Top 100 Energy Stories (Dec. 8th – 11th)

radbullObama has selected the head of LBL for the head of DOE. A very pro-nuclear selection that solved Senator Reid’s demand.  We’re gonna get both sides of the coin. What’s new. The Oil Drum dug out a 2005 video of Chu. Better than McCain?

There is a lot of news this cycle. The NRC was very busy this week. There is an important new study out in Germany on Safety.  A global call for peace was launched by a new international group of prominent leaders which got a moderate amount of play.  The North Korean talks are at a critical juncture and the economic crisis may have endangered the Belene nuke in Europe.  There’s even a protest story in France to give our favorite pronuke hero’s a boost.

Another uranium mine in the US was shutdown due to bad prices while Bush is trying to sidestep attempts to block uranium mining around the Grand Canyon. The state of Washington’s lawsuit to push DOE to continue cleanup at Hanford will be something to watch how the new administration deals with this.  Hundreds of people showed up to Areva’s hearings on a new enrichment facility.  A new Bellefonte estimate puts the reactors there at up to $17.5 billion. Remember last week mideast estimates prices to double again over the next several years.  Always worth mentioning we haven’t seen nothing yet.  Was it fair to warn people a year and half ago on what these folks are about? We need another one liner to add onto the old one about nuclear being too cheap to meter. Oh and a Florida senator is calling for the end of CWIP there.

With the collapse of the Detroit Bailout we are starting to see the kind of drama that will be in store for Obama when he takes office. What strategies will work? How about putting some heads in stockades to begin with?  Nope, most the Dems have the same thing to fear as seen by what just happened in Illinois.  Don’t bury your head in the sands at this point as I think there are a lot of bigger issues in the frying pan like  reforming congress for example and political finance reform.  Any bets on this happening? Not without a huge political cry. That means going after the core problem in this country the corporate media. With the failure of the Tribune this week do we need any more prime examples? Expect many more news services to head for Davy Jones Locker soon. Good advice? start taking home a bag of rice or beans at least once a month and learn how to store and rotate quantities.

Everybody and their uncle had better be calling for town hall meetings on the economy and energy. Oh, and the U6 unemployment rate now stands at 12.5% of the public out of work. No more business as usual. Here’s a link to a Russian who lived through their collapse 17 years ago called the Five Stages of Collapse.

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

STLtoday – Proposal for Callaway Nuclear Plant
Currently, the Callaway Nuclear Plant in Callaway County, MO is planning to build another nuclear unit. Nuclear power is a source of energy that has gotten a bad reputation in the Untied States. Incidents, such as Chernobyl, have scared the American public and have given Nuclear a bad connotation. Plants that are being built now are nothing like the one at Chernobyl. They have mechanisms that make it nearly impossible for a melt down ever to occur. The safety requirements created by the NRC have made nuclear plants safe in regards to radiation. Pilots receive more radiation than nuclear plant workers per year. Knowing this, and living in a country that is so dependent on fossil fuels made us very excited to see the potential for more energy to come from nuclear. Although, we support the additional reactor at Callaway, we think that the proposed plan has higher environmental cost than it needs to.
FOCUS Information Agency: The NPP Belene project becomes unstable
The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel turns its attention to the scandal in Germany surrounding the participation of RWE in the construction of NPP Belene. Jurgen Grosmann, the President and CEO of RWE, has received an unusual letter of protest from Bulgarian MPs, which showed the negative effect from the construction of the nuclear power plant on the tourism and agriculture in the region. The reason behind this letter was an answer to the plans of Grosmann to invest EUR 1.5 billion in the construction of NPP Belene.
Der Tagesspiegel explains that some of the members of the supervisory board of the German company have started to have doubts about the investment following a protest action of an environmental organization. Grosmann said that the project could not be renegotiated, which made the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of RWE – Thomas Fischer, try to change the interior regulations of the company. The planned changes would allow the supervisory board to take part in the approval of new investment projects. If such changes are made, there would be a majority, which would vote against the participation of RWE in the NPP Belene project. Normandy Dairy Towns Challenge EDF on Nuclear Reactor
The lush green hills overlooking the dairy farms of Le Chefresne in Normandy have become a battleground in France’s efforts to boost power production.

In a corner of France known for Camembert cheese and apples, state-controlled Electricite de France SA plans to build 200 foot-tall steel pylons with high-voltage cables to carry electricity from a nuclear plant. The proposal would add to the 400,000 volts that pylons already carry from two existing reactors.

“We will be living in a microwave oven, said Jean-Claude Bossard, mayor of Le Chefresne, home to 300 people and about three times as many cows. We want proof that there won’t be dangerous health effects. ”

MidHudson Radio: Local group’s participation in Indian Point relicensing rejected
The presidentially appointed commission that oversees the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has rejected an appeal by the groups and a state assemblyman challenging the Indian Point license renewal application under the umbrella of WestCAN.

The groups include the Westchester Citizens Awareness Network (WestCAN), Rockland County Conservation Association, Public Health and Sustainable Energy (PHASE), Sierra Club — Atlantic Chapter and state Assemblyman Richard Brodsky.

On July 31, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel handling the Indian Point license renewal hearing expelled WestCAN from the proceeding. It did so because the counsel for WestCAN repeatedly disregarded agency regulations and instructions from the panel.

In its ruling Tuesday, the commission upheld the expulsion, noting that the actions by WestCAN’s counsel have “seriously disrupted the Board’s efforts to meet its responsibility to conduct a fair, orderly and efficient hearing, has interfered with the other participants’ efforts to use their own litigation resources efficiently, and has made our own review of the appellate documents and the underlying record far more time-consuming than necessary.”

Nuclear plant hearing: – The State
State agency operates as judge, jury and advocate,’ attorney complains

Critics attempt to challenge review

A hearing on SCE&G’s plans to expand the Jenkinsville nuclear plant took a sudden detour Tuesday as lawyers wrangled over whether the chief of a state agency that reviews utility issues could be ordered to testify.

When the smoke cleared, the state Public Service Commission decided Dukes Scott, executive director of the Office Regulatory Staff, didn’t have to take the witness stand.

Nuclear reactor’s licensing challenged | The Leaf Chronicle
Public unable to get information to assess safety, viability, critics say

NASHVILLE The electric industry’s effort to fast-track a new design for nuclear reactors has triggered complaints about transparency and questions about the suitability of a TVA site in Alabama.

Just over a year ago, the Tennessee Valley Authority, backed by a consortium of other electric utilities, applied for a license to build along the Tennessee River the first of a new generation of nuclear reactors.

Sask. Govt. owes us a nuclear explanation
The greatest threat that a nuclear power plant poses to Saskatchewan people isn’t necessarily to water usage or even to human life in the near-impossibility of a meltdown.

The greatest threat is to our wallets — and the Saskatchewan Party government needs to start coming clean about how serious its potential financial support of a reactor really is.

Estimate soars for 2 nuclear reactors at Bellefonte | The Tennessean
The cost to build two nuclear reactors at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Bellefonte site in Alabama, 100 miles southeast of Nashville, could cost as much as $17.5 billion, more than double the estimate made last year.

TVA put a range of $9.9 billion to $17.5 billion on the project in documents sent last month to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The amounts are much closer to what residents opposing the plant have said should be anticipated.

Constellation board authorizes talks with EDF on latest offer
Constellation Energy said Monday its board of directors had authorized the company’s management team to begin immediate discussions and exchange of information with Electricite de France over the French company’s unsolicited proposal for a stake in its nuclear assets. Constellation, a Baltimore-based utility holding company, said it received EDF’s proposal December 2. That offer, if accepted and completed, would see the state-owned French company acquire — through a joint venture — a 50% ownership interest in Constellation’s nuclear business for $4.5 billion.

Smith calls on Oyster Creek to release analysis of barrier | Asbury Park Press
It’s essential for the full 3-D analysis of a corroded radiation barrier at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant to be made public before officials decide whether to approve a 20-year license renewal, according to a local congressman.

Moreover, all studies on Oyster Creek safety issues should be promptly released to the public “to ensure independent review and help improve public confidence” in U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission work and “the entire NRC relicensing process,” according to a letter to the NRC from Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sydney Morning Herald: Owners of uranium-laced land to sue Government
THE owners of a radioactive property in Hunters Hill will sue the NSW Government today for allegedly allowing them to buy their waterfront mansion without being told their land is laced with uranium.

Peter and Michelle Vassiliou, who bought the property at 11 Nelson Parade eight years ago, are returning from Singapore tomorrow to live permanently in Australia, but can neither occupy nor sell their home.

The family want the Government to buy the property for their market valuation of $4.65 million, plus costs. The land was in government ownership before being sold to private interests in 1989.

FR: NIOSH: Worker’s Cohort petition Canonsburg Pa
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives notice as required by 42 CFR 83.12(e) of a decision to evaluate a petition to designate a class of employees at the Vitro Manufacturing in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, to be included in the Special Exposure Cohort under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. The initial proposed definition for the class being evaluated, subject to revision as warranted by the evaluation, is as follows: Facility: Vitro Manufacturing. Location: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Job Titles and/or Job Duties: All Atomic Weapons Employer employees. Period of Employment: August 13, 1942 through December 31, 1957.

FR: NIOSH: Worikers Cohort petition Chicago Il
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives notice as required by 42 CFR 83.12(e) of a decision to evaluate a petition to designate a class of employees at the Metallurgical Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois, to be included in the Special Exposure Cohort under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. The initial proposed definition for the class being evaluated, subject to revision as warranted by the evaluation, is as follows: Facility: Metallurgical Laboratory. Location: Chicago, Illinois. Job Titles and/or Job Duties: All Atomic Weapons Employer employees. Period of Employment: August 13, 1942 through June 30, 1946.

FR: NIOSH: Worker’s Cohort petition St Louis Mo
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) gives notice as required by 42 CFR 83.12(e) of a decision to evaluate a petition to designate a class of employees at the Mallinckrodt Chemical Co., Destrehan Street Plant in St. Louis, Missouri, to be included in the Special Exposure Cohort under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act of 2000. The initial proposed definition for the class being evaluated, subject to revision as warranted by the evaluation, is as follows: Facility: Mallinckrodt Chemical Co., Destrehan Street Plant. Location: St. Louis, Missouri. Job Titles and/or Job Duties: All employees who worked with uranium. Period of Employment: January 1, 1958 to December 31, 1958.

POGO: Enough to Make You Sick: Weak Oversight of Beryllium Contamination at DOE Labs
Yesterday, POGO sent a letter to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Health, Safety, and Security (HSS) urging it to provide oversight and enforcement of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) beryllium exposure prevention policies. These policies were designed to prevent Lab workers’ exposure to beryllium, which can lead to the development of the incurable and potentially fatal lung disease, chronic beryllium disease.

Recently, POGO received a tip that ORNL is not in compliance with its beryllium prevention plan. ORNL’s plan was born out of Beryllium Controls at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (IG-737), a damning 2006 DOE Inspector General (IG) report which found that ORNL did not properly manage activities relating to beryllium contamination. In our letter, we expressed concern that HSS did not follow up on these issues when they were previously brought to the office’s attention.

Cancers suggest radiation dangers: Rutland Herald Online
The incidence of thyroid cancer is rising at an alarming rate in Vermont, as well as across this country and especially in the Northeastern states. No cancer diagnosis is growing as fast according to the National Cancer Institute, with a growth rate of about 6 percent a year since 1997. Most newly diagnosed are women, who are two to three times more likely than men to develop thyroid cancer.

Brenda Edwards is a statistician with the National Cancer Institute and reported that the annual rate increase of thyroid cancer doubled from 2 percent in the 1980s to 4.6 percent in the 1990s to 9.8 percent in 2005 for U.S males and females of all ages. That is the latest year publicly reported.

Radioactive tritium persists in well at Palisades nuclear plant – The Kalamazoo Gazette Online –
For some unknown reason, there’s still detectable radioactive tritium in one well at the Palisades nuclear plant.

Mark Savage, public affairs and communications director for Palisades, told the Van Buren County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday that 13 of its monitoring wells are below the “minimal detectable activity,” or MDA, for the substance. But one well still has detectable levels.

“All of the 14 wells, save the one, continue to show MDA,” Savage said.

cbs4 denver – Truck Crashes On I-76, Spills Radioactive Medical Supplies
A rolled-over semi truck on Interstate 76 near 88th Avenue closed the eastbound lanes of the highway for several hours Wednesday morning as emergency workers cleaned up some low-level radioactive medical supplies.

The state patrol said the truck’s driver was distracted by his cell phone when the crash happened.

Swiss electricity companies, which support nuclear energy, fund study on childhood cancer. – swissinfo
A study to investigate whether living close to a nuclear power plant increases the risk of childhood cancer is being co-financed by electricity companies.

The decision to allow the firms, Axpo and BKW Energy, to fund around a quarter of the SFr820,000 ($672,000) study raises questions about whether they will try to influence the results, due to be published in 2011.

Axpo and BKW Energy support nuclear energy along with a mix of other non-renewable and renewable sources. Last Thursday, they submitted plans to replace the country’s oldest nuclear plants with two new facilities.

Evening Star – No prosecution over contamination leak
ENVIRONMENT Agency bosses have decided not to prosecute the operator of Sizewell A over an incident which saw thousands of gallons of water contaminated when radioactivity escaped into the North Sea.

The incident, in January 2007, involved the fracture of a plastic pipe in a cooling pond building where highly radioactive spent fuel rods are stored under water prior to their despatch to the Sellafield reprocessing works in Cumbria.

Radiation can damage critical parts of cells | Press & Sun-Bulletin

Question: Why is radiation dangerous for cells?

Answer: Radiation is composed of high-energy waves or particles that can damage cells. The waves are things like X-rays and gamma rays which are like visible light, but have a much smaller wavelength and, thus, higher energy.

The particles can be electrons, which are part of atoms in substances. Radiation can be emitted from radioactive substances that can occur naturally in our environment, come from the sun or come from outer space, in which case they are called cosmic rays.

Government organizes recall of radioactive cell phone straps (The Daily Yomiuri)
The Education, Science and Technology Ministry has started recalling about 5,500 cell phone straps that contain the radioactive substance tritium through the Japan Radioisotope Association, officials said.

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a couple in Hiroshima in July for allegedly selling the cell phone straps without obtaining permission from the ministry. The fluorescent cell phone straps reportedly have glass containers holding tritium.

Although the tritium in the product is harmless to humans even if the glass container is broken, the amount of tritium per unit is about 26 times the allowable level under the radiation sickness prevention law.

The Canadian Press: Safety research on nuke burial plan lags by decades
As plans progress for a radioactive-waste site buried deep in Ontario limestone, the federal nuclear watchdog says the related safety research is full of holes.

Ontario Power Generation wants a licence by 2012 to bury low-to intermediate-level radioactive waste at its Bruce nuclear plant near Kincardine, Ont.

It’s the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s job to approve or reject that application.

The Hawk Eye: Man fights for compensation after working on IAAP
Had it. Fought it. Survived it.

The words are stamped on the back of one of Paul Bell’s T-shirts.

“It” means his battle with kidney cancer 30 years ago, but the motto on a T-shirt he wore at a 2008 cancer walk could just as easily symbolize the 87-year-old Burlington man’s struggle to get compensated for working on Line 1 at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant.

AFP: Marshall Islanders again denied nuclear test payouts: tribunal
For the third consecutive year, US nuclear test victims in the Marshall Islands have been denied compensation, with a claims tribunal saying Saturday that funds were too low to make even a token payment.

More than two billion dollars is owed in approved payments for personal injury and other claims arising from the 67 nuclear weapons tests conducted by the United States at Bikini and Enewetak atolls from 1946 to 1958.

The funding provided by Washington was “manifestly inadequate”, said Nuclear Claims Tribunal chairman Gregory Danz.


NRC News

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

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

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

FR: NRC Detroit Edison Col for Fermi 3
Detroit Edison Company Fermi Nuclear Power Plant, Unit 3 Combined License Application Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Conduct Scoping Process Detroit Edison Company (Detroit Edison) has submitted an application for a combined license (COL) to build the Fermi Nuclear Power Plant, Unit 3 (Fermi 3) at its Enrico Fermi Atomic Power Plant (Fermi) site, located on approximately 1,260 acres in Monroe County, Michigan, on Lake Erie, approximately 25 miles northeast of Toledo, Ohio and 30 miles southwest of Detroit, Michigan.

NRC – NRC Accepts Application for New Reactor at River Bend Site
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed, or accepted for review, a combined license (COL) application from Entergy for a new reactor at the River Bend site in Louisiana. Entergy’s application, submitted Sept. 25, is the 14th COL request the agency has accepted for review.

The application, minus proprietary or security-related details, is available on the NRC Web site at: Entergy seeks approval to build and operate an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR) at the site, about 24 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, La.

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 River Bend application. Information on the ESBWR application is available on the NRC Web site at:

NRC – NRC to Discuss Results of License Renewal Inspection for Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant on Dec. 16
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will discuss the results of an inspection of the proposed aging-management approach for the Susquehanna nuclear power plant on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at a meeting with the facility’s management.

PPL Susquehanna, LLC, which owns and operates the Salem Township (Luzerne County), Pa., plant, has applied for a 20-year license extension for each of the two units at the site. The inspection is part of an ongoing review of that application.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the meeting room of the Eagles Building, at 107 S. Market St. in Berwick, Pa. After a discussion of the inspection results, NRC staff will conduct a question-and-answer session regarding the review for interested members of the public.

FR: NRC TMI GEIS license renewal
Amergen Energy Company, LLC, Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1; Notice of Availability of the Draft Supplement 37 to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants, and Public Meeting for the License Renewal of Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 Notice is hereby given that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, Commission) has published a draft plant-specific supplement to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants (GEIS), NUREG-1437, regarding the renewal of operating license DPR-50 for an additional 20 years of operation for Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (TMI-1). TMI-1 is located in Londonderry Township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on the northern end of Three Mile Island near the eastern shore of the Susquehanna River. Possible alternatives to the proposed action (license renewal) include no action and reasonable alternative energy sources.


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whirlwind uranium mine temporarily closed |
The Whirlwind uranium mine near Gateway has been placed on standby, or temporarily closed, a result of plummeting uranium prices.

The move furloughed five miners temporarily, said Gary Steele, vice president of corporate marketing for Energy Fuels Inc., the owner and operator of the mine, which received its permit in September.

We were never actually in production, because the company hadn’t yet reached an agreement with the Denison Mine in Blanding, Steele said. We had no mill outlet for our ore.

After the price of uranium went from a peak of $138 a pound in early 2007 to $44 a pound recently, Denison couldn’t read the tea leaves any better than we could, Steele said. It’s now back up to around $55 a pound. It’s difficult to make commitments in the face of a free-falling market.

Colorado Independent » Bush administration’s latest rollback plan: uranium mining near Grand Canyon
First came the 11th-hour bid to relax clean air standards for power plants near the nation’s national parks, then a battle backing power plants over nearby aquatic life that wound up before the Supreme Court, and now the Bush administration is pushing for a rule to block Congress from limiting uranium mining near the Grand Canyon.

What’s next, a Taco Bell atop Mount Rushmore?

The latest bid by the lame-duck Bush administration to roll back environmental regulations was announced late last week when U.S. Interior Department officials said they would move forward with a rule that would eliminate a provision that directs the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw lands from possible mining when Congress declares emergency conditions exist.

The new rule would fly in the face of a June 25 emergency congressional resolution that required the Interior Department to withdraw a million acres of federal lands near Grand Canyon National Park from the permitting process for uranium mining.

DOE – DOE Extends Deadline for Draft GNEP PEIS Comment Period
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notification in the Federal Register today that it is extending the comment period on the Draft Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) by 90 days. The public comment period will now end on March 16, 2009.

Feds solicit public opinion on E. Idaho uranium enrichment plant
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is holding a public comment meeting in Idaho Falls Dec. 10 to assess community support for international energy firm Areva’s proposed Eagle Rock Uranium Enrichment Facility at a site near the Idaho National Laboratory.

The meeting is part of the lengthy application process Areva must go through for licensing of the facility, news station KPVI reports.

Areva, which announced that it had selected the Idaho Falls area for its new enrichment plant earlier this year, has already submitted both parts of its loan guarantee application to the Department of Energy, asking for the federal government to guarantee $2 billion in loans to finance the Eagle Rock project.

Navajo Nation Health Director sets it straight | Indian Country Today
The Navajo Nation’s top health official told the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Navajos continue to live with the Cold War legacy of uranium mining, and that a long-term, comprehensive assessment and research program with adequate resources is needed to address it.

Anslem Roanhorse Jr., executive director of the Navajo Nation Division of Health, said 520 radioactive uranium mines on the Navajo Nation were abandoned without being cleaned up. The uranium taken from Navajo land from 1944 to 1986 was used to meet the federal government’s demand for nuclear weapons material, he said.

Testifying Thursday before the bi-annual CDC and Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry Tribal Consultation session on the Environmental Public Health in Indian country, Roanhorse said four million tons of uranium ore, known as “yellow cake,” were mined from Navajo land for more than 40 years.

There are about 500 abandoned uranimum mine sites throughout the Navajo Nation and only one has been fully assessed…


Nuclear Waste News

Expanding Yucca Mountain? – Las Vegas Sun

Proposal to increase nuke waste capacity in Nevada makes a bad idea worse

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pahrump Valley Times – Reid, Berkley call for halt to ‘mobile Chernobyls’
Both U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Congressman Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., took the occasion of a Surface Transportation Board hearing here to fire a few shots over toward the Department of Energy.

Berkley essentually said Bush administration plans to build a $3 billion railroad in Nevadas to haul nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain should be rejected.

“Nevadans oppose this $3 billion ‘Railroad to Nowhere,'” said Berkley, “and we recognize the dangers thatb will accompany decades of toxic nuclear waste shipments to Yucca Mountain.” – Five vying to replace Loux at nuclear agency
Among the field of candidates to replace Bob Loux as executive director of the Nevada Nuclear Projects Agency are a former consumer advocate, a former mayor and an agency employee.

Five people who are vying for Loux’s long-held job will be interviewed Monday when the Nevada Commission on Nuclear Projects meets in Las Vegas. The commission, chaired by former Sen. Richard Bryan, will select three whose names will be sent to Gov. Jim Gibbons who will select Loux’s replacement.

The commission accepted Loux’s resignation Sept. 29 when he stepped down amid controversy over unauthorized pay raises. He agreed to continue to serve as the agency chief until Gibbons chooses his replacement.

DOE calls for bigger nuclear waste dump – Las Vegas Sun
The Bush administration said Tuesday there are no technology constraints to a major expansion of the proposed nuclear waste site in Nevada, calling for possibly tripling the amount of highly radioactive used reactor fuel that could be stored there in manmade underground caverns.

In a report to Congress, the Energy Department asked that the current capacity limit of 77,000 tons of waste _ imposed by Congress in 1987 _ be removed to accommodate all of the waste expected to be generated at commercial power plants, many of which are likely to operate for another four decades or more.

WRS | Opposition hardens to nuclear waste sites
Persuading local residents that they should nuclear waste in their backyard is not an easy job. But that’s exactly what officials from the Federal Energy Office are doing. They are touring the country, holding information sessions in the regions identified as possible storage sites. One of the candidates is Wellenberg. That particularly upsets voters in canton Nidwalden since they have twice turned down a proposal to build a nuclear waste repository in Wellenberg. Vincent Landon went to a public meeting in Stans and has this report:

EnergySolutions to Continue Magnox Cleanup – International Business Times –
EnergySolutions, Inc. Today, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) in the United Kingdomannounced that the competition for the new contract for the cleanup of theMagnox reactor sites will commence in 2011. Award of the contract isexpected by the end of 2012. EnergySolutions will continue to lead thisimportant cleanup project during this time period and it will bid on thenew contract.
The NDA stated that it would select a single operator for Magnox NorthLimited, Magnox South Limited and Research Sites Restoration Limited.

Taipower ready to build nuke waste dump in Taipei county – Taiwan News Online
Taiwan Power Company (Taipower) said Monday that it will soon submit a water and soil conservation plan to the Taipei County Government for the construction of a new, dry nuclear waste dump for its First Nuclear Power Plant.

Once the Taipei County Government approves the water and soil conservation plan, Taipower will be able to start building the interim repository near the First Nuclear Power Plant for dry storage of its spent nuclear fuel rods, said Tu Yueh-yuan, chief engineer and Taipower spokesman.

The First Nuclear Power Plant, located in the county’s coastal Shihmen township, has been operational since 1978 and is expected to be decommissioned in 2018, according to Tu.


Nuclear Policy News

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

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

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

ESB says nuclear power not needed in foreseeable future – Ireland, –

The ESB has told an Oireachtas committee that nuclear power is not needed in Ireland for the foreseeable future.

Fluctuating oil prices and climate change have led to calls for a debate on nuclear energy as a way to end Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels.

However, ESB chief executive Padraig McManus told the Oireachtas committee on energy and natural resources today that Ireland could comfortably meet its energy demands if clean-coal technology and inter-connection with other countries is implemented successfully.

He said nuclear power was unlikely to be on the agenda for at least another 25 years.

From nuclear to solar energy
The Norwegian-Russian project on replacing radioactive strontium batteries with solar panels in lighthouses along the White Sea and Barents Sea coast and islands is now completed. In 2009 the project might be adopted in the Baltic Sea.

All of the Northern Fleet hydrographical service’s 153 lighthouses along the White Sea and Barents Sea coast and islands, have now been modernized to use solar energy as power source, Russian TV company TV21 reports. The radioactive strontium batteries that used to supply these lighthouses with energy have been shipped to the Mayak reprocessing plant in Chelyabinsk, Siberia.

AFP: France’s EDF claims 89% of British Energy
French electricity giant EDF said on Monday it now holds nearly 89 percent of nuclear operator British Energy and it will extend its offer to secure the remaining shares until January 5.

EDF said that by the scheduled close of its 15.6 billion euro (13.4 billion pound) offer on December 5, it held 88.67 percent of British Energy’s shares, including its original stake of 26.48 percent.

Energy firms refuse to pass on cost cuts | Business | The Observer
Energy firms will refuse to pass on all of the savings they make on cheaper wholesale gas and electricity to consumers, one of the UK’s top energy bosses admitted this weekend.

The warning, issued by Paul Golby, chief executive of Eon UK, came after a week in which the price of oil tumbled to just above $40 a barrel. As the government demands that the banks give borrowers the benefit of the latest cut in interest rates, energy companies are also coming under increasing pressure to cut customers’ bills.


Nuclear Weapons News

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

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

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

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

BBC NEWS | Europe | Group seeks nuclear weapons ban
A group of international dignitaries have launched a new campaign in Paris to eliminate nuclear weapons.

Global Zero consists of 100 leading figures seeking practical steps towards nuclear abolition and gaining public support for that goal.

They say the risk of nuclear weapons spreading to unstable countries or getting into the hands of extremist groups is too great.

The group will hold meetings in Moscow and Washington in the coming days.

The Associated Press: World dignitaries launch anti-nuclear plan
Former world leaders and arms-control negotiators joined entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and the queen of Jordan Tuesday to launch a project aimed at eliminating the world’s nuclear weapons over the next 25 years.

The group wants to reach the impossible-sounding goal by reviving nuclear disarmament efforts that have lagged since the end of the Cold War. It is proposing deep cuts in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, a worldwide verification and enforcement system and phased reduction leading to elimination of all stockpiles.

KBS GLOBAL: US to Delete NK’s Description as Nuke Power
The U.S. government will delete a recent designation the Defense Department placed on North Korea which described it as a nuclear power.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young says the U.S. called the inclusion of the designation in a defense report a mistake that will be dealt with accordingly.

The November report titled Joint Operating Environment 2008 included the North in its list of countries that pose a nuclear threat to the U.S.

Nuclear Secrets Spread Around the Globe – The New York Times
The American atom bomb known as Fat Man being prepared for dropping on Nagasaki during World War II. Soviet spies gave its design to Moscow and Moscow in turn gave the secrets to Beijing. In time, China entrusted the design information to Pakistan. A.Q. Khan, Pakistan’s rogue atomic pioneer, then sold them on the global back market.


Department of Energy News

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

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

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

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

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

DOE – GNEP Nations Hold Infrastructure Development Working Group Meeting
Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) participated this week in the third Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Infrastructure Development Working Group (IDWG), underscoring the Department’s commitment to ensuring that global expansion of civilian nuclear power is done safely and securely, while reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation and responsibly managing waste. The IDWG, held December 8th and 9th in Vienna, Austria, includes over 70 participants from 22 countries working to support the sharing of educational resources, the promotion of technical educational opportunities and the establishment of new programs by which nuclear energy issues can be properly supported by trained, educated, and qualified personnel.

Obama’s energy secy to push renewables, less oil | Reuters
The change promised by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama will extend to the Energy Department, where the next energy secretary is likely to focus more than ever on renewable and alternative energy sources and less on traditional fossil fuels like crude oil.

Steven Chu, Obama’s pick to be energy secretary, will play a major role in implementing the incoming president’s plan to resuscitate the U.S. economy with millions of new green energy jobs that will cut America’s polluting emissions and the country’s addiction to foreign oil supplies.

The Associated Press: Energy secretary pick argues for new fuel sources
Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who is President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for energy secretary, has been a vocal advocate for more research into alternative energy, arguing that a shift away from fossil fuels is essential to combat global warming.

Chu, a Chinese-American who currently is director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, has in recent years campaigned to bring together a cross-section of scientific disciplines to find ways to counter climate change.

Following through on a warning to DOE – Columnists : Mid-Columbia news
The Hanford nuclear site is the most dangerous contaminated site in the United States. Unfortunately, the federal government has failed to meet its commitment to clean up Hanford.

That’s why we recently asked the federal courts to require the Department of Energy to do what is required by federal and state law – and what the agency itself agreed to do in signing the Tri-Party Agreement in 1989.

Some have questioned our decision.

Failure to complete the cleanup of the highly radioactive and toxic waste buried in the ground near the Columbia River simply is not an option.

Just below ground at the Hanford site are 177 steel tanks containing 53 million gallons of heavy metals, acids, solvents and lethal radioactive waste.

Of those tanks, 149 are of single-wall construction and well beyond their design life-span – and 67 have confirmed leaks. These leaks threaten the safety of the river.

DOE – U.S. Department of Energy Provides Report to Congress on the Demonstration of the Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Decommissioned Nuclear Power Reactor Sites
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today released its Report to Congress on the Demonstration of the Interim Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel from Decommissioned Nuclear Power Reactor Sites (DOE/RW-0596, December 2008). The report was prepared pursuant to direction in the House Appropriations Committee Report that accompanied the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 that the Department develop a plan to take custody of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) currently stored at decommissioned reactor sites.

DOE – Secretary Bodman Provides Report to the President and the Congress on the Need for a Second Repository for Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste

U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman today transmitted The Report to the President and the Congress by the Secretary of Energy on the Need for a Second Repository to the President and the Congress. The report was submitted in accordance with section 161 of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended (NWPA). Section 161 requires the Secretary to report to the President and to Congress on or after January 1, 2007, but not later than January 1, 2010, on the need for a second repository for the Nation’s spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and high-level radioactive waste (HLW).

POGO: Message to the New DOE Secretary: Don’t Believe the Hype
This week, President-elect Obama is expected to appoint a Secretary for the Department of Energy (DOE). This person will need some serious muscle: in addition to the enormous task of shifting the bureaucracy’s entrenched focus away from nuclear weapons production toward the renewable energy priorities of the Obama Administration, they will also need to hold accountable the contractors who conduct 90 percent of the agency’s work.

Additionally, with a seat on the Nuclear Weapons Council, the Secretary will have to stand up against the well-organized offensive for the Bush Administration’s failed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) program. As Walter Pincus reported in the Washington Post last week, U.S. Strategic Commander Air Force Gen. Kevin P. Chilton is calling for a rush to develop and produce RRW because of alleged surety problems–a topic of serious controversy within the nuclear scientific community. Also, in the January/February edition of Foreign Affairs, Sec. of Defense Robert Gates again heralded RRW, without addressing the fact that RRW’s test pedigree will be much less extensive than that of the existing stockpile. | DOE sends spent fuel reports to Congress
The Dept. of Energy today delivered a report to Congress saying it does not have the authority to accept decommissioned fuel from the nation’s commercial nuclear power plant. Here’s the link to the report.

In a press statement, DOE’s Ward Sproat, director of the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, said, “The Department has concluded that, without legislation, a demonstration project accepting spent nuclear fuel from decommissioned nuclear reactor sites could not be completed in the near term and would not reduce taxpayer costs for waste disposal.”

Panel supports expansion of vit plant | Tri-City Herald
Expansion of the $12.3 billion vitrification plant would be the surest bet for treating radioactive waste that the plant as now designed can’t treat in a reasonable amount of time, an expert panel commissioned by the Department of Energy has concluded.

Other options include bulk vitrification, improving efficiency of the main vitrification plant and an early start-up of part of the main vitrification plant that would treat low-activity radioactive waste.

However, the panel said a decision on how to treat the excess waste could be delayed until 2017. That would give DOE more time to resolve some technical issues. |URS-led team wins $3.3B Savannah River waste contract

DOE announced today that Savannah River Remediation, a limited-liability group headed by URS, won a liquid-waste contract valued at about $3.3 billion. The contract takes effect April 1, 2009 and has a base of six years, with a potential for two more years.

The team consists of URS Washington Division; Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services; Bechtel National; CH2M Hill; and AREVA Federal Services. Designated subcontractors include EnergySolutions Federal EPC and Washington Safety Management Solutions.


Other Energy News

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

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

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

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

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

The Oil Drum | Nobel Prize-Winning Physicist Steven Chu Is Obama’s Choice For Energy Secretary

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

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

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

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

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

Program Unveiled for Green Energy Summit 2009 – | Google Groups

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Environmental Groups Bash ‘Clean Coal’ in New Campaign: ENN
The phrase “clean coal” was repeated by virtually every major presidential candidate this year. Now the battle over what it means is heating up.

A group of environmental organizations concerned about global warming, including one backed by former vice president Al Gore, is launching an advertising campaign this week to counter the coal industry’s efforts to promote what it calls “clean coal.”

The Oil Drum | Rank the Top 10 Oil Stories of 2008

My top 10 oil industry stories of 2008:

1. Crude prices soar in 1H, WTI tops $147, Brent right behind
2. Prices collapse below $50 in 2H as demand retreats
3. Ethanol’s struggles: VeraSun bankruptcy, others barely profitable, spreads collapse
4. Push begins to lift offshore drilling ban in US; Obama and McCain differ on approach
5. Capital crunch and low prices lead to deferred investment
6. Shale gas supply in US surges, a new factor in supply/demand balance
7. Credit crunch slows activity for once free-wheeling traders
8. Diesel surges, gasoline/naphtha plunge; traditional cracks skewed
9. Russian oil output to fall in 2008, first time in a decade
10. Brazil subsalt finds continue to lift nation’s upstream prospects

Obama to Discuss Energy, Climate with Al Gore : Red, Green, and Blue
To perhaps avoid the truth that was so inconvenient to President Bush, on Tuesday Barack Obama will meet with Al Gore to discuss energy policy and climate change. The talk, which will take place in Chicago, will also cover how energy and climate can fit into job creation and the economy.

Directory:Barack Obama’s Stance and Policies on Renewable Energy – PESWiki
President-elect, Barack Obama, has had a very favorable view of renewable energy, and has presented some specific plans about how to increase the renewable portfolio in the United States.

Below is a lis of items in his proposed Comprehensive Energy Plan, with attention to both short term and long term objectives.

Comprehensive Energy Plan

* Provide short-term relief to American families facing pain at the pump.
* Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.
* Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
* Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined.
* Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars — cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon — on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America.
* Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

NEC to Feature Top 100 Clean Energy Technologies at 2nd Environmental Hall of Fame
The second Environmental Hall of Fame ceremony will be held in Chicago beginning tomorrow through Saturday, Nov. 20-22. Among the environmental celebrities to be honored are Pierc Brosnan (James Bond) and his wife, who have been activists in the movement.

Two of the New Energy Congress’ Global Top 100 Clean Energy Technology companies will also receive awards: Stirling Energy Systems, a concentrated solar technology that heats a highly-efficient Stirling engine, has been in first place in the Top 100 for over a year. Green Power Inc., which is commencing commercial production of a 100 ton per day municipal waste-to-diesel plant, recently rose to 15th place on the Top 100 list.

IT Conversations | O’Reilly Media Emerging Technology Conference | Saul Griffith (Free Podcast)
Saul Griffith’s game plan, a solution framework for the climate challenge, begins with a 6-step model. Assume changes in CO2 cause climate changes. Choose a temperature where we’d like to set the planet. From temperature, calculate how much carbon we can burn. Figure out what fuels we can burn. Analyze new energy sources. Finally calculate a new, survivable energy mix. His primer on energy units makes his model accessible to all, no matter their level of technical knowledge.

Peak Energy: Efficient And Smart Ways To Fix The Economy
CNN reports that Obama is planning an economic stimulus package based on energy efficient buildings and improved internet access – Obama outlines initiative to create 2.5 million jobs.

President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday outlined some of his plan to create 2.5 million jobs by 2011, and said he will push for immediate action by Congress when he takes office in January.

Obama wants to make public buildings more energy-efficient, repair roads and bridges, modernize schools, increase broadband access and ensure that health care professionals have access to the latest technology. “Our government now pays the highest energy bill in the world,” he said in the weekly Democratic radio address.
Peak Energy: Floating Offshore Wind Power
Matthew Simmons has received quite a bit of press in the past week, after his Ocean Energy Institute floated a proposal to build a $25 billion, 5 GW wind farm in the Gulf of Maine.

Offshore wind farms have a number of advantages over their land based equivalents – they are less hazardous to wildlife, have fewer objections raised on NIMBY concerns and winds are generally stronger over the oceans than they are over land.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Beaver County Times & Allegheny Times: A jolt of reality: More radioactive waste is downside to building nuclear power plants
During the presidential campaign, Republican candidate John McCain pledged to build 45 nuclear reactors by 2030 to meet the nation’s energy needs.

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

It also was unrealistic.

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

Editorial: Allow public review of radiation rule changes | The Burlington Free Press
The state Health Department has no business questioning the Legislature’s authority to review changes the department made in the way it measures radiation released by Vermont Yankee.

Vermont is the only state in the nation whose Legislature has the power to deny a license extension to a nuclear power plant. That makes all matters relevant to the safe and reliable operation of the plant the lawmakers’ concern.

Letters to the editor | Yucca Exanpsion proposal – Nevada Appeal
The pros and cons regarding Yucca mountain are endless. It was in the late 1980s when all eyes were turned toward the State of Nevada  think about it  a small state with two new senators. There was Texas and the state of Washington with powerful leadership, as compared to our own little state of Nevada. Included in this mixture was the powerful nuclear industry pushing all the way to Nevada and Yucca Mountain.

There are advantages to Yucca Mountain in that it is in a remote area along side the Nevada test site, wherein there had been nuclear testing. Think about human exposure over the next 10,000 years. Fractured rock that will provide a path down to the water table. Think also about the mountain as it sits quietly at this moment in isolation, but we have had earthquakes and this area is located in the southwestern Nevada volcanic field. There are a maze of faults and fractures beneath this mountain which make it difficult to model flow pathways.

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