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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
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Redacted DOE report gives details on MOX boondoogle (MOX=Nuclear fuel with plutonium)

Redacted DOE report gives details on MOX boondoogle

The Savannah River Site, with the unfinished MOX facility in the foreground. In the background is Georgia's Vogtle reactor complex, where two new reactors are under construction. With the likely demise of the MOX project, their power won't be needed at SRS. Photo by High Flyer, special to SRS Watch.

For decades, some in the U.S. government backed by a few in the nuclear industry and perhaps more in what I call the “nuclear priesthood”–those who have conducted their careers in the shadows of the nuclear industry and in academic settings where they can promote all things nuclear–have espoused the idea of reprocessing used fuel rods (also known as high-level radioactive waste) and creating MOX (plutonium-based) fuel for use in commercial nuclear reactors.

It’s always been a stupid idea environmentally–reprocessing is perhaps the dirtiest of all nuclear industry processes–and an even stupider idea economically. That’s because reprocessing is so expensive that mining and enriching uranium from scratch is still cheaper and always will be. Use of plutonium fuel would also exacerbate nuclear accidents, another trait that makes it undesirable, even for most of the nuclear industry.

For some years, NIRS ran a NIX MOX campaign, that was fairly successful at keeping the MOX concept in the dark corners of the priesthood. But the idea keeps coming out again and again for air, and thanks primarily to the determined efforts of some South Carolina Congressmembers–who can count only money and a few jobs and refuse to acknowledge both the short-term dangers to their state and the long-term environmental devastation a major MOX program inevitably would deliver–the government began construction of one of the pillars of a MOX facility at the Savannah River Site several years ago.

Almost since the first shovel of construction dirt was turned, the government–particularly the Obama administration–has tried to kill the project, knowing that it is both unnecessary and unaffordable. And yet, those South Carolina Congressmembers keep the money flowing in. Not enough to actually build the thing, but that’s not the point for them. The point for them is money, pure and simple. It’s the flaunting of pork barrel politics at its most basic level.

A new report, commissioned by the Department of Energy (where the MOX program still has some backers), was “released” Friday. You’ll see below why we put “released” in quotes....


The accelerating decline of French nuclear power

The accelerating decline of French nuclear power

For most people with any interest in energy issues, France is synonymous with nuclear power. With 78% of its electricity generated by the atom, it is by far the most nuclear-dependent country in the world. It’s state-owned flagship Electricite de France is the world’s largest nuclear utility. State-owned Areva is one of the largest nuclear reactor manufacturers in the world.

When nuclear industry lobbyists–anywhere in the world–try to find a success story for their technology, they invariably point to France.

But more rapidly than could have been imagined even five years ago, pointing a finger at France doesn’t evoke nuclear success. Rather, France, whose nuclear industry is in speedy and accelerating decline, today exemplifies the failure of nuclear power. Moreover, a closer look at France reveals where the world is headed: to a clean and surprisingly affordable nuclear-free and carbon-free energy system.

If that kind of energy future can come to France–and it increasingly appears that it will and sooner than might be expected–then it can come everywhere...


Coal-shunning China explores solar power, alternative energy solutions to beat pollution

Coal-shunning China explores solar power, alternative energy solutions to beat pollution
Clean-energy alternative comes into play as the central government begins phasing out coal-burning plants to meet emissions targets

With solar energy production costs continuing to fall, the market is experiencing what many analysts are calling a boom. In many parts of the world, solar power is now cheaper than diesel oil, gas, coal or nuclear energy.

....Yang believes the future of clean energy will move away from large-scale power generation projects towards microscale power generation near the point of consumption. “This will take the form of things like rooftop and building-integrated solar. It just makes sense economically and in terms of infrastructure to get away from generating power hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from the point of consumption. With China’s unprecedented urbanisation boom, there is a golden opportunity to integrate solar into new building construction.

“We’ve coined the term ‘mobile energy’ the idea that we’re getting away from grid-tied dependence and are moving towards an era where every household has the potential to generate enough power to fulfil its needs,” Yang says, adding that thin-film technology allows people to generate power wherever they go. This is the trend that he sees moving forward, and one that Hanergy intends to lead in order to rediscover blue skies across China.

The market for clean-energy technologies is massive, and there is plenty of space for cooperation across sectors and industries. While the use of renewables increases, so too will public awareness, which will push up demand at a grassroots level.


'BMW i8' Plug-In Hybrid Test Drive

"Fully Charged'" Robert Llewellyn takes the BMW i8, the first plug in hybrid electric supercar on a 1,000 mile (1,600 km) test drive to Scotland at an average of 52 mpg.


Sounds good to me.

Del. House Committee Releases Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Del. House Committee Releases Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
Posted: May 06, 2015 6:02 PM EDT

DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC) - A bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana has cleared a Delaware legislative panel and is headed to the House floor for a vote.

House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee members voted 5-to-4 Wednesday to release the bill after its chief sponsor said she would make several revisions to address concerns of police officials.

Law enforcement groups, including the Delaware State Police, nevertheless remain opposed to the bill.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail. Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail.

"This is a modest...


Renewables vs. Nuclear: Do We Need More Nuclear Power?

Renewables vs. Nuclear: Do We Need More Nuclear Power?

...Let’s take a look at the last 10 years and the next 10 years…

New U.S. renewable and nuclear capacity added the last 10 years (output):

55 GW utility wind (22 GW)
17 GW rooftop PV solar (3.5 GW)
10 GW utility PV and solar thermal (2.5 GW)
15 GW biomass and biogas (12 GW)
3 GW Geothermal (2.5)
Total renewables: 100 GW (42.5 GW)
Total nuclear: Marginal increase from existing plants
(2004-2014 = approx 2.6MWe of up-rated nuclear generation - K)


U.S. renewable and nuclear plan the next 10 years capacity and (output):

130 GW utility wind (52 GW)
75 GW rooftop PV solar (15 GW)
35 GW utility PV and thermal solar (9 GW)
60 GW biomass and biogas (51 GW)
5 GW Geothermal (4 GW)
Additional renewable power next 10 years: 305 GW (131 GW)
Additional nuclear power next 10 years: 5.6 GW (5.1 GW)

The above output numbers for renewables assume no advances in wind or solar efficiency and no grid storage. Both assumptions will become completely false, so the 131 GW number should be considered a minimum number....

There is much more to the discussion: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2015/04/renewables-vs-nuclear-do-we-need-more-nuclear-power?page=all

Now, about that minimum number and storage:
Tesla-Powered Wal-Mart Stores Attest to Musk's Energy Storage Ambitions



While companies like Coda Energy, Green Charge Networks and Stem have also applied for SGIP funds, Tesla accounts for almost half of all storage applications, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in an April 2 report published for clients. BNEF also said Tesla accounts for about 70 percent of SGIP storage projects connected to California’s grid.

Jackson Family Wines, based in Santa Rosa, has a new partnership with Tesla involving battery storage and several vehicle charging stations, according to the February issue of Wine Business Monthly. The winery declined to comment.

Mack Wycoff, Wal-Mart’s senior manager for renewable energy and emissions, said the company is intrigued by energy storage. “Instead of pulling electricity from the grid, you discharge it from the battery,” he said. “Ideally you know when your period of peak demand is, and you discharge it then.”

Mike Martin, Cargill’s director of communications, declined to provide details about how the company plans to use Tesla batteries at the Fresno plant. The 200,000-square-foot facility, one of the largest of its type in California, produces nearly 400 million pounds of beef each year.

Janet Dixon is director of facilities at the Temecula Valley Unified School District in southern California, which plans to install solar panels at 20 of its 28 schools this summer. Dixon said that SolarCity is the solar provider, and five of the facilities will have Tesla batteries.



Floating nuclear power plants promise major savings for Arctic mines

Floating nuclear power plants promise major savings for Arctic mines
Diesel-fuelled power “not sustainable for the scale of development we want to see"


Mining projects in Nunavut are saddled with high expenses that could discourage development.

With that in mind, why not go for a tried and proven cheaper source of energy that can come and go on the high seas, and reach the territory’s coastal communities?

That’s just what Dunedin Energy Systems Ltd., an Ontario-based energy consulting firm, suggested when it pointed to “floating nuclear power plants” as an alternative energy source, April 16 at the Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit.

Nuclear power generators have been cruising the high seas in the ships of the world’s biggest navies since the 1950s, Peter Lang, president of Dunedin, told an audience at the symposium.

“Since then, civilian applications have come along,” Lang said ...

Firebombing of Tokyo: Introducing The Great Tokyo Air Raid

Saotome Katsumoto and the Firebombing of Tokyo: Introducing The Great Tokyo Air Raid

Translator’s Introduction
Richard Sams

March 10 is the 70th anniversary of the Great Tokyo Air Raid. Although Tokyo was bombed more than 100 times from November 1944 to the end of the war, the firebombing centered on the Shitamachi district in the early hours of March 10, 1945, was by far the most devastating air raid on the capital. In less than three hours from just after midnight, 279 B-29 bombers dropped a total of 1,665 tons of incendiaries.1 By dawn, more than 100,000 people were dead, one million were homeless, and 16 square miles of Tokyo had been burned to the ground.

More people were killed in the indiscriminate firebombing of March 10 than in the immediate aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. After the war, while Hiroshima and Nagasaki became symbols of Japan’s suffering and the peace movement, the Great Tokyo Air Raid was virtually excluded from public discourse. Hardly anyone wrote about the air raids that reduced the capital and most of Japan’s other cities to ashes, and the few articles that did appear in newspapers attracted little interest. For a quarter of a century after the war, while memorial services were held every year on August 6 and 9 for the victims of the atomic bombings and covered widely in newspapers and on television, the devastating firebombing campaign over Tokyo and much of urban Japan was quietly forgotten. While school textbooks, novels, poetry and films memorialized the atomic bombing and its victims, silence reigned with respect to the firebombing raids...


John Oliver reveals the stunningly racist history behind why some U.S. territories can’t vote

John Oliver reveals the stunningly racist history behind why some U.S. territories can’t vote
via Salon: http://www.salon.com/2015/03/09/john_oliver_eviscerates_the_condescending_treatment_of_u_s_territories/

The 9 unbreakable rules of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner universe

The 9 unbreakable rules of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner universe

Rule #1: the Road Runner cannot harm the coyote. Warner Bros
The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, those cartoon favorites from Warner Brothers' beloved Looney Tunes, spent four dozen animated shorts engaging in ridiculous mayhem through the American Southwest.

Though the behavior of the two seemed spontaneous and silly, their comedic timing was a carefully constructed reality made by Chuck Jones, perhaps the most famous director at Warner Brothers' animation division.

Yesterday, Jones' rules for that reality went viral when film director Amos Posner tweeted a picture he had taken at the "What's Up, Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones" exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City:


These rules come from Jones' 1999 autobiography, in which he wrote:

Just as I decided later that there would be no dialogue in the Coyote-Road Runner series because it seemed like a good rule, or indeed it would be a good rule if it was consistent; all comedians obey rules consistent with their own view of comedy. In my opinion, Jackie Gleason got more milage out of threatening to hit somebody than the Three Stooges ever did by doing so...


You can watch this compilation to see if he adhered to the rules he set down...

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