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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Wells Fargo Fires 5,300 For Engaging In Massive Fraud, Creating Over 2 Million Fake Accounts

Wells Fargo Fires 5,300 For Engaging In Massive Fraud, Creating Over 2 Million Fake Accounts

by Tyler Durden
Sep 9, 2016 5:11 AM

For years we have wondered why Wells Fargo, America's largest mortgage lender, is also Warren Buffett's favorite bank. Now we know why.

On Thursday, Wells Fargo was fined $185 million, (including a $100 million penalty from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the largest penalty the agency has ever issued) for engaging in pervasive fraud over the years which included opening credit cards secretly without a customer’s consent, creating fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services, and forcing customers to accumulate late fees on accounts they never even knew they had. Regulators said such illegal sales practices had been going on since at least 2011.

In all, Wells opened 1.5 million bank accounts and "applied" for 565,000 credit cards that were not authorized by their customers.

Wells Fargo told to CNN that it had fired 5,300 employees related to the shady behavior over the last few years. The firings represent about 1% of its workforce and took place over several years. The fired workers went to far as to create phony PIN numbers and fake email addresses to enroll customers in online banking services, the CFPB said.

How Wells perpetrated fraud is that its employees moved funds from customers' existing accounts into newly-created accounts without their knowledge or consent, regulators say. The CFPB described this ...


Thursday, 08 September 2016

SHANGHAI: China has boosted safety regulation at its growing fleet of nuclear reactors but needs "further work" in areas such as waste management and handling ageing plants, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday.

With 32 reactors in commercial operation and 24 under construction, China wants to build its manufacturing capability, not only to cut dependence on polluting fossil fuels, but also to dominate the lucrative nuclear reactor market.


But China's nuclear safety authorities still need to pour in the effort and resources for effective regulation of nuclear and radiation safety, said Ramzi Jammal, leader of a team of IAEA experts who spent 10 days assessing its nuclear safety rules.


Despite China's strong efforts to increase its regulatory capacity in the past five years, he said, its regulation of ageing reactors could present the highest risk over the long term, and it must boost its nuclear waste management capacity...
For broken link:

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie 6th September 2016 Last night’s BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain’s ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK’s ‘reprocessing’ of spent fuel into 50 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs – while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations.

Many readers will have seen the interesting Panorama programme on the poor safety record at Sellafield broadcast on BBC1 last night.

The BBC press release stated this was a “special investigation into the shocking state of Britain’s most hazardous nuclear plant” – and it certainly was.

The most important of several whistleblower revelations was that the previous US managers had been shocked at the state of the plant when they took over its running in 2008.


This article tries to give more background information, and importantly, more analysis and explanation. The full story would require several books, and provide exceedingly painful reading...


The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says

The Planet Is Going Through A ‘Catastrophic’ Wilderness Loss, Study Says
Just over 20 percent of the world can still be considered wilderness.

A tenth of the planet’s wilderness was eradicated in the last two decades and conservation efforts are failing to keep pace with the rate of wilderness loss, according to a new study.

The loss recorded since 1990 is equivalent to an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon, according to the study published Thursday in Current Biology. Most of the depletion is happening in South America, which experienced a nearly 30 percent loss, and Africa, which lost 14 percent of untouched ecosystems.

“Even though 10 percent is quite a small number in some ways, it really means that if we keep this trajectory going we will lose all wilderness in the next 50 years,” said James Watson, lead author and director of science and research initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, in an interview with ThinkProgress.

”Without any policies to protect these areas, they are falling victim to widespread development,” he said. “We probably have one to two decades to turn this around.”

Wilderness is defined as largely intact landscapes that are mostly free of human disturbance. These areas do not exclude people; instead, they are free of large-scale land conversion...

The Truth Behind The Kochs’ New Fossil Fuel PR Campaign

The Truth Behind The Kochs’ New Fossil Fuel PR Campaign
Behind the latest Koch-funded effort to hide the impacts of fossil fuels

By Jeremy Deaton

Is carbon dioxide racist? Can pollution discriminate? It seems an odd notion since after all — don’t we all breathe the same air?
Members of Black Lives Matter UK made headlines this week by chaining themselves together on the runway of the London City Airport to protest climate change. “Black people are the first to die, not the first to fly, in this racist climate crisis,” they said on Twitter.

Globally, the wealthiest people have the biggest carbon footprints, but it’s the poorest who are most vulnerable to climate change. They often live in the most dangerous places and lack the resources to adapt to rising temperatures and extreme weather. It’s a worldview that more and more people are coming to embrace.

But not if Koch Industries has anything to do with it. They have, unsurprisingly, a contrary argument that fossil fuels are friends of the disadvantaged. The company is funding a reported $10 million-a-year campaign that posits oil, gas, and coal fuels are needed to lift poor people of all colors out of poverty.

The campaign is called Fueling U.S. Forward, and it’s the latest effort to give oil and gas a cultural makeover. At the helm stands Charles Drevna, longtime oil lobbyist and former president of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers....

Can Koch Brothers Lock In Fatal Climate Delay For $889 Million In 2016 Election?

The multi-billionaire Koch brothers are planning to spend a staggering $889 million in the 2016 election cycle, more…

To Beat Tesla, China Plans To Boost Electric Vehicle Sales 10-Fold

To Beat Tesla, China Plans To Boost Electric Vehicle Sales 10-Fold
In doing so, they will wipe out 95 percent of domestic EV makers.

The electric vehicle revolution is now as unstoppable as the renewable revolution. China understands that fact better than any other country.

Much as China did whatever was necessary to become the global leader in manufacturing and deploying both solar and wind energy, they are doing the same for electric vehicles and batteries. They became the number one market for electric vehicles last year, as their sales tripled, Europe’s almost doubled, and America’s flatlined.

The Chinese government is aiming at a more than 1,000 percent increase in sales by 2025, some 3 million units a year. And as Bloomberg reports, to achieve that remarkable goal, “it’s offering subsidies that can total 60 percent of an electric-car’s sticker price.”

What China understands is that EVs are the cornerstone technology for low-cost, low-carbon transport — AND a core enabling technology for deep penetration of renewables into the electric grid.

Indeed, in a major 2016 report, the International Energy Agency explained that “electric vehicles and public transport can lead to a low-carbon mobility system while reducing investment needs by USD 20 trillion compared with current development trends in cities.”....


Nuclear outages jumped 50% this summer

EIA: Nuclear outages jumped 50% this summer
By Robert Walton | September 7, 2016

Dive Brief:
- Nuclear outages spiked between June and August, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, averaging 4.3 GW, or about 51% more than in 2015.

- It is an unclear comparison, however, as EIA pointed out that nuclear outages last year reached their lowest level since 2007. In August of 2015, for instance, outages totaled just 0.1 GW during four days.

- This year, summer outages were at their highest in June, reaching 9.9 GW—roughly 10% of total U.S. nuclear capacity on the 17th of that month. Nuclear facility outages averaged 6.2 GW for the month, compared with 4.4 GW of outages in July and 2.4 GW in August.


Total U.S. nuclear capacity is now 98,672.0 MW, according to EIA's nuclear outage tracker. As of Sept. 2, the country has almost 4,200 MW offline for a total of about 4.25%....

Expanded coverage: http://www.utilitydive.com/news/eia-nuclear-outages-jumped-50-this-summer/425845/

Large scale generation that drops out of the grid with no notice requires spinning reserves - that is, operating fossil generators 24/7 as 'instant on' replacement. Note well that all of the 98+GW mentioned above requires enough fossil fuel spinning reserve to ensure there is no disruption should any given nuclear plant experience one of their not rare, often extended, emergency shutdowns.
The case below wasn't disruptive, but there is a pretty significant carbon cost associated with ensuring that lack of disruption.

Plymouth Nuclear Power Plant Shut Down for Second Time in Three Weeks
Federal regulators downgraded the Bay State’s last reactor in 2015.

By Kyle Scott Clauss | Boston Daily | September 7, 2016, 10:10 a.m.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth shut down as a result of a mechanical issue Tuesday morning, marking the second time in roughly three weeks that the 44-year-old facility was powered off.

...the power plant experienced an “unplanned shutdown” around 8:35 a.m., after water levels unexpectedly spiked in the reactor. Pilgrim also shut down in mid-August to repair a failure of a main steam isolation valve.


Massachusetts’ last remaining nuclear power plant, Pilgrim is scheduled to close in 2019, citing “poor market conditions, reduced revenues and increased operational costs.” ...

EDF Executive Fears Hinkley (Planned UK) Nuclear Plant Will Never Be Finished

EDF Executive Fears Hinkley Nuclear Plant Will Never Be Finished
As the £18bn nuclear power project's future hangs in the balance, an EDF and union veteran casts doubt on the design.

Saturday 03 September 2016
By Siobhan Robbins, News Correspondent

An executive at the company hoping to build the new Hinkley Point nuclear power station in Somerset has told Sky News he fears it will never be finished.

Norbert Tangy has worked at EDF for more than 40 years and is the president of the French FNCS Union, which represents senior energy executives.

He claims the current plans for the site are flawed and need time to be revised.

Mr Tangy warned: "If we go ahead now, Hinkley Point will never work, it will never be finished.

"We'll have a never-ending construction as we had in Olkiluoto ...

Talen pulls plug on nuclear plant

Talen pulls plug on nuclear plant

Anthony Salamone

ALLENTOWN – Talen Energy Corp. has taken its final step to cancel a second nuclear power plant in Luzerne County that was first proposed nearly a decade ago.

The Allentown company said Wednesday it sent a written request to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission saying it sees no "viable path" to obtaining and operating license for its proposed Bell Bend nuclear power plant.


Talen Energy, which in early August reported a net loss of $3 million for the second quarter, said its shortfall included an impairment charge of $122 million related to the Bell Bend project. Company officials said then they had no plans to resume licensing and permitting activities for the project, according to Martin.

And my vote for the most outrageous corporate claim of the day comes from the same article:
Martin estimated Talen Energy had spent more than $200 million on the project. He said the costs were not borne by utility ratepayers.

He said the costs were not borne by utility ratepayers.

He said the costs were not borne by utility ratepayers.


NASA team probes peculiar age-defying star

NASA team probes peculiar age-defying star
August 29, 2016
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
For years, astronomers have puzzled over a massive star lodged deep in the Milky Way that shows conflicting signs of being extremely old and extremely young. Researchers initially classified the star as elderly, perhaps a red supergiant. But a new study by a NASA-led team of researchers suggests that the object, labeled IRAS 19312+1950, might be something quite different -- a protostar, a star still in the making.

An age-defying star designated as IRAS 19312+1950 (arrow) exhibits features characteristic of a very young star and a very old star. The object stands out as extremely bright inside a large, chemically rich cloud of material, as shown in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. A NASA-led team of scientists thinks the star - which is about 10 times as massive as our sun and emits about 20,000 times as much energy - is a newly forming protostar. That was a big surprise because the region had not been known as a stellar nursery before. But the presence of a nearby interstellar bubble, which indicates the presence of a recently formed massive star, also supports this idea.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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