Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 23,003
Number of posts: 23,003
Source: Mainichi Shimbun Japan
FUKUSHIMA -- The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant said on Dec. 2 that it has detected radioactive materials that topped 36,000 times the permissible level in underground water extracted in the area.
According to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), strontium-90 and other radioactive substances that emit beta rays were detected at a level of 1.1 million becquerels per liter in underground water pumped up from an observatory well on Nov. 28. The well is located at a sea bank east of the No. 2 reactor, about 40 meters from the ocean.
The amount of detected radioactive materials hit the highest level since Nov. 25, which marked 910,000 becquerels per liter of underground water. The national allowable emission level for strontium-90, a typical radioactive isotope that emits beta rays, is less than 30 becquerels per liter of water.
TEPCO said radioactive levels in seawater within the harbor around the plant do not show any major change.
It has ...
Read more: http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20131203p2a00m0na011000c.html
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 11:56 PM (28 replies)
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to Germany shutting down nuclear plants. And coincidently, the false narrative you weave is the same one promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to the relative risk of radiation from coal power and nuclear power. Coincidently, this false narrative is also the same one promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to the options available to the Japanese in their energy choices. Coincidently, the false narrative regarding the inability of renewable energy sources to meet modern Japan's needs is, you guessed it, also the same one promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to the options available to the everyone in their energy choices. Coincidently, the false narrative regarding the inability of renewable energy sources to meet modern society's needs is, you guessed it, also the same one promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to the relative economic and environmental cost of "alternative energy" sources. Coincidently, this false narrative is yet again exactly the same one that avid promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you make a false presentation of facts relating to the relative economic and environmental cost of "alternative energy" sources. Coincidently, this false assertion is yet again exactly the same one that avid promoters of nuclear use.
You say you don't advocate for nuclear, yet you refer to "alternative energy" sources and the plans for their use as "schemes", a word connoting unethical behavior. Coincidently, this type of verbiage regarding efforts to move to renewables is an absolute favorite among avid promoters of nuclear.
All of that taken together has the appearance of not being coincidental at all.
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 11:21 PM (2 replies)
Why EVs could be coming to 1/4 of America sooner than you think
Oct 31, 2013
Quick Take: Utilities in California and New York are already gearing up for electric vehicles (EVs). Those two states are trendsetters in EVs as they are in so many other things. But six other states may also see a more rapid EV influx, thanks to the pledge described below.
What should utilities in those states be doing? Perhaps following the advice of Maria Brun to push for smart charging technologies and policies asap. - By Jesse Berst
Eight states representing nearly 1/4 of America's auto market have pledged to adopt a measures to make it easier to own an EV, including changing building codes and encouraging more charging stations. For instance, according to the New York Times, they will simplify rules for installing chargers; develop charging stations that take the same form of payment; and require charging stations at workplaces, multifamily residences and other places.
The pact includes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont. The eight states have set a six-month deadline for drafting an implementation plan.
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 07:07 PM (0 replies)
Dec 6, 2013
Quick Take: Seeking more support for coal-burning power plants, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has issued a statement claiming natural gas and renewables threaten the grid. Among their arguments:
- Coal is more reliable
As you will read below, they're taking the gloves off with fighting words such as "ideologues and activists... fail to grasp the basic fact that the current infrastructure cannot meet their pie in the sky policies." Whichever side you're on, you should brace yourself for a new, louder, more contentious debate. - By Jesse Berst
Continued Push for Natural Gas and Renewable Energy Threaten Electric Grid
Statement from Laura Sheehan, Senior Vice President of Communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE):
...“There is no question that a regulatory climate that forces reliable baseload coal plants offline raises serious concerns about the long-term energy future of our country. Based on current production, natural gas and renewable sources simply cannot meet the baseload energy demands of our nation. Additionally, to transform our nation’s power delivery system to fully utilize these sources will be a massive, time-consuming and expensive undertaking."
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 07:03 PM (7 replies)
Chicken tumbling to add water – a widespread industrial practice
It is legal to add water and additives to bind it in, even protein of other species, so long are they are declared on the label
The Guardian, Friday 6 December 2013 12.09 EST
Chicken fillets are 'tumbled' in cement mixer-like machines to bulk them up with water. Photograph: Alamy
The industrial practice of tumbling chicken fillets in large cement-mixer-like machines so that they take up water is widespread. In some cases chicken meat undergoes a further process in which more water is injected into it.
A Guardian investigation 10 years ago exposed Dutch manufacturers using the technology to adulterate chicken meat with heavily disguised beef waste.
Companies in Germany and Spain were extracting proteins by hydrolysis from beef and pig hides and even from cattle bones and selling them in powder form to be mixed with water – the added proteins lock water into the flesh so that it does not flood out when the chicken is cooked.
The companies making the protein powders had found ways of extracting the protein so the DNA was hard to detect. The FSA had to work with laboratories to develop new methods of testing to establish which species were being used. It was this work that led to tests able to detect horse DNA in beef.
Efforts to police and stop the ...
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 06:55 PM (4 replies)
Utilities: Get used to neighborhoods that use zero energy
Dec 5, 2013
Quick Take: It used to be that new neighborhoods were good news for a utility. They required power, meaning more sales and more profits.
But going forward, new neighborhoods may produce as much power as they use, becoming "net zero energy districts." North America's largest such development is at the University of California, Davis, and just celebrated its first anniversary, as described below. Another well-known example is FortZED in Fort Collins, Colorado.
With projects like these two acting as proof points, we can expect more and more net zero subdivisions, office parks, industrial parks, campuses, etc. Does your utility have a plan in place for a world where new neighborhoods mean more costs (new wires, poles, transformers, etc.) without more sales? - By Jesse Berst
UC Davis West Village: Setting the standard
The University of California, Davis, West Village, the nation’s largest planned zero net energy community, racks up an impressive list of achievements in its initial year of review. The first formal analysis of West Village shows that even in its initial phases, it is well on the way to the ultimate goal of operating as a ZNE community. The report released today from UC Davis, and its partner West Village Community Partnership LLC, outlines major milestones including West Village producing 87 percent of the energy it consumed in a one-year period -- well in advance of the project’s full completion.
“West Village is what a sustainable energy future looks like for California and the rest of the world,” said Ralph Cavanagh, Energy Program co-director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Its commitment ...
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 05:56 PM (0 replies)
Researchers find way to make unlimited amounts of red blood cells from iPS cells
December 06, 2013
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
Japanese scientists have developed a technique using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to engineer red blood cells in sufficient amounts to make shortages of blood for transfusions a thing of the past.
Researchers from Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and other institutions transduced c-MYC and BCL-XL genes, which are involved in cell proliferation and help prevent cell death or apoptosis, respectively, into iPS cells. The iPS cells then turned into erythrocyte progenitor cells.
The team led by Koji Eto, a stem cell biology professor at CiRA, was able to inhibit specific functions in the two genes, which turned the progenitor cells into mature erythrocytes--or red blood cells.
The erythrocyte progenitor cells have an almost unlimited ability to replicate in vitro, allowing researchers to produce almost infinite red blood cells from limited amounts of blood samples.
According to the researchers, the new technology produces 20 times the ...
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 05:17 PM (1 replies)
Cheap, of course, being a relative judgement. ETA: This is in the EE forum because, even though not mentioned, there are possible implications for space-based solar power.
DARPA’s mirror-killing membrane could change astronomy, allow total global surveillance
By Graham Templeton on December 6, 2013
When it launches in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will let us see deeper into the universe than ever before. Its enormous eye is centered around 18 octagonal mirrors which assemble to form the largest telescope mirror ever built, but someday even the James Webb Telescope (formerly the Next-Gen Space Telescope) will outlive its usefulness — and then what will we do? The obvious answer is to launch an even more advanced telescope, one with an even bigger mirror that can focus on even more distant or difficult light. There’s just one problem: given the costs and practical barriers to launching objects into space, it’s very possible that in this case simply going bigger may be impossible.
That’s where DARPA comes in. The agency has always liked playing smarter — rather than harder — and has a stated goal of allowing its government to view any point on the planet, instantly and in real-time. That being the case, they needed to develop a way of launching surveillance satellites much more cheaply. DARPA has looked into everything from satellite miniaturization to Hyperloop style drone throwers, but a satellite’s mirror is the hardest part to launch in most cases. In a move sure to excite cash-strapped astronomers and terrify nervous libertarians, DARPA now says it could have a way around that problem, making high-fidelity space cameras much quicker and cheaper to launch.
Called MOIRE, or Membrane Optical Imager for Real-Time Exploitation, the project looks to replace one of the heaviest and most troublesome elements in astronomy. Rather than using enormous mirrors or thick, dense lenses to reflect or refract the light into a collector, MOIRE uses membranes about as thick as kitchen plastic wrap to diffract light onto the satellite’s collector. MOIRE will launch in a compact state, its version of a mirror mounted on the front in the form of folded, concentric “petals” of this membrane. When the mission reaches its destination, these petals will unfold into huge sails, providing a focusing element larger than any mirror could realistically be. A MOIRA satellite launched at 6.5 meters in diameter, roughly the size of the James Webb mirror, could unfurl to a diameter of more than 21 meters.
That’s a big deal, since the diameter of a telescope’s focusing device determines its maximum resolution. If you want to look into the very beginnings of the universe or into its most elusive and subtle elements, you need a big mirror, or at least a mirror analog. If you want to view close-up video of a spot on Earth roughly 35,000 kilometers below, you need a big mirror, too.
These membranes aren’t just physically smaller and lighter
Posted by kristopher | Fri Dec 6, 2013, 05:08 PM (1 replies)
You wrote, "There is a DIFFERENCE in the composition of what comes out of a Light Water Reactor, and what comes out of an Integral Fast Reactor."
I'm well aware of that. But tell me what is Integrated with the Fast-breeder Reactor and where does the fuel come from before it is loaded and where does it go when it "comes out" of the reactor? Also, in conceptualizing way IFRs are to be actually deployed at scale how many are going to be needed? Isn't it true that they are visualized as being mated with about 4 LWR reactors and are, in fact, not really thought of by even most experts that support them as "the" fuel cycle that will address the 4 Horsemen of the Atomic Era?
Anyway, Integrating the Fast (breeder) Reactor with the pyroprocessing is an entirely different animal than just a breeder reactor. There are some good aspects to the technology, but there are also some very real drawbacks, including the potential proliferation situation that would be created in future cases like Iran.
Efforts in the United States to resuscitate fast reactors
Since the cancellation of the CRBR in 1983, ANL and the Nuclear Energy program office in the DOE have continued to seek ways to revive fast-neutron reactor development in the United States, first by promoting the Integral Fast Reactor concept,72 then through the Generation IV International Forum, and most recently the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).
Integral Fast Reactor and pyroprocessing
In the wake of the demise of the Clinch River Reactor project, ANL scientists developed and promoted the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) concept. Patterned after the EBR-II with its Integral Fast Reactor fuel cycle facility (see EBR-II discussion), the IFR would integrate the plutonium-breeder reactor with an on-site spent fuel pyroprocessing and electro-refining process. In this process, plutonium and the minor transuranic elements would be separated and recycled together into new fuel.
The IFR was advanced as the key to making the breeder reactor economical, proliferation-resistant and environmentally acceptable.73 There were ample grounds for skepticism, however. Most importantly, pyroprocessing looked still more expensive than conventional reprocessing. Moreover, were the IFR technology to be adopted by a non-weapon state it would provide the country with access to tons of plutonium in each co-located reactor and reprocessing facility. A cadre of experts trained in transuranic chemistry and plutonium metallurgy could separate out the plutonium from the other transuranic elements using hot cells and other facilities on-site. A 1992 study commissioned jointly by the U.S. Departments of Energy and State describes a variety of ways to use a pyroprocessing plant to produce relatively pure plutonium.74
Fast Reactor Development in the United States
Despite these problems, ANL was able to attract federal support for the IFR concept for a decade until the Clinton Administration cancelled the IFR program and the Congress terminated its funding in 1994. As a political compromise with Congress, it was agreed that while EBR-II would be shut down, funding of the fuel reprocessing research would continue—renaming it the “actinide recycling project.”75 A decade later this program would be re-characterized and promoted as necessary for long-term management of nuclear waste—becoming the centerpiece of the George W. Bush Administration’s GNEP.
After Congress terminated funding for the IFR program, the DOE kept its pyroprocessing program alive by selecting it to process 3.35 metric tons of sodium-bonded EBR-II and FFTF spent fuel at INL. In 2006, the DOE estimated that pyroprocessing could treat the remaining 2.65 tons of this fuel in eight years at a cost of $234 million, including waste processing and disposal for a reprocessing cost of approximately $88,000/kg.76
Pg 103, 104
Although there are safety issues generic to liquid metal fast reactors, it does not appear that they were the predominant reasons for the demise of the breeder program in the United States. More important were proliferation concerns and a growing conviction that breeder reactors would not be needed or economically competitive with light-water reactors for decades, if ever.
Under GNEP, the DOE expressed renewed interest in fast reactors, initially as burner reactors to fission the actinides in the spent fuel of the light-water reactors. So far, the new designs are mostly paper studies, and the prospect of a strong effort to develop the burner reactors is at best uncertain. The Obama Administration has terminated the GNEP Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and efforts by DOE to move to near-term commercialization of fast reactors and the closed fuel cycle for transmutation of waste. As this report went to press, it was debating whether to even continue R&D on fast-neutron reactors.83 The economic and nonproliferation arguments against such reactors remain strong.
72 This is the concept in which the spent fuel would be recycled onsite, Jack M. Holl, Argonne National Laboratory, 1946–96 (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 425, 426, 443–446.
74 R.G. Wymer et al., “An Assessment of the Proliferation Potential and International Implications of the Proliferation Potential and International Implications of the Integral Fast Reactor,” Martin Marietta K/IPT-511 (May 1992); prepared for the Departments of State and Energy.
75 J. M. Holl, op. cit., 456.
76 U.S. Department of Energy, “Preferred Disposition Plan for Sodium-Bonded Spent Nuclear Reactor Fuel,” Report to Congress (March 2006), tables 1 and 3. Pyroprocessing would account for 57 percent of the total cost<http://www.ne.doe.gov/pdfFiles/DisPlanForSodBondedSNFMarch2006.pdf> (accessed 14 June 2009).
From "Fast Breeder Reactor Programs: History and Status"
Thomas B. Cochran, Harold A. Feiveson, Walt Patterson, Gennadi Pshakin, M.V. Ramana, Mycle Schneider, Tatsujiro Suzuki, Frank von Hippel
International Panel on Fissile Materials Feb 2010
In addition; the ONLY study of the proliferation risk of the Integral Fast Reactor, specifically, that I'm aware was done by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in the early '90s. I've NEVER seen any other proliferation risk studies on the IFR.
See reference 74 above, I'm guessing that's what you're referring to. Contrary to your experience, there are quite a few credible proliferation assessments prepared by or under contract to DOE ranging from 1986 to 2003.
The most recent (which dovetails with the Bush push for the GNEP program mentioned by von Hippel) has this to say:
In the most basic analysis, only extrinsic barriers are effective against national proliferation, whether overt or covert. By extrinsic barriers, we mean the international nuclear nonproliferation regime that includes a collection of treaties, agreements, national policies and laws, multilateral inspections, and export control practices. The host country is responsible for safeguarding and securing the nuclear materials in the fuel cycle from sub-national or terrorist groups, again through
I was going to be like you here, and not tell you anything else because, hey, "it's classified."
But I won't; the final quoted section is from:
PROLIFERATION RESISTANCE ASSESSMENT OF THE INTEGRAL FAST REACTOR
Harold F. McFarlane Argonne National Laboratory P. O. Box 2528 Idaho Falls, Idaho 83415, USA
BTW, I want to congratulate you on your dedication to the use of inapt metaphors; they do clarify the picture but perhaps not in the way you imagine.
Posted by kristopher | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 07:08 PM (1 replies)
DemandLogic focuses on reducing a specific part of a business’s utility bills — demand charges. Businesses not only pay for the amount of electricity they use from the grid, they also pay a charge based on their peak electricity demand during the month, even if that peak is very brief.
So DemandLogic uses solar panels and batteries to lower the peak. If a business’s electricity demand spikes at one particular part of the day, DemandLogic will draw more electricity from the panels and batteries and less from the grid. The business will still be using the same amount of electricity as it would have without SolarCity’s system, but less of that power will come from the grid. As a result, the demand charges on the business’s monthly utility bill will be lower.
DemandLogic can also keep businesses running in case of a blackout.
SolarCity isn’t the only company pursuing this idea. Stem, a startup based in Millbrae, unveiled a very similar storage service in October, minus the solar panels. But Jonathan Bass, SolarCity’s director of communications, said his company’s experience in solar, combined with what he called the “best battery technology in the world” will be hard to top.
Read more: http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2013/12/05/solarcity-teams-with-tesla-on-storing-energy/
Also in Forbes
SolarCity's Next Move: Bundling Tesla's Batteries With Solar
Posted by kristopher | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 10:31 AM (1 replies)