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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
Number of posts: 29,129

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Amtrak Provides Details On New Acela Express Service & Fleet Slated For 2021

Amtrak Provides Details On New Acela Express Service & Fleet Slated For 2021
August 30th, 2016 by James Ayre

While the US’s rail network — high-speed or otherwise — has been in something of a stagnant period as of late, there is some forward movement occurring. In particular, Amtrak recently provided details on the upgraded Acela Express service that’s expected to begin service in 2021.

The upgraded service will feature a brand new fleet of Alstom-built trainsets that’s around 40% larger than the current fleet. What this means is that the timetable will be expanded so that Acela Express service between Washington (DC) and New York City will be offered every half-hour during peak times; and service between New York City and Boston once an hour, throughout the whole day.

The upgrade is being financed through a $2.45 billion loan from the federal government. Of this loan, around $2 billion will be used on the purchase of the new trainsets and around $450 million will be used on the revitalization of 4 prominent stations (including Penn Station and Union Station) as well as general infrastructure repair and improvement.

Amtrak provides more, revealing that, “the new trainsets are among the safest, most reliable and energy efficient in the world. They have a 35-year track record of transporting billions of customers to their destinations safely. In reliability, we anticipate the new trainsets will be at least eight times more reliable than the equipment it replaces, ensuring that we will get you where you need to go on time, every time. Finally, the new trainsets will reduce operating energy consumption by at least 20%, through a combination of minimal aerodynamic drag and lightweight design.”

They will also...
https://cleantechnica.com/2016/08/30/amtrak-provides-details-new-acela-express-service-fleet-slated-2021/

Controversial new Hinkley nuclear power station 'not vital' for Britain's energy future

Controversial new Hinkley nuclear power station 'not vital' for Britain's energy future

The UK does not need the controversial new Hinkley Point power station in order to meet its energy needs, a new report has found.

Building more wind farms and gas-fired power stations could be enough for “keeping the lights on” – as long as demand is managed correctly, the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said.

The UK could save £1 billion a year if the Point C power station, planned to replace the current Point B station in Somerset, is not built.

ECIU director Richard Black said: "We wanted to know how essential Hinkley is for the 'energy trilemma' - keeping the lights on whilst cutting greenhouse gas emissions and keeping costs down.

"Our conclusion is that it's not essential; using tried and tested technologies, with nothing unproven or futuristic, Britain can meet all its targets and do so at lower cost."...


http://www.itv.com/news/2016-08-26/controversial-new-hinkley-nuclear-power-station-not-vital-for-britains-energy-future/

And before the usual voices start in with their spurious, ill informed drivel about the natural gas component of this scenario, it should be noted that Hinkley will require about 280MW of new additional natural gas generation for "spinning reserve" that will be running constantly to back up Hinkley should it SCRAM.

With the renewable scenario, the more renewables are brought online, the less the natural gas backstop will be needed until it is eventually phased out completely. With the nuclear scenario, as long as the nuclear plant is running, so is the natgas.

US accuses China General Nuclear Power Corp of pushing American experts for nuclear secrets

US accuses China General Nuclear Power Corp of pushing American experts for nuclear secrets
Chinese firm under indictment in the US for conspiring to steal nuclear technology; company rejects accusations


A state-owned Chinese power company under indictment in the US pressed American nuclear consultants for years to hand over secret technologies and documents they weren’t supposed to disclose -- and in some cases it got them, several of the consultants have told the FBI.

Summaries of the consultants’ interviews with agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation were filed this month in a federal court where the company, China General Nuclear Power Corp. (CGN), has been charged with conspiring to steal nuclear technology.

The FBI documents surfaced shortly after the same company became a focus of concerns across the Atlantic: The UK last month delayed approval of the country’s biggest nuclear power station in a generation as questions swirled about whether China General Nuclear’s investment in the plant poses a security risk.

The filings provide a window into the tactics of CGN, China’s biggest nuclear power operator. One of the consultants said CGN employees asked for off-limits operational manuals to nuclear equipment and software, according to the interview summaries.

Another said he was asked to provide proprietary temperature settings for material used to contain nuclear fuel...

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/2009207/us-accuses-china-general-nuclear-power-corp-pushing-american-experts

Drug companies spend millions to keep charging high prices

Pharmaceutical heavyweight Mylan, the latest poster child for drug-industry greed, finally stuck up for itself Thursday. It argued that “the system,” not avarice, was to blame for the company jacking up the price of EpiPens, a common (and life-saving) allergy remedy, by over 400%.

<snip>

Despite Mylan’s offer Thursday of discount coupons for some EpiPen users, the only system at work here is a cash-fat industry routinely preying on sick people. It’s a system that the drug industry will do whatever’s necessary to protect.

Of roughly $250 million raised for and against 17 ballot measures coming before California voters in November, more than a quarter of that amount — about $70 million — has been contributed by deep-pocketed drug companies to defeat the state’s Drug Price Relief Act.

Contributions aimed at killing the initiative are on track to be the most raised involving a single ballot measure since 2001, the earliest year for which online data are available, according to MapLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks money in politics.

The Drug Price Relief Act would make prescription drugs more affordable for people in Medi-Cal and other state programs by requiring that California pay no more than what’s paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It would, in other words, protect state taxpayers from being ripped off.

Industry donations to crush the Drug Price Relief Act “will top $100 million by the election, I’m quite certain of it,”...

http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-drug-prices-20160826-snap-story.html

Traditional utility companies are blocking renewable energy every step of the way

Holding Clean Energy Hostage
Traditional utility companies are blocking renewable energy every step of the way.

by Cathy Kunkel & M.V. Ramona

Nuclear power is getting a lifeline. On August 1, in a controversial decision, New York State’s Public Service Commission voted to approve subsidies to all nuclear power plants in the state. The estimated eventual cost to electricity customers in the state is over $7 billion. Most of the bailout money will be channeled toward Exelon and Entergy — two large electric utility companies that have threatened to close down some of the reactors they were operating in the state.

<snip>

... is the United States creating a new electricity supply system that will provide affordable energy and mitigate climate change?

Unfortunately, no — at least at the moment. The electric utility companies that control electricity generation in the United States are standing squarely in the way of such an energy future....

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/08/coal-nuclear-electric-renewables-solar-wind-energy-climate/

The excerpt doesn't do this article justice. But if you're interested in the transition away from carbon, this article will probably be something you don't want to skip.

8.23.16
Cathy Kunkel is an energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis and is active in the community organization Advocates for a Safe Water System. M. V. Ramana is with the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University and the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India.


2014 nuclear accident in N.M. ranks among costliest in U.S. history

2014 nuclear accident in N.M. ranks among costliest in U.S. history
August 23, 2016 12:00 AM
By Ralph Vartabedian / Los Angeles Times

When a drum containing radioactive waste blew up in an underground nuclear dump in New Mexico two years ago, the Energy Department rushed to quell concerns in the Carlsbad desert community and quickly reported progress on resuming operations.

The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.

But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis. The long-term cost of the accident could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.

The Feb. 14, 2014, incident is also complicating cleanup programs at about a dozen current and former nuclear weapons sites across the U.S. Thousands of tons of radioactive waste that were headed for the dump are backed up in Idaho, Washington, New Mexico and elsewhere, state officials said in interviews.

Washington state officials were recently ...

http://powersource.post-gazette.com/powersource/policy-powersource/2016/08/23/2014-nuclear-accident-in-New-Mexico-ranks-among-costliest-in-US-history/stories/201608230112

Study: Countries that support nuclear energy lag on climate targets

Study: Countries that support nuclear energy lag on climate targets

Madeleine Cuff
23 August 2016


Countries with a strong national commitment to nuclear energy tend to make slower progress towards meeting their climate targets, compared to countries without nuclear energy or with plans to reduce it, according to research published yesterday by the University of Sussex.

The researchers looked at the progress of European countries towards cutting carbon emissions and increasing their share of renewable energy under the EU's 2020 Strategy. They found nuclear-free countries such as Denmark and Norway have made the most progress towards their climate targets, while pro-nuclear countries such as France and the UK have been slower to tackle emissions and roll out clean energy sources.

...

"Looked at on its own, nuclear power is sometimes noisily propounded as an attractive response to climate change," Andy Stirling, professor of science and technology policy at the University of Sussex, said in a statement. "Yet if alternative options are rigorously compared, questions are raised about cost-effectiveness, timeliness, safety and security."

"Looking in detail at historic trends and current patterns in Europe, this paper substantiates further doubts," he added. "By suppressing better ways to meet climate goals, evidence suggests entrenched commitments to nuclear power may actually be counterproductive."

Countries which have no nuclear energy ...


http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2468561/study-countries-that-support-nuclear-energy-lag-on-climate-targets

Hinkley Point nuclear power station: Whitehall officials 'exploring ways UK could pull out of deal'

Hinkley Point nuclear power station: Whitehall officials 'exploring ways UK could pull out of deal'
Theresa May's administration called an unexpected halt to the project amid security and viability concerns


Joe Watts


Artists impression of Hinkley Point PA


...

Westminster sources told The Independent civil servants are looking to see if there is any loophole, clause or issue in contracts yet to be signed that allow the Government to pull back without huge loss and while also saving face.

...

“They are looking for anything that will allow the Government to withdraw and also allow the Chinese to withdraw while also saving face.”

...

It followed claims that the price promised for Hinkley’s electricity at £92.50 per MWh, more than double the wholesale price, was too expensive.

The two new reactors that would be built at Hinkley are also of unproven design, with the two being constructing elsewhere beset by budget overruns and delays.

...


Nick Timothy, a senior adviser to Mrs May previously warned that China “could use their role to build weaknesses into computer systems which will allow them to shut down Britain’s energy production at will.”

...

EDF may also have problems fulfilling its end of any agreement. The company’s finance director Thomas Piquemal resigned earlier this year, fearing Hinkley could lead to the firm’s insolvency....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hinkley-point-edf-nuclear-power-station-deal-how-uk-could-pull-out-a7207776.html



READ MORE
Theresa May writes conciliatory letter to Chinese president amid Hinkley nuclear deal spat
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/theresa-may-china-nuclear-plant-row-hinkley-edf-letter-chinese-president-a7193426.html

Hinkley Point: China warns Theresa May over 'suspicious' decision to delay nuclear power station
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hinkley-point-china-theresa-may-nuclear-power-security-edf-a7166716.html

We should be cautious of Hinkley Point – and relying on other powers to keep our lights on
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/editorials/we-should-be-cautious-of-hinkley-point-and-relying-on-other-powers-to-keep-our-lights-on-a7165041.html

Kuwait scraps nuclear power plans - renewables more cost effective

Kuwait scraps nuclear power plans
Ministry says alternative sources are more cost effective


By Robert Anderson




Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity and Water has reportedly scrapped plans to build a nuclear power plant citing cost concerns.

The country had planned to obtain a licence for the project from the United Nations.

Kuwait Times reports that the ministry decided to retract the plans because studies proved it was unfeasible and too expensive.

The ministry also said alternative energy sources like wind and solar power were more cost effective, according to the publication.

The country is expected to require several new power stations ...


More at: http://gulfbusiness.com/kuwait-scraps-nuclear-power-plans/#.V737NWVh2Rs

The Next Big Energy Appliance

Listen Up: The Next Big Energy Appliance
August 16, 2016
By The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World

We’re witnessing the transformation of electricity generation, storage and usage of electricity in buildings. The “home of the future” will have an appliance that combines an inverter, rooftop solar, battery storage and an EV charger — linked together with easy-to-use management software.

In August, Tesla implied they are developing such a product. But other companies have been working on similar complete systems — as well as individual components — for years. SolarEdge, Enphase and others for inverters; dozens of solar module manufacturers; multinationals such as GE, Siemens and Schneider for chargers and home electronics; and thousands of software entrepreneurs who hope to create an “app for that.”

These developments are being driven by new technology in solar, battery storage and power electronics. From a consumer’s “demand” perspective, it is becoming increasingly cost-effective to generate and store one’s own electricity. And from a utility’s “supply” perspective, the realization is dawning that they cannot maintain their “we generate it so you must buy it” business model.

The challenge is to build a profitable business around this future building energy reality. Can one company dominate the commodity manufacturing of solar panels and batteries to create a complete “home energy appliance” product offering? Or will multiple companies collaborate as they provide pieces of this appliance, integrated by one or more suppliers of electronics and software? For more about the Next Big Energy Appliance, please Listen Up to the Energy Show on Renewable Energy World....
http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2016/08/listen-up-the-next-big-energy-appliance.html


20 minute panel discussion
https://soundcloud.com/cinnamonsolar/the-next-energy-appliance
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