Top 100 Energy Stories (Jan. 1st – 7th)

radbullThis is a makeup article of stories from the first week of January. I took the week off due to food poisoning and am pretty much recovered.

The TVA tailings disaster has given the coal industry a nasty black eye! In Europe the natural gas war with Russia and the Ukraine has been used to promote nuclear power across the continent!

Keeping an eye on Obama’s energy plans continues to build!

Top Nuclear Stories Index

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


Nuclear Reactor News

EcoGeek – Nuclear is more expensive than renewable energy like wind
According to a new report from the generally pro-nuclear organization, Climate Progress, nuclear power is just about the most expensive carbon-free option on the table today. In response, the organization is considering completely eliminating nuclear power from it’s plan to make the world’s power generation carbon free.

Nuclear power plants being built today are required to have strict safety measures as well as waste disposal plans that make them significantly more expensive than previous nuclear power plants. The result is that prices for nuclear power have increased, currently at around 30 cents per kW/h. Or, roughly three times the cost of today’s average utilities, ten times the cost of reducing power use through efficiency and double the cost of solar thermal.

6 Reasons Why Nuclear Power Can’t Save Us | AlterNet
The following is an excerpt from The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement. It has been adapted for the web.

Land Use – Planning Fate of Shoreham Nuclear Plant Site –
TWO decades after the $6 billion Shoreham nuclear power plant was closed, the Long Island Power Authority has announced plans to hire a consultant to advise it on what to do with a 58-acre waterfront property where the plant’s decommissioned remains are located.

The authority’s 1.1 million customers have never received energy from the Shoreham plant, the only fully licensed nuclear power reactor never to go into commercial operation, and are still paying off its remaining debt — now $3.3 billion — in their electric bills.

Group seeks delay of Vogtle permit – The Augusta Chronicle
Communities up and down the Savannah River and on both shores could be harmed by the 88 million gallons of water needed each day in running two proposed nuclear reactors near Waynesboro, Ga., an environmentalist group says.

State regulators shouldn’t grant a permit for expansion of Plant Vogtle until more study is done, according to the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, a Georgia-based environmental group. The group issued its warning in written testimony it filed recently with the Georgia Public Service Commission, which is considering whether to permit construction of the reactors.

Nuke revival puts all risk on customers | Jay Bookman
While Georgia Power and other utilities eagerly advocate a “nuclear renaissance,” their enthusiasm for building new plants doesn’t extend to sharing the considerable financial risks involved. Nor have private investors flocked to put money in new nuclear plants.

To the contrary, Georgia Power’s proposal to build two reactors at its existing Vogtle plant on the Savannah River near Augusta calls for company ratepayers —- you and me and anybody else who pays an electric bill to Georgia Power —- to bear almost all the considerable risk while making sure its stockholders and private investors bear almost no risk at all.

The Generation IV International Forum
The Generation IV International Forum, or GIF, was chartered in July 2001 to lead the collaborative efforts of the world’s leading nuclear technology nations to develop next generation nuclear energy systems to meet the world’s future energy needs.

This unique international effort reached a major milestone in 2005 when five of the forum’s member countries signed the world’s first agreement aimed at the international development of advanced nuclear energy systems.

Utilities Offer ‘Green’ Nuclear Plans to Customers – Green Inc. Blog – NY Times
Thinking about making over your home or business so that it runs greener? What about going nuclear?

That seems to be what at least two utilities are hoping customers will opt for as concerns grow about the damage created by planet-warming emissions from highly polluting sources like coal and from other fossil sources like gas.

Friends and foes of Yankee agree 2008 was memorable year – Brattleboro Reformer
There is an easily distinguishable line between those who support and those who oppose the relicensing of Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon.

But both those groups would probably agree that 2008 was a memorable year for the facility.

On the one hand, the power plant had its longest continuous run — more than 400 days — since it was started up in the early 1970s. On the other hand, a series of mishaps caused many in the public who were unaware of the plant’s relicensing application to lean toward the camp of those opposing license extension.

Could nuclear reactors solve the energy crunch in rural Alaska?
Hundreds of miles from the nearest power plant, the roughly 700 residents of Galena, Alaska, depend on costly generator-supplied electricity for their homes.

But now, they want to go nuclear.

No, not a traditional hulking nuclear power plant. That would be far too big. Instead, town leaders have signed up for what some call a “pocket nuke” or “nuclear battery” that produces just 10 megawatts – about 1 percent of the energy an average nuclear plant generates.

Japanese manufacturer Toshiba has told the town it will install its new “4S” (Super-safe, small, and simple) reactor free of charge by 2012.

The unit, which would be buried about 100 feet underground, would only have to be refueled every 30 years or so. A turbine station would sit above the reactor, turning heat from the reactor into electricity.

Finland nuclear reactor costs headed to arbitration -TVO | Reuters
German consortium Areva-Siemens is to take TVO to arbitration in a dispute over delays and cost overruns at the Olkiluoto 3 reactor, the Finnish nuclear plant operator said on Wednesday.

In October, TVO was told by the consortium that the 1,600 MW reactor — the first to be constructed in Western Europe for more than a decade — would be further delayed to 2012 from its initial start-up target of 2009.

VPR Regional News: Vermont Yankee owners won’t offer state’s utilities new power deal
The owners of Vermont Yankee have decided not to offer Vermont utilities a new deal on power.

Yankee faced a year-end deadline to come up with a new power contract. But the owners of the nuclear plant said the deal that’s already in place is good enough for now.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) Entergy Vermont Yankee wants permission to run the plant for another 20 years, after its current license expires in 2012.

State report backs nuclear power as clean energy
Florida’s energy future should be “clean” – not just “renewable” – and include nuclear power as a source of green energy, according to recommendations from the staff of utility regulators released Wednesday.

The 111-page report is the latest step in the debate over whether power companies can count new nuclear power toward their obligation to generate renewable energy.

The report follows months of lobbying by Florida Power & Light – the state’s largest utility and producer of nuclear power – to persuade regulators to create a “Clean Energy Portfolio Standard” rather than a “Renewable Portfolio Standard.” Florida statues do not include nuclear power in the definition of “renewable” energy. FPL generates no renewable energy in Florida.

Nishimatsu in shady deal for nuke site land | The Japan Times Online
Nishimatsu Construction Co. in 2001 had a dummy company buy a plot of land in Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture, that was a candidate site for a planned nuclear waste storage facility in an attempt to win a contract to build the planned facility, according to sources.

A source close to Nishimatsu said the deal was apparently aimed at giving Nishimatsu an advantage in winning the contract while keeping itself in the background. | Exelon: No plans for second reactor in Clinton
There are no plans to add a second nuclear reactor to the Clinton power plant anytime soon, Exelon Nuclear officials say, despite rumors to the contrary.

Exelon Nuclear received an early site permit in March 2007 from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. That allows the utility to “bank” the property adjacent to the Clinton plant for a potential new reactor for up to 20 years.

“We have no immediate plans to build a nuclear plant at the site, but if over the course of the next 18 years we decide to do something, we have the process started,” Exelon spokesman Bruce Paulson said.

French EDF’s industrial contracts are counter competitive: EC
The European Commission has told French energy giant EDF that its long-term electricity contracts with French industrial customers are counter competitive and could lead to an abuse of its dominant position in the French power market, the utility said in a statement released late on Christmas Eve. In July EDF said it had finalized agreement terms with industrial power user group Exeltium for contracts to supply some 13 TWh/year of power for 24 years.

Radio Taiwan International: Fourth nuclear reactor not to be ready until 2010
The Atomic Energy Council said Monday that Taiwan’s fourth nuclear power plant will not be ready for operations until 2010, or later. They explained that the controversy behind the plant as well as conflicts during the construction have led to the delay. Its first unit was originally expected to come on line in July 2009.

Construction of the controversial plant began in 1997. The former Democratic Progressive Party administration was originally against the reactor for safety reasons, and stalled the US $5.5 billion project. The plant will be located in Lungmen, located in Taipei County.

Nuclear proposal energizes debate in Missouri – Kansas City Star
We’ll soon see how much Missourians want a new nuclear power plant.

A Missouri utility wants to build a second nuclear plant in Callaway County — if ratepayers will pony up before the plant opens.

But that is against the law in Missouri, where utilities are prohibited from charging ratepayers for plants that have not been built.


Nuclear Health and Safety News

A-bomb diary bolsters compensation claims | UK news | The Observer
Survivors of Britain’s cold war atomic bomb tests have received a major boost in their battle for compensation following the discovery of a secret journal written by a senior Royal Navy officer. The observations of the leading medical officer on a British warship ordered into the radioactive fallout of a nuclear bomb test reveal his profound concerns that the crew’s health was in grave danger.

His on-board journal, disclosed publicly for the first time as evidence in a legal fight for compensation, reveals misgivings that inadequate training and equipment meant the men of HMS Diana were exposed to an “omnipresent” and “dangerous” risk of radioactive poisoning during the 1950s tests. His concerns contradict the government’s existing view that Britain’s nuclear tests at the height of the cold war had no adverse effects on the servicemen.

TMI moves communications base 55 miles from plant | Midstate Pennsylvania–
If there’s ever another accident at TMI, the main source of information will be in Coatesville — 55 miles away. That’s where local reporters would have to go to speak to officials of the nuclear power plant near Middletown in Dauphin County.

Plant owner AmerGen has merged the Susquehanna Twp. emergency communication center with one based in Coatesville, near the company’s regional headquarters. That center serves two other plants.

Technical Support for Advisory Board on Radiation Worker Health’s Review of NIOSH Dose Reconstruction Program – Federal Business Opportunities
The Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), has a requirement for a contractor to provide technical assistance to the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health (ABRWH).

The purpose of this announcement is to provide a draft statement of work and invite public comments about this requirement. The draft is shown below. Comments should be submitted to Ms. Florence Black at the Contracting Office Address shown above, via email to, or via fax at 412-386-6843. Comments are requested by no later than October 31, 2007.

Baby tooth study resumes, seeking links between fallout radiation and cancer –
Questionnaires will soon be sent to thousands of men who donated their baby teeth half a century ago to scientists seeking to learn whether radioactive fallout in milk the donors drank as children affected their health later in life.

It’s the latest step in a study that began in the 1950s and 1960s at Washington University, but then stalled for decades.

Fifty years ago, concern about atmospheric tests of nuclear weapons spurred a group of local scientists and other area residents to begin the project, then called the St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey.

Gaza rockets put Israel’s nuclear plant in battle zone – Times Online
There were growing fears in Israel last night that Hamas missiles could threaten its top-secret nuclear facility at Dimona.

Rocket attacks from Gaza have forced Israelis to flee in ever greater numbers and military chiefs have been shaken by the size and sophistication of the militant group’s arsenal.


NRC News

FR: NRC: TMI Exelon license
In the Matter of AmerGen Energy Company, LLC; Exelon Generation Company, LLC (Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1); Order Approving Transfer of License and Conforming Amendment I AmerGen Energy Company, LLC (AmerGen or licensee) is the holder of Facility Operating License No. DPR-50, which authorizes the possession, use, and operation of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Station, Unit 1 (TMI-1). AmerGen is a wholly owned subsidiary of Exelon Generation Company, LLC (EGC). The facility is located at the licensee’s site in Dauphin County Pennsylvania.

FR: NRC: FONSI for Ft Calhoun
Omaha Public Power District; Fort Calhoun Station, Unit No. 1; Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of an exemption from the requirements of Section III.G.1.b of Appendix R to Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 50, for Facility Operating License No. DPR-40, issued to Omaha Public Power District (OPPD, the licensee), for operation of the Fort Calhoun Station, Unit No. 1, located in Washington County, Nebraska. Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC is issuing this environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact.

FR: NRC: GEIS: Indian Point License renewal
Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3; Notice of Availability of the Draft Supplement 38 to the Generic Environmental Impact Statement for License Renewal of Nuclear Plants and Public Meeting for the License Renewal of Indian Point Nuclear Generating Unit Nos. 2 and 3

FR: NRC: San Onofre 3 FONSI
Southern California Edison Company; San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Unit 3, Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is considering issuance of an exemption from Title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (10 CFR) Part 74, Section 74.19(c), for Facility Operating License No. NPF-15, issued to Southern California Edison Company (SCE, the licensee), for operation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), Unit 3, located in San Diego County, California. Therefore, as required by 10 CFR 51.21, the NRC is issuing this environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact.

NRC – NRC Announces Opportunity to Request Hearing on License Renewal Application for Cooper Nuclear Station
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced the opportunity to request a hearing on an application to renew the operating license for the Cooper Nuclear Station for an additional 20 years.

Cooper is a boiling water reactor located 23 miles south of Nebraska City, Neb. The plant owner, Nebraska Public Power District, submitted the renewal application Sept. 30. The current operating license for Cooper expires Jan. 18, 2014.

The NRC staff has determined that the application contains sufficient information for the agency to formally “docket,” or file, the application and begin its safety and environmental reviews. Docketing the application does not preclude requesting additional information as the reviews proceed, nor does it indicate whether the Commission will renew the license.

A notice of opportunity to request a hearing has been published in the Federal Register, and the deadline for requesting a hearing is March 2, 2009. Petitions may be filed by anyone whose interest may be affected by the license renewal and who wishes to participate as a party in the proceeding. A request for a hearing and a petition for leave to intervene must be filed through the NRC’s E-Filing system. Anyone wishing to file should contact the Office of the Secretary by e-mail at at least five days before the filing deadline to request a digital ID certificate and allow for the creation of an electronic docket. More information on the hearing process is available on the NRC Web site at:


Nuclear Fuel Cycle News

Uranium mining —
Let’s get the health and safety answers before lifting the ban in Virginia

The push for alternative power and energy independence has put Virginia on a fast track to exploring its uranium resources for use in nuclear power plants. In the 2008 legislative session, prompted by the man whose Pittsylvania County farm covers the largest known undeveloped deposit of uranium ore in the country, the Virginia Senate gave the go-ahead for a study by the National Academy of Sciences. The House Rules Committee nixed the plan, saying it needed more time to study the need for a study.

The House’s stall was understandable. In another bill, the Senate authorized the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to draw up regulations for uranium mining, which has been banned since 1983. These simultaneous proposals –– to conduct a study and to write regulations –– rather than having one inform the other, and the undue haste about lifting a 25-year ban combined to convey an undeniable sense of being railroaded.

The Greeneville Sun – Nuclear Fuel Services Sale Becomes Official
The sale of Erwin-based Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc., to NOG-Erwin Holdings, Inc. (NOG), a newly-formed subsidiary of the Lynchburg, Va.-based Babcock & Wilcox Company, was finalized the last day of 2008.

Jud Simmons, public affairs manager for the Babcock & Wilcox Company, confirmed during a Friday telephone interview that the transaction was finalized Dec. 31, although he said a formal announcement of the deal was not expected to be made until Monday.

The Hindu Business Line : New royalty rates for uranium mining for states
The Centre on Friday decided to revise the royalty rates to be paid to states for streamlining the mining of uranium, a strategic and scarce mineral. The states would now be paid royalty on uranium mining on an ad valorem basis, equivalent to two per cent of compensation received by Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL).

The decision to revise the royalty rates for uranium was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. While the government is working on a proposal for revising royalty rates for all minerals, a considered decision has been taken to enhance the royalty rates of uranium immediately, keeping the fact in mind that uranium is a strategic mineral whose mining is restricted to the public sector, Minister for Science and Technology Dr Kapil Sibal said.

Bush administration’s uranium mining decision could affect tribes | Indian Country Today | Content
The Bureau of Land Management, an agency within the Department of the Interior, in early December eliminated a regulation that gave two congressional committees the power to require the secretary of interior to set aside public lands from uranium mining and other extractive activities. The action, coupled with renewed federal interest in uranium mining, is causing concern for some Western tribes.

In effect, the Bush administration’s decision could open up public lands in and around the Grand Canyon to uranium mining. The aftereffects of such developments could have devastating effects on the health of tribes in and around the Grand Canyon, according to environmentalists and health and legal experts.

Public hearing on Chatham uranium mining planned | GoDanRiver
Residents near what is believed to be the nation’s largest uranium deposit will be asked their views on what issues should be addressed in a study of the impact of mining the ore in Virginia.

A large turnout is expected for a hearing Jan. 6 by a subcommittee of the Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy in Chatham, the historic Southside town that is Pittsylvania County’s seat.

“I would anticipate there would be hundreds of people,” said Nancy Pool, president of the Chamber of Commerce in ad-jacent Halifax County.

Public hearing on mining plannned | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Residents near what is believed to be the nation’s largest uranium deposit will have their chance to speak out next week.

At a Jan. 6 hearing, residents will be asked their views on what issues should be addressed in a study of the impact of mining the ore in Virginia.

A large turnout is expected for a hearing by a subcommittee of the Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy in Chatham, the historic Southside town that is Pittsylvania County’s seat.

Supporters of mining the deposit worth an estimated $10 billion see an opportunity to boost an economy ailing from the loss of tobacco and textile jobs.

WPCVA: Uranium outcome turns on study
The Virginia Commission on Coal and Energy Uranium Mining Subcommittee is responsible for overseeing all aspects, including the scope and design, of the study that will inform the General Assembly’s decision whether to reaffirm or lift Virginia’s moratorium on uranium mining.

The subcommittee met for the first time on Friday, Dec. 12, in Richmond. The meeting included brief remarks by Dr. Michael Karmis, a professor in the Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering at Virginia Tech and director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research. The meeting also included a public hearing to receive suggestions regarding points of concern that should be included in the scope of any study on the impact of mining uranium in the Commonwealth. Twenty people spoke representing citizen and/or industry interests.

Areva to submit uranium enrichment plant application Tuesday
Areva will submit its application for the Eagle Rock uranium enrichment facility to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Tuesday afternoon, a company source said. The facility, which is to be built in Idaho, is similar in design to the plant now being built by Urenco subsidiary Louisiana Energy Services in New Mexico. NRC licensed the LES plant in June 2006 after a 30-month review. Areva officials have said they are hoping for a similar timetable for the agency’s review of their application.

RIA Novosti – Russia to build uranium conversion plant in Far East in 2009
Work to design and construct a uranium production and conversion plant will start in Yakutia, Russia’s Far East in 2009, the head of a local mining company said on Tuesday.

“Pre-design work initiated by Rosatom [Russia’s nuclear power corporation], which has a 100% stake in the plant, is being carried out, and investment feasibility study to run until March 2009 has started,” said Alexander Morozkin, general director of the Elkon mining plant.

The plant will annually process up to 5,000 tons of uranium ore, priced at within $80 per kg. The average world price of 1 kg of uranium is between $170 and $250. The plant will also produce gold and silver, and molybdenum has also been discovered at the Elkon deposit.


Nuclear Waste News

Waste Site Stalled: Nuclear Power’s Missing Link | The Ledger | Lakeland, FL
fossil fuels. Applications for new and extended reactor licenses are snowballing.

Yet progress on a national nuclear dump site is virtually paralyzed.

Late last month, California and Nevada filed a litany of challenges against a proposed nuclear-waste repository near Las Vegas, delivering another in a series of setbacks to this mega-billion dollar plan.

Activists: Radioactive Waste Could Reappear – WSMV Nashville
It has been more than a year since the Channel 4 I-Team exposed how a landfill in Rutherford County accepted low-level radioactive waste.

Related: Video: Lawmakers Hold Off Radioactive Dumping Decision | Video: Companies Warn Of Lost Jobs If Radioactive Dumping Halts | Video: Radioactive Materials Dumped In Rutherford Co. Landfill

Now there are concerns it could happen again.

Activists in Murfreesboro fear hazardous waste could again show up at the Middlepoint landfill without specific laws to prevent it, and they’re urging state legislators to take a hard look at the issue.
Cabinet papers reveal dilemma over nuclear waste at Maralinga | Herald Sun
BRITISH nuclear tests in the 1960s left Maralinga holding a quantity of bomb-grade plutonium, and no ideas what to do with it.
For the government of Malcolm Fraser, this represented a series of problems.

It wasn’t very well guarded, it wasn’t especially secret and it wasn’t clear the British government would want to take it back.

Cabinet papers for 1978 – released by the National Archives of Australia under the 30-year rule – show the government did manage to persuade the British government to take back their leftovers, provided the entire operation was kept top secret.

CQ Politics | CQ Profile: A Wily Inside Player, Reid Is Key to Obama Agenda
Nevada’s Harry Reid carries considerable influence as Senate majority leader, but you might not know it from watching him.

He shuns self-promotion and avoids the social circuit; he once passed up a White House state dinner honoring Queen Elizabeth II to stay home with his wife. He can be taciturn, even dour on television, and often speaks in such a whisper that, to start off 2008, he revealed a New Year’s resolution: “I’m going to try to talk louder.”

But he more than makes up for any stylistic shortcomings by being the consummate inside player.

Reid called his 2008 autobiography “The Good Fight,” a reference to the combative ex-boxer’s willingness to enter a tussle. As leader of the Senate Democrats in the 111th Congress (2009-10), Reid can expect far fewer scraps with the White House than when it was in Republican hands, plus an expanded base of Democrats that will give him greater leeway to operate. But he isn’t assured of a totally peaceful life.

Nuclear Waste Disposal System: Great Idea?
The Nuclear Waste Disposal System known surreptitiously as Patent# US 6846967 provides a means for disposing of nuclear waste which includes filling steel containers with nuclear waste and then dropping the containers into the sea in the path of an undersea volcano. The volcano in turn pours lava onto the sea bed with the toxic substances, which the inventor swears are safe to put in the ocean and will not harm the environment. The question is: What if he is wrong?

Former Sparks mayor to head state nuclear project agency | Reno Gazette-Journal
Gov. Jim Gibbons has appointed a former Sparks mayor to replace a state agency head who resigned who resigned after disclosures that he raised his own pay and that of his staff without authorization.

Bruce Breslow will start Jan. 12 as executive director of the Nevada Commission for Nuclear Projects, which advises the governor and Legislature and is chaired by former U.S. senator and governor Richard Bryan.

Breslow was a television sportscaster for 11 years before being elected mayor of Sparks in 1991 and 1995.

He is a Sparks Planning Commission member and real estate broker and has been a Nevada Transportation Services Authority commissioner, chairman of the Nevada State Employee-Management Committee and chairman of the Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority board.

Breslow says he’ll continue fight against Yucca – Las Vegas Sun
Bruce Breslow, a former Sparks mayor and television sportscaster, said Tuesday that in his new job as head of the state Nuclear Projects Office he’ll continue Nevada’s fight against federal plans to open the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

“The state policy is not changing toward a new direction,” said Breslow, who currently works in commercial real estate and serves on the Sparks Planning Commission.

“My primary goal is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Nevada as it relates to the Yucca Mountain project.”

British secretly dumped Maralinga plutonium in ocean | The Courier-Mail
NUCLEAR waste from UK tests at Maralinga in the 1950s may have been dumped at sea despite the Federal Government ordering a proper clean-up.

Just how much radioactive waste resulted from the British series of tests at Maralinga, in South Australia, and how the then British government disposed of it has always been a mystery.

However, declassified British Government documents to be released publicly today under the 30-year rule reveal for the first time the plutonium’s final resting place was probably the ocean floor.

VPR Regional News: Shumlin says state should consider moving radioactive waste out of Vernon
Senate President Peter Shumlin says he wants lawmakers to consider moving high level radioactive waste from southern Vermont to somewhere else in the state.

Governor Jim Douglas says he doesn’t see any need to move the waste because state and federal regulators have determined that the current site is a safe location.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) Shumlin says it’s critical for the Legislature to look at this issue because the owners of Vermont Yankee want to extend its license for another 20 years.

Shumlin argues that when Vermont Yankee went on line in 1972, it was assumed that the federal government would build a national waste repository. But the debate over a national site has dragged on for years and the development of a location in Nevada is now the subject of numerous lawsuits.

Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes donates primary documents to SUNY Fredonia – Observer Today
The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes has donated 90 cubic feet of primary documents to the Archives and Special Collections at SUNY Fredonia. The materials, pertaining to the West Valley Nuclear Demonstration Project, have been collected and maintained over the last four decades by the Coalition, an activist group of primarily Cattaraugus and Erie County citizens.

Currently headed by Judith Einach of Buffalo and Joanne Hameister of East Aurora, the Coalition has documented the activities at the West Valley site since it opened in the early 1960s in the Town of Ashford in Cattaraugus County, roughly about 30 miles south of Buffalo.

“This collection is the most complete documented history available anywhere about nuclear reprocessing and storage,” said Randy Gadikian, director of library services at SUNY Fredonia. “It documents the successes, failures and risks that are entailed in operating such a project, and for the first time, this information is available for public review.”


Nuclear Policy News

Markey getting top energy post in House – 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog – Political Intelligence –
Representative Edward Markey today will be awarded a key energy and environment leadership post in the House, a move that will make the Malden Democrat one of the most powerful players on Capitol Hill on an issue central to president-elect Obama’s first-term agenda.

Markey, a 17-term congressman with a strong record against nuclear power and for more fuel-efficient cars, will be named chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, lawmakers and Democratic leadership staff confirmed to the Globe. Markey already chairs the separate House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, a new panel that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created in early 2007.

Advocacy groups greening Utah – Salt Lake Tribune
The grass roots sprouting up around Utah are mostly green.

New environmental groups are sprouting up all over — contrary to a declaration five years ago that the green movement had grown monolithic, fossilized and died.

Some of Utah’s new groups focus on neighborhoods, such as the San Juan County community concerned about uranium mining planned for their area.

The Associated Press: NM’s Sen. Domenici leaves office after 36 years
Sen. Pete Domenici, who is retiring after 36 years in the Senate, has packed up his office and said goodbye to most of his staffers.

But with only days left in office, it seems the thought of retirement is still unreal to him. “I love the job too much,” Domenici said. “I feel like I’d like to have the job tomorrow and the next day.”

Domenici is known for his work on crafting a national energy policy, budget reforms and his support for New Mexico’s national laboratories, military installations and other projects his earmarks helped create.

2008 in Review: Changing Nuclear Perspectives
Looking back on 2008, the IAEA´s future drew close attention, alongside some longstanding dynamic nuclear issues. Below are selected highlights from January to December 2008, from the pages of


Nuclear Weapons News

Dianne Feinstein: Let’s Commit to a Nuclear-Free World –
When Barack Obama becomes America’s 44th president on Jan. 20, he should embrace the vision of a predecessor who declared: “We seek the total elimination one day of nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth.”

That president was Ronald Reagan, and he expressed this ambitious vision in his second inaugural address on Jan. 21, 1985. It was a remarkable statement from a president who had deployed tactical nuclear missiles in Europe to counter the Soviet Union’s fearsome SS-20 missile fleet.

President Reagan knew the grave threat nuclear weapons pose to humanity. He never achieved his goal, but President Obama should pick up where he left off.

Duncan Clark on the carbon footprint of nuclear war | Environment |
Almost 700m tonnes of CO2 would be released into the Earth’s atmosphere by even the smallest nuclear conflict, according to a US study that compares the environmental costs of developing various power sources

Just when you might have thought it was ethically sound to unleash a nuclear attack on a nearby city, along comes a pesky scientist and points out that atomic warfare is bad for the climate. According to a new paper in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, even a very limited nuclear exchange, using just a thousandth of the weaponry of a full-scale nuclear war, would cause up to 690m tonnes of CO2 to enter the atmosphere – more than UK’s annual total.

Recalling Nagasaki’s fateful day | The Japan Times Online
A-bomb survivor, 78, spreads his message of nonproliferation

FUKUOKA — The city has long been rebuilt and moved on, but Hiroshi Ito still can’t come to grips with Nagasaki’s obliteration by the United States 63 years ago.

“I don’t have any hatred toward the U.S. now,” the 78-year-old A-bomb survivor said, rubbing burn scars on his right hand. “But I do wonder how the U.S. could justify dropping the atomic bomb on us.”

Did The Cia Brainwash Polar Guide After Nuke Discovery? – The Sunday Mail
A POLAR survival expert fears he has been brainwashed by US spooks after stumbling on a top secret nuclear dump.

Jimmy “The Snowman” Campbell, accuses the CIA of wiping his memory after he wandered into the restricted area in Antarctica.

He claims the agency gave him brainwashing drugs which turned him into a shambling wreck plagued by mental health problems.

Britain learned of South African nuclear programme from USSR – Telegraph
Britain learned that apartheid South Africa was preparing to test an atomic bomb only after being alerted by the Russians.

Previously secret papers released at the National Archives show how James Callaghan, the Labour prime minister, was informed in August 1977 of a secret test site in the Kalahari Desert in a personal letter from Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet president.

A Soviet spy satellite had discovered the site at Vastrap, in a remote area south of South Africa’s border with Botswana, a week earlier. Two 750-foot shafts had been drilled in preparation for underground explosions. The Americans appear to have possessed similar satellite imagery but failed to inform their closest ally until after the Brezhnev letter.

AFP: US signs protocol boosting nuclear monitoring
President George W. Bush Tuesday signed a document allowing measures to boost international monitoring of nuclear activities to come into force in the United States, US officials said.

Bush signed the “instrument of ratification of the protocol additional to the agreement between the United States of America and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)” to implement such nuclear safeguards, a White House statement said.

The protocol was signed by the United States and the IAEA on June 12, 1998 and approved by the Senate on March 31, 2004.

ABC: Nuclear ‘Peace Boat’ docks in Sydney
For more than 25 years a ship known as the peace boat has sailed around the world, promoting the cause of nuclear disarmament. Today it docked in Sydney, with some special passengers on board – survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the closing days of the Second World War.


SCOTT BEVAN, PRESENTER: Well, for more than 25 years a ship known as the the Peace Boat has sailed around the world promoting the cause of nuclear disarmament. Today the Peace Boat docked in Sydney with some special passengers on board, survivors of the atomic bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the closing days of the Second World War.

Ross Bray examines the peace message and continuing controversy over the dropping of the atomic bombs.


Department of Energy News

Hanford News : GAO drops Hanford contract award protest
The Government Accountability Office has dismissed a protest against the award of the $3 billion Mission Support Contract to a team led by Lockheed Martin.

But the dismissal doesn’t clear the way for Lockheed Martin to take over support services at Hanford now provided by outgoing contractor Fluor Hanford.

Instead, the Department of Energy will address concerns raised by the GAO and a new decision will be made, according to the GAO. No timeline was given, but DOE released a statement Tuesday saying that it was “confident that the issues raised by the GAO can be addressed both thoroughly and expeditiously.”

NAS Project: Development and Implementation of a Cleanup Technology Roadmap for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management
Project Scope
A National Academies committee will provide technical and strategic advice to the DOE-EM’s Office of Engineering and Technology to support the development and implementation of its cleanup technology roadmap. Specifically, the study will identify:

o Principal science and technology gaps and their priorities for the cleanup program based on previous National Academies reports, updated and extended to reflect current site conditions and EM priorities and input form key external groups, such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Environmental Protection Agency, and state regulatory agencies.
o Strategic opportunities to leverage research and development from other DOE programs (e.g., in the Office of Science, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, and the National Nuclear Security Administration), other federal agencies (e.g., Department of Defense, Environmental Protection Agency), universities, and the private sector.
o Core capabilities at the national laboratories that will be needed to address EM’s long-term, high-risk cleanup challenges, especially at the four laboratories located at the large DOE sites (Idaho National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Savannah River National Laboratory).
o The infrastructure at these national laboratories and at EM sites that should be maintained to support research, development, and bench and pilot scale demonstrations of technologies for the EM cleanup program, especially in radiochemistry.

Hanford News : End of Hanford plutonium shipments in sight
Work to get weapons-grade plutonium off the Hanford site is running ahead of schedule, and all the weapons plutonium may be gone by early June, according to the Department of Energy.

More than half the plutonium already has been shipped off site.

With good weather, the work could finish even sooner than June, said Doug Shoop, deputy manager of the DOE Hanford Richland Operations Office. DOE had planned to have all the plutonium shipped to the Savannah River, S.C., nuclear site by the end of September 2009 when shipments started in fall 2007.


Other Energy News

Peak Energy: Tidal power gets a boost from propeller and wind turbine techonology
The Guardian has a report on some new tidal power technology from a company in Wales inspired by ship propellers and wind turbines – Tidal power gets a boost from propeller and wind turbine techonology.

Propellers on ships have been tried and tested for centuries in the rough and unforgiving environment of the sea: now this long-proven technology will be used in reverse to harness clean energy from the UK’s powerful tides.

The tides that surge around the UK’s coasts could provide up to a quarter of the nation’s electricity, without any carbon emissions. But life in the stormy seas is harsh and existing equipment – long-bladed underwater wind turbines – is prone to failure.A Welsh renewable energy company has teamed up with ship propulsion experts to design a new marine turbine which they believe is far more robust.

Peak Energy: The Lost History of American Green Technology
Bruce Sterling points to Alexis Madrigal’s project to create a history of American renewable energy development – The Lost History of American Green Technology.

You’ll soon be able to cruise around a map of green tech history in America and scroll through a timeline of the major events in the history of the industry.

“Right now, I’m working on building an American Green Technology Historical Registry that will mark out the places that have been important for wind, solar, hydrokinetic, geothermal, and other renewable power sources. You will be surprised when you see the results. It’s not just northern California, it’s Ohio and Boise, Florida and Death Valley, Texas and Montana, York, PA, and Rutland, Vermont.

Peak Energy: When Containment Walls Fail
Pharyngula has some great video of a containment wall in Tennessee failing, releasing a vast flood of toxic coal sludge – Let’s talk about clean coal.

When power plants burn coal to produce energy, the coal doesn’t just vanish into the atmosphere to cause global warming. No, there’s a substantial amount of left-over sludge called coal ash, a nasty mess that is enriched for toxic heavy metals. It is seriously nasty stuff. This glop has to be stored, somewhere, usually piled up and walled-off, because it’s not healthy for anything.

Behold what happens when the containment walls fail.

Peak Energy: Gazprom Crisis Engulfs Europe
Inhabitat has a report from Bulgaria on the continuing impasse between Russia and the Ukraine over Russian gas exports – Gazprom Crisis Engulfs Europe.

Home heating price increases have certainly been a major concern for recession-strapped households in northern climates, but the possibility of having one’s heat completely shut-off in this new era of natural resource ‘muscle flexing’ and bitter political show-downs is perhaps a whole new energy policy boiling point in Europe and beyond. Russia’s decision this week to turn off the flow of gas from its Gazprom pipelines to the Ukraine, which in turn forced many European countries to rely on their (in some cases virtually nonexistent) gas reserves, demonstrates the dire need to identify alternatives to Siberia and the Middle East for our massive oil and gas dependencies. Given that my family and I are currently in Bulgaria for six weeks, we are experiencing the Gazprom gas cut-off crisis first-hand. This issue will not be going away any time soon, despite the band-aid patches that will crop up over the next few weeks and months.

Peak Energy: Passive Solar Design Techniques
Will Stewart has a guest post up at The Oil Drum on passive solar design techniques – Passive Solar Design Overview – Part 1. Also, at TOD, a post on the Passivhaus standard from another long-time commenter, marjorian – US Housing and the Passive Home Standard.

Passive solar refers to the design and placement of a building to enable solar heating without the need for sensors, actuators, and pumps, in contrast to active solar, which utilizes pumps/blowers, sensors, and logic control units to manage collection, storage, and distribution of heat. The two techniques are not exclusive, however, and can work together effectively.

As solar radiation (insolation) is a diffuse energy source, and not at the beck and call of a thermostat, passive solar design techniques are at their best when combined with other related methods, such as energy efficiency (insulation, weatherization, building envelope minimization), daylighting, passive cooling, microclimate landscaping, and a conservation lifestyle (i.e., temperature settings, raising and lowering of insulated shades, etc). Most of these topics will be covered in other articles, though passive cooling will be addressed in this series, which is intended as an overview, as a complete engineering treatment on passive solar design would require several dozens of articles.

Worldchanging: RMI Introduces New Oil Imports Map
Breaking our dependence on fossil fuels isn’t only a solution for halting our climate changing emissions, it’s also about gaining energy independence and being cautious about when we reach peak oil.

The Rocky Mountain Institute has created a new oil map web tool that intricately illustrates this concept. RMI partnered with Google to create a visual representation of how much oil the U.S. has imported, from where, and how much we have spent during every month since 1973.

Iowa Planning One Billion Dollar Wind Farm : CleanTechnica
Having almost been run off the road by Iowa’s gusty winds, I’m not surprised to hear about the state’s interest in wind energy. But the scale of its current project— a one billion dollar wind farm— is truly impressive. The proposed Trade Wind Energy farm will feature 335 wind generators that can produce up to 500 MW of energy. Each generator will be able to power 500 to 1,000 homes.

The generators will each be at least 1,000 feet apart, and property owners in the vicinity will receive rent for use of wind rights.

Project details haven’t been finalized, however, and the number of wind generators will ultimately depend on success in leasing property rights. But Trade Wind Energy representatives are confident that the project will go ahead as planned since some leases have already been signed and area farmers seem receptive.

China’s Largest Solar Power Station To Be In Qinghai: ENN
A solar power station, reportedly the largest in China, will be built up in the Chadam Basin, Qinghai Province in 2009.

With total investment of about CNY1 billion for the first phase, the project will use thin film amorphous silicon and crystalline silicon photovoltaic array technology. Its first phase will have a capacity of 30MW and it will be the largest solar power station in China when completed.

Bush Admin. Extends Protections to Ocean Area Bigger Than California | 80beats | Discover Magazine
President Bush will establish three national monuments in the Pacific Ocean today in a move that will protect a vast marine ecosystem from mining, oil exploration, and commercial fishing. With the stroke of a pen this afternoon, Bush will have set aside more square miles of ocean for protection than any other political leader in history. The three new monuments, surrounding far-flung islands, reefs and atolls scattered across the Pacific, will add 195,000 square miles of protected waters to the nearly 140,000 square miles around the Northwest Hawaiian Islands that Bush protected in 2006 [Los Angeles Times]. The United States has authority over these waters because the tiny atolls and islands are U.S. territories.

The three areas are thronged with fish, sharks, coral reefs, and other forms of sea life, all of which will benefit from the new protections. Blue-water fish such as yellowfin, bigeye tuna, and marlin–all in decline–will be big winners because they breed in these waters. So will sharks, birds, turtles, and dolphins accidentally caught by the tuna long-line fleets [ScienceNOW Daily News]. One of the new national monuments also encompasses the deepest location of the earth’s crust. The Marianas Trench, which reaches depths of more than 36,000 feet in some locations, contains undersea volcanoes and hydrothermal vents around which cluster tough organisms that can withstand high temperatures and harsh chemicals. These “extremophiles” are of interest to scientists who think they signal forms that extraterrestrial life could take.

Newsvine – More Than 1300 Coal Ash Dumps in U.S. – Most Unregulated
The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States — most of them unregulated and unmonitored — that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal.

Japan taps into power of volcanoes with geothermal energy plants – Telegraph
Japan has announced plans to build its first new geothermal power stations in nearly two decades in a bid to tap the nation’s domestic energy sources.

A string of geothermal power plants are to be developed by a number of firms keen to capitalise on the active volcanic landscape that spans the country, while the government is also currently compiling guidelines supporting the development of such energy sources.

Home to 108 active volcanoes – ten per cent of the world’s active volcanoes – Japan is in a prime position to tap into underground geothermal energy sources.

As a nation with few natural resources, Japan has long been dependent on importing substantial quantities of crude oil and natural gas. The country’s renewed focus on geothermal energy marks a desired shift away from its dependency on imported energy sources which has made it susceptible to increasingly volatile prices.

Oil lays waste to the West The greed, speed and scale of development in wild lands is an open wound on America.
On election day, the Bureau of Land Management in Utah quietly announced its last round of oil and gas lease sales for the year. On Dec. 19, close to 400,000 acres of America’s redrock wilderness — much of it adjacent to Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Dinosaur National Monument — were to be sold for drilling to the highest bidders.

Public outcry was fierce. The National Park Service had not been consulted, as it usually was, and much of the land listed for auction had long been proposed for wilderness protection. The BLM succumbed to the pressure and met with the National Park Service, which asked that 93 oil and gas leases be removed from the list. The BLM backed off 22 parcels, and then later deferred other leases in sensitive areas.

From a cynical perspective, the lease sale announcement could be seen as a fire the BLM set intentionally around the edges of Utah’s most precious natural treasures, knowing it could extinguish the flames, emerge as a reasonable land steward and still get what its current boss, the Bush administration, wants — more and more public land in the American West to exploit.

Are There a Hundred More Coal Ash Spill Sites Across U.S.? – Salem-News.Com
15 states appear to have three or more Tennessee-like unlined “Surface Impoundment” sites For toxic coal-fired power plant waste.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Could another major coal disaster happen at one of the many Tennessee-like power plant coal pollution dumping sites across the United States?

How much toxic arsenic, lead and other heavy metals that endanger drinking water are being dumped into those unlined “surface impoundment” sites each year?

How did federal regulation of coal pollution break down to allow these threats to exist … and what needs to happen if the public and environment are to be protected against future Tennessee-like disasters, as well as the “slow-motion” leaching of toxic metals into drinking water, rivers and streams?

Global Warming and Modern Capitalism
In 1970 James Gustave Speth co-founded the Natural Resources Defense Council, which has become one of America’s most well-endowed and high-profile environmental organizations. He worked in the White House under President Carter, chairing the Council on Environmental Quality; when Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected in 1992, Speth was a senior adviser to their transition team. He spent the 1990s as the administrator of the United Nations Development Program, where he integrated environmental sustainability into the agency’s poverty-fighting mission. Thus, what follows–his call for a radical departure from the movement’s current strategy–comes from the ultimate environmental insider. –The Editors

I grew up in a small town on the Edisto River in South Carolina in the 1940s and ’50s. As a boy, I often swam the Edisto, though at first I could not buck the river’s current. But as I grew older and stronger, I was able to make good headway against it. In my environmental work for close to four decades, I’ve always assumed America’s environmental community would do the same–get stronger and prevail against the current. But in the past few years I have come to the conclusion that this assumption is incorrect. The environmental community has grown in strength and sophistication, but the environment has continued to deteriorate. The current has strengthened faster than we have and become more treacherous. It is time to consider what to do besides swimming against it.

Tropical rain forests can fight climate change better than biofuel plantations | Entertainment and Showbiz!
How important is it to eat organic? Is it a fad, a craze or is it a warning against chemical fertilizers and GMO crops, which will help protect the next generation? Organic farming is natural farming, that means no chemical fertilisers, no genetic modification for either food crops or feed crops. Commercial farming pushing demand for agricultural produce forced a shift towards chemical fertilisers and farming methods to maximise output, for maximum profit, unaware of the significantly unnatural processes being used can be harmful.

At the consumer level organic produce is a relatively new phenomena. On the supermarket shelves we are finding products labelled ‘organic’, most of us think it means ‘natural’ or ‘cruelty free’. When you buy organic you are buying a green product . That means methods such as green fertilisers, crop rotation and biological pest controls are used instead of toxic chemical fertilisers and genetically modified organisms which are harmful to the land. Organic farming composes about 2% of all farming on the planet.

Newsvine – Organic vs Non-organic
How important is it to eat organic? Is it a fad, a craze or is it a warning against chemical fertilizers and GMO crops, which will help protect the next generation? Organic farming is natural farming, that means no chemical fertilisers, no genetic modification for either food crops or feed crops. Commercial farming pushing demand for agricultural produce forced a shift towards chemical fertilisers and farming methods to maximise output, for maximum profit, unaware of the significantly unnatural processes being used can be harmful.

At the consumer level organic produce is a relatively new phenomena. On the supermarket shelves we are finding products labelled ‘organic’, most of us think it means ‘natural’ or ‘cruelty free’. When you buy organic you are buying a green product . That means methods such as green fertilisers, crop rotation and biological pest controls are used instead of toxic chemical fertilisers and genetically modified organisms which are harmful to the land. Organic farming composes about 2% of all farming on the planet.

Newsvine – Oregon Looks at Taxing Mileage Instead of Gasoline
Oregon is among a growing number of states exploring ways to tax drivers based on the number of miles they drive instead of how much gas they use, even going so far as to install GPS monitoring devices in 300 vehicles. The idea first emerged nearly 10 years ago as Oregon lawmakers worried that fuel-efficient cars such as gas-electric hybrids could pose a threat to road upkeep, which is paid for largely with gasoline taxes.

Nasa climate expert makes personal appeal to Obama | Environment | The Guardian
One of the world’s top climate scientists has written a personal new year appeal to Barack and Michelle Obama, warning of the “profound disconnect” between public policy on climate change and the magnitude of the problem.

With less than three weeks to go until Obama’s inauguration, Professor James Hansen, who heads Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, asked the recently appointed White House science adviser Professor John Holdren to pass the missive directly to the president-elect. | What’s in the TVA coal sludge?
The sludge was a mixture of water and fly ash, a residue that is captured in the chimneys of coal-fired power plants. Fly ash is distinguished from bottom ash, which is removed from the bottom of the furnace.

Fly ash is mostly made of fine, hollow, glassy particles of silica, the most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust, as well as aluminum oxide, iron oxide, and lime, a white crystalline solid that humans have used for thousands of years. When airborne, some of types of silica particles have been found to be potentially harmful to people’s lungs.

But more worrisome are the trace concentrations of toxic metals – including arsenic, lead, barium, and chromium – that scientists think may damage the liver and nervous system and cause cancer. The ash also contains uranium and thorium, both radioactive elements. Ounce for ounce, fly ash delivers more radiation into the environment than shielded nuclear waste.

After Tennessee ash spill, cleanup and worry – Los Angeles Times
The gunk on the water had thinned to a gray scrim in front of Mike Thomas’ riverfront home — a small sign of progress one week after one of the worst coal ash spills in American history.

But as Thomas drove along the bluff over the Emory River, he pointed to big piles of sludgy, dark gray ash, a byproduct of coal combustion, that had been accidentally disgorged by the nearby electricity plant. The heaps jutted from the water’s surface like ugly volcanic islands. By the shore, many neighbors’ docks sat in ruins, destroyed by mammoth waves when the ash was released.

Resources for Sustainable Living – Boing Boing
My brother, Abe, and his wife, Josie, built an amazing house down in Terlingua, Texas, basically out of mud and empty bottles. OK, that’s oversimplifying it, but they built the dwelling with their own hands, mostly out of adobe, rocks they collected from their property, and other scrounged materials. It’s a beautiful, self-sufficient abode that includes a rainwater catchment system, solar and wind power, and a groovy Tolkienesque fireplace. They’ve now moved to the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, and are working on another house while raising a new baby.

Electric Car Conversion Kits 2
Electric Car Conversion Kits are equipments and components that can be used to convert a Gas Powered Car to Electric. There are a few different types – AC kits, DC kits, custom kits, universal kits etc – the kits you end up using will depend on your budget, and your need. Once you build your Own Electric Car you will completely eliminate Gas cost and never pay for gas again, Qualify for up to $1000 IRS refund for driving a clean fuel vehicle. Electric car kits vary in cost depending on make and quality and can be quite expensive. This lens looks into how you can put your own electric car conversion kit together and use it to build your electric car thus avoiding the high cost of of electric car conversion kits or buying a new elctric car.

1959: Your Watt-Sucking World of Tomorrow : TreeHugger
This system will let your wife run her home by push-buttons in a few short years. For example, with this Home Electronic Center setup your wife will dial the electronic controls the night before to wake you gently to music in the morning. The system will shut the window when you get up or turn up the heat or air conditioning….

RCA engineers call this wonder system the Home Electronic Center Kid, or HECK. While your wife snoozes on, silent HECK is busy preparing your breakfast—chilled juice, hot coffee, eggs and toast—which will be served by HECK as you approach the kitchen table.

Newsvine – Passive houses use 1/20th the energy of a conventional house – No furnace needed
From the outside, there is nothing unusual about the stylish new gray and orange row houses in the Kranichstein District, with wreaths on the doors and Christmas lights twinkling through a freezing drizzle. But these houses are part of a revolution in building design: There are no drafts, no cold tile floors, no snuggling under blankets until the furnace kicks in. There is, in fact, no furnace.

LED Umbrella Is Powered by Rain : TreeHugger
Part of creating the ultimate sustainable planet will be our ability to find sustainable energy sources in a variety of means, such as sunlight, water flow, wind, and yes, even rain. We are of course speaking of the kinetic energy which can be harnessed from rain, which up until a few months ago, was not being considered for use in a consumer product…

Lightdrops Umbrella
This kinetic energy is created from piezoelectric material, which is able to convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. Now, we aren’t talking about a whole lot of energy being created here, approximately 1 microwatt to 12 milliwatts per rain droplet. While not much in the large scheme of things, this technology has been put to use in a new LED umbrella called Lightdrops, which is able to self power an internal LED light using the rain from which it is protecting its user from.

US Becomes Largest Wind Power Producer in the World : CleanTechnica
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), US wind producers enjoyed another record year of growth in 2008—the third in a row. The country now has an installed wind power capacity well in excess of 21,000 megawatts (MW), enough to supply electricity to over 5.5 million American homes.

According to Randall Swisher, AWEA Executive DIrector, “Wind energy installations are well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy.”

Wonk Room » Coal Front Group Sets Up Dirty ‘Blogger Brigade’ To Fight Reality
The coal industry is attempting to organize bloggers to promote their false “clean coal” propaganda. The Reality Coalition, a group of national environmental organizations, have begun airing the message that “There’s no such thing as clean coal,” to counter the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by coal-powered corporations to pretend that coal is a “clean” fuel. So the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC), essentially one coal propaganda group with two different faces, is fighting back with an email blast asking people to join their “Blogger Brigade”:

This Machine Might* Save the World | Popular Science
The source of endless energy for all humankind resides just off Government Street in Burnaby, British Columbia, up the little spit of blacktop on Bonneville Place and across the parking lot from Shade-O-Matic blind manufacturers and wholesalers. The future is there, in that mostly empty office with the vomit-green walls — and inside the brain of Michel Laberge, 47, bearded and French-Canadian.

According to a diagram, printed on a single sheet of white paper and affixed with tape to a dusty slab of office drywall, his vision looks like a medieval torture device: a metal ball surrounded on all sides by metal rods and bisected by two long cylinders. It’s big but not immense — maybe 10 times as tall as the little robot man in the lower right corner of the page who’s there to indicate scale.

Oil on Water: Shale Oil Industry Mixing It Up With Aid of Federal Bailout Package : TreeHugger
One estimate has oil shale extraction needing 10 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced. And, with Colorado’s proposed oil shale operations at full capacity, by mid-century, the industry could require as much as 14 times more power than currently generated by the state’s largest power plant. These estimates are very imprecise, because the technology is unproven. You might wonder, “Why so much water and energy? And what do do about it?” See the illustration and answer below.

A recent Los Angeles Times article, “Energy dispute over Rockies riches,” reported:

Shell has the most mature technology, which it has been experimenting with at its Mahogany test site, near Rifle, Colo. Tucked into a rolling landscape of empty range land, the company has sunk heaters half a mile into oil shale seams and subjected the rock to 700-degree temperatures. Over weeks or even months, a liquid known as kerogen is produced, which can be refined into diesel and jet fuel.

iGo Debuting Energy Efficient Chargers at CES 2009 : TreeHugger
iGo Technologies provides solutions for charging up gadgets more efficiently by ditching standby power. They’re debuting a few more cool looking products at the upcoming CES. Read on for a glimpse of what tech we’ll get to see in just a couple weeks.

Three products iGo is planning on showing off are:

– iGo Laptop Charger: Charge your laptop and other devices from any standard wall outlet, including automatic shut-off and recovery to reduce vampire power.

– iGo Surge Protector: An eight outlet surge protector with shut-off and recovery to reduce vampire power.

– iGo Wall Outlet: A wall outlet with automatic shut-off and recovery.


Nuclear Editorial and Opinions

Letter — No Safer’ Nuclear Bomb Available –
In “A New Old Nuclear Arsenal,” Michael O’Hanlon [op-ed, Dec. 25] stated that Barack Obama’s budget request “should not include money for the reliable replacement warhead, but his administration’s first nuclear review should commit the United States to building more conservative and less deadly bombs by about 2015.”

Mr. O’Hanlon failed to define what he considers to be a “more conservative and less deadly” nuclear weapon (a kinder, gentler bomb?), but he suggested that “The United States developed more conservative weapons designs in the early years of the nuclear era that might be usable.” Which weapons he is talking about? The strategic nuclear weapons of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s generally had yields in the megaton range, much larger than most of those the United States now deploys.

Why oppose nuclear power? – Times Union – Albany NY
I read your Dec. 4 editorial, “The nuclear option,” with disappointment. You spoke of a small leak from a navy nuclear submarine and, in the final paragraph, somehow equated this to an “accident.” This is hyperbole of the type usually seen only in the sloppiest of political campaigns.

The radioactive leak, while unfortunate, likely was no larger than those of cruise ships that release waste from passengers who have undergone medical treatments. It most certainly was a smaller environmental impact than fossil fueled ships that circle the globe spewing and spilling noxious chemicals.

New Year’s wish: a world free of nuclear weapons : Opinion : Ventura County Star
Today, we face a new year, a new administration and a new era with the potential to begin the end of nuclear weapons. President-elect Barack Obama has invited Americans to share their vision of America and the world they want to see through his Web site. At this critical time in our history, with so many complex issues and priorities not being addressed, I submit this New Year’s wish — a wish for our children and their future.

President-elect Obama: The people have spoken and have elected you to be the agent of change for our children and their future. The challenges, while great, are only exceeded by the opportunities.

Time to go with nuclear power – The Reporter
Bill Wattenburg is a well-known San Francisco radio talk show host and former University of California, Berkeley, nuclear science professor. He is a strong proponent of nuclear power plants. Recently, he suggested we build Diablo Canyon Reactors 3 and 4 near San Luis Obispo, on the coast.

Diablo Canyon is the crown jewel of nuclear power plants. This plant, owned and operated by Pacific Gas & Electric Co., has produced enough power for more than 2 million homes since it went online in 1985. Diablo Canyon has a record of the safest and most efficient nuclear power plant, with a record for providing power at less than one-half the cost of the statewide average.

Letters: The government must wake up from its nuclear dream and see the green reality | Environment | The Guardian
Your report on the gross energy inefficiency of the government estate (Government buildings emit more CO2 than all of Kenya, 23 December) should come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the obsession by energy and climate change secretary, Ed Miliband, to make nuclear power a “solution” to our greenhouse gas emissions requirement. Even if new nuclear plants were to replace the entire “fleet” of current reactors, it would save at most 2-3% of our carbon emissions.

But this obsession has diverted attention and investment from much more sustainable and effective ways of delivering the massive cuts in carbon that will be required. Last week, the government’s own environmental watchdog, the Sustainable Development Commission, revealed that departments had overall seen their use of renewable electricity fall to 22% in 2007-08, down from 28% the previous year.

Letter – Nevada and Radioactive Waste –
You have been consistent in foisting the problem of radioactive waste off on Nevada, a state that has no nuclear reactors and has given more than enough to the national effort through atomic bomb tests and a landfill for radioactive waste.

Based on its past record, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to make a positive licensing decision. As you recognize, a waste repository in Nevada was chosen for political reasons. It will likely die for political reasons. Why wait for the N.R.C.’s verdict?

It makes more sense to safely store waste at reactor sites for the indefinite future while the radioactivity declines to safer levels.

Marvin Resnikoff

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