – Salt Lake Tribune
Emery County and Green River officials need to look long and hard before they leap into the nuclear age. Transition Power Development has identified a proposed industrial park outside Green River, a city that bills itself as “Utah’s Desert Treasure” and panders to tourists, as its preferred site for a nuclear power plant. And local officials, along with many residents, are reportedly excited about the prospect of the high-paying jobs and economic benefits a nuke plant would bring.

NevadaAppeal: The true costs of nuclear energy are astronomical
Those who support nuclear energy claim it is inexpensive. The reason that they can claim that is that they only figure in the cost of generating the energy. If they figure in the cost of taking care of nuclear waste, then the cost is astronomical! But the developers only figure the cost of developing it and assume that the rest of us will pay the cost of ‘disposing’ of the waste. (It can’t be disposed of.)

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