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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
Number of posts: 25,205

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Australia: Solar PV to replace coal as “incumbent” technology

Solar PV to replace coal as “incumbent” technology
By Giles Parkinson on 17 March 2014

Australia is embarking on a radical transformation of its electricity system that will see solar PV transition from being “disruptive” technology to the “incumbent” technology, displacing coal and sparking a radical change in the way that electricity is provided.

David Green webThis is the assessment from Clean Energy Council CEO David Green (pictured), who in a presentation last week said generation will move from its traditional place at the point of supply to at or near the point of use; the primary role of the grid will be converted to that of a back-up “battery”; and consumers will play a key role in a more competitive market.

Green told a Davos Connection conference on infrastructure last week that the core logic behind having large scale generation plants close to their fuel source (coal or hydro) was being challenged by shifts in the basic cost parameters of many sources of energy allow generation (mostly solar) to be built closer to where it is used.

It was clear, he said, that solar PV has been taken up more rapidly in lower-income suburbs than higher income – because of the attraction for lower-income households to get a lower, fixed rate of electricity.

Now, new financing models ...

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/solar-pv-replace-coal-incumbent-technology-38095

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Western Pa. nuclear dump may have more waste than thought

Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Western Pa. nuclear dump may have more waste than thought
By KEVIN BEGOS Associated Press
March 14, 2014 - 3:02 pm


PITTSBURGH — A nuclear dump in western Pennsylvania could contain far more waste than originally thought, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's inspector general said in a new report.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on Thursday released the report, which found that missing or incomplete records make it impossible to know how much nuclear material is buried at the site about 30 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The NRC said the former president of a company that made nuclear fuel at the site believes that the documents used for the current cleanup plan "grossly underestimate" the material buried there.

Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp., or NUMEC, made nuclear fuel for submarines at a nearby plant and owned the dump site from 1957 until the 1980s. Shallow trenches were used to dispose of radioactive wastes.

Casey said in a statement that the report "raises serious concerns about the NRC's oversight" of the cleanup, and he urged quicker action to finish the project.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been involved in the cleanup since 2002, but it halted work in May 2012 when crews discovered unanticipated amounts of "complex" materials like uranium and plutonium....

http://www.dailyjournal.net/view/story/e6f3d1e4e8124ff39a21c9e59b9cdb2e/PA--Nuclear-Cleanup-Investigation

It’s Sad Seeing How Much My Hometown Has Changed Since That Level 7 Nuclear Accident

It’s Sad Seeing How Much My Hometown Has Changed Since That Level 7 Nuclear Accident
COMMENTARY • Opinion • ISSUE 50•10 • Mar 11, 2014
By Kevin Demers

As I get older, I become more and more nostalgic for my youth. Times change, people grow up and move on with their lives, and it’s hard not to yearn for the simpler days when you were just a kid without a care in the world. Never do I feel this sentiment more strongly than when I return to the town where I was raised and see just how different it’s become since the level 7 radiological event.

I realize there’s no sense living in the past, but I can’t help but get a little misty-eyed whenever I think about how much the passage of time and a burst of 75 sieverts of ionizing radiation an hour and intense gamma ray exposure can change a place.

It’s hard not to notice every time I go back. As a kid I used to love walking downtown; back then the place positively bustled, full of friendly faces and fun things to do. But these days the sidewalks are mostly empty apart from the teams of contamination specialists in hazmat suits. And even though it doesn’t even feel all that long ago that I was hanging out with friends at Al’s Pizzeria, if you look around now you won’t even find the old red-and-white checkered tablecloths or comfy booths where I spent so many Saturdays and had a number of my childhood birthday parties. Nope, all you’ll find is a charred imprint on the ground and a few melted metal girders due to its proximity to the released core material.

And don’t even get me started on all the changes along Main Street. When I was a boy it was home to so many thriving mom-and-pop shops—a hardware store, a green grocer, a corner pharmacy—but they were replaced long ago by that big ugly Wal-Mart. Which has since been commandeered and occupied by the Nuclear Regulatory Committee response teams following the reactor criticality incident.

Yes, things inside my hometown and the surrounding 35-mile fallout radius ...

http://preview.tinyurl.com/nga33ne

Do You Live Within 50 Miles of a Nuclear Power Plant?

Do You Live Within 50 Miles of a Nuclear Power Plant?
A new interactive map tells you exactly how far you live from a nuclear reactor


By Joseph Stromberg
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
MARCH 13, 2014
Quick: where's the nearest nuclear power plant?

RELATED CONTENT
The American Plan to Build Nuclear Power Plants in the Ocean
This is probably not a question you're asked all that often. But it's one worth knowing the answer to for a couple of reasons: the basic value in knowing where some of your electricity comes from and, in the extremely unlikely event of a meltdown, the practical knowledge of whether you'll have to evacuate your home.

Currently, if a radiological emergency occurs, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommends that anyone living within 10 miles of a plant to tune in to their local radio or television Emergency Alert System and heed the instructions from state or local officials. The commission also suggests that anyone within 50 miles to take action to protect local food and water supplies. Recently, some have have argued that the evacuation zone should be extended this far as well—and in 2011, after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, authorities from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended that Americans living within 50 miles of the plant to evacuate.

This is where a new nuclear proximity interactive map by Esri (one of their many cool disaster response maps) comes in handy. Scroll around to see the 65 active nuclear plants scattered across the U.S. surrounded by 10-mile (red) and 50-mile (yellow) radiuses, or plug in your address to get the exact distance you are from the nearest few plants. (Smithsonian.com's office, in case you're wondering, is 44.18 miles from the Calvert Cliffs plant in southern Maryland.) You can also turn on layers that show the locations of historic earthquakes and fault lines.

Seeing all the plants laid...


http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/do-you-live-within-50-miles-nuclear-power-plant-180950072/?no-ist

Well,

I'd say that you are engaging in a kind of restricted thinking that can have disastrous consequences. Proper analysis requires review of all possible scenarios in order to establish a pecking order of probabilities.
Sure you start with the most probable being the aircraft destroyed in flight. But that ended when the military radar picked up a large, unidentified aircraft in their flight space. They didn't just ignore the damned thing since finding targets like that are EXACTLY their reason for existing. And don't forget there was already a notice out that a commercial passenger jet was missing.

They would have attempted to contact the aircraft while simultaneously notifying a preset list of people assigned responsibility for evaluating the situation and responding. Those people gather and are fed the best data available; including constant communications with higher and lower elements of their command structure as well as real time coordination with appropriate international agencies.

And, by design, you are not going to see any of that happening. Why in the world do you think the international press would be automatically given access to crucial information that would be vital to their efforts to track that aircraft.

Deliberate confusion and obfuscation of what actual tools are available to the mission would the standard approach to public relations. I don't know if they established contact or if they allowed the aircraft to go on its way because they had the Mx pinger to track it with; but that specific really doesn't affect the way this would be handled in the public arena unless the people who committed the act wanted the public brought into the picture.

It has been a while, but I have sat on that side of the table. They are focused on the mission of finding and hopefully rescuing the passengers and they will do whatever it takes to accomplish that. Misleading the public is the least of their concerns.

Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Excuses: This is Getting Old

Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Excuses: This is Getting Old

Dave Lochbaum, director, Nuclear Safety Project
February 25, 2014

Fission Stories #157

The NRC originally licenses a nuclear power reactor to operate for 40 years. The NRC renews an operating license for an additional 20 years. An operating license gives the owner the right to operate the reactor, provided a plethora of regulatory requirements are met. Many of these regulatory requirements seek to ensure safety margins are maintained throughout the full term of the operating license rather than just until next week or next month.

Getting old is but one of the reasons safety margins can decrease, or disappear, over time. The bathtub curve shown below shows that wear-out failures can cause the overall failure rate to increase. As a result, considerable resources and attention are devoted to monitoring the condition of nuclear plant components and replacing or repairing them as required before aging degradation compromises safety margins.



That, at least, is the theory.

Earlier this year, the NRC’s Operating Experience Branch released a report following its review of data from 2007 to 2011, inclusive. The NRC staff reviewed records such as findings by NRC inspectors and Licensee Event Reports (LERs) submitted by plant owners. Among the NRC’s key findings:

- “Since 2009, there is a notable increase in the number of inspection findings and LERs involving highly reliable components whose failure was attributed to age degradation after being in service for over 15 years.”

- “It is interesting to note that in more than 75 percent of the 105 datum that were reviewed, it was determined that the System, Structure, or Component (SSC) either exceeded its recommended service life or was effectively run-to-failure. Thus, it is reasonable to question the oversight effectiveness of the baseline inspection program in this area.”

- “About 40 percent of the 77 inspection findings were also Appendix B related findings, but only seven were cited against Criterion III, Design Control. Appendix B, Criterion III required licensees to verify or check the adequacy of design if safety-related equipment will remain in service beyond its qualified life. Thus, with greater than two-thirds of findings and events involving SSCs left in service well beyond expected service life, it is reasonable to question why NRC oversight programs are not more focused on aging management of active SSCs.”

- Bear in mind that NRC inspectors and plant owners don’t waste time and resources writing up age-related failures of lightbulbs in the warehouse and instead restrict their penmanship to failures of things that have a safety role to play in protecting workers and the public. Thus, the NRC’s report identified the inability of plant owners to prevent age-related failures coupled with the NRC’s inability to adequately enforce the regulatory requirements being violated.

That the NRC was inadequately enforcing regulatory requirements was documented in an audit report released on October 28, 2013, by the NRC’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG)...

http://allthingsnuclear.org/nuclear-plants-and-nuclear-excuses-this-is-getting-old/

Those bullet points bear repeating:

- “Since 2009, there is a notable increase in the number of inspection findings and LERs involving highly reliable components whose failure was attributed to age degradation after being in service for over 15 years.”

- “It is interesting to note that in more than 75 percent of the 105 datum that were reviewed, it was determined that the System, Structure, or Component (SSC) either exceeded its recommended service life or was effectively run-to-failure. Thus, it is reasonable to question the oversight effectiveness of the baseline inspection program in this area.”

- “About 40 percent of the 77 inspection findings were also Appendix B related findings, but only seven were cited against Criterion III, Design Control. Appendix B, Criterion III required licensees to verify or check the adequacy of design if safety-related equipment will remain in service beyond its qualified life. Thus, with greater than two-thirds of findings and events involving SSCs left in service well beyond expected service life, it is reasonable to question why NRC oversight programs are not more focused on aging management of active SSCs.”

- Bear in mind that NRC inspectors and plant owners don’t waste time and resources writing up age-related failures of lightbulbs in the warehouse and instead restrict their penmanship to failures of things that have a safety role to play in protecting workers and the public. Thus, the NRC’s report identified the inability of plant owners to prevent age-related failures coupled with the NRC’s inability to adequately enforce the regulatory requirements being violated.

VW testing battery that could boost energy density 4x

VW testing battery that could boost energy density 4x
Posted: 12 Mar 2014 08:23 AM PDT


Volkswagen is bench testing a new battery chemistry that it says could store up to 80 kWh of energy in a similar volume to that of the current eGolf’s 26.5 kWh battery pack, according to VW board member Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser.

Speaking at the Geneva Motor Show, Neusser said that the company has tested lithium-ion batteries with its existing cell supplier, Sanyo, with capacities up to 37 kWh, but “an 80 kWh unit is under development using our own technology. It would provide between three and four times the battery power in a given package.”

Neusser refuses to name the battery chemistry...

http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2014/03/vw-testing-battery-that-could-boost.html

Ninety-One Illinois Communities Fully Powered By Renewable Energy

Ninety-One Illinois Communities Fully Powered By Renewable Energy
by North American Windpower Staff Friday March 07 2014

Illinois has embraced renewables on a massive scale not seen anywhere else in the nation, with 91 communities providing 100% clean electricity to their residents, says a new report.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Environmental Law and Policy Center, LEAN Energy US, the Illinois Solar Energy Association, the Illinois Sierra Club, and The George Washington University Solar Institute released the report.

Each of the communities in Illinois independently voted to buy electricity through renewable energy credits (RECs) - energy that comes from sources like wind, solar and geothermal.

"Communities up and down the state have banded together to pursue renewable electricity, reducing both their utility costs and the state's environmental footprint,” comments U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “Illinois is showing what can happen when change at the local level is harnessed to create a collective movement, and I hope other states take notice.”

According to the report, Illinois is one of six states in the country that currently allows community choice aggregation (CCA), a system by which communities can use their bulk purchasing power to solicit bids from energy providers. Requests for bids can stipulate the mix of energy sources, and as seen in Illinois, can require that all electricity is offset by RECs....


http://www.nawindpower.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.12696#utm_medium=email&utm_source=LNH+03-12-2014&utm_campaign=NAW+News+Headlines

Three Years after Fukushima: Lulled into the Myth of Safety?

Three Years after Fukushima: Lulled into the Myth of Safety?

Elisa Wood, Contributing Editor
March 11, 2014

Virginia, USA -- World sentiment seemed to steer away from nuclear energy and toward more renewables following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant on March 11, 2011. Three years later, have we forgotten?

A “myth of safety” permeated before the accident — and indeed may have led to it. And the myth continues today, says Kennette Benedict, executive director of Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which published a new English version of the book, “The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Disaster: Investigating the Myth and Reality.” The book was released today to commemorate the third anniversary of the disaster.

The book describes minute-to-minute events within the plant, utility and government agencies as the accident unfolded. It is based on the findings of an independent panel that conducted 300 interviews with those who played a role during the crisis — from workers in the plant to government leaders forced to make fateful decisions during the crisis.

Owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant suffered a catastrophic failure when a tsunami flooded the facility and shut down emergency generators, thus halting cooling to the reactor. The 140,000 people who lived nearby evacuated and have yet to return. The disabled plant continues to struggle with radiation release.

The book attempts to bring cultural and historic perspective to the accident. When Japan decided to pursue nuclear power more than 50 years ago....


http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/03/three-years-after-fukushima-lulled-into-the-myth-of-safety?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March12-2014

Was Your Senator #Up4Climate or In Bed with the Oil Industry?

Was Your Senator #Up4Climate or In Bed with the Oil Industry?

28 Democrats participate in overnight talkathon designed to wake up Congress over global warming


Jon Queally, Common Dreams
March 11, 2014 s

Though likely impossible to find anyone in the climate justice or environmental community to say that any sitting U.S. senator — Republican or Democrat — has been an adequate leader on the issue of global warming, 28 Democrats (and two Independents) were garnering soft applause for their overnight effort on Monday into Tuesday as they pulled an all night session focused exclusively on climate change.

The most striking element separating those who participated and those who stayed home: the volume of campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. The numbers support those who have long said the real villain in the fight against climate change is the fossil fuel industry, which uses its deep pockets to control the debate in Washington, bankroll industry-friendly politicians, and fund climate denialism in the American population.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that climate denial is still an acceptable political position to some in Washington," said Jason Kowalski, policy director for 350.org, "but I think it’s a sign of the times that over a quarter of the U.S. Senate is prepared to side with the people over the polluters tonight.”

The message is a simple one, said Hawaii's freshman Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat who organized the event: "We're not going to rest until Congress acts on the most pressing issue of our time."

More publicity stunt than legislative maneuver, participating senators gave speeches about the impact on global warming for future generations and the economic costs of doing nothing...

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/03/was-your-senator-up4climate-or-in-bed-with-the-oil-industry?cmpid=WNL-Wednesday-March12-2014
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