Top Nuclear Stories Oct (27th – 30th)

radbullWow! This is the 2nd to last version of the bulletin before the election. Let’s hope we make it through to election day with no big last minute surprises! One of the more interesting stories to hit is out of Japan where vitrified waste appears to be failing.  There are growing concerns about Pakistan becoming a failed nuclear state.  The UK nuclear push continues to draw a lot of controversy including a push to build a n-waste incinerator.  And the fallout over a new censorship scandal along with the big weapons push now coming from the DOD’s Gates and the Air Force, calling to restart nuclear testing has hit Russia in the face and China.  Puttin has called for the two countries to stop all transactions between the two countries that use the U.S. dollar. With the story that Bush is planning a whole series of last minute attacks on regulatory activity across the entire US government, it is critical that online resources to document these coming policy shifts be prepared for!

The NRC’s failure to inform Utah about Energy Solution’s importation of n-waste from around the world has the state pissed off. Lester Brown’s press conference on nuclear actually made it into the Baltimore Chronicle!  Groups from four states are coming together to fight uranium mining. ORNL has announced its coming up on $1 billion in compensation payments to workers. INEL has a whistleblower suit on its hands.  A partnership between Bechtel and Areva is taking over management of Yucca Mtn. As always, there are quite a few other stories on nuclear as well as other energy stories.


November 7th is the last day for making comments on the NRC’s Generic EIS plan for ISL uranium mining.  This is the online link where you can make comments for the GEIS or any other federal action. 

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News Tribe concerned about license renewal
An attorney for the Prairie Island Indian Community voiced the community’s concerns regarding the renewal license for the nearby Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant during a hearing on Wednesday in Hastings, Minn., in front of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s atomic safety and licensing board.

Northern States Power Co. manages Xcel Energy Services, which owns the nuclear plant and hopes to extend operations at the Prairie Island plant for another 20 years and increase the number of on-site storage containers for nuclear waste.

The Flawed Economics of Nuclear Power |
Over the last few years the nuclear industry has used concerns about climate change to argue for a nuclear revival. Although industry representatives may have convinced some political leaders that this is a good idea, there is little evidence of private capital investing in nuclear plants in competitive electricity markets. The reason is simple: nuclear power is uneconomical.

In an excellent recent analysis, The Nuclear Illusion, Amory B. Lovins and Imran Sheikh put the cost of electricity from a new nuclear power plant at 14¢ per kilowatt hour and that from a wind farm at 7¢ per kilowatt hour.

Standardized nuclear plant design eluding utility firms – Triangle Business Journal:
The nuclear plant design favored for new plants by Progress Energy, Duke Energy and three other utilities is the subject of multiple design changes that energy industry watchdogs say undermine the concept of a pre-certified design and could delay the construction of new reactors while adding billions to the cost.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified the plant design of Westinghouse Electric Co.’s AP1000 at the end of 2005. Pre-certification was intended to help streamline an approvals process that takes years before plant construction even begins.

Nuclear Power: Economics Are Just Not There: Lester Brown, Earth Policy Institute : TreeHugger
n a press conference call yesterday that’s how Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute described nuclear power, the economics are just not there. In the hour long briefing Brown went on to describe the myriad challenges facing expanding nuclear power and, the real, serious environmental issues aside, how it simply does not make financial sense compared to investing in renewable energy. Here’s the rundown on Brown’s argument:

Activists rally for a nuclear-free Vermont – Brattleboro Reformer
The Brattleboro Common transformed from a picturesque, quiet corner of the town into a festival of grassroots activism Saturday during the Nuclear Free Jubilee.

Hundreds of residents turned out for the event, hoping to push the state closer toward a clean, renewable energy future and fuel a drive toward “green collar” jobs and industries.

The nuclear free event was sponsored by the localized campaign known as Safe and Green, which looks to highlight the public support for closing the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant located in Vernon when the original license expires in the next four years.

“This is a unique moment for Vermont,” said Ellen Kaye, Safe and Green coordinator within Vermont. She estimated about 1,000 people participated in the day’s events.

Objections to nuclear plant’s license renewal to be heard
Federal regulators will be in the Twin Cities this week concerning the Prairie Island nuclear plant’s effort to have its license renewed and a challenge to that renewal by the Prairie Island Indian Community.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board will hear oral arguments Wednesday in Hastings regarding the application for a license renewal for an additional 20 years of operation at the Xcel Energy plant near Red Wing. | AECL touts its China reactors
Nuclear plant designer is hoping that praise from China can improve its fortunes at home

Nuclear reactor designer Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. is hoping that high praise from China can improve its fortunes in the West.

Top AECL officials attended an event early Thursday morning in the Zhejiang province to mark the fifth anniversary of the Qinshan Phase III nuclear mega-project. It was in 2003 when the second of two Candu 6 reactors built by AECL began generating electricity from uranium fuel.

Canada’s nuclear power play
Ontario must build at least $15-billion worth of nuclear plants to back out of dirty coal and better meet power growth requirements for the next few generations.

This major contract is to be awarded in March and three rivals are in the running: Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), which is 100% owned by Ottawa, Toshiba (formerly the nuclear division of Westinghouse) and Areva, the world’s biggest nuclear company, 90% owned by France.

MP accuses Government of nuclear cover-up – WalesOnline
A WELSH Labour MP has accused the UK Government of covering up a deal that will land taxpayers with a multi-billion- pound liability in the event of a nuclear accident while a private consortium will reap the profits.

Newport West MP Paul Flynn discovered that details of a contract to privatise the management of waste from the controversial Sellafield nuclear power station in Cumbria should have been placed in the House of Commons library in July. If they had been, MPs would have had 14 days in which to raise questions about the deal.

True cost of French power – News
Neil Craig (Letters, 23 October) gives a figure of 1.3p per kilowatt hour for the cost of French electricity. This is as dishonest as many of the statements of nuclear advocates. The French tariff is complicated and depends on your connection rating, the time of day and three different day “colours” announced day to day, depending on expected demand. An excellent explanation can be found on Google.
For the typical example of 3000kWh at the cheap rate, 2000kWh normal rate, plus the connection charge for 9kW, the total was 0.11 per kilowatt hour in 2004 . Can Mr Craig say where he got the 1.3p figure?

The Morung Express – The limits of nuclear power
John McCain has called for building 45 new nuclear power plants by 2030 and 100 eventually. Barack Obama’s Web site says, “It is unlikely that we can meet our aggressive climate goals if we eliminate nuclear power from the table.” But to what extent can nuclear power really help achieve energy independence? There’s a problem about nuclear energy that gets little attention. At present, fossil fuels provide 87 percent of the world’s total energy while nuclear power plants provide just 4.8 percent. (All nuclear power plants currently generate electricity, accounting for about 15 percent of world electricity generation, while fossil fuels produce almost 67 percent of the electricity.)

The best estimates put the amount of uranium that can be mined economically (what geologists call the reserves) at about 5.5 million metric tons, and according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, today’s nuclear power plants use 70,000 metric tons a year of uranium. At this rate of use, the uranium that could be mined economically would last about 80 years.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Indian Point fights DEC in court over cooling towers| The Journal News
Indian Point is taking its case on cooling towers to court.

The nuclear plant’s owners are battling the state Department of Environmental Conservation to determine whether they must construct special towers to cool Hudson River water used to produce electricity.

The cost to build the concrete towers has been estimated as high as $1.5 billion.

Company officials say studies on fish in the river that they’ve done for more than two decades – under the supervision of the state agency – don’t make the environmental case for such a large-scale change.

Fire revealed nuclear arsenal problems | fire, command, problems :
A fire in a Wyoming missile silo last spring exposed more problems in the oversight of the nation’s nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile arsenal, but posed no threat of nuclear detonation or radiation release, Air Force Space Command said Thursday.

The command, headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base, released an accident investigation report Thursday on the silo, which caused more than $1 million in damage.
It had made no previous announcement of the incident.

Watchdogs to Congress: Enforce Fire Safety Rules or Shut Down Nuclear Plants
All U.S. plants are in violation even though fire is 50% of meltdown risk WASHINGTON, DC Deliberate bureaucratic negligence has left millions of Americans exposed to unnecessarily high risks from fire hazards at the nation’s nuclear power reactors for more than a decade, and Congress must demand either the enforcement of fire protection regulations or the suspension of operating licenses. That’s according to three watchdog organizations that today sent a new report, Fire When NOT Ready, to eight congressional committee chairs. | Review gives ‘adequate’ grade to EEOICP
Terrie Barrie of the Alliance of Nuclear Worker Advocacy Groups passed along a link for an OMB assessment of the Energy Employees Occupational Illnesss Compensation Program. It’s part of

The program’s overall grade was “Adequate,” with scores of 60 percent for program purpose and design; 50 percent for strategic planning; 86 percent for program management; and 53 percent for program results/accountability. The review was done in 2007. Here’s the link.

The Government Accountability Office is currently conducting an assessment of the compensation program, which has been dogged by criticism and controversy.

Calls to check atom test veterans’ children – Sunderland Echo
Calls have been made for relations of Britain’s nuclear test veterans to be checked for potential genetic damage.

North Durham MP Kevan Jones will consider researching the possible damage caused to children and grandchildren of those exposed to radiation 50 years ago.

His pledge comes after a House of Commons debate that revealed similar research in New Zealand found that effects had been passed down generations.

CBO Reports on Marshall Islands Supplemental Nuclear Compensation Bill :: Everything Marshall Islands : A bill to “provide supplemental ex gratia compensation to the Republic of the Marshall Islands for impacts of the nuclear testing program of the United States, and for other purposes” was reported and placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders, Calendar No. 976, on September 16, 2008. The cost estimate, completed last week by the Congressional Budget Office(CBO), follows:

S. 1756 would amend the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 and the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. The legislation would appropriate $4.5 million annually (plus adjustments for inflation) over the 2009-2023 period to supplement health care in communities affected by the U.S. nuclear testing program. In addition, under S. 1756, workers employed at nuclear test sites would be eligible for compensation and medical benefits. Finally, the legislation would require monitoring of a specific nuclear test site.

CBO estimates that enacting this bill would increase direct spending by $7 million in 2009, $31 million over the 2009-2013 period, and $57 million over the 2009-2018 period. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues. We estimate that additional administrative costs would total less than $300,000 annually over the 2009-2013 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary funds.

S. 1756 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) and would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal governments.


PPL declares unusual event at its Susquehanna plant
Both units at PPL’s 2,360-MW Susquehanna nuclear plant in northeastern Pennsylvania were continuing to run at full power Monday afternoon after the operators reported an unusual event at Unit 2’s pump room. The company declared an alert, the second-lowest of four emergency classifications established by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. | Tennessee nearing $1B in sick worker compensation
According to the latest statistics on the Dept. of Labor’s Website for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program, claimants from Tennessee have received a total of $911,110,674 in compensation and medical bills paid. That’s largely due, of course, to worker claims related to the government’s Oak Ridge nuclear facilities (particularly K-25, Y-12, and ORNL).

The total is far and away the most of any state, although it’s certainly not a stat to be proud of. It means a lot of people got sick working in Oak Ridge.

Results in on beryllium disease: Knoxville News Sentinel
New study of Y-12 employees blames exposure, genetics

OAK RIDGE – Results from a new study involving beryllium workers at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant reinforce what’s long been conjectured about the cause of beryllium disease – it’s likely a combination of a person’s genetics and his or her exposures to the toxic metal.

“Genetics loads the gun, but the environment pulls the trigger,” Dr. Lisa Maier, a physician at National Jewish Health in Denver and leader of the project, said Monday at Y-12’s New Hope Center.

Theater: ‘Exposed’ spreads anti-nuke message
A year ago, the world premiere of Plan B Theatre’s “Exposed” dramatized for Salt Lake City audiences the human consequences of nuclear history. More specifically, the effects of 928 nuclear bombs detonated in the Nevada desert between 1951 and 1992.
On its first anniversary the play is extending its reach, thanks to a five-city Utah tour that kicks off in Ogden on Nov. 6.

Strontium not being ‘dumped’ into river | The Journal News
A Sept. 29 letter published in your paper (“Dumping strontium into river dangerous”) needs correcting. When Entergy purchased the Indian Point nuclear power plants several years ago, it made a commitment to remove all the used fuel from the old Unit 1 reactor (which was shut down in 1974 by then-owner Consolidated Edison). Strontium-90, a radioactive nuclide, has been identified in groundwater samples near the plant, and this was unacceptable to Entergy. The removal of this fuel now means that the source of the contaminant is removed.

Alert over after nitrogen leak at Pa. nuke plant | AP |
PPL says an alert is over at the Susquehanna nuclear plant in northeastern Pennsylvania after oxygen levels returned to normal in a pump room following a nitrogen leak.

The Allentown-based utility says a worker fixing a water line was evacuated Monday morning after higher-than-acceptable levels of nitrogen were detected inside the room. The worker had been using a device containing the gas at the time.

PPL says workers used the plant’s ventilation system and fans to return oxygen levels to normal. They were then able to get into the room and shut off the source of the nitrogen, and the alert ended at 5:26 p.m.

Gas explosion at Exelon Ill. nuke plant outbuilding | Reuters
A gas explosion rocked an outbuilding near Exelon Corp’s 1,734-megawatt Quad Cities nuclear power plant in Illinois early Monday, the company said in a release.

There were no injuries to plant personnel, no damage to equipment and at no time was there any concern for the health and safety of the public, the company said, adding there was no radiological release.

Man kept radioactive materials in warehouse (The Daily Yomiuri)
A man was found to have kept a massive amount of radioactive synthetic resins in a warehouse in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo, according to the Education, Science and Technology Ministry.

Because the man failed to take the legal procedures required to store radioactive materials, the ministry is questioning him on suspicion of violating a law on the possession of radioactive substances.

The man reportedly kept 150,000 pieces of Bakelite measuring three centimeters by three centimeters by five millimeters and weighing 14 grams each.

The Act–Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA)

* Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005–EEOICPA Reform Sections
this document in PDF PDF 924 KB (38 pages)

* The Act–Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000 (EEOICPA), as Amended
this document in PDF PDF 202 KB (35 pages)

* Executive Order 13179

UCLA researchers use Scotch tape to produce X-rays – Los Angeles Times
n an unexpected finding that could have applications in medicine and elsewhere, UCLA researchers have found that unspooling a simple roll of Scotch tape produces X-rays — enough to produce clear images of their fingers.

Swedish regulator confirms receiving nuclear safety reports
The Swedish nuclear safety regulator said Friday it had received letters it requested from the country’s nuclear power plant operators confirming their plants were safe to continue operating. “We have received the letter from the licensees and are currently evaluating their statements,” a spokesman for the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority told Platts in an email. Cracks were recently discovered in the control rods at the 1,155 MW Oskarshamn-3 nuclear reactor while it was undergoing maintenance. The 1,170 MW Forsmark-3 reactor, of the same type of design as Oskarshamn-3, was then shut down for checks.


NRC News

NRC – River Bend Application for New Reactor Available on NRC Web Site
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made available to the public the combined license (COL) application for a new reactor at the River Bend site near Baton Rouge, La.

The applicant, Entergy, submitted the application and associated information Sept. 25. The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at:

The Entergy application seeks approval to build and operate an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the site, approximately 24 miles northwest of Baton Rouge. The ESBWR is a General Electric-designed, 1,500 MWe natural-circulation boiling water reactor that incorporates passive safety systems. The NRC is currently reviewing the design for possible certification. More information on this design is available on the NRC Web site at:

NRC: Bell Bend Application for New Reactor Available on NRC Web Site
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has made available to the public the combined license (COL) application for a new reactor at the Bell Bend site near Berwick, Pa.

The applicant, PPL Bell Bend, submitted the application and associated information Oct. 13. The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at:

The PPL application seeks approval to build and operate an Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR) at the site, about seven miles southeast of Berwick. The EPR is an Areva-designed pressurized water reactor, with a nominal output of approximately 1,600 megawatts of electricity. Areva filed its application to certify the design on Dec. 11, 2007. 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:

FR: NRC Nine Mile Point 3 COL
Nine Mile Point 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and Unistar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC (Unistar); Notice of Receipt and Availability of Application for a Combined License On September 30, 2008, Nine Mile Point 3 Nuclear Project, LLC and UniStar Nuclear Operating Services, LLC (UniStar) filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the Commission) pursuant to Section 103 of the Atomic Energy Act and Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 52, “Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants,” an application for a combined license (COL) for an evolutionary power reactor (US EPR) nuclear power plant adjacent to the existing Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station, Unit 1 and Unit 2, Oswego County, New York. The reactor is to be identified as Nine Mile Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant (NMP3NPP).


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

No MOX slated for Oconee plant | The Greenville News
Duke Energy doesn’t plan to use nuclear reactor fuel made from converted weapons-grade plutonium at its Oconee reactors, a spokeswoman has told The Greenville News.

But Duke, the only American utility to use the mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel in its reactors, does plan to use MOX in two of its other nuclear plants once the MOX factory at the Savannah River Site near Aiken begins production, said Rita Sipe, a Duke spokeswoman.

Whitehaven News: MP anger at 30- year indemnity for N-plant firms
THE private consortium taking over Sellafield has been given a government insurance indemnity against any major insurance or damages claim.

And the taxpayer-backed cover note will extend 30 years into the future.

But a Labour MP has described the deal as an outrage in that MPs were denied time to debate the matter. Details were posted in the House of Commons library after the deal was signed with Sellafield’s new parent, Nuclear Management Partners.

TheChadronNews – Regional groups unite to oppose uranium mining
Environmental activists from a four-state area met near Chadron last weekend to discuss their objections to the rapid expansion of uranium mining in the region, and to plan strategies to advance their cause.

The meeting, hosted by the Western Nebraska Resources Council (WNRC), was held in Chadron because of its proximity to the Crow Butte Resources in-situ leach (ISL) uranium mine, which is already in the process of permitting one major expansion and has two more in planning stages.

Participanting groups included the Powder River Basin Resource Council, from Wyoming, ACTion for the Environment from South Dakota’s Black Hills, the Black Hills chapter of the Sierra Club, Defenders of the Black Hills, Owe Aku/Bring Back the Way, a Lakota cultural group, and Coloradoans Against Resource Destruction.

NM Environmental Law Center: Cost Analysis of Uranium Mining in New Mexico Shows No Economic Boon
In a response to the industry’s exaggerated claims that renewed uranium mining would be a multi-billion dollar economic bonanza for New Mexico and the Grants area, the Law Center commissioned Dr. Thomas M. Power to evaluate the true economic impacts of uranium mining in New Mexico. The result is the only independently reviewed analysis of the subject in New Mexico entitled An Economic Evaluation of a Renewed Uranium Mining Boom in New Mexico.

Alaska’s Youth Protest to Gov. Palin and the State of Alaska Against Uranium Mining
Through covert dealings, Gov. Sarah Palin, State Dept. of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management, the Alaska and U.S. senators and representatives and an ANCSA corporation entrusted with the security and health of their constituents have accepted the lease proposal to explore for uranium at the Fireweed/Boulder Creek area located in southwestern Seward Peninsula, without the knowledge, consent nor approval of the citizens of Western Alaska.

When students of Elim, Alaska first realized this, they began researching the effects of uranium mining and created educational posters to share what they learned. A community meeting was organized in Elim to share their findings and garner support to protest this action. The community responded favorably and in March 2007, demonstrated when the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race went through their town.


Nuclear Waste News

Rokkasho plant yields troubling nuke surprise | The Japan Times Online
Some of the highly radioactive vitrified nuclear waste being churned out by the fuel reprocessing plant in the village of Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, has been found to contain unexpected highly soluble chemical compounds that are escaping the vitrification process as liquids, Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. said Thursday.

VPR Regional News: Vt Yankee decommissioning may have to wait 60 years
The owner of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant says it will have to wait almost 60 years before it has enough money to decommission the plant.

Faced with that lengthy timeline, lawmakers are likely to try again to force Yankee to set aside funds for decommissioning.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) As the stock market has plummeted in recent months, so has the value of the Vermont Yankee decommissioning fund. It’s worth around $397 million these days. But the expected cost of decommissioning is around $875 million.

URS-Led Team Selected to Manage Yucca Mountain Project
URS Corporation (NYSE: URS) today announced that a team led by the Company has been awarded a contract by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada. The team would manage a scope of work with a maximum value of approximately $2.5 billion, if all options are exercised. The performance based, cost-plus award-fee contract will cover a five-year base performance period, with an additional five-year option.

The URS-led team, USA Repository Services, LLC, includes the Washington Division of URS, Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure, Inc., and AREVA Federal Services, Inc. USA Repository Services, LLC, will be responsible for completing the detailed design of a nuclear waste repository, defending and updating a license application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), operating Yucca Mountain facilities prior to the NRC’s Construction Authorization, and supporting construction management and operation of the Yucca Mountain repository.

Whitehaven News: Plans unveiled for waste incinerator
LAND next to Sellafield may be earmarked for a giant incinerator to burn both low-level nuclear waste and domestic waste from across Cumbria and beyond.

A conference on the Energy Coast at Penrith on Friday heard that a business plan is in the advanced stages for the incinerator and its railhead on greenfield land on the Gosforth side of Sellafield.

Barry Watkinson, delivery manager for external innovation for Sellafield Ltd, said the low-level waste repository had to move on from its current antiquated approach of burying waste in containers and vaults at Drigg. He added that Sellafield already had a combined heat and power plant that needs replacing in five to six years’ time… this is the opportunity to look at a different approach and get energy from waste.

Time and Date: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. November 7, 2008. Place: Harrisburg Hilton and Towers, One North Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101. Status: The meeting will be open to the public. However, the executive session will be closed to the public. Matters To Be Considered: Portions Open To the Public: The primary purpose of this meeting is to (1) Review the independent auditors’ report of Commission’s financial statements for fiscal year 2007-2008; (2) Review the Low- Level Radioactive Waste (LLRW) generation information for 2007; (3) Consider a proposal budget for fiscal year 2009-2010; (4) Review regional and national issues regarding LLRW storage, management and disposal; and (5) Elect the Commission’s Officers.

Huntsman chides feds on foreign N-waste; challenger says Guv asleep at wheel – Salt Lake Tribune
Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said Tuesday that federal regulators failed Utah by letting radioactive waste from foreign countries be disposed of in the EnergySolutions landfill.
“Shame on the United States for doing that,” Huntsman said during a gubernatorial debate.

“The United States government did not inform our regulators and did not inform the Northwest Compact,” the regional body that regulates radioactive waste, Huntsman said. “Shame on them.”

Deseret News | Compact, Utah seek say with NRC on foreign waste
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission now knows what path Utah wants it to follow as the NRC considers present and future license applications to dispose of any foreign generated low-level radioactive waste at EnergySolutions’ Clive facility in Tooele County.

“They need to be attune to the fact that we need to be notified,” said Bill Sinclair, who represents Utah on the Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management. The compact once again discussed foreign-waste imports at its meeting last week in Portland.

Cold War era radioactive wastes leaving Nevada Test Site – Las Vegas Sun
Treating radioactive wastes lingering from the Cold War era when the United States experimented with nuclear weapons at the Nevada Test Site is in its final chapter, the National Nuclear Security Administration said today.

Since completing 48 shipments involving 1,860 55-gallon drums of what’s known as “transuranic,” or TRU, wastes from the Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. In November 2005, Nevada is preparing another 58 oversized boxes for disposal.

BBC NEWS | UK| Plans for nuclear dump considered
Proposals are being considered for an underground nuclear waste disposal site in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council is considering “expressing an interest” in a formal government process to find a suitable location for a nuclear waste dump.

But council chiefs stressed they were not committing to a site and any plan would be subject to the scrutiny of a full public consultation.

Around 70% of the UK’s high level nuclear waste is stored at Sellafield.

Under the radar: Canada’s, Mexico’s radioactive waste comes into Utah – Salt Lake Tribune
Federal regulators gave their blessing to low-level radioactive waste from Canada and Mexico that is now buried in Utah.
But Utah never got the memo. Nor did the regional radioactive waste oversight organization Utah belongs to.
That foreign waste could be imported into Utah without the knowledge of state and regional officials might seem hard to believe in such a highly regulated business as radioactive waste. But federal regulators saw no reason to keep Utah in the loop on such small shipments. – Utah left out of loop with radioactive waste buried here
Nuclear waste from Canada and Mexico is buried in Utah, and state regulators didn’t even know.

Gov. Huntsman says the shipment of low-level nuclear waste into Utah by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is shameful. Today he’s vowing it won’t happen again.

Federal regulators granted two waste disposal licenses to a Mexican nuclear power plant and one for Canadian waste between 2004 and 2006, but no one bothered to notify Utah.

Radioactive sieve: Compact tries to close loophole for foreign waste – Salt Lake Tribune
The Northwest Interstate Compact on Low-level Radioactive Waste Management isn’t much of a doorman.

For years, the compact thought it was guarding against shipments of foreign radioactive waste into the eight-state region, which includes Utah.

Meanwhile, Envirocare, now EnergySolutions, has been using the back door to bypass the regional regulators, doing a brisk business in imported radioactive waste at its nuclear garbage dump in Tooele County.

Mexico, Canada, Great Britain. Germany, Taiwan, France. That’s a list of our “friends” who have foisted a combined 1,883 tons of their radioactive garbage on our state over the past eight years with a helping hand from profit-driven EnergySolutions.

Maybe we should be burying more than our nuclear waste – San Bernardino County Sun
The latest news about the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository has left me feeling a little down in the dumps.

New federal guidelines, announced this month, mandate that the facility be capable of securing highly radioactive nuclear waste for a period of one million years.

A previous standard of only 10,000 years was deemed to be insufficient.

Permit change reduces sampling, analysis rules at several WIPP site locations – Carlsbad Current-Argus
A permit change at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will allow the Department of Energy to eliminate continued sampling and analysis at 15 WIPP site locations.

The New Mexico Environment Department approved the Class 3 permit modification, according to a news release. The DOE has sampled data at the 15 locations over the past decade, and all information has indicated that the areas pose no risk to human health or the environment. The locations include an evaporation pond, a material storage area and a number of mud pits constructed for exploratory boreholes.

Iraq environment scarred by deadly waste of war» Kuwait Times Website
BAGHDAD: Long after the shooting and bombing stops, Iraqis will still be dying from the war. Destroyed factories have become untended hazardous waste sites, leaking poison into the water and the soil. Forests in the north and palm groves in the south have been obliterated to remove the enemy’s hiding places.

Rivers are salted, water is contaminated with sewage, and land is strewn with mines, unexploded bombs, chemical waste, rubble and trash. “When we talk about it, people may think we are overreacting. But in fact the environmental catastrophe that we inherited in Iraq is even worse than it sounds,” Iraqi Environment Minister Nermeen Othman said in an interview. “War destroys countries’ environments, not just their people. War and its effects have led to changes in the social, economic and environmental fabri
c,” she said. “It will take centuries to restore the natural environment of Iraq.


Nuclear Policy News

FR: BUSH: INDIA US nuclear treaty certification
Presidential Determination No. 2009-6 of October 20, 2008 Certifications Pursuant to the United States- India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act (Public Law 110-369) Memorandum for the Secretary of State Pursuant to section 102(c) and section 204(a) of the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act, I hereby certify that:

Challenges dog nuclear option, despite low carbon benefits – Personal Computer World
Politicians may be sold on nuclear as a vital component in a low carbon energy mix. But as Danny Bradbury discovers a nuclear renaissance is no cast iron certainty.

The world is choking on carbon. We’re entering an energy-constrained economy as consumers and businesses alike begin to wonder where their next electron is coming from.

No wonder, then, that French company EDF recently agreed to take over the British nuclear industry by purchasing British Energy for £12.5bn. The purchase gives it access to all but two of the country’s nuclear power plants, which will in any case shut down in 2010.

McCain comment on nuclear power draws fire
I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who found it odd that GOP presidential hopeful John McCain, in recalling Democrat Barack Obama’s position on nuclear energy, as:

It has to be safe. Environment. Blah, blah, blah.

After this remark, the crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, went wild.

Blah, blah, blah? I write it almost every day as a placeholder when I’m setting up a blog post. But coming from a presidential candidate? And getting applause? This is great oratory?

Nuclear power no cure-all for poor nations | Reuters
Nuclear energy is undergoing a worldwide renaissance, but poor nations yearning to develop need to realize that it is no panacea to profound poverty, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

After the 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, many governments questioned the value of nuclear power. Some European countries, like Austria and Germany, decided to wean themselves off nuclear energy.

The Nuclear Deal and all its Flaws
Energy security, alternative fuels, independence, politics, technology transfers, energy contracts and money…these are the issues that need to be assessed before arriving at a decision in the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. It is by no means simple!.

AS A re-growing and a re-emerging economy, India must and is rightly thinking about ways to ensure, the continued availability of energy in the years to come. However, it is possible to do the right thing in a wrong way.

Considering options other than oil is the right thing to do. Moving to nuclear power as one of the principal sources of future energy is surely not.

Energy Bangla – Challenges for Nuclear Power Expansion
Global construction of nuclear reactors is rising after a decades-long decline. A number of factors account for this shift, including soaring energy demand in the developing world and the threat of climate change. Most of the new interest in nuclear is occurring outside the United States. Some U.S. policymakers argue nuclear power is a vital part of the country’s energy future. But despite legislative efforts and a softening of attitudes toward nuclear power, the U.S. industry has been slow to revive. In fact, nuclear power faces a number of significant obstacles to expansion worldwide, from manpower shortages to high construction costs.

N-power debate at crossroads / Falling oil prices, poor research results cast doubt on industry’s future  (The Daily Yomiuri)
The government’s Atomic Energy Commission began looking into how the country’s nuclear energy research should proceed in August because of a recent change in the circumstances surrounding nuclear energy.

For about 20 years, the nuclear energy industry experienced continuous misfortune and opposition.

However, its fortunes began to change in 2001, when the U.S. government started building more nuclear power plants. More recently, in Japan, former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said nuclear energy was an energy source for a low carbon society.


Nuclear Weapons News

USA to resume nuclear tests to save its Cold War stockpile from decline – Pravda.Ru
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes the United States needs to resume its nuclear tests. The US needs to take steps to transform an ageing and very expensive complex of nuclear weapons from the Cold War era to a smaller and less costly enterprise that could meet the nation’s security needs for the future.

He said the current nuclear stockpile has been re-engineered to extend its life span, but such extensions cannot continue indefinitely. Without a modernization program, Gates said, the long-term outlook for the arsenal is “bleak.”

Pakistan – a nuclear power on the brink of collapse? : Asia World
Some feel reminded of Kabul, or even Baghdad in the most dangerous times during the insurgency. Since a truck loaded with 600 kilograms of explosives was rammed into the Marriott hotel near the National Assembly building five weeks ago and killed dozens, Pakistan’s capital Islamabad has been on high alert. The barricaded government district increasingly resembles a no-go zone. Concrete blocks along Constitution Avenue slow cars down to little more than walking speed, with police checkpoints set up at short distances from each other. Heavily armed security forces patrol side streets.

Officials plan to erect a 15-kilometre concrete wall around Pakistan’s centre of power, sealing off the ministries, parliament, the Supreme Court and an enclave of foreign embassies.

AFP: Gates calls for modernization of US nuclear arsenal
US Defense Secretary Robert Gates called Tuesday for the modernization of the US nuclear arsenal to strengthen deterrence at a time when Russia and China are upgrading their nuclear weapons.

“Currently, the United States is the only declared nuclear power that is neither modernizing its nuclear arsenal nor has the capability to produce a new nuclear weapon,” he said in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.

Nuke missile silo fire went undetected – Military-
A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn’t find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.

The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.

Defense Chief: Give Us New Nukes, or Else | Danger Room from
The U.S. needs new nukes. That’s the message Pentagon chief Robert Gates is delivering right now, as part of a broad, spirited defense of America’s nuclear arsenal.

Congress and the Bush administration have been wrestling for years over the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead  the next generation of nuclear weapon designs. Lawmakers have had the upper hand in the match, eliminating funding for RRW. Today, in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Gates looks to scramble back on top, with a dire warning to Capitol Hill.

BBC NEWS | UK | Dozens arrested at nuclear demo
More than 30 people were arrested when anti-nuclear protesters blocked entrances at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) in Berkshire.

Campaigners said hundreds of people gathered at Aldermaston to mark the start of World Disarmament Week.

They are concerned the facilities are used to design and manufacture a new generation of nuclear warheads. Short film tells dark tale of nuclear winter
Award-winning Frozen Seed screens Nov. 6

Imagine a frozen wasteland where food is scarce and winter is permanent. A nuclear war has forced survivors to seek refuge underground. A buried seed cache lays somewhere in the ruins of modern society and scientists are racing against a totalitarian regime, trying to find it.

It’s a compelling tale told in just under 10 minutes by producers Tim Bissell and Craig Watkins.


Department of Energy News

Fort Mill Times – Nuclear employee files whistle-blower lawsuit – Fort Mill, SC
An employee at a nuclear facility in eastern Idaho has filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in federal court, contending her employer retaliated against her for reporting safety violations.

Lea Ann Allen earlier this month sued CWI, which is cleaning up radioactive waste at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory.

The lawsuit alleges that safety violations Allen reported included shipping contaminated materials, exposing workers to radiation, and using faulty equipment to measure radiation exposure.

DOE to check for contaminants in Columbia River | Tri-City Herald

Work has begun to collect about 1,200 samples to check for possible contaminants, a process that will help drive the final decisions on cleaning up Hanford along the Columbia River.

Workers are collecting samples of river water, soil on Hanford islands, sediment from the river and fish to test for evidence of contaminants that might be linked to the past production of plutonium at Hanford for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

“After the sampling we’ll know where and what the contaminants are and who or what might be exposed to them,” said Jamie Zeisloft, the Department of Energy project lead. |The Bechtel Jacobs pension picture
As of Sept. 30, 2008, the total assets in the BJC pension fund for grandfathered employees were $219 million, according to info provided by Bechtel Jacobs.

“The pension plan is not fully funded at this time,” Bechtel Jacobs said, but declined to put a percentage on it. Company spokesman Dennis Hill said the company was meeting its requirements.

“For a multi-employer plan, the funding regulations require a minimum funding level of 80%,” BJC said in a statement. “As required under federal law, all multi-employer plans must provide an annual funding notice to the participants of the pension plant, which will be done in the next few weeks.”

There are 2,114 participants or beneficiaries covered by the plan


Other Energy News

New Energy Economy Emerging in the United States: ENN
“As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging in the United States,  says Lester R. Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute, in a recent release, “New Energy Economy Emerging in the United States. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced by one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even a year ago.

Peak Energy: Obama’s Number One Priority – Revamping the Energy System
Obama seems to understand part of the nature of the energy problem (unlike the morons in the “drill, baby, drill” crowd), with a recent interview with Time touching on some of the problems with industrial agriculture – Swampland.

I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollan about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it’s creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they’re contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That’s just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board.

POWER Magazine: DOI to open up 190 million acres of federal land for geothermal development
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) last week announced plans to allow geothermal drilling in more than 190 million acres of federal land, spanning 12 Western states. Dirk Kempthorne, secretary of the interior, said that the proposed initiative could increase geothermal power production in the U.S. tenfold.

“Geothermal energy will play a key role in powering America’s energy future, and 90 percent of our nation’s geothermal resources are found on Federal lands,” Kempthorne said. “Facilitating their leasing and development under environmentally sound regulations is crucial to supplying the secure, clean energy American homes and businesses need.”

Powered by olive stones? Turning waste stones into fuel
Olive stones can be turned into bioethanol, a renewable fuel that can be produced from plant matter and used as an alternative to petrol or diesel. This gives the olive processing industry an opportunity to make valuable use of 4 million tonnes of waste in olive stones it generates every year and sets a precedent for the recycling of waste products as fuels. Researchers from the Universities of Japan and Granada in Spain show how this can be achieved in a study published in the latest edition of the Society of Chemical Industry’s (SCI) Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology.

A Last Push To Deregulate –
The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms.

The Car that Runs on Air and Magnets | Environmental Graffiti
With fuel prices rising and supplies dwindling, more and more inventors are turning their creativity towards cars that work without the need for barrels of gasoline. True, there have been a number of vehicles released that run on electricity but now designers are turning to another precious resource air.

It’s not a new concept, as early as the 1920s, car designers were dabbling with the idea of cars that could run off air alone one involved cycling air through a propeller at the front of the car but few came to fruition. Now, designers are again looking at how air can be used to power a car.

Nine Percent | Post Carbon Institute:
The Financial Times has leaked the results of the International Energy Agency’s long-awaited study of the depletion profiles of the world’s 400 largest oilfields, indicating that, “Without extra investment to raise production, the natural annual rate of output decline is 9.1 per cent.”

This is a stunning figure.

Considering regular crude oil only, this means that 6.825 million barrels a day of new production capacity must come on line each year just to keep up with the aggregate natural decline rate in existing oilfields. That’s a new Saudi Arabia every 18 months.

First Solar jumps into residential rooftop market – Green Wombat
In a move that will bring thin-film solar panels to the U.S. residential market, First Solar has signed a deal to provide installer SolarCity with 100 megawatts’ worth of solar arrays over the next five years. First Solar is also investing $25 million into SolarCity, the Silicon Valley startup backed by Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk.

This is First Solar’s initial foray into the home market  and apparently the first of any thin-film solar module maker. Thin-film solar panels are made by depositing solar cells on sheets of glass or flexible material and use little of the expensive silicon that forms the heart of more bulky conventional solar modules. That makes thin-film panels cheaper, although they are less efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. And thin is in for homeowners who prefer less-obtrusive panels on their roofs.

Shell announces huge rise in profits – The Independent
Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell today joined the profits bonanza from record prices with a 71 per cent jump in third-quarter earnings.

The firm made a mammoth 10.9 billion US dollars (£6.6 billion) between July and September – a period when oil prices hit a peak above 147 dollars a barrel.

The news, which is likely to spark fresh calls for a windfall tax, comes two days after rival BP posted its biggest-ever quarterly profits of £6.4 billion.

Air-Powered Car Coming to U.S. in 2009 to 2010 – Zero Pollution Motors – 1000-Mile Range – Popular Mechanics
The Air Car caused a huge stir when we reported last year that Tata Motors would begin producing it in India. Now the little gas-free ride that could is headed Stateside in a big-time way.

Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM) confirmed to on Thursday that it expects to produce the world’s first air-powered car for the United States by late 2009 or early 2010. As the U.S. licensee for Luxembourg-based MDI, which developed the Air Car as a compression-based alternative to the internal combustion engine, ZPM has attained rights to build the first of several modular plants, which are likely to begin manufacturing in the Northeast and grow for regional production around the country, at a clip of up to 10,000 Air Cars per year.

The Associated Press: Palin calls for break from Bush energy policy
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Wednesday called for a “clean break” from the Bush administration’s energy policies, which she says rely too much on importing foreign oil.

In a policy speech, the Alaska governor said the recent drop in gas and oil prices shouldn’t deter consumers and lawmakers from seeking alternative energy sources. She cast energy independence as a national security issue, saying dependence on oil from the Middle East made the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorist threats.

Palin: McCain Won’t Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions | | AlterNet
Sarah Palin just helped clarify McCain’s double-talk on global warming: He doesn’t think the government should do anything to stop it.

Voters who care about either global warming or clean energy have only one choice — and it isn’t McCain-Palin.

It’s time to stop trying to guess whether the latest McCain campaign gaffe revision on global warming means the Arizonan has walked away from his previous support for mandatory government control of greenhouse gases. He has.

PickensPlan: The Plan: America is addicted to foreign oil
It’s an addiction that threatens our economy, our environment and our national security. It touches every part of our daily lives and ties our hands as a nation and a people.

The addiction has worsened for decades and now it’s reached a point of crisis.

In 1970, we imported 24% of our oil. Today it’s nearly 70% and growing.

As imports grow and world prices rise, the amount of money we send to foreign nations every year is soaring. At current oil prices, we will send $700 billion dollars out of the country this year alone — that’s four times the annual cost of the Iraq war.

Jeremy Leggett: Peak oil is just five years away, and we must start to plan now to avert a truly ruinous crisis | Comment is free |
Peak oil is just five years away, and we must start to plan now to avert a truly ruinous crisis

If eight companies across a broad spectrum of UK industry had warned, five years ago, that a ruinous credit crunch would hit the global economy this year, might the government have taken the warning seriously? Might UK leadership in damage limitation have been proactive, rather than reactive? Could a softer landing and a faster recovery have been possible as a result?

World is facing a natural resources crisis worse than financial crunch | The Guardian
The world is heading for an “ecological credit crunch” far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet, an international study warns today.

The Living Planet report calculates that humans are using 30% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species. As a result, we are running up an ecological debt of $4tr (£2.5tr) to $4.5tr every year – double the estimated losses made by the world’s financial institutions as a result of the credit crisis – say the report’s authors, led by the conservation group WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund.

America’s Emerging New Energy Economy | Prescott Az News and Events
As fossil fuel prices rise, as oil insecurity deepens, and as concerns about climate change cast a shadow over the future of coal, a new energy economy is emerging in the United States. The old energy economy, fueled by oil, coal, and natural gas, is being replaced by one powered by wind, solar, and geothermal energy. The transition is moving at a pace and on a scale that we could not have imagined even a year ago.

Video: In Debt We Trust
In America’s earliest days, there were barn-raising parties in which neighbors helped each other build up their farms. Today, in some churches, there are debt liquidation revivals in which parishioners chip in to free each other from growing credit card debts that are driving American families to bankruptcy and desperation. IN DEBT WE TRUST is the latest film from Danny Schechter, “The News Dissector,” director of the internationally distributed and award-winning WMD (Weapons of Mass Deception), an expose of the media’s role in the Iraq War. The Emmy-winning former ABC News and CNN producer’s new hard-hitting documentary investigates why so many Americans are being strangled by debt. It is a journalistic confrontation with what former Reagan advisor Kevin Phillips calls “Financialization”–the “powerful emergence of a debt-and-credit industrial complex.” While many Americans may be “maxing out” on credit cards, there is a deeper story: power is shifting into fewer hands…..with frightening consequences. IN DEBT WE TRUST shows how the mall replaced the factory as America’s dominant economic engine and how big banks and credit card companies buy our Congress and drive us into what a former major bank economist calls modern serfdom. Americans and our government owe trillions in consumer debt and the national debt, a large amount of it to big banks and billions to Communist China.

David Strahan: You’re wrong, PM. We need higher oil prices – Commentators, Opinion – The Independent
Once again Gordon Brown has got energy policy all wrong. Even before Opec announced an output cut of 1.5 million barrels per day, the Prime Minister had denounced the move as “absolutely scandalous”, fearing it would force the oil price higher just as the world slides into recession.

He needn’t have worried, since the cost of crude continued to fall on Friday to just under $63.

San Francisco puts electricity to vote – Environment-
Nearly a dozen times over the past century, San Francisco voters have rejected ballot measures to support a takeover of the city’s privately run electricity system.

But advocates of public power haven’t given up their goal of wresting control from Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and this year are linking support of the measure to combating global warming and securing energy independence.

Quiet wind-turbine comes to U.S. homes – CNET News
A home wind turbine already installed at 250 sites in Scotland is now being sold across the pond.

Cascade Engineering said Monday the Swift wind turbine, for homes and other buildings, is available in the U.S. and Canada.

(Credit: Cascade Engineering)

The Swift tries to set itself apart from existing small wind turbines with a design that reduces noise. Also, the turbine can be attached to a home, rather than to a free-standing pole or tower.

Like other wind turbines, the Swift has blades that turn and power a generator. But rather than the typical three blades, the Swift has five and a ring that goes around them. That “outer diffuser” ring cuts the noise level to 35 decibels and reduces vibration, according to the company.

Electricity 2.0: Using the Lessons of the Web to Improve Our Energy Networks – the video!
Many people have been asking me if there is a video of the presentation I gave at this year’s O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo available anywhere.

I asked the organisers but they said they hadn’t recorded it.

Then my good friend Andrea Vascellari came to the rescue. I knew he had attended the presentation but I was unaware that he recorded it.

He published the video above this afternoon so for all those who were interested, here you go.

Peak Energy: Bioneers 2008
Jeremy Faludi has a good writeup of this year’s Bioneers conference up at WorldChanging – Bioneers 2008 (lots of links at the original). TreeHugger has a whole series of posts on the conference.

My personal favorite part was that the day after it, the Biomimicry Institute had a post-conference, day-long session of its own where nearly a dozen scientists and entrepreneurs (most speakers were both) talked about their successes bringing bio-inspired designs into development, and the beginnings of bringing them into the real market. Below are some notes from some of the speakers that caught me from both Bioneers proper and the Biomimicry day:

Peak Energy: Volvo Truck Sales Plunge 99.7% In Europe
The London Evening Standard reports that the economic slowdown seems to have hit European truck slaes particularly hard – Volvo truck sales plunge 99.7%.

The depth of the recession was revealed today as truckmaker Volvo admitted demand across the Continent has crashed by 99.7% as it took orders for just 115 new lorries in the last three months.

That compares to orders totalling 41,970 in the third quarter of 2007. Global orders for Volvo slumped 55% in the last three months while Scania, of which Volvo has majority control, said its western Europe truck orders collapsed by 69%.

Peak Energy: Good Vibrations: The Windbelt
Here’s one for the alternative wind power experiments file – a report from BusinessWeek on an interesting design idea, inspired by the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse of 1940 – Humdinger’s Wind Power Alternative.

As an MIT engineering undergraduate visiting the rural fishing village of Petite Anse, Haiti, in 2004, Shawn Frayne hoped to devise a way to convert abundant agricultural waste into cheap fuel. But the budding engineer soon found that the community’s mainly poor residents faced an altogether more immediate need. Unconnected to the local power grid, they relied heavily on dirty kerosene lamps, which are not only costly to operate but also unhealthy and dangerous. He decided to devise an alternative a small, safe, and renewable power generator that could be used to power LED lights and small household electronics, such as radios.

Environmental Activists Put on Terrorist List in Maryland : Red, Green, and Blue
News broke this week that 53 people were listed in a Maryland State Police database as “suspected terrorists.” The listing was the result of an extensive surveillance program that infiltrated several activist organizations and gathered intelligence about the individuals and activities in them.

Among those receiving a letter from the Maryland State Police last week was Josh Tulkin, of the Energy Action Coalition. Apparently, during a thirteen month period from 2005-2006 when Tulkin worked at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, State Police gathered intelligence and created a file for the young environmental activist.

Inventor breaks through again |
Lonnie Johnson has some impressive hard science credentials.

He’s worked for the Strategic Air Command and for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, outfitting missions to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. He holds about 100 patents, many of them in that arcane spot where chemistry, electricity and physics cross into the marketplace. And his latest invention appears to do the impossible: generating electricity with no fuel and no moving parts.

But he’s still known as Mr. Squirt Gun.

Even among the geniuses who gathered to honor him and his new thermo-electrochemical converter at a “Breakthrough Awards” banquet in Manhattan this month, the Atlanta scientist’s new invention was ignored when his most famous device was revealed.

Halliburton, Rumsfeld & His Bunny Tale.
Bunnatine Greenhouse sits in a cubicle in a far corner of an office in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers(USACE) headquarters in downtown Washington, D.C., where, she says, “I am treated like a non-person.” Months crawl by yet her immediate supervisor just can’t seem to find the time to meet with her to discuss a work assignment. The taxpayers of the United States of America pay her salary, but, oddly, no demands are made of her.

Reports of toxic spills spiking – The Denver Post


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

WalesOnline: Nuclear is not the future for Wales
As a fellow exile from Neath, along with Sian Lloyd (Western Mail Business, October 15), I read with some incredulity that the West Wales Business Forum has joined the atomic advocacy club.

But generously, it is supporting a new reactor being constructed in Anglesey just about as far away from West Wales as it is possible to go without leaving the nation.

Of course, even if planning permission for such a plant was to be given this month (which it won’t!), it would take at least 10 years before any power could be generated.
Teach yourselves about nuclear power
Recently, I attended a debate organized by the Saskatchewan Council for International Co-operation regarding pro- and anti- positions on developing nuclear energy in Saskatchewan.

More than 1,000 people showed up between events in Saskatoon and Regina. While each debater was a long-term, respected advocate of their position and well-informed on issues and potential positive and negative impacts of the uranium cycle, unfortunately these were many of the same arguments for and against nuclear energy that I heard 20 years ago. Some things have changed since then, however, and were largely missing from the debate.

New nuke plants are questionable | Editorials & Opinions |
Energy Future Holdings (EFH) determination to build two nuclear generating plants near Glen Rose shows its corporate inability to change its long-term strategy in spite of overwhelming odds against success. (See: “Energy company looking to the challenges ahead,” Oct. 12)

After backing off plans to build 11 coal-burning power plants in Texas in 2007, you would think they would study their options more carefully.

EFH should have considered solar PV (photovoltaic) power. Numerous U.S. electric utilities are moving aggressively toward utility-scale solar power generation as part of their long-term solution to growing demand for lower-cost electric power.

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