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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,121

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Coalition Of U.S. States Signed Pact To Keep Exxon Climate Probe Confidential

Coalition Of U.S. States Signed Pact To Keep Exxon Climate Probe Confidential
Besides Exxon, the agreement says other entities could be targeted if states felt they were delaying action to fight climate change.


HOUSTON, Aug 4 (Reuters) - A pact that 15 U.S. states signed to jointly investigate Exxon Mobil Corp for allegedly misleading the public about climate change sought to keep prosecutors’ deliberations confidential and was broadly written so they could probe other fossil fuel companies.

The “Climate Change Coalition Common Interest Agreement” was signed by state attorneys general in May, two months after they held a press conference to say they would go after Exxon, the world’s largest publicly-traded oil and gas company, and possibly other companies.

The signed agreement has not been made public until now, and Reuters reviewed a copy of it on Thursday.

It provides considerably more detail about the prosecutors’ legal strategy than the general outline provided at their announcement in March, which was headlined by former Vice President Al Gore...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/exxon-mobil-climate-change_us_57a2d553e4b0e1aac914ce59?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=d2ba41ed30-Today_s_Climate12_10_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-d2ba41ed30-327768601

Court orders feds to turn over Idaho nuclear waste documents

Court orders feds to turn over Idaho nuclear waste documents

By KEITH RIDLER, Associated Press


BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to make available to the court documents sought by former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus involving nuclear waste shipments to eastern Idaho.

U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill on Monday ordered the agency to produce the documents within a week so Winmill can determine whether to make them public.

Andrus filed a lawsuit in September after Energy Department officials responded to Andrus' Freedom of Information Act request with pages of blacked out documents.

Andrus wants information about several hundred pounds of proposed research shipments of spent commercial nuclear fuel to the Idaho National Laboratory that require a waiver to a nuclear waste agreement the Energy Department and Idaho signed in 1995.

Andrus said signing the waiver could open the door to tons more radioactive waste from the Energy Department and turn the state into a nuclear waste repository.

"We have to know what's going on...
http://hosted2.ap.org/IDIDF/da3fe38944e7455284f48031646191ec/Article_2016-08-09-ID--Idaho-Nuclear%20Waste/id-223126a0693c4fb582d216a0b80d8a08

China installed 20 GW of solar power in first-half (2016); triple from a year ago

Jul 22, 2016
China installed 20 GW of solar power in first-half; triple from a year ago


China installed 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity in the first half of 2016, three times as much as during the same period a year ago, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Thursday citing the country's largest solar industry lobby.

The surge in capacity extended China's lead over Germany as the top solar generator, said Wang Bohua, General Secretary of the China Photovoltaic Industry Association (CPIA), according to Xinhua.

<snip>

Production of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules also increased to 27 GW, up by 37.8 percent in the first half of the year, the CPIA said in a report on its website, adding that the profit margins of the major manufacturers improved to an average of 5 percent from 4.85 percent last year...
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-solar-idUSKCN1020P7

Alien hunters are fixated on a mysterious star, which refuses to reveal its secrets

Alien hunters are fixated on a mysterious star, which refuses to reveal its secrets

Twinkle, twinkle... (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

WRITTEN BY Akshat Rathi

A mysterious star has attracted global attention since its strange properties came to light in October last year. The star showed an odd pattern of dimming that could not be explained by any known natural phenomenon. Among the hypotheses that has yet to be disproved: the star is surrounded by an alien megastructure.

Such extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, as the famous astronomer Carl Sagan put it. Ever since Tabetha Boyajian of Yale University found KIC 8462852, or Tabby’s star (named after her), professional scientists and amateur astronomers have been pointing their telescopes towards a small part of the night sky to collect more data.

A flurry of studies published over the past year show that the more data scientists collect, the stranger the star’s tale becomes. Every attempt to rule out the alien-megastructure hypothesis is met with more data that stops it from being discarded.

The sign that started it all
NASA launched the Kepler mission in 2009. Its aim was to search for planets by fixing its gaze at a tiny patch in the sky. When it spots a star’s light suddenly dim, it means that a planet has crossed between the star and the satellite. The amount of dimming is related to how big the planet is.

This is monotonous work. NASA created software to interpret the dimming—planets orbiting a star dim the light at regular intervals, so the agency’s software flagged these episodes to scientists to confirm the readings. A contingent at Yale, meanwhile...

More at http://qz.com/752783/alien-hunters-are-fixated-on-a-mysterious-star-which-refuses-to-reveal-its-secrets/

Free trade losing its luster



Free trade losing its luster
BY JOMO KWAME SUNDARAM
AUG 8, 2016

KUALA, LUMPUR/MOSCOW – In its May 2010 “Global Survey,” McKinsey & Company reported that “the core drivers of globalization are alive and well.” In an April 2014 report, the firm went further, declaring that “to be unconnected is to fall behind.”

But now McKinsey seems to have changed its tune. In a new report, “Poorer Than Their Parents? Flat or Falling Incomes in Advanced Economies,” the McKinsey Global Institute asserts that developed countries should not expect further gains from the process of globalization. Income growth has stalled since the 2008 financial crisis and “even a return to strong GDP growth may not” reverse the trend.

Specifically, McKinsey finds that, from 2005 to 2014, real (inflation-adjusted) incomes remained flat or fell in 65-70 percent of households comprising 540 million people across 25 advanced economies. In the United States during this period, 81 percent of the population experienced flat or falling real incomes; in Italy, 97 percent did. By comparison, from 1993 to 2005, advanced-economy real incomes remained flat or fell in less than 2 percent of households.

Government transfers and tax cuts mitigated some of this trend’s effects by leaving families with additional take-home income, especially in strong welfare states. But even with those measures, up to a quarter of households in some countries experienced stagnant or lower disposable incomes between 2005 and 2014.

The years since 2005 have shown globalization to be a double-edged sword, and even conservative politicians worldwide have stopped cheerleading for it....

More at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2016/08/08/commentary/world-commentary/free-trade-losing-luster/#.V6jcR2Vh2Rs

“How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be"?

"...here are all the latest charts and facts"

You’ll Never Believe How Cheap New Solar Power Is
BY JOE ROMM JUL 18, 2016 9:29 AM

Solar energy has grown 100-fold in this country in the past decade. Globally, solar has doubled seven times since 2000, and Dubai received a bid recently for 800 megawatts of solar at a stunning “US 2.99 cents per kilowatt hour” —unsubsidized! For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Solar energy has been advancing considerably faster than anyone expected just a few years ago thanks to aggressive market-based deployment efforts around the globe. Since it’s hard to keep up with the speed-of-light changes, and this is the fuel that will power more and more of the global economy in the near future, here are all the latest charts and facts to understand it.

If you are looking for one chart to sum up the whole solar energy miracle, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) Chairman Michael Liebreich has one from his keynote address at BNEF’s annual conference in April titled “In Search of the Miraculous”:


Solar’s exponentially declining costs and exponentially rising installations (the y-axis is a logarithmic scale).


Thanks to sustained long-term deployment programs, Liebreich explained, “We’ve seen the costs come down by a factor of 150 since 1975. We’ve seen volume up by 115,000.”

“How much more miracle-y do you need your miracles to be,” Liebreich added.

What that chart doesn’t reveal is that the price drop and the sales volume increase are directly linked....





Six more charts at: http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=post&forum=1127&pid=103504

Chiyonofuji (the Wolf) dead of pancreatic cancer at 61.

I feel privileged to have been introduced to sumo while the Wolf was undisputed champion. He was incredible.

The Low Carbon Economy GS SUSTAIN equity investor’s guide to a low carbon world, 2015-25

The Low Carbon Economy
GS SUSTAIN equity investor’s guide to a low carbon world, 2015-25

We explore the low carbon economy, now a growing, $600 bn+ pa revenue opportunity. Between 2015 and 2020, solar PV and onshore wind will add more to global energy supply than US shale oil production did between 2010 and 2015. By 2020, six in ten lightbulbs will be LEDs; and our analysts expect carmakers to sell 25 million hybrid & electric vehicles by 2025, 10x more than today. We estimate that these technologies will save >5 Gt of CO2 emissions per annum by 2025 and could help global emissions to peak earlier than expected around 2020, with ripple effects felt across our global coverage.

http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/new-energy-landscape-folder/report-the-low-carbon-economy/report.pdf

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance - The game is already over for nuclear energy

The Myth of the Nuclear Renaissance
The game is already over for nuclear energy.

July 18, 2016, at 2:00 p.m.


Dear editor,

Desperate times for the nuclear industry call for desperate rhetoric. Hence the reach, once again, for "renaissance," even though the facts support no such thing and the industry itself dare not even resurrect the mythological moniker.

With nuclear power priced out of the market – not only by natural gas but, more importantly for climate, by renewables – die-hard nuclear proponents are dressing up old reactors in new propaganda.

Sodium-cooled, fast and even small modular reactors are all designs that have been around – and rejected – for decades.

Sodium-cooled reactors are prone to fires, explosions and super-criticality accidents. A rapid power increase inside the core of such a reactor could vaporize the fuel and blow the core apart. Far from "walk away safe," these on-paper designs have not been submitted to the kind of rigorous "all scenarios" testing that could definitively designate them as meltdown proof.

The reactor that consumes its own radioactive waste as fuel is not the waste management panacea its sounds like...

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2016-07-18/stop-perpetuating-the-myth-of-the-nuclear-renaissance

Nuclear Regulators Feigning Ignorance on Potentially Defective Parts in US Reactors?

US NRC on Areva-Le Creusot Potentially Defective Parts in US Reactors – Feigning Ignorance?
22 Jun 2016

From an NRC Report, October 6 – 8, 2009, by Kerri Kavanagh

In the US, nuclear reactors having potentially defective Le Creusot-Areva parts include (but are not necessarily limited to): Nuclear Reactor Pressure Vessels at Prairie Island 1 and 2;
Replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel Closure Heads (replacement lids) at North Anna, Surry, Three Mile Island, Crystal River 3, Arkansas One, Turkey Point, Salem, St Lucie, DC Cook);
(Replacement) Steam Generators at Prairie Island 1, Callaway, Arkansas One, Salem, St Lucie, Three Mile Island and
(Replacement) Pressurizers at St Lucie, Millstone
(See Greenpeace France, Briefing http://grnpc.org/IgNdG and “AREVA – Société Générale / Investor day Burgundy – April 9, 2009“)

Kerri Kavanagh, on behalf of the US NRC, belatedly issued a statement on June 20th entitled: “Quality Assurance Issues in France: Implications for U.S. Plants?” Kerri Kavanagh pretends to not know what parts or types of parts are involved, nor their ages. And yet, the NRC’s own documentation states:
“The designer/manufacturer of the reactor vessels for Prairie Island is Creusot-Loire (formerly called SFAC)… The replacement reactor vessel closure heads and CRDM pressure housings were manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) in Futami, Japan under their ASME Section III code program.” http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0712/ML071290663.pdf
Thus, at least for this example Kerri should know the age, and the catastrophic consequences of a ruptured nuclear reactor pressure vessel. It also appears that the initial reactor vessel closure heads, almost surely Creusot made, had to be replaced.

Prairie Island Nuclear Power Station was built within a few years of the Swiss Beznau Nuclear Power Station, which also has Le Creusot (at the time called Schneider Forge) reactor pressure vessels. And, in fact, Beznau 1 has been offline for almost a year due to almost 1000 defects in its reactor pressure vessel. Last weekend 6,000 people walked in mud, in the rain, demanding the prompt closure of Beznau nuclear power station. The Swiss regulator claims that the reactor pressure vessel for Beznau 2 is ok. Prairie Island is located on the extreme upper Mississippi River, and Beznau on the Aare River shortly before it feeds into the upper Rhine. Both of these rivers are essential economically and environmentally.

The US NRC had concerns over Areva testing and documentation at least as early as 2009, and the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) was aware of these concerns. In fact...
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/us-nrc-on-areva-le-creusot-potential-defects-in-us-reactors-feigning-ignorance/

See also:
Shortcomings identified in Le Creusot quality checks
04 May 2016
An ongoing quality audit at the Le Creusot forge has identified "irregularities" in paperwork on some 400 plant components produced there since 1965. The issues "comprise inconsistencies, modifications or omissions in the production files, concerning manufacturing parameters and test results...
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/RS-Shortcomings-identified-in-Le-Creusot-quality-checks-0405164.html
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