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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 01:20 AM
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What if we all adopted the nuclear industry's interpretation of a 'planned' project?

What if we all adopted the nuclear industry's interpretation of a 'planned' project?

You’d have to wonder how nuclear energy receives such a wave of fandom from some quarters, particularly in the business and conservative press.

If you search the definitive list of reactors on Wikipedia, you’ll find that reactors are being decommissioned globally at a rate of knots, and many more are set to be decommissioned in the not too distant future. This includes the entire fleet in Germany and a significant portion but unspecified number of reactors in Japan.

If you looked further, you’d find that you could count the total number of reactors built in 2014 and 2015 on just one hand. In that period there was activity predominately in China -- with its centralised state control avoiding the scrutiny the technology gets everywhere, outside a lone reactor in Argentina being the exception -- but you could hardly get excited as that project was started when first of the Generation Ys were still in nappies in 1981.

So you’ve got a few plants getting built at a much slower pace than planned in China, and a bunch of plants ‘planned’ all over the place. But as is the case with almost all nuclear plans in the last 25 years, they’ve gone nowhere. They are plans (if a dream is a plan), but are not likely to be plants.

So why do we hear about these so called plans over and over?

The answer is the stockmarket...


There's a gender divide on nuclear power, but it doesn't mean what you think it means

There's a gender divide on nuclear power, but it doesn't mean what you think it means
David Roberts on May 27, 2015

Is it because women know less about nuclear?

Is it because women are more liberal or environmentally conscious?

Is it because women assess risk differently?

Is it because white men assess risk differently?

Is it because conservative white men assess risk differently?

What other risks do conservative white men assess differently?

So what are you saying?


16 maps that Americans don't like to talk about

16 maps that Americans don't like to talk about
by Max Fisher on May 27, 2015

The United States has a lot to be proud of: it is the most powerful country on Earth and a global leader in culture and innovation as well as international affairs, and has a well-earned reputation for freedom and democracy. But, like any country, it has its flaws, as well. And those flaws are important to remember and examine — even if many Americans would probably rather not think about them.


This 1939 map of redlining in Chicago is just a hint at the systematic discrimination against African Americans

The New Deal brought with it a number of government institutions meant to expand access to housing, including the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC). This is an HOLC map of Chicago from 1939, with neighborhoods color-coded by stability, as judged by the government.

"On the maps, green areas, rated 'A,' indicated 'in demand' neighborhoods that, as one appraiser put it, lacked 'a single foreigner or Negro,'" Ta-Nehisi Coates explains in the Atlantic. "These neighborhoods were considered excellent prospects for insurance. Neighborhoods where black people lived were rated 'D' and were usually considered ineligible for FHA backing. They were colored in red."

This practice became known as "redlining," and would be the norm in the housing sector as a whole for decades to come, effectively denying black people the ability to own homes...


I'd love to show a sample map, but DU won't accept the links because they all use a set of parenthesis () as part of the URL. If anyone knows how to fix that, it would be great if you'd educate the rest of us.

Thank you MaryM625 for your assistance in getting these maps posted. #1 from the list is below.

Graphene supercapacitor equals Li-ion battery energy density w/ 4 min recharge

TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015

Graphene Supercapacitor equals Li-ion battery energy density

Scientists in South Korea have developed a graphene supercapacitor that stores as much energy per kilogram as a lithium-ion battery and can be recharged in under four minutes.

Supercapacitors are not a new idea. But graphene, which is a form of carbon composed of sheets a single atom thick, is especially suitable for making them.

Graphene has an area of 2,675 square metres per gram. All of this surface is available for the storage of static electricity. Graphene could therefore be used to make supercapacitors that hold more energy per kilogram than lithium-ion batteries.

Graphene is to graphite what a single playing card is to a full pack. Strong chemical bonds keep the graphene layers intact, but the individual layers are held to each other only weakly, which is why graphite can be used to make the “lead” in pencils. To make small amounts of graphene, you can peel the layers from the surface of a graphite crystal one at a time, as a dealer might when distributing cards (there are various ways of doing this). To make a lot of it, though, you have to pull the whole crystal apart, as one might scatter a pack across a table.

Dr Lu Wu of Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, in South Korea, did this in ...

More at http://www.electric-vehiclenews.com/2015/05/graphene-supercapacitor-equals-li-ion.html

Redacted DOE report gives details on MOX boondoogle (MOX=Nuclear fuel with plutonium)

Redacted DOE report gives details on MOX boondoogle

The Savannah River Site, with the unfinished MOX facility in the foreground. In the background is Georgia's Vogtle reactor complex, where two new reactors are under construction. With the likely demise of the MOX project, their power won't be needed at SRS. Photo by High Flyer, special to SRS Watch.

For decades, some in the U.S. government backed by a few in the nuclear industry and perhaps more in what I call the “nuclear priesthood”–those who have conducted their careers in the shadows of the nuclear industry and in academic settings where they can promote all things nuclear–have espoused the idea of reprocessing used fuel rods (also known as high-level radioactive waste) and creating MOX (plutonium-based) fuel for use in commercial nuclear reactors.

It’s always been a stupid idea environmentally–reprocessing is perhaps the dirtiest of all nuclear industry processes–and an even stupider idea economically. That’s because reprocessing is so expensive that mining and enriching uranium from scratch is still cheaper and always will be. Use of plutonium fuel would also exacerbate nuclear accidents, another trait that makes it undesirable, even for most of the nuclear industry.

For some years, NIRS ran a NIX MOX campaign, that was fairly successful at keeping the MOX concept in the dark corners of the priesthood. But the idea keeps coming out again and again for air, and thanks primarily to the determined efforts of some South Carolina Congressmembers–who can count only money and a few jobs and refuse to acknowledge both the short-term dangers to their state and the long-term environmental devastation a major MOX program inevitably would deliver–the government began construction of one of the pillars of a MOX facility at the Savannah River Site several years ago.

Almost since the first shovel of construction dirt was turned, the government–particularly the Obama administration–has tried to kill the project, knowing that it is both unnecessary and unaffordable. And yet, those South Carolina Congressmembers keep the money flowing in. Not enough to actually build the thing, but that’s not the point for them. The point for them is money, pure and simple. It’s the flaunting of pork barrel politics at its most basic level.

A new report, commissioned by the Department of Energy (where the MOX program still has some backers), was “released” Friday. You’ll see below why we put “released” in quotes....


The accelerating decline of French nuclear power

The accelerating decline of French nuclear power

For most people with any interest in energy issues, France is synonymous with nuclear power. With 78% of its electricity generated by the atom, it is by far the most nuclear-dependent country in the world. It’s state-owned flagship Electricite de France is the world’s largest nuclear utility. State-owned Areva is one of the largest nuclear reactor manufacturers in the world.

When nuclear industry lobbyists–anywhere in the world–try to find a success story for their technology, they invariably point to France.

But more rapidly than could have been imagined even five years ago, pointing a finger at France doesn’t evoke nuclear success. Rather, France, whose nuclear industry is in speedy and accelerating decline, today exemplifies the failure of nuclear power. Moreover, a closer look at France reveals where the world is headed: to a clean and surprisingly affordable nuclear-free and carbon-free energy system.

If that kind of energy future can come to France–and it increasingly appears that it will and sooner than might be expected–then it can come everywhere...


Coal-shunning China explores solar power, alternative energy solutions to beat pollution

Coal-shunning China explores solar power, alternative energy solutions to beat pollution
Clean-energy alternative comes into play as the central government begins phasing out coal-burning plants to meet emissions targets

With solar energy production costs continuing to fall, the market is experiencing what many analysts are calling a boom. In many parts of the world, solar power is now cheaper than diesel oil, gas, coal or nuclear energy.

....Yang believes the future of clean energy will move away from large-scale power generation projects towards microscale power generation near the point of consumption. “This will take the form of things like rooftop and building-integrated solar. It just makes sense economically and in terms of infrastructure to get away from generating power hundreds or thousands of kilometres away from the point of consumption. With China’s unprecedented urbanisation boom, there is a golden opportunity to integrate solar into new building construction.

“We’ve coined the term ‘mobile energy’ the idea that we’re getting away from grid-tied dependence and are moving towards an era where every household has the potential to generate enough power to fulfil its needs,” Yang says, adding that thin-film technology allows people to generate power wherever they go. This is the trend that he sees moving forward, and one that Hanergy intends to lead in order to rediscover blue skies across China.

The market for clean-energy technologies is massive, and there is plenty of space for cooperation across sectors and industries. While the use of renewables increases, so too will public awareness, which will push up demand at a grassroots level.


'BMW i8' Plug-In Hybrid Test Drive

"Fully Charged'" Robert Llewellyn takes the BMW i8, the first plug in hybrid electric supercar on a 1,000 mile (1,600 km) test drive to Scotland at an average of 52 mpg.


Sounds good to me.

Del. House Committee Releases Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

Del. House Committee Releases Marijuana Decriminalization Bill
Posted: May 06, 2015 6:02 PM EDT

DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC) - A bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana has cleared a Delaware legislative panel and is headed to the House floor for a vote.

House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee members voted 5-to-4 Wednesday to release the bill after its chief sponsor said she would make several revisions to address concerns of police officials.

Law enforcement groups, including the Delaware State Police, nevertheless remain opposed to the bill.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Helene Keeley (D-Wilmington South), would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine with no possibility of jail. Under current Delaware law, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $575 fine and up to three months in jail.

"This is a modest...


Renewables vs. Nuclear: Do We Need More Nuclear Power?

Renewables vs. Nuclear: Do We Need More Nuclear Power?

...Let’s take a look at the last 10 years and the next 10 years…

New U.S. renewable and nuclear capacity added the last 10 years (output):

55 GW utility wind (22 GW)
17 GW rooftop PV solar (3.5 GW)
10 GW utility PV and solar thermal (2.5 GW)
15 GW biomass and biogas (12 GW)
3 GW Geothermal (2.5)
Total renewables: 100 GW (42.5 GW)
Total nuclear: Marginal increase from existing plants
(2004-2014 = approx 2.6MWe of up-rated nuclear generation - K)


U.S. renewable and nuclear plan the next 10 years capacity and (output):

130 GW utility wind (52 GW)
75 GW rooftop PV solar (15 GW)
35 GW utility PV and thermal solar (9 GW)
60 GW biomass and biogas (51 GW)
5 GW Geothermal (4 GW)
Additional renewable power next 10 years: 305 GW (131 GW)
Additional nuclear power next 10 years: 5.6 GW (5.1 GW)

The above output numbers for renewables assume no advances in wind or solar efficiency and no grid storage. Both assumptions will become completely false, so the 131 GW number should be considered a minimum number....

There is much more to the discussion: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2015/04/renewables-vs-nuclear-do-we-need-more-nuclear-power?page=all

Now, about that minimum number and storage:
Tesla-Powered Wal-Mart Stores Attest to Musk's Energy Storage Ambitions



While companies like Coda Energy, Green Charge Networks and Stem have also applied for SGIP funds, Tesla accounts for almost half of all storage applications, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in an April 2 report published for clients. BNEF also said Tesla accounts for about 70 percent of SGIP storage projects connected to California’s grid.

Jackson Family Wines, based in Santa Rosa, has a new partnership with Tesla involving battery storage and several vehicle charging stations, according to the February issue of Wine Business Monthly. The winery declined to comment.

Mack Wycoff, Wal-Mart’s senior manager for renewable energy and emissions, said the company is intrigued by energy storage. “Instead of pulling electricity from the grid, you discharge it from the battery,” he said. “Ideally you know when your period of peak demand is, and you discharge it then.”

Mike Martin, Cargill’s director of communications, declined to provide details about how the company plans to use Tesla batteries at the Fresno plant. The 200,000-square-foot facility, one of the largest of its type in California, produces nearly 400 million pounds of beef each year.

Janet Dixon is director of facilities at the Temecula Valley Unified School District in southern California, which plans to install solar panels at 20 of its 28 schools this summer. Dixon said that SolarCity is the solar provider, and five of the facilities will have Tesla batteries.



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