Top Nuclear Stories (Nov. 3rd – 6th)

radbullI’m trying to catch up, but am still a bit behind the submarine accident in Russia will be covered in the next newsletter. What a mixed bag. Earlier Saturday there was a story that Obama would support Bush’s Star War’s shield in Eastern Europe, later in the day he backed off.  Whew!  Sudan announced plans to build a reactor while Kenya backed off.  More concerns from Sweden as details suggest that there were serious problems with control rods at Vattenfall. Russians protested in the street against a new reactor, while a Scottish community looks like it is going to end up just like Nevada, as UK’s underground spent fuel facility (drafted). I was too bummed to include it, but Italy’s parliment removed the official block on more reactor development.  France is jumping into the opening Bush made with India, more reactors being called for in Vietnam and China, and Greenpeace has put out a report on the most dangerous reactor in the world in Eastern Europe.

On this side of the planet there are few good stories, not to mention a new president elect. But mostly some really harsh stuff, with the next big economic crisis coming with a bailout for the car companies, not to mention rumor that Picken’s wind project in Texas is going under.  California did however, pass a huge funding initiative to build a high speed rail system.

On the nuclear homefront, there are more than a couple off issues, from Utah, Washington, Canada,  Illinois, to Florida, not to mention Duke’s new estimate on construction costs.  Dig in!

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

The Free Press – Harvey Wasserman: A Chicago-area electoral victory says “No We Won’t” to nuke power

As the world media filled with the victory of Barack Obama, a defeat for atomic power in his own back yard sent a Solartopian message to the new administration.

In the Chicago-area communities of Oak Park, Berwyn and Riverside, voters approved by well over two-to-one a referendum asking that “our elected officials in Illinois take steps to phase out nuclear power in the state, replacing it with renewable sources such as wind and solar.” | Ontario | Energy board slams nuclear bill
Regulator cuts hike request, saying electricity users shouldn’t bear brunt of high Pickering reactor costs

The province’s energy watchdog says Ontario Power Generation is spending far too much to operate its Pickering A and B nuclear stations and that electricity customers shouldn’t have to bear the financial brunt.

The government-owned utility had asked the Ontario Energy Board to approve a 14 per cent hike to help close a projected $1 billion gap between the sale of power from its nuclear and large hydroelectric facilities and the expected higher cost of operating those facilities until the end of 2009.

A big part of the increase, OPG argued, is related to rising labour and other costs required to operate its nuclear assets.

Ont. should move away from nuclear power amid rising costs: Greenpeace (Ont-Nukes-Costs) | Oilweek Magazine
Ontario should turn its back on old nuclear reactors in Pickering and reconsider its overall strategy to avoid saddling taxpayers with soaring costs, an environmental group said Wednesday.

Greenpeace energy analyst Shawn-Patrick Stensil is urging the government to re-evaluate its cost targets, saying current estimates to build nuclear plants are “fantasy” based more on the “hopes and prayers” of the nuclear industry than reality.

In report released Wednesday, the group said the cost of building planned reactors has more than doubled in the last three years _ and taxpayers risk being stuck with the bill.

The Punch: Nuclear power project: Nigeria won’t use expatriates
Nigeria’s drive to develop electricity from nuclear sources would be managed substantially by local professionals, the Federal Government said on Tuesday.

Speaking in an interview with our correspondent on the sidelines of the review workshop/expert mission on the National Nuclear Power Programme by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the Director General, Nigeria Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Erapamo Osaisai, explained that government was committed to making it a Nigerian programme.

The St. Petersburg Times – Ecologists Slam Nuclear Power Plant
As work started on LAES-2, a complex of six power station units with VVER-1200 reactors that is due to complement the existing four 4 RBMK-1000 units of Leningrad Nuclear Power Station (LAES), environmentalists began a protest campaign against what they call an illegitimate and potentially hazardous construction.

The project’s estimated cost is $10 billion.

Environmentalists at the St. Petersburg branch of the international environmental pressure group Bellona say the simultaneous operation of the existing and new plants will have a strong negative radiological and bacteriological impact on the population of the town of Sosnovy Bor, 80 kilometers south of St. Petersburg, where the station is located. The Bellona experts’ allegations include a claim that the stations’ cooling towers could spread dangerous toxic microorganisms into the nearby Gulf of Finland.

The Hindu: French firm offers to sell nuclear reactor
NEW DELHI: French nuclear power company Areva has offered to sell its next generation European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) of 1600 MWe to India.

The company is presently installing this technology for setting up a nuclear reactor in Finland and is also looking at the Chinese market.

Union Minister of State for Power Jairam Ramesh said that Areva CEO Anne Louvergeon recently held talks with the Atomic Energy Department and the Power Ministry. “I along with Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar held talks with Ms. Louvergeon in Mumbai and she offered India the next generation EPRs. There will be further talks on the issue and a decision would be taken accordingly”, he added.

Three steps to shutting down Oyster Creek | Asbury Park Press
Most of us want Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey to shut down. But most of us are not sure how to make that happen.

Oyster Creek will close if we do three things:

1) Support the legal effort to close the plant.

2) Let Gov. Corzine know how we feel.

3) Join together to march in protest of the plant.

Duke doubles cost estimate for nuclear plant – The Business Journal Duke Energy Carolinas has raised the expected construction costs of its proposed Lee Nuclear Station to $11 billion, excluding financing costs. That’s roughly twice the company’s original estimates.

Based on the financing costs for Duke’s new coal-powered unit at Cliffside Steam Station, financing expenses would increase the nuclear plant’s price to more than $14 billion.

The new estimate is included in a cover letter Duke has sent to the N.C. Utilities Commission with its 2008 Integrated Resource Plan. That annual plan outlines Duke’s expectations for demand over a 20-year period and outlines how the utility expects to meet the demand.

Commissioners say ‘No’ to rezoning for nuclear plant | KMVT Southern Idaho

Wednesday night marked the last of four public hearings for a proposed rezone to build a nuclear power plant in front of the Elmore County Planning and Zoning Commission.

Spokesmen for Alternative Energy Holdings, Inc., the applicant of the plant, presented the rebuttal. They are requesting to rezone approximately 1300 acres of land industrial.

Who should pay for Turkey Point shutdown? FPL or you? | Miami Herald
In March 2006, a tiny hole — a mere one-eighth of an inch — was discovered in a critical pipe at the Turkey Point nuclear power plant. The hole ended up costing at least $6 million.

This week, a heated debate has been going on in Tallahassee about who should pay the $6 million — Florida Power & Light or its customers.

New information obtained by state regulators shows that the prime suspect in the case was a contract employee who drilled the hole because he was angry with the utility. According to a federal document, he had failed an FPL psychological test and had a criminal background that included charges of criminal mischief.

Reuters: Bechtel is leading contender for Egypt atomic plant
U.S.-based Bechtel Power Corp is leading a shortlist of firms and consortia bidding to design Egypt’s first nuclear power station, an official at the ministry of electricity said.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the other firms on the shortlist included Australia’s WorleyParsons, Sweden’s AF Consult, a consortium of Spain’s Iberdrola and Empresarios Agrupados, a consortium of Finland’s Poyry and Invap of Argentina, a consortium including Belgian Tractebel, and a group of U.S. companies with Egypt’s Excel. – Estonia close to pulling the plug on nuclear power project
Estonian leaders seem to have made a principle decision that Estonia would distance itself from the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant project.

Postimees writes that both Prime Minister Andrus Ansip and Eesti Energia CEO Sandor Liive said on Friday that if Estonia decided to opt for nuclear power, the priority should be in building its own nuclear power plant.

This marks a new shift in thinking since it is the first time in the last two years when the government and Eesti Energia have been promoting the Ignalina project as the answer to Estonia’s energy problems.

Yankee protest: Times Argus Online
A Montpelier firefighter lets a pedestrian into the Chittenden Bank on State Street in Montpelier on Monday while, in the foreground, a protest against Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant takes place on the sidewalk. Authorities said members of the Yankee protest made demands inside the building, then dumped a smelly substance on the floor, sparking a precautionary evacuation of part of the building. The material was determined not to be hazardous and no one was harmed. Police are investigating.

PSC opens hearings on nuclear plant expansion – Atlanta Business Chronicle:
Expanding the nuclear generating capacity of Georgia Power Co.’s Plant Vogtle would let electric utilities meet the needs of a rapidly growing state without worsening global warming, the project’s supporters said Monday.

But opponents said building two more nuclear reactors at the plant near Augusta would drive up costs for Georgia Power customers and drain already fragile water supplies. – $8b nuke plan lacks province’s blessing
A private consortium is staking a $30-million gamble that the province will allow it to build a nuclear power plant in Nanticoke.

Bruce Power announced plans yesterday to build two nuclear reactors in Haldimand County, on an 800-hectare site almost next door to the Nanticoke coal plant, which will be shut down by 2014.

But the province says it has no plans for a nuclear plant on the site. It plans instead to build two nuclear reactors at the Darlington nuclear generating station east of Oshawa by 2018.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

Peabody Gazette-Bulletin | Peabody native was guinea pig for nuclear testing
Nineteen-year-old Gary Thornton had no idea what he was getting into in June 1962 when he signed a form swearing to secrecy about the U.S. government’s involvement in a secret nuclear weapons testing program. The penalty for speaking out was a $20,000 fine or 20 years behind bars.

As an enlistee in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he spent two years on a ship in the South Pacific and Far East and had many interesting experiences at various ports along the way.

EXPOSED: to radiation in France, to controversy near Pune
HITTING HOME: Radioactive trail from Otis lift buttons leads to foundry on city outskirts

Vipras Castings Ltd, tucked away in Khopoli, some 70 km from Pune, is coping with one bit of international exposure it could have well done without.

The source of its discomfort is a revelation last month that buttons installed in some 500 Otis elevators in France were radaioactive. The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has traced the radioactive scrap metal to Vipras.

FR: NIOSH: Cohort petition for Linde Ceramics Corp NY
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Decision To Evaluate a Petition To Designate a Class of Employees at the Linde Ceramics Plant, Tonawanda, NY, To Be Included in the Special Exposure Cohort

Vattenfall reports control rod damage at Forsmark 3 | Industries | Industrials, Materials & Utilities | Reuters

Swedish power group Vattenfall [VATN.UL] said on Tuesday an inspection had revealed one broken control rod and cracks in about 30 percent of others at its Forsmark 3 reactor.

Forsmark communications director Claes-Inge Andersson told Reuters that about 100 out of 169 rods had been inspected and cracks had been found in some 25-30 percent of them.

Greenpeace says Belene nuclear plant the world’s most dangerous-report – Press Review news
Bulgaria’s planned nuclear power plant at Belene on the Danube River is amongst the most dangerous contemplated projects of its kind in the whole world, Greenpeace nuclear analyst Heinz Smital has said, as quoted by Deutsche Welle.

According to Smital’s warning, Belene was massive and irresponsible gamble, which would only tarnish the reparation of RWE, the German company picked as the strategic investor in the nuclear power plant. Far worse, the German company was playing Russian roulette with people’s lives in the entire region of South-Eastern Europe, he said.

The Hindu: Check all imported scrap metals for radioactivity content: AERB
After the radioactive scrap metal, found in lift buttons, installed in France were traced to a foundry near Khopoli in Maharashtra, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has written to Indian port authorities to check all imported scrap material for radioactivity content before allowing it inside the country.

“We have written letters to concerned authorities (ports) to check all the imported scrap for radioactivity content before bringing to the country for melting purposes,” Vice-Chairman of the AERB, S K Chande said today.

Nuclear test veterans’ medical research victory –
Veterans of Britain’s nuclear bomb tests have claimed a “massive breakthrough” in their fight for recognition.

Survivors of the tests are hopeful of victory after a six-year campaign for justice by the Sunday Mirror.

Vets met with MPs and Defence Minister Kevan Jones last week and were promised an announcement on new medical research soon.

Children and grandchildren of the 20,000 servicemen ordered to watch nuclear explosions will be asked to take part in the first major scientific study of its kind.

The Telegraph – Calcutta | Floral cover against radiation threat
Cultivation of sunflowers in Jadugora region can save the environment as well as villagers from getting affected by uranium radiation, a Jharkhand-based environmentalist has claimed today.

“The sunflowers reduce radioactive contamination of soil and groundwater by absorbing the heavy metal particles present in them. The metal particles absorbed by the root of the plant remain intact in the tissues of the plant without effecting its health,” said Nitish Priyadarshi, the environmentalist. The plants are then carefully disposed to get rid the radioactive particles, he added.

London Free Press- Study to determine impact of nuke plant
After years of rumours and speculation, Bruce Power announced yesterday it will begin an environmental assessment on the impacts of a nuclear power station in Haldimand County.

Bruce Power has optioned 800 hectares within the Lake Erie Industrial Park from US Steel Canada Inc. and is considering building two reactors to generate between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of electricity.

toledo blade – 6 monitors at Davis-Besse find leaks below threshold
Six of 11 groundwater-monitoring wells on FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear complex are well below the government’s threshold for radioactive tritium, according to results the utility released yesterday.

Results on the other five wells are expected next week, spokesman Todd Schneider said.

The six wells on which FirstEnergy has data are ones most prone to leak radioactive tritium, which the company found on Oct. 22, Mr. Schneider said.

Tritium is a water-based, radioactive material that is a by-product of nuclear fission and a natural substance in the environment.


NRC News

FR: NRC: NEI petition on zirconium cladding
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering the issues raised in a petition for rulemaking submitted by David J. Modeen, on behalf of the Nuclear Energy Institute, in the ongoing “Performance-Based Emergency Core Cooling System (ECCS) Cladding Acceptance Criteria” rulemaking (ADAMS accession no. ML020630082). The petitioner requested that the NRC amend its regulations to allow nuclear power plant licensees to use zirconium-based cladding materials other than Zircaloy or ZIRLO, provided the cladding materials meet the requirements for fuel cladding performance and have been approved by the NRC staff.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission under fire over fire – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger
U.S. Rep. Edward Markey is using a fire last week at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth to turn up the heat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Markey sent a letter to the federal agency on Friday, posing a long list of questions about the Oct. 29 fire in an outbuilding at the plant property that the plant operator says was contained to one room.

Hanford News : NRC workshop Dec. 10-11 focuses on overseeing new reactor construction
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will hold a public workshop Dec. 10 – 11, in Rockville, Md., to share insights and lessons learned for companies supplying parts for new reactor construction.

“We ‘re looking for an open discussion with current nuclear plant operators, plant component vendors and other interested groups,” said Glenn Tracy, Director of the Division of Construction Inspection in the NRC ‘s Office of New Reactors. “We want everyone involved to understand what our safety requirements are, how we monitor quality assurance programs and other areas vital to proper reactor construction.”

NRC – NRC Accepts Application for New Reactors at Victoria County SiteThe Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed, or accepted for review, a combined license (COL) application for two new reactors at the Victoria County site near Victoria City, Texas. Exelon’s application, submitted Sept. 3, is the 11th COL request the agency has accepted for review.

The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site here: Exelon seeks approval to build and operate two Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactors (ESBWR) at the site, approximately 13 miles south of Victoria.

The NRC currently is reviewing the ESBWR design for possible certification. The staff will consider any findings concerning the design during the review of the Victoria County application. Information on the ESBWR application is available on the NRC Web site at:

Fort Mill Times – NRC issues warning for construction oversight – Fort Mill, SC
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is warning the nuclear industry to be careful in its construction oversight after finding problems earlier this year at the Savannah River Site.

Specifically, The Greenville News reported Sunday, the warning addresses bad concrete and faulty reinforcing steel in the foundation of the Savannah River plant. The site will produce nuclear reactor fuel from weapons-grade plutonium.

In a report filed last week by the NRC, officials said problems discovered during construction of the plant near Aiken and two nuclear plants in Europe are reminders of problems found during the last wave of American nuclear construction in the 1970s and 1980s.

NRC sends apology to Salmon: Rutland Herald Online
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has written to former Gov. Thomas Salmon of Rockingham and apologized that he was not able to complete his statement during a meeting last month in Brattleboro about the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant.

Salmon, a supporter of the reactor and the former chairman of Green Mountain Power, which gets a large portion of its power from Vermont Yankee, had started to speak during the NRC meeting on Oct. 14 in Brattleboro, but when people shouted at him to state a question, he sat down.

At the time, the NRC regional administrator had just scolded other people to ask questions, rather than just voice their opinions.

ASLB panel accepts contention on Progress Energy COL
An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board, or ASLB, panel accepted one contention for a hearing on Progress Energy’s combined construction permit-operating license, or COL, application for a new unit at its Harris plant in North Carolina. The Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel said in an October 30 order that the North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network, or NC WARN, has standing to intervene and accepted a contention the group filed in August. NC WARN contends that the Harris COL application is incomplete because the NRC is still reviewing proposed amendments to its certification of the Westinghouse AP1000 design that Progress Energy plans to use. The ASLB panel said a hearing on the contention will be “held in abeyance” pending further review by the NRC staff and resolution of the issues in the ongoing design certification amendment rulemaking.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Federal support for WA uranium expansion
The expansion of uranium mining in Western Australia could add billions of dollars to Australia’s gross domestic product, a spokesman for Federal Resources Minister Ferguson told MINING DAILY.

“Up to $17 billion dollars in GDP could be gained over the next 20 years by the expansion of uranium mining,” he said.

Ferguson recently held talks with WA Premier Colin Barnett and his Mining Minister Norman Moore, lending Federal support to uranium mining in the State.

Virginia commission OKs study of uranium mining —
A state commission approved a study Thursday to examine the impact of mining a rich uranium ore deposit in Virginia believed to be the largest untapped trove of uranium in North America.

The unanimous vote by the Virginia Coal and Energy Commission could be the first step toward ending a 1980s moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia. The study will center on a deposit in rural Southside Virginia that contains 119 million pounds of uranium ore valued between $8 billion and $10 billion.

KWES NewsWest 9 | Group appeals water permit to LES plant
An Albuquerque-based environmental group has gone to the state Court of Appeals over a discharge permit for a uranium enrichment plant near Eunice.

Citizens Against Radioactive Dumping says it feels like state officials ignored its concerns about the permit.

The state Water Quality Commission in April upheld the New Mexico Environment Department’s decision in favor of the permit for the Louisiana Energy Services facility.

US high court eyes thorny issues in enriched-uranium import case
The US Supreme Court took its turn Tuesday in wrestling with the complexities of an eight-year-old case in which uranium supply company USEC and the US government argued that US antidumping duties should apply to low-enriched uranium exported to the US by French enricher Eurodif, a subsidiary of Areva. The critical issue in the case is whether uranium enrichment should be considered a good or a service. Under the antidumping law, goods are subject to the import duties but services are not. Part of the case’s complexity comes from the unusual features of the nuclear fuel market. In most utility purchases of enriched uranium, the utility pays separately for the natural-uranium “feed” and the work by the enricher to raise the enrichment level of uranium-235 to the levels needed to fuel a nuclear power plant.

Derailment prompts uranium transport concern (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
An environment group says a BHP Billiton proposal to transport uranium yellowcake through the Northern Territory should be reconsidered in light of a train derailment near Katherine.

Four carriages left the tracks west of Katherine yesterday and investigators are trying to determine the cause.

Justin Tutty from the No Waste Alliance says BHP’s proposal would see a trainload of radioactive material a day on the same rail line.

Economics of NM uranium mining debated – Farmington Daily Times
An environmental group is challenging claims that a rebirth of the uranium mining industry in western New Mexico would return thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to a region still hurting from the collapse of the last uranium boom.

A study commissioned by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center contends estimates that the industry would bring $30 billion and more than a quarter of a million jobs to the state are “a gross exaggeration.”

Eric Jantz, the center’s staff attorney, said the impetus for doing the report was to get a realistic perspective on whether the economic benefits of renewed uranium mining in New Mexico would outweigh environmental and health concerns.
Chadron Record: Crow Butte uranium mine’s license renewal protested
Opponents of the Crow Butte Resources uranium mine near Crawford used a two-day hearing in Chadron last week to try and convince a panel of Nuclear Regulatory Commission judges that the mine’s operation poses a danger to area water supplies, and may be causing significant health effects on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The 13 individuals and groups seeking to have operations of the In Situ Leach (ISL) mine suspended face a significant hurdle, however, as they first must convince the panel that they have the right to take part in the license renewal proceedings.

Victoria Advocate – Uranium: ‘Does the benefit outweigh the risk?’
Pete De La Garza knows uranium mining in his county came with tradeoffs.

As Kleberg County judge, he feels it is the duty of county officials to oversee the Kingsville Dome operations of Uranium Resources Inc. and to make sure the company fulfills its obligation to restore water quality levels.

“Checks and balances, that’s what it’s all about,” said De La Garza, from Kingsville.

County residents have complained about how much money has been spent to fight the uranium company, which has been in the county for more than 20 years. De La Garza admits the county spent more than $1 million.

El Paso/Las Cruces – KDBC 4 – CBS! | Economics of NM uranium mining debated
An environmental group challenges the idea a rebirth of the uranium mining industry in western New Mexico would return thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.

A study commissioned by the New Mexico Environmental Law Center calls estimates that the industry would bring $30 billion and more than a quarter of a million jobs to New Mexico “a gross exaggeration.”


Nuclear Waste News

How to remove thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel?
Russia is well underway to improve the situation in the Andreeva Bay, an official from Rosatom confirmed in a seminar yesterday. Sweden, Norway and the UK pledge continued support to the clean-up of the site, one of the world’s biggest and worst protected storages for spent nuclear fuel.

However, the most important question still remains to be solved: how to remove thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel assemblies, the Bellona Foundation underlines. This week, the environmental organisation organised a seminar on the issue in Murmansk.

Spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste storage facilities at Andreyeva Bay were hastily built during the Soviet era. They were meant to be used on a temporary basis to house nuclear materials, which are still being stored there at enormous risk to the environment and local community. The facilities store more than 20,000 spent nuclear fuel assemblies, reports.

UK: News & Star: Copeland ‘to be volunteered’ for nuclear waste repository
Cumbria County Council looks set to volunteer Copeland as a potential site for an underground nuclear waste repository.

And it is backing proposals to build two new nuclear power stations immediately north west of Sellafield.

A recent government White Paper invited local authorities to volunteer to have nuclear waste buried in return for investment in roads, schools and other public services.

Rebecca Walsh: EnergySolutions’ communication stalls – Salt Lake Tribune
EnergySolutions spokeswoman Jill Sigal took issue with my last column about her company.
“I’m telling you, you have a false statement in your column,” Sigal said.
Specifically, she challenged this line: “The company has been quietly preparing a spot for contaminated laundry residue from a reactor in Brazil.”

FOCUS Information Agency: Radioactive iron from Bulgaria was sent to Macedonia by mistake
The train with radioactive iron from Bulgaria was sent to Macedonian MAKSteel Company by mistake, Macedonian Nova Makedonija newspaper reports.
Company’s press center points that they haven’t had problems with Bulgarian company Sholls that had send the iron. The train that had traveled to Macedonia was stopped on Wednesday at Bulgarian-Serbian border in the town of Dimitrovgrad. Customs officers found radioactivity, which was 3 000 times higher than the admissible one, the edition reports, citing the announcement of Nove Georgievski from MAKSteel who pointed that it is a mistake and that the iron was sent on purpose.

German anti-nuclear waste newswire now active : Indybay
Anti-nuclear activists in Germany are gearing up for another transport of highly active nuclear waste to run through France and Germany from 7 to 9 November for dumping at the north German village of Gorleben. About 20,000 police will be deployed to guard the consignment against thousands of demonstrators. At is a newswire run by the protest movement. It already has some run-up stories on it.

Disposal issue: Radioactive materials | Press & Sun-Bulletin
Compounds used in medicine are making their way into the Broome County landfill and into the Susquehanna River.

Some — such as the nuclear medicine used for diagnostic imaging and fighting cancer — are radioactive, and have set off radiation detectors at the landfill.

Wastewater treatment plants aren’t specifically designed to treat effluent for such substances.

While fish downstream of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant haven’t been tested, Bingham-ton University researchers found traces of hormones and drugs — including antibiotics, estrogen and aspirin products — in the plant’s effluent prior to a new secondary treatment system that went online last year. The area hasn’t been tested for drugs since.

FOCUS Information Agency: Train car with radioactive scrap to be hauled back in Bulgaria

The train car loaded with radioactive scrap metal will be sent back to Bulgaria, the Bulgarian State Railways announced for FOCUS News Agency. As it was announced earlier, elevated radiation levels were registered in one of the cars of a train, transporting scrap metal for Macedonia. The high radiation was registered at the Dimitrovgrad border control point, at the border between Serbia and Bulgaria.


Nuclear Policy News

New nuclear plants need new physicists | Limits to growth | The Economist
A new generation of nuclear plants requires a new generation of nuclear physicists

MUCH more than worries about safety, the biggest obstacle to the revival of nuclear power in Britain is cost. Atom-splitting is expensive, with brochure prices for reactors starting around £3 billion, and dizzying lurches in oil prices make it hard to evaluate the industry’s competitiveness. “Nuclear power works for oil prices above $60 a barrel,” said a government adviser confidently in early October, when it was still near $100. As The Economist went to press, the price of oil was hovering around $64, barely above that margin of safety.

Renewable Energy News – Nuclear vs. wind and solar power : Solar Power & Wind Energy : solar panels, wind generators, batteries, inverters – Energy Matters
Lester R. Brown, one of the world’s most widely published authors and referred to by the Washington Post as “one of the world’s most influential thinkers”, has recently published his views via the Earth Policy Institute on the nuclear vs. wind and solar power debate; stating that nuclear power is uneconomical compared to renewable energy.

Quoting from a recent analysis entitled “The Nuclear Illusion”, Brown points out the cost of electricity from a new nuclear power plant costs around (USD) 14¢ per kilowatt hour compared to a wind farm’s very economical 7¢ per kilowatt hour. The costings take into account capital, general operations and maintenance, transmission and distribution in relation to both options.

SudanTribune article : Sudan reveals intention to pursue nuclear energy
A Sudanese official disclosed today that his country is contemplating developing a nuclear power programme for scientific research.

The Sudanese minister for Science and Technology Ibrahim Ahmed Omer told the official news agency (SUNA) that his government received approval for its plans from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Omer said that IAEA will fund the programme jointly with the Sudanese government. However he did not say if a formal agreement has been signed.

UK contractors eye £40bn nuclear construction programme – Contract Journal
Nuclear power stations are increasingly seen as the answer to the UK’s looming energy shortfall, and contractors are already looking at the construction opportunities available. Carol Millett reports.

Peter Montague: Is Nuclear Power Green?
We are told that nuclear power is about to achieve a “green renaissance,” “clean coal” is just around the corner, and municipal garbage is a “renewable resource,” which, when burned, will yield “sustainable energy.” On the other hand, sometimes we are told that solar, geothermal and tidal power are what we really need to “green” our energy system.

How is a person to make sense of all these competing claims?

Luckily, scientists have developed two sets of criteria that we can use to judge the “greenness” of competing technologies. The first is called “The 12 principles of green engineering” and the second is “The 12 principles of green chemistry.”

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation: Experts caution on nuclear energy
Kenya should tread carefully and not rush into investing in nuclear energy.

Geothermal experts are now urging the government to instead invest, in the vast geothermal resources found in Kenya’s rift valley system that has an estimated potential of 7000 megawatts.

“Kenya should look for funds to invest fully in geothermal instead of nuclear energy, whereas nuclear energy is cheaper, it could be more devastating to the environment, we do not know what negative effects it might cause to generations to come,” said Ludvik Georgsson of the United Nations University, Geothermal Training Program.

Kenya’s geothermal potential stands at an estimated 7,000 megawatts.

However owing to the high cost of investment in the renewable energy the country has only managed to develop just under 130 megawatts, and now says Kenya could be assisted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD countries once the financial melt-down in pegged.


Nuclear Weapons News

NTI: Global Security Newswire – Gates Nuclear Speech Fails to Sway Opponents

U.S. Democratic lawmakers reacted coolly to Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ call last week for support to build a new nuclear warhead, Congressional Quarterly reported (see GSN, Oct. 29).

“While we have a long-term goal of abolishing nuclear weapons once and for all, given the world in which we live, we have to be realistic about that proposition,” Gates said in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “The program would reinvigorate and rebuild our infrastructure and expertise, and it could potentially allow us to reduce aging stockpiles by balancing the risk between a smaller number of warheads and an industrial complex that could produce new weapons if the need arose.”

Lawmakers for the last two years have rejected Bush administration efforts to fund the new weapon, the Reliable Replacement Warhead; many Democrats said Gates’ speech had not changed their skepticism, although they said they were keeping open minds.

Compensation issue for Cold War-era workers unresolved
A move to expand the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to include a new disease has picked up steam, but a group of Cold War-era workers remains outside the system with little immediate hope of being included.

Uranium miners, drillers, haulers and others who now suffer from a relatively common form of leukemia could become eligible for compassionate payments from the federal government under legislation proposed by Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.

Expanding the list of diseases covered by the compensation act, however, wouldn’t help core drillers, who located uranium deposits by drilling into the sandstones of the Southwest in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s.

Grand Junction’s Lester Rich, 75, a core driller during the uranium boom times on the Colorado Plateau, has so far dodged all of the diseases listed in the compensation act, as well as the form of leukemia now being contemplated for inclusion.

Is a ‘Resurgent’ Russia a Threat to the United States? – by Ivan Eland
The Russian military was clearly superior to that of a small country in its “near abroad” Georgia but is a “resurgent” Russia a threat to the United States? If the United States insists on expanding its informal empire into Russia’s nearby sphere of influence, it has to expect some pushback from a Russia that is no longer as weak as it once was and is resentful at having been trampled on during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Pahrump Valley Times – The Nevada Test Site: past and future
On Dec. 18, 1950, President Truman approved establishment of a facility on the Las Vegas-Tonopah Bombing and Gunnery Range in Nye County.

At first the site encompassed 350 square miles. Subsequent expansions led to its present size of 1,375 square miles.

Dina Titus suggests in her book, “Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics,” that the Nye County location was selected for several reasons: It was the largest of the proposed sites; it was under the jurisdiction of the federal government, meaning less conflict with local governments; it was supported by Nevada’s powerful Sen. Pat McCarran; it was a sparsely populated area, with the nearest residents 25 miles away; and it had low rainfall and predictable winds.


Department of Energy News

Department of Energy – U.S. Department of Energy Issues Rules for Auto Loan Program
Today the U.S. Department of Energy issued an Interim Final Rule that implements the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Incentive Program authorized by section 136 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA). The FY09 Continuing Resolution provided DOE with funding to make up to $25 billion in direct loans to eligible applicants for the costs of reequipping, expanding, and establishing manufacturing facilities in the United States to produce advanced technology vehicles, and components for such vehicles. These vehicles must provide meaningful improvements in fuel economy performance.

Department of Energy – Fact Sheet: The Department Of Energy and Transition 2008

# The Department of Energy and its program offices have worked diligently to compile comprehensive information, including all previous and forthcoming issues and developments, for the next administration in order to provide a timely and efficient transition.

# The smooth and collegial transfer of power from one Presidential administration to the next is a hallmark of American democracy. It is always an enormous undertaking and requires hard work and a lot of coordination.

# With energy security being a key component of our national security, DOE has additional responsibilities to establish and execute a transition plan that minimizes disruption and maintains continuity in these key areas.

# In order to outline an effective foundation and blueprint for the next administration, DOE began transition work very early in 2008.

# Secretary Bodman has directed his team to be forward-leaning in all our efforts to ensure as smooth and effective a transition as possible. Acting Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Kupfer has been leading the 2008 transition work at the U.S. Department of Energy.

# Ingrid Kolb, a seasoned 30-year federal employee, has been named DOE’s 2008 Agency Transition Coordinator and is overseeing daily transition operations. Jay Hoffman, Director of Program Analysis & Evaluation at DOE, is assisting Kolb with the preparation of transition briefing materials.

# With a $24 billion budget, approximately 115,000 employees, and 17 national laboratories, the Department is involved in many aspects of global energy security  a seamless transition at DOE to the next Administration is vitally important.

Special Report: Secrets Of SRS | WJBF
SC– Half a century ago, the Savannah River Site was a top spot for our government to meet nuclear needs during the Cold War.

There were secret projects…and buzz words that surrounded the site: hydrogen bomb’ and nuclear reactor.’

But half a century later, SRS’s mission has shifted. They now clean up harmful materials. And SRS researchers are looking to make this a sound of the past.

Dr. Theodore Motyka, Hydrogen Program Manager: Eventually we’ll all run on hydrogen in my opinion. It’s a matter of when.

Hanford News : URS-owned contractor settles fraud allegations

Washington Savannah River Co., the former management and operations contractor for the Savannah River, S.C., nuclear site, has agreed to pay the federal government $2.4 million to resolve allegations of fraud.

The U.S. Justice Department alleged that the company, owned by URS Corp., failed to disclose substantial projected increases in required pension fund contributions during 2003 contract negotiations. As part of the settlement, the contractor will withdraw claims for an additional $35.6 million for the Department of Energy to cover the rise in its pension costs.

Department of Energy – U.S. Department of Energy Announces the Availability of Disposal Contracts for New Nuclear Reactors
The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that the Department is prepared to execute the Standard Contract for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and/or High-Level Radioactive Waste (Standard Contract) set forth in 10 C.F.R. 961, together with a new reactor amendment, with those companies desiring to construct new nuclear power reactors. The Department is making the Standard Contract and the new reactor amendment (collectively “disposal contract”) available to those companies that have notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of their intent to build new nuclear power reactors.

Opinion | Don’t cave into feds on Hanford cleanup | Seattle Times Newspaper
The state Senate is likely to consider legislation that restores elements of Initiative 297, which dealt with Hanford nuclear reservation cleanup but was ruled unconstitutional in the federal courts.

In 2004, Washington voters passed Initiative 297 with the highest vote total of any initiative in state history, more than 70 percent. Its key goal was to stop the dumping of mixed hazardous and radioactive waste in unlined dirt trenches at Hanford. Aware that a plume of over a million gallons of radioactive and other hazardous chemical waste is entering the groundwater and is headed for the Columbia River, voters adopted a common-sense standard: Quit dumping until the stuff already there is cleaned up.

Soon after the Bush administration took power, it proposed a budget for the Department of Energy that showed a marked slowdown in cleanup activities, even while it proposed adding more to the unlined trenches. The long-term solution, a vitrification plant that would encase the waste in glass for storage, was far behind schedule. It was this threat that prompted I-297.

Sampling seeks Hanford contaminants in Columbia
Work has begun to collect samples of water and other items from the Columbia River to test for evidence of contaminants that might be linked to past production of plutonium at the Hanford nuclear reservation.

The 1,200 samples will include river water, soil on islands, sediment in the river and fish along a 120-mile stretch of the river.

The data collected will be combined with information from previous samplings to help officials make final decisions on cleaning up the river shore within the nuclear reservation. |Thousands of containers of HEU ready for Y-12 move
According to an Oct. 3 report by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, about 450 Rackable Can Storage Boxes were loaded by Y-12 workers during FY2007 and ’08 to prepare for the move into the new Oak Ridge storage facility for weapons-grade uranium.

Based on previous information released by NNSA and B&W, the managing contractor, each of those boxes holds a half-dozen cans, and each of those cans holds up to 44 pounds of highly enriched uranium (HEU). The defense board memo said B&W plans to begin loading material into the new $549 million storage facility in fiscal year 2010.

The loading is to take place in two phases.

“The first phase is to de-inventory the Warehouse within about three months after start up

Pantex separation program on hold : News : KVII
Amarillo’s Pantex plant is no longer asking workers to voluntarily leave their jobs.

In August, Pantex officials asked employees to voluntarily leave under a separation program or the company would have to start lay offs because it was facing a $54-million budget shortfall.

However, ProNews7 confirmed with Pantex that they are no longer asking employees to leave.

Because, the facility is currently funded under the continuing resolution passed by congress, the plants separation program has been put on hold until March 2009.


Other Energy News

Newsvine – Running on fumes: GM could soon run out of cash

The American auto industry is running on fumes. General Motors, the nation’s largest automaker, warned Friday that it may run out of money by the end of the year after piling up billions in third-quarter losses and burning through cash at an alarming rate. Ford sustained heavy losses, too.

The situation is so severe, GM has suspended talks to acquire Chrysler and is appealing to the government for help as the slumping economy drags cars sales to their lowest level in a quarter century.

Washington Times – Shell secures 25-year access to Iraq’s oil, gas
A joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Iraq’s state-owned South Gas Co. could give Shell a 25-year monopoly on production and exports of natural gas in much of southern Iraq – the biggest foreign role in Iraq’s oil and gas sector in four decades.

The planned venture, spelled out in a 16-page document obtained by United Press International, goes well beyond descriptions provided by Iraqi and Shell officials on Sept. 22, when they held a public signing ceremony in Baghdad.

Newsvine – Nigerians file suit against Shell in Dutch court
An environmentalist group and four Nigerians filed suit against Royal Dutch Shell PLC in the Netherlands on Friday, claiming the company was negligent in cleaning up oil spills in Nigeria.

The civil suit filed by the four men and Friends of the Earth is unusual in that it seeks to hold Shell’s parent company liable for damages allegedly caused by its Nigerian subsidiary.

Credit Crisis May Halt Pickins’ Largest Wind Farm in the World: ENN — Know Your Environment
The credit crunch is not just hurting the banks and the real estate market. Even the billionaire and wind energy enthusiast, T. Boone Pickens is having trouble financing his high profile 4000 MW wind farm. The price tag on this Texas wind farm is a hefty $10 and $12 billion.

Solar sector shakeout looms as credit crunch bites: ENN
Many of the world’s solar energy companies could fail or fall into the arms of stronger rivals as the financial crisis raises borrowing costs and as solar module prices fall.

Any such shake-out would in turn precipitate consolidation in the industry, which has for years been attracting heavy investment and government subsidies that have driven supply ahead of demand.

The dirty side of ‘clean’ coal: ENN
It didn’t start that way: His land was once a low hill in a rugged hardwood forest cherry, oak, hickory skipping from ridge to ridge across one of the poorest, most rural areas of the Lower 48.

Then came the mining companies with their dynamite and their trucks. They clear-cut the forest, blew the tops off the ridges and scraped the rocks into the hollows, pushing hundreds of feet of mountains into the valleys below.

The Cost of Energy» Document alert: Wind Vision 2025
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) released its strategic vision for wind energy development during its 24th Annual Conference and Trade Show taking place this week in Vancouver. The plan, Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future, cites rapidly rising energy costs, reducing the country’s environmental impacts caused by current electricity generation, the need to quickly build more electricity generation to keep up with rising demand and the need to build a more robust transmission system a key drivers for the adoption of wind technology.

The Cost of Energy » Drifting into Carmageddon
It’s beginning to look a lot like Carmageddon.

Are we there yet? Probably not, but recent events certainly seem to imply we’ve taken a big, random step in that direction lately.

(Just to review: Carmageddon is a term I use to describe a state in the US auto industry where the offerings from car companies, particularly, but by no means exclusively, the Big Three, are ridiculously out of step with what the consumer need and want. This situation will also greatly impact those selling used vehicles, of course, with the resultant drop in resale values will leave many owners buried alive, upside down in their auto loans their old, very undesirable vehicles will be worth less than they owe on them, making it ever harder for them switch to a much more fuel efficient vehicle. This situation will also mean that the relatively meager supply of highly fuel efficient cars won’t be nearly enough to help consumers, so the price of those models will be bid up significantly in the form of higher resale values and dealer markups on new units.)

US Energy plans
Here’s a general list of Obama’s energy platform, courtesy of Robert Rapier a good source for expertise these issues. The initiatives on “clean” coal and ethanol will raise hackles. Canadians should take note of the “low-carbon fuel standard”. If such a standard is implemented, it would affect importation of oil from extracted carbon-intensive oil sands. And that’s one reason the Canadian Government has been quick to call for cooperation on a joint North American climate change strategy.

The list is after the bump:

Peak Energy: Why It’s Time for a Green New Deal’
Newsweek has an article on how “cleaner energy can create jobs and reignite global growth” – Why It’s Time for a Green New Deal.

In rented offices on a quiet side street in Paris, not far from the Eiffel Tower, analysts for the International Energy Agency spend long days and nights crunching numbers about oil production and greenhouse-gas emissions. They’re the staid, sober global accountants who watch over the power supply for the 30 rich countries that are members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and their many reports are dry and technical. But lately, the group’s pronouncements have taken on more ominous overtones. With a sense of urgency bordering on desperation, the IEA has begun calling for radical changes in the way the world drives its cars, its factories and, indeed, the global economy. This month the agency will issue a collection of comprehensive reports declaring that “a global revolution is needed in ways that energy is supplied and used.”

That kind of rhetoric has become familiar to U.S. voters, who’ve spent months listening to both presidential candidates tout their energy plans. Barack Obama has promised to “strategically invest” $150 billion over 10 years to build a clean-energy economy, one that will create 5 million new green jobs.

Peak Energy: Bullet Trains For California
AP reports that Californian voters passed a measure to build a high speed rail network in the state – Calif. voters approve $10B bond for bullet trains. Hopefully they can find the money for it

California voters are green-lighting the nation’s most ambitious high-speed rail system, approving a nearly $10 billion bond to put speeding bullet trains capable of topping 200 mph between the state’s major metropolitan areas.

The measure, which passed with 52 percent support Tuesday, will fund the first phase of what is projected to be a $45 billion, 800-mile project built with state, federal, local and private money.

Backers sold the proposal as an innovative alternative to soaring airfares and gas prices. In the closing weeks of the campaign, they touted estimates that it would create nearly 160,000 construction-related jobs and 450,000 permanent jobs.

Peak Energy: Deserts could solve the energy crisis
The Age has an article on calls to power Australia using solar thermal power and geothermal power from the dead heart – Running on empty: deserts could solve energy crisis.

DESERTS could generate enough renewable energy to power Australia, in the process creating unprecedented opportunities for its remote communities, a leading scientist says.

Dr Barrie Pittock, a lead author with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and former head of CSIRO’s climate impact group, says deserts could also create a substantial clean energy export industry focused on Asia.

He today will tell an Alice Springs deserts symposium that Australia is better placed to develop clean energy than almost any other nation, mainly due to its capacity for large-scale solar and geothermal power plants.

Peak Energy: More On The IEA Report
The forthcoming IEA report continues to generate plenty of advance press. It seems some of the production decline numbers that generated so much initial chatter are actually for already declining fields – not ones growing or holding steady, so they don’t really mean all that much (its the average across all fields that really counts, which may still be around the 4.5% figure CERA predicts).

MSN – IEA sees oil above $100, recognizes supply limit.

The world will have to live with the risk of an energy supply crunch and an oil price well above $100 a barrel in the years to come, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday.

Massive investment of more than $26 trillion will be needed in the next 20 years to offset the impact of falling supply at aging oilfields and ensure the world has enough energy, the IEA said.

“There remains a real risk that under-investment will cause an oil supply crunch (by 2015),” the IEA said in an executive summary of the World Energy Outlook (WEO) to be released in full next week. “The gap now evident between what is currently being built and what will be needed to keep pace with demand is set to widen sharply after 2010.”

Peak Energy: The Age Of Easy Oil Is Gone Forever
The Economist has a look at some of the factors affecting oil production, warning “Oil prices have plunged. Another spike may be on its way” – Well prepared.

WITH the price of crude mired at half the peak of $147 it reached in July, this may seem like an odd time to invest in oil wells. Despite trimming its output along with other members of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in an effort to prop up prices, that is just what the United Arab Emirates plans to do. Short-term price movements, its oil minister insists, should not distract from the world’s enduring thirst for oil. Indeed the collapse of oil prices, one of the few reasons around for economic cheer, may be setting the stage for another spike.

Just now oilmen are focused on the rapidly slowing demand for their product. Since early October, reckons the boss of BP, a big oil firm, America’s consumption of crude has fallen by perhaps 2m barrels a day, or about a tenth. Sales of cars in America fell even more steeply last month by 32%. There is also gloomy news from emerging markets, which have been the driving force in the oil markets of late. Demand for oil is growing much more slowly in China and India, for example, and car sales are down in both countries. There is even talk of global oil demand falling next year, for the first time since 1991.

FACTBOX: Possible nominees for Obama’s energy secretary | Reuters
Reuters) – Several people who could serve as energy secretary in U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s administration already have been mentioned by Washington insiders, lobbyists and blog writers, including:

* U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He advocates renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

* Wesley Clark, retired Army general and former NATO commander who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

* General Electric Co Chief Executive Jeff Immelt, who says government investment in environmental technologies can create green jobs.

* Ray Mabus, former Democratic Governor of Mississippi and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer. He served as a senior adviser to the Obama campaign.

* U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. A long-time critic of OPEC and nuclear power, he supported higher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks.

* Dan Reicher, director of climate change and energy initiatives at A former assistant energy secretary under President Bill Clinton, he wants more U.S. electricity generated by renewable sources and promotes plug-in vehicles.

* Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat who has called for a $850 million state Energy Independence Fund to invest in clean energy projects and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

* Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who is a big promoter of developing liquid fuel from coal.

* Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat who fought efforts to allow a coal-fired power plant to expand in her state, saying it would spew more greenhouse gas emissions.

Newsvine – Going Green Off The Grid
What better way to save the world than to start in your own back yard? That’s what Doug Rempel is doing  one SIP at a time. Doug is currently building an entirely energy efficient home next to Lillooet Lake, in Pemberton, B.C. The home is off the grid which means everything, from the solar insulation panels (SIPS) to the architecture of the home  with window levels and patio ledges based on sun path charts  is created to heat and cool in the most natural way possible. There is no hydro power or natural gas. “Energy-efficiency is a career as well as a passion of mine, says Doug.

The Center for Public Integrity | PaperTrail Blog – ENERGY: Amid Record Profits, Exxon Tries to Shirk Interest Payments in Valdez Oil Spill Case
At the same time that ExxonMobil was racking up the largest quarterly profit of any U.S. company in history  $14.8 billion the oil giant was fighting in court to avoid making the interest payment in the long-running case brought by victims of the 1989 Valdez supertanker spill in Alaska. In case you were wondering, the sum the plaintiffs say Exxon owes in interest, about $500 million, is about three days’ worth of company profits.

SolarBC | Energizing Solar Hot Water in British Columbia
Builders and developers who install solar hot water on new homes are now eligible to receive a $1,000 discount. The discount is currently available for installations carried out before March 31, 2009.

Eligible new buildings include single-family residences or small multi-unit residences without a common entrance and comprising less than 600 square meters of building area or three or fewer stories of building height.

These new incentives are available through registered SolarBC contractors, who will provide you with technical advice, professional installation services and will help you apply for your $1000 discount

Chrysler Launches New Hybrids, then Cancels Production
Don’t blink: This is the here-today, gone-tomorrow 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid SUV, which is rated for 20 mpg in the city, 22 mpg on the highway (the best fuel economy for that size of SUV). Chrysler will cease production of the hybrid and conventional Aspen and Dodge Durango SUVs at the end of 2008.

Rocks Could Be Harnessed To Sponge Vast Amounts Of Carbon Dioxide From Air
Scientists say that a type of rock found at or near the surface in the Mideast nation of Oman and other areas around the world could be harnessed to soak up huge quantities of globe-warming carbon dioxide.

Obama considers new Energy Security Council – Erika Lovley –
Barack Obama is seriously considering the creation of an Energy Security Council within the White House, according to sources close to the transition.

President-elect Obama and his staff are examining a white paper written by former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, John Podesta, who is heading up the Obama transition, the sources said.

Utilities putting new energy into geothermal sources – Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Reno — Not far from the blinking casinos of this gambler’s paradise lies what could be called the Biggest Little Power Plant in the World.

Tucked into a few dusty acres across from a shopping mall, it uses steam heat from deep within the Earth’s crust to generate electricity. Known as geothermal, the energy is clean, reliable and so abundant that this facility produces more than enough electricity to power every home in Reno, population 221,000.

WorldChanging: Europeans Form Renewable Energy Agency
A consortium of European governments is developing the world’s first International Renewable Energy Agency.

The agency, known as IRENA, will serve as a global cheerleader for clean energy. It plans to offer technical, financial, and policy advice for governments worldwide, according to a joint announcement from Germany, Spain, and Denmark – the project’s leaders.

Rainforest Fungus Naturally Synthesizes Diesel | Wired Science from
A fungus that lives inside trees in the Patagonian rain forest naturally makes a mix of hydrocarbons that bears a striking resemblance to diesel, biologists announced today. And the fungus can grow on cellulose, a major component of tree trunks, blades of grass and stalks that is the most abundant carbon-based plant material on Earth.

“When we looked at the gas analysis, I was flabbergasted,” said Gary Strobel, a plant scientist at Montana State University, and the lead author of a paper in Microbiology describing the find. “We were looking at the essence of diesel fuel.”

TG Daily – Researchers claim near perfect absorption of sunlight
Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found a way to trap more than nine out of ten photons hitting a solar panel: A new anti-reflective coating for solar panels could not only send mechanisms that adjust the angle of solar panels to the sun into retirement, but also hold the promise to come up with much more efficient solar panels than those available today.

TG Daily – Shell Oil Company achieves 376.59 mpg in test car at Wood River Laboratory
Using fully stock production gasoline engine powered vehicles, with engine modifications limited only to changes in fuel mixture and ignition timing, Shell Oil Company served host to an open competition in automobile efficiency. The fruit of their forum was sweet indeed as a two-door, full-sized production car was able to drive off with the prize by achieving 376.59 miles in normal driving conditions using a single gallon of fuel. A more heavily modified vehicle was able to achieve over 1140 miles on a single gallon of fuel. Results like these are truly astounding and beg the question: Are we really getting all we can in efficiency from auto makers?

The Cost of Energy» Document alert: Global Wind Energy Outlook 2008
New Study: 10 billion tonne saving in CO2 possible with wind energy by 2020:

Wind power is key technology to prevent dangerous climate change.

Wind power could produce 12% of the world’s energy needs and save 10 billion tones of CO2 within 12 years, according to a new report published today.

The ‘Global Wind Energy Outlook 2008′, published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace International, looks at the global potential of wind power up to 2050 and found that it could play a key part in achieving a decline in emissions by 2020, which the IPCC indicates is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.7By 2020, wind power could save as much as 1.5 billion tonnes of CO2 every year, which would add up to over 10 billion tonnes in this timeframe. The report also explains how wind energy can provide up to 30% of the world’s electricity by the middle of the century.

OPEC faces fresh dilemma in setting oil targets: ENN
With demand slowing and supplies rising, the world is awash in oil — sending prices crashing by more than 50 percent from a record high of $147 a barrel just three months ago. That has prompted oil producers to convene an emergency meeting to try to regain some control over prices.

But as OPEC ministers sit down Friday in Vienna to decide on production cuts they face a number of thorny obstacles to regaining control of the market.

“Carbon Nation” Pumps Up CO2 Reduction Solutions : TreeHugger
It’s stuff we all know about – compact fluorescent lighting, wind energy, efficiency, green jobs – the kind of stuff we talk about incessantly on TreeHugger.

Yet seeing all these solutions in Earth School’s 4-minute trailer of the upcoming documentary Carbon Nation makes them feel more real, just like seeing Al Gore do his shtick in An Inconvenient Truth brought the reality of global warming home (whether or not each individual fact he uttered could be 100 percent proven). And that’s a good thing. Global warming gets scarier the more you think about it, but Carbon Nation, scheduled to be released late in the year, aims to dwell not on the scary but on the possibilities for solving the problem.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

ISSUE IN-DEPTH: NUCLEAR POWER: Reactors have to be part of energy plan |
To fight climate change, alternative fuels and conservation are essential, but they are not enough.

A constant theme of the campaign of 2008 – from the race for president to the state’s Public Service Commission – involves re-embracing nuclear power as a clean and available source of energy.

Unfortunately, the call among candidates for more nuclear power has often been as shallow as the cry to drill, baby, drill. Nuclear does need to be part of the nation’s energy-production capacity, particularly given the role of fossil fuels in climate change. But nuclear power still faces long-term issues about cost and safety that have not been addressed or even acknowledged.

Letter: Why do we think we’re immune to disaster?: Rutland Herald Online
Do we so easily forget the nuclear plant disaster at Chernobyl and the Three Mile Island accident, that we are ready to re-license Vermont Yankee in the face of its continuing accidents and problems? Why do we think we’re immune from disaster? The only real control we have over Vermont Yankee is shutting it down in 2012.

We have no control over where the spent fuel is stored. Do you remember when the mountains of north-central Vermont were considered as a nuclear storage site? We didn’t want the stuff in our back yard, so how can we imagine other people — especially poor, rural, indigenous people — want it in theirs?

Nuclear power bad on so many levels |
After 60 years and many billions of dollars in government subsidies, nuclear power should finally have to prove itself on its own merits  which evidently it cannot do in a free market.

Not only are taxpayers and citizens shouldering an unfair burden of the costs of nuclear power, but, even with these subsidies, as consumers we will be forced to cover the rising costs of nuclear plant construction.

These costs have consistently been well above even the high price tag quoted at the start of the project. Overruns of 50 percent or more will be paid by energy consumers, as utility rates are raised ever higher to protect guaranteed profits for investors.

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