Wednesday, 31 October 2012

UK Energy Minister signals end of the wind farm

UK Energy Minister signals end of the wind farm: "The relentless march of onshore wind farms is at an end, a minister declared last night.
Insisting ‘enough is enough’, John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion.
He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more.
‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’
But the remarks sparked furious coalition row, with Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey warning Mr Hayes at face-to-face meeting this morning that he does not decide government policy.
Mr Hayes told the Mail he had commissioned research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and whether they drive down house prices.
He has also asked scientists to examine noise complaints and more sinister suggestions that the turbines endanger military aircraft by blocking radar signals.
The intervention by Mr Hayes, who became energy minister in last month’s reshuffle, will delight 100-plus fellow Tory MPs who have urged David Cameron to take a more sceptical approach to onshore wind power."

First X-ray diffraction analysis of Martian soil shows that it is similar in composition to volcanic soils in Hawaii

Cool! First X-ray diffraction analysis of Martian soil shows that it is similar in composition to volcanic soils in Hawaii: "CheMin uses X-ray diffraction, the standard practice for geologists on Earth using much larger laboratory instruments. This method provides more accurate identifications of minerals than any method previously used on Mars. X-ray diffraction reads minerals' internal structure by recording how their crystals distinctively interact with X-rays. Innovations from Ames led to an X-ray diffraction instrument compact enough to fit inside the rover.
These NASA technological advances have resulted in other applications on Earth, including compact and portable X-ray diffraction equipment for oil and gas exploration, analysis of archaeological objects and screening of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, among other uses.
"Our team is elated with these first results from our instrument," said Blake. "They heighten our anticipation for future CheMin analyses in the months and miles ahead for Curiosity."
The specific sample for CheMin's first analysis was soil Curiosity scooped up at a patch of dust and sand that the team named Rocknest. The sample was processed through a sieve to exclude particles larger than 0.006 inch (150 micrometers), roughly the width of a human hair. The sample has at least two components: dust distributed globally in dust storms and fine sand originating more locally. Unlike conglomerate rocks Curiosity investigated a few weeks ago, which are several billion years old and indicative of flowing water, the soil material CheMin has analyzed is more representative of modern processes on Mars. "

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hitachi buys right to build next generation of British nuclear power plants in £700million deal

Hitachi buys right to build next generation of British nuclear power plants in £700million deal: "Britain’s nuclear expansion plans have been boosted after Japanese engineering giant Hitachi signed a £700 million deal that will enable it to start building the next generation of power plants.
The engineering giant is buying Horizon Nuclear Power - which has the rights to build reactors at Wylfa on Anglesey, North Wales, and Oldbury in Gloucestershire - from its German owners E.ON and RWE npower.
In what it described as the start of a 100-year commitment to the UK, Hitachi confirmed that it intends to progress Horizon’s plans to build between two and three new nuclear plants at each site.
The facilities, which could be feeding electricity into the national grid in the first half of the 2020s, are expected to generate power equivalent to up to 14 million homes over 60 years.
Up to 6,000 jobs are expected to be created during construction at each site, with a further 1,000 permanent jobs at both locations once operational."
And the news at WNN: "Hitachi will take forward the Horizon Nuclear Power project, having secured the company with a bid of £696million ($1.1 billion). Between four and six boiling water reactors are now slated for construction in Britain.
The Japanese firm now takes ownership of the project company set up by EOn and RWE to develop new reactors at two UK sites: Wylfa and Oldbury. It will "immediately" set about securing generic design acceptance for its Advanced Boiling Water Reactor from the UK nuclear safety regulators. With that approval, as well as planning permission, Hitachi would then be able to go ahead with building the units. Two or three reactors are planned for each site, with the first one in operation before 2025." 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Non speak week: silencing scientists

A must read: Non speak week: silencing scientists by Stephen Strauss: "Whenever I try to explain to ordinary people why the present Conservative government’s muzzling of its scientists is a wrongheaded and self-destructive act, I begin by stating the obvious. Not letting scientists readily talk to journalists expresses a fundamentally un-scientific mentality.
Then I quote what French historian Arthur Mangin wrote nearly 150 years ago. “Connaître, découvrir, communiquer — telle est la destinée d’un savant” or as that reads in English “to get to know, to discover, to communicate – this is the destiny of a scientist.” The sentence announces what anyone who knows anything about science already understands. Science is not about uncovering something that you aren’t going to tell anyone else about because you are afraid of what they are going to make of your discovery. Science is intrinsically a hive activity in which communication and explication of a discovery isn’t just a good thing, it is an intrinsic thing. Maybe almost the intrinsic thing.
Science is intrinsically a hive activity in which communication and explication of a discovery isn’t just a good thing, it is an intrinsic thing. Maybe almost the intrinsic thing.
Scientists measure the impact of what they have found by the numbers of times others cite their work. They love it when others try to reproduce their findings. They speak about what they have done at any institution, conference or webinar which will have them. And they are increasingly blogging like mad about what is going on in their fields – a communicating mania that can viewed at sites such as scienceblogs and technorati. I personally have never seen as gossipy a collective as the hallways and meeting rooms and even lavatories of a scientific get-together.
So when the government muzzles its scientists and forbids them from talking journalists it has resulted in behavior that seems almost pathologically non-scientific.
Think of when Ottawa Citizen reporter Tom Spears asked the National Research Council what its joint falling snow study with NASA was about. After 11 staffers and dozens of emails went back and forth considering the request, the NRC really didn’t respond. While this was occurring, a request to a NASA scientist for information got all Spears’ questions answered in 15 minutes."

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Is closing one nuclear reactor beginning of decline for nuclear, it is not

A great read: is the closing of one nuclear reactor the beginning of the decline for nuclear, it is not: "Political pressures may force a few reactors to close in hostile territories such as New York and Vermont. So will a few plants such as Crystal River, which have suffered major damage. But when Wald compares reactors to “old coal plants now facing big capital expenses,” it turns out he means capital costs for major uprates, which doesn’t involve major expenses."

Friday, 26 October 2012

All twenty of Canada's nuclear power reactors are on line now

Great news: All twenty of Canada's nuclear power reactors are on line now: "All twenty of Canada's nuclear power reactors are on line now that Point Lepreau has been reconnected to the grid after refurbishment.
The reactor unit in the province of New Brunswick is in the final stages of commissioning after a troubled overhaul. It was grid-synchonised on 23 October, said owner NB Power, to supply power for the first time since refurbishment began four years ago."

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

CNSC requests feedback on comments on draft omnibus amendments to regulatory documents addressing lessons learned from Fukushima event

"The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has posted the public comments received for draft omnibus amendments addressing lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi event for the following documents:
- S-294, Probabilistic Safety Assessment for Nuclear Power Plants
- S-296 and G-296, Developing Environmental Protection Policies, Programs and Procedures at Class I Nuclear Facilities and Uranium Mines and Mills
- G-306, Severe Accident Management Programs for Nuclear Reactors
- RD-308, Deterministic Safety Analysis for Small Reactor Facilities
- RD-310, Safety Analysis for Nuclear Power Plants
The comment period was July 20 to September 28, 2012.
If you would like to provide feedback on the comments received, please do so before November 7, 2012.
For more information about the draft document, how to participate, and key links, see Information Bulletin 12-47:"... "The comments posted here are not the views or opinions of the CNSC. The comments are posted in the language in which they were submitted." the website provides direct links to comments provided by : Bruce Power, Candu Energy, Hydro-Québec, NB Power, Ontario Power Generation

Integral Fast Reactors

A white paper on the Integral Fast Reactor by Tom Blees and Barry Brook: "Demonstrating a credible and acceptable way to safely recycle used nuclear fuel will clear a socially acceptable pathway for nuclear fission to be a major low-carbon energy source for this century. We advocate a hastened timetable for commercial demonstration of Generation IV nuclear technology, via construction of a prototype reactor (the PRISM design, based on the Integral Fast Reactor project) and a 100t/year pyroprocessing facility to convert and recycle fuel."

Monday, 22 October 2012

Siemens Exits Solar

Start of the end for the solar hype perhaps? Siemens Exits Solar, Desertec in Green Portfolio Setback: "Siemens AG (SIE) plans to give up its unprofitable solar-energy business after failing to turn the unit around, in a blow to the German engineering company’s effort to win more revenue from its so-called green portfolio.
Siemens is offering the asset to potential buyers, the Munich-based company said in a statement today. The company will also end its membership in a high-profile venture to generate renewable energy in the Sahara desert. Siemens will keep its wind and hydro-power activities, the company said.
“Due to the changed framework conditions, lower growth and strong price pressure in the solar markets, the company’s expectations for its solar energy activities have not been met,” Siemens said in the statement.
Siemens is pulling the plug on a business created with acquisitions including Archimede Solar Energy and Solel Solar Systems in 2009, as deteriorating prices for photovoltaic modules have made concentrated solar power less attractive. The solar-power activities had been unprofitable since Siemens bundled the operations into a separate unit a year ago. "

Refurbished Bruce approaching full strength

Remarkable achievement!: Refurbished Bruce approaching full strength: "The second unit at the refurbished Bruce A nuclear power plant has sent electricity to the Canadian grid for the first time in 17 years, five months after its restart was postponed because of generator problems.
The grid synchronisation of Bruce A2 signals the final stages of commissioning the 750 MWe Candu after seven years of refurbishment. This saw the replacement of all its pressure tubes and calandria tubes, electrical system upgrades, and the first ever replacement of a steam generator at a Canadian nuclear plant. The unit was ready to restart in May, but a problem with the electrical generator in the non-nuclear side of the plant resulted in a last-minute postponement. Bruce A1 went through a similar refurbishment and became the first of the pair to restart, synchronising with the grid in September.
Bruce Power president and CEO Duncan Hawthorne expressed his satisfaction that the project was moving into its final stages. "This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time in nearly two decades we're in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity," he said."

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Happy Birthday James Chadwick!

Happy Birthday James Chadwick! He won the Nobel Prize in Physics 1935 "for the discovery of the neutron" in 1932... without his discovery these amazing research in many areas of science and technology with neutrons would have not been possible for the past 80 years!
A short video about Chadwick and his discovery of the neutron:
A great writeup about the discovery of the neutron by ANS, posted it here last year but it is worth repeating: 
The full original paper by Chadwick in 1932 is available here and the full pdf also from Proc. Roy. Soc. website:

Friday, 19 October 2012

How much fuel it takes to power a lightbulb for a year

A very nice illustration comparing how much fuel it takes to power a lightbulb for a year, not surprising for nuclear energy it is only 0.035 lbs=0.016 Kg!

Hidden costs of grid intermittency of clean energy

Food for thought: Hidden costs of grid intermittency of clean energy: "Since electricity must be used (or stored) the instant it's generated, intermittency is the mortal enemy of a reliable and stable power grid. While renewable power sources like wind turbines and solar panels produce squeaky-clean green electrons, the electric current they feed into the grid is filthy because it's intermittent.
Wind farm output can easily fluctuate up or down by 3% over a 10-minute interval, 10% over a one-hour interval and 16% over a two-hour interval. Solar panel output can plunge by 50% or more in five minutes. To avoid grid collapse, somebody else has to be ready, willing and able to step in and fill the intermittency gap. Providing that service is not cheap or easy.
Renewable power is, quite literally, pollution of the electric grid with intermittency and the lion's share of the cost of the smart grid, automated demand response, dispatchable standby power, and energy storage is, in reality, the cost of pollution abatement. ".... "Currently, renewable power producers enjoy a variety of financial incentives including feed-in tariffs, investment tax credits, production tax credits and renewable energy certificates that make their intermittent power more valuable than reliable power from conventional producers. To add insult to injury, they're not usually required to bear the costs of the standby facilities that are essential to integrate their intermittency into a public commons that values stability above all.
In the end, rate payers are saddled with the premium price of renewable power and the premium price of the standby facilities required to make that power stable, and, therefore, useful to society.
There is a simple solution to the tragedy of the renewable power commons. We can require each producer of intermittent power to pay the true cost of the standby facilities required to make their power stable. Without a rational approach that places the burden of intermittency abatement on the producers that create the problem, rate payers will be stuck with a hundred-trillion-dollar tab. "

Anti-Nuclear Plan Cutting Into Germany's Families

Anti-Nuclear Plan Cutting Into Germany's Families: "The cost of shutting down Germany’s nuclear program won’t fall on the back of heavy industry, like first feared. It will fall on the backs of citizens. Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) guarantees that renewables are taken onto the grid by the utilities in front of all other energy sources, and they have to buy it at rates way-above market value.
This was put in place to encourage alternative energy development and installation. However, renewables are so much more expensive than nuclear, hydro and fossil sources, that Germany instituted a levy, or Umlage, charged to consumers to cover this difference.
On Monday, the Germany’s four primary grid operators announced an increase in this levy from the 2012 rate of 4.5 cents per kWhr to a 2013 rate of 6.7 cents per kWhr (Reuters).
In addition to this 47% increase, consumers will be charged a value-added tax and higher fees for network usage by utilities. Retail electricity prices will rise by more than 10%, the largest increase in ten years. The typical family of four will pay about $324 per year just to fund this tariff."
Also see: Germany’s Campaign to Dump Nuclear Runs Aground: "he first bills for Germany’s campaign to give up nuclear power have come due and they are not pretty.
This week the country’s four major grid operators announced a rate increase of 47 percent, from 4.5 cents per kWhr to 6.7 cents per kWhr next year in order to cover the costs of buying from renewable sources. In addition, consumers will begin paying a value-added tax and higher fees for network access by utilities. All this is going to cost the average family of four about $325 per year.
And that’s just the beginning. Renewables are barely halfway to the goal of getting 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2020. (The current 25 percent figure is highly dubious since not much of the old stuff has been shut down and new coal plants are actually being added to keep the lights on.) Germany already pays the second highest electrical rates in Europe, almost twice what France pays with its 70 percent nuclear. (Just who’s #1 we’ll get to in a moment.) German industries are already complaining they won’t be able to compete anymore in the world market.
How many times do we have to go through this? It has become clear over and over that renewables are hopelessly expensive and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future and beyond. The only way they can survive is through ham-handed renewable mandates and extensive government subsidies. "

Japan robot suit offers hope for nuclear work

Neat!: Japan robot suit offers hope for nuclear work: "A robot suit entitled HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) is displayed at the Japan Robot Week exhibition in Tokyo. The brain wave-controlled robot suits that allow wearers to don heavy radiation protection without feeling the weight were unveiled in Japan." wonder it is related to HAL 9000 in Space Odyssey! :)
Also see:

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hans Bethe's early life

For those of you who love history of physics especially nuclear-related developments, here is a great write up in Physics World about Hans Bethe (1967 Physics Nobel Prize winner "for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his discoveries concerning the energy production in stars" to read the full article you need to register which is free...

Clear Case for Nuclear Power in Fighting Climate Change

A must watch talk given by Ohio State University Physicist, Professor Gordon Aubrecht: Clear Case for Nuclear Power in Fighting Climate Change: "In this TEDx talk posted online Monday, Ohio State University physics Professor Gordon Aubrecht makes a compelling case for more nuclear power in the face of climate change and the existing slate of technologies to meet growing energy demand.
In the long term, he sees solar technology serving as the world's primary source of power. Until that happens, though, he said, "We cannot afford, as the human race, to continue to do this to our planet, and so we need to get to a future where we can use that solar energy. To get there we need a bridge, and I think that bridge is nuclear energy."
In addition to presenting data elaborating on the history and potential consequences of climate change, he outlined nuclear power's advantages compared to fossil fuels in terms of energy density and environmental impact.
He also noted that, if American coal plants were regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, they would be shut down for exceeding the limits on radiation releases imposed on nuclear plants."

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Sound Of Climate Silence: Romney And Obama Love Fossil Fuels

Did you also find it odd that both candidates last night seem to support fossil fuels? at times it seemed they were attacking each other for the lack of their support for coal, oil drilling etc... seems fossil fuels are the winners of this upcoming election!
A good read from Scientific American Blog: No Nukes + No Fracking = More Coal? : "If we shut down Indian Point and other nuclear power plants, we will become even more dependent—at least for the foreseeable future–on fossil fuels, which, in addition to spewing out toxic pollutants, also contribute to global warming.
Germany illustrates the problem. After Fukushima, German announced that it would close its nuclear power plants by 2022. But to meet its energy needs, Germany has had to build new fossil-fuel plants, including one of the biggest coal facilities in the world. As The Washington Post reported, “Germany’s dilemma shows how difficult it is to balance competing environmental priorities, even with vast resources and popular support for the efforts."

Small Modular Reactors: A Possible Path Forward for Nuclear Power

A report by American Security Project: Small Modular Reactors: A Possible Path Forward for Nuclear Power: "For decades, nuclear power has played a vital role in meeting America’s energy needs, and it currently generates 21% of our nation’s electricity.
However, decades have passed since nuclear power was considered the preferred option for new electricity generation. The industry has stalled. Cost overruns, construction delays, inaction on handling nuclear waste, and low natural gas prices continue to be challenges for the industry.
But, there are multiple reasons why the United States must reverse this trend. As the only large source of baseload electricity that also emits zero greenhouse gases, nuclear power must play a large role in decarbonizing our electricity supply. As the global leader in non-proliferation, a strong domestic industry is needed to ensure other countries follow our lead in safety. With a history of price volatility for fossil fuels, nuclear energy serves as a hedge. And rising demand for nuclear power around the world presents huge business opportunities for U.S. companies.
One way forward for nuclear power is to pursue small modular reactors (SMRs). SMRs offer a variety of benefits over conventional large reactors, which may go a long way to addressing the chronic problems facing the industry. Enhanced flexibility, cost advantages and safety features offer up SMRs as a viable path forward"

Hornepayne, ON: the location of deep geological repository for Canada's spent nuclear fuel?

Hornepayne, ON: the location of deep geological repository for Canada's spent nuclear fuel? "So what are those benefits? For one, the project will cost anywhere from $16 billion to $24 billion. It will take 10 years to build the repository and that will mean 800 construction jobs. There will be spin-offs from that: cafes, groceries, maybe even a McDonald's, hopes Forster.
"Schools will be built. Houses will be built. Not an endless supply of things, but everything would be increased," says Forster.
Once the repository is in place, he says, there will be the people who manage and operate the facility: PhDs.
Forster could imagine a theatre troupe setting up shop in Hornepayne because of them."

Bruce Power's Unit 2 sends electricity to Ontario grid for first time in 17 years

Bruce Power's Unit 2 sends electricity to Ontario grid for first time in 17 years: "Bruce Power's Unit 2 sent power to Ontario's electricity grid for the first time in 17 years earlier today, marking a major milestone in the Bruce Power revitalization program.
"This gets us one step closer to the finish line and for the first time in nearly two decades we're in the midst of returning the site to its full operational capacity," said Duncan Hawthorne, President and CEO. "With this project in the final stages we can see a period of stable, steady operations ahead where Bruce Power plays a key role in keeping electricity costs low, the lights on and the air we breathe clean."
With first synchronization now complete, final planned commissioning activities will be carried-out on Unit 2 including safety system shutdown testing. Once the units are at high power, they will produce enough electricity to power cities the size of Ottawa and London, ON, combined.
"Ontario is building a modern, clean, reliable electricity system and nuclear energy is a critical part of our energy supply. Bruce Power's revitalization program is an important step towards eliminating the use of coal fired electricity by the end of 2014," said Chris Bentley, Ontario Minister of Energy.
The return to service of Units 1 and 2 bring the Bruce Power site back to its eight-unit capacity, doubling the number of operational units from 10 years ago when the company began its multi-year revitalization program to make it the largest nuclear generating facility in the world. Prior to this investment, half of the units on the site were laid up.
The Bruce Power revitalization program is an essential element to Ontario's plan to phase out coal generation in 2014. Coal output over the past decade has dropped by nearly 90 per cent annually, while Bruce Power has increased its output by 55 per cent. This increased clean generation from the Bruce Power site accounts for 40 per cent of the coal generation reduced to date in the province. With the return to service of Units 1 and 2, Bruce Power will remain a key player in both reducing and staying off coal, which is one of the largest greenhouse gas reduction initiatives in North America. "

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A talk "about the “new” AECL and how it contributes to Canada"

A talk "about the “new” AECL and how it contributes to Canada" on Wednesday, October 24, 2012... perhaps some more details about how the "new" AECL will look like and whether a replacement for the aging NRU research reactor is in its future or not will be revealed in the talk? if you are able to attend please tell us about it...

An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts

A very detailed and illustrated guide to global warming and with links to all studies mentioned in the post: An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts:

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The tragedy of radiation phobia

A great read: The Tragedy of Radiation Phobia
"This week there was an absolutely heartbreaking story in Business Week about Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ‘s trip to Fukushima. His visit was intended to show the Japanese public that things are going well at the reactor. Also on the agenda was a ceremony honoring the “Fukushima 50,” the brave Tepco workers who stayed on the job during the worst of the accident and risked intense doses of radiation to try to bring the reactor under control.
Now in any other country you’d think that this heroic bunch would be given a ticker-tape parade, appear on talk shows and be feted at the centers of government. Here they’d be signing book contracts and negotiating with Hollywood about a movie. When 33 miners were trapped for a week underground in Chile in 2010, the whole world held its breath and they were celebrated in New York after their rescue.
What happened in Japan instead is this. Only a handful of the Fukushima 50 showed up and most of those who did stood with their backs to the cameras and refused to show their faces. Why? Because they were afraid their relatives would be shunned for somehow being indirectly exposed to the horrifying dangers of nuclear radiation.
This is the fruit of 50 years of the “no safe dose” hypothesis run wild. Anti-nuclear activists have been so successful in preaching that even the minutest exposure to radiation is some kind of death ray that people are now afraid of anyone and anything that is even association with nuclear energy. Radiation has become a kind of international cooties that not only infects a person but can be “passed along” by touch or contact with someone else who has been exposed. The Fukushima 50 are afraid that children and grandchildren will be shunned by other young children at school simply because they are related to them. Such is the power of the dreaded word “radiation.”
This is a contemporary tragedy and one that no one seems very inclined to do anything about. All over Japan people who have been forced to evacuate from Fukushima are being denied basic services because they are “radioactive.” Families have been denied admission to hotels, people are denied jobs, their children are shunned in school by their classmates. The pattern actually goes back to people who were exposed to high doses of radiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They were given a special name – hibakusha – the explosion-covered people” – and have spent most of their life trying to hide their identity. In a recent NPR interview, one woman revealed to her sister for the first time that she had been affected by the blast in 1945. The Fukushima 50 knew what they were talking about. "
More on Fukushima 50: it has made the top of the article listing 5 Big News Stories That Left Out the Most Important Part: "The "Fukushima 50" Sacrificed Their Lives to Prevent Disaster (also, They're All Still Alive): t was one of the truly inspirational stories that came out of the horrific Japanese earthquake/tsunami and subsequent meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant: A group of heroic workers colloquially known as "The Fukushima 50" stayed behind to try to bring the reactors under control. It was reported that the workers had received lethal doses of radiation, but that -- although they expected to die within weeks -- they would carry on as long as necessary to try to protect Japanese citizens.
But They Forgot to Mention ...
They're fine.
You have a right to be surprised; to provide a point of comparison, during the cleanup of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the 1980s, 134 "liquidators" were diagnosed as having radiation poisoning, and 28 of them died within two months of the accident. On the other hand, over a year after the Fukushima disaster, the number of workers who have died from radiation poisoning is ... zero.
Not a single worker has died from radiation-related causes, and in fact none of the workers have even shown symptoms of radiation poisoning. But what about the report from the workers that they were prepared to die from radiation poisoning? Well, that claim came from a single worker who yanked his hypothesis straight out of his ass and told his mother about it, who then passed it on to reporters. That's right -- all the news reports you heard about Fukushima workers expecting to die within weeks or months literally stemmed from the claims of one worried mom. But that's just short-term risks. Surely we can expect to see that Big C asshole popping up over the long term, right? Probably not. A panel of experts found that the average cancer risk for the workers is 0.002 percent higher than the normal population. Even the most exposed worker (who received a dose of 670 millisieverts, over twice the emergency limit of 250 mSv) only has a 6.7 percent higher chance of getting cancer.
So why all the panic? Well, the effects of different types of radiation are difficult to explain to the layperson, and when you have the queen of the Uruk-hai (aka Nancy Grace) belching out a cloud of undiluted, pants-shitting sensationalism, it's easy to see how misinformation can spread so quickly. But while the press had a field day comparing the accident to Chernobyl, in reality it wasn't nearly as bad. As a matter of fact, Japanese officials are already starting to permit people to return to their homes and businesses, and looking back now, it turns out that the workers were never really in much danger.
Now, don't get us wrong -- each and every one of those workers is a hero and stood tall in the face of disaster. But why not reward them by gaping in awe of their badassery and not by looking at them with solemn pity, waiting for the next one to keel over?""

Solar Power: economically and environmentally unsound

Food for thought: Solar Power: economically and environmentally unsound: "We still don’t know how large solar installations covering thousands of acres in the desert over long periods of time will affect the ecosystem.
To answer our earlier question, is the taxpayer “investment” in solar power worth the cost to achieve “energy independence” with “clean” power sources? It’s a trick question because solar is neither a domestic product nor a clean one.
The bottom line is that all energy sources come with some type of risk and to assume that solar panels are an economic and environmental panacea is wrong"
Also see:
This is a good link for background information on different types of solar panels: 

Five Rare Earths crucial for clean energy seen in short supply

Another obstacle for solar energy: Five Rare Earths crucial for clean energy seen in short supply:
Also see:

Clean energy investment set to fall for first time in eight years

Clean energy investment set to fall for first time in eight years:

Nuclear energy: It’s better than climate change

A good read: Nuclear energy: It’s better than climate change: "Every day, the United States alone releases more than 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This fact and the unprecedented danger it poses to society inarguably need to be addressed.
For those who recognize our harrowing environmental circumstance and are compelled to heed to the call of sustainability (as we all should), there are means of action. Low-carbon alternatives to conventional consumer goods are becoming ubiquitous, and there is an incipient cultural shift toward more sustainable lifestyles that will surely play a prominent role in the future.
But we can only go so far in our individual efforts. We must not neglect the need for large-scale, government-run operations to assuage our addiction to fossil fuels. It is for precisely this reason we all must abandon our naive fears of nuclear energy and embrace nuclear power for what it really is: a safe, convenient and efficient source of energy that must be utilized if we are to seriously combat our climate crisis."

China continues to make progress with its construction of new nuclear power reactors

China continues to make progress with its construction of new nuclear power reactors: "China continues to progress with its construction of new nuclear power reactors. Within the space of a couple of weeks, the milestone of installing the dome of the reactor containment building has been achieved at two more units - Fuqing 3 and Changjiang 2."... "The installation of the reactor building dome marks the end of the major civil engineering works on the reactor buildings. Changjiang 2 and Fuqing 3 are the fifth and sixth Chinese units, respectively, to have had their reactor domes installed since the start of 2012. The others include Taishan 2, Yangjiang 3, Ningde 4 and Fangchenggang 1.
Construction projects already underway should see China bring online some 27 new reactors by the end of 2015 - in addition to the 15 units currently in operation."

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Bertram N. Brockhouse, Nobel Prize laureate

Bertram N. Brockhouse, Nobel Prize laureate: in lieu of the recent announcement of this year's Nobel Prize in Physics, here is a remarkable cbc short clip broadcasted after the 1994 Physics Nobel Prize announcement, as stated in the video Brockhouse won the prize for starting a new branch of physics and that in the 1950s a truly remarkable achievement... even today his invention is still a unique and powerful technique in the quest for our understanding of what atoms do in condensed matter systems allowing scientists to gain information not attainable by any other technique:

AECL Whiteshell Laboratories technicians and technologists to strike

AECL Whiteshell Laboratories technicians and technologists to strike: "Technicians and Technologists at the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Whiteshell Laboratories voted overwhelmingly to reject the company's final offer and strike as they pursue a first collective agreement. These employees recently formed the Whiteshell Technical Employees Group (WTEG) and joined the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC).
Until June 2011, the AECL Whiteshell Technicians and Technologists were not unionized. As a result, they were regularly bypassed for the salary increases and benefits received by their unionized counterparts. Their bargaining objective is to achieve salary and benefits comparable to their colleagues.
On September 13, 2012, without notice AECL tabled a "take-it-or-leave it" offer. If accepted, Whiteshell Technicians and Technologists would continue to have lower salaries, inferior severance and pension protection and significantly lesser maternity and parental benefits.
PIPSC President Gary Corbett said, "It's unconscionable that the same class of employees working for the same employer would receive significantly different pay and benefits. Pensions and severance should be protected for all, not just some. Until AECL stops treating them as second class employees, there's going to be push back"."

Gas on the brain: official “greens” continue to sell fossil fuel to Ontario

Gas on the brain: official “greens” continue to sell fossil fuel to Ontario: "Over the Thanksgiving long weekend, Ontario natural gas-fired power plants dumped roughly 57,908 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, into Ontario’s air. They did not pay a dime for this privilege. The CO2 dumping occurred as a by product of generating roughly 106 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. That electricity cost Ontario ratepayers an officially undisclosed but inferable rate that is much higher than the rates for clean power like hydro and nuclear."

Fast moves for nuclear development in Russia

Fast moves for nuclear development in Russia: "n experimental lead-cooled nuclear reactor will be built at the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC). If successful, the small BREST-300 unit could be the first of a new wave of Russian fast reactors.
The Tomsk region that hosts the SCC signed an agreement with
state nuclear company Rosatom during an official visit at the end of September. It specified that a demonstration BREST-300 unit would be built at the site, along with the manufacturing facility for the dense nitride uranium-plutonium fuel that it would need. The cost was put at RUR25 billion ($805 million) for the 300 MWe reactor and RUR17 billion ($54 million) for the fuel plant.
Russia already uses a BN-series fast reactor for power production at Beloyarsk with another under construction and more proposed for several other sites. However, the BREST design is seen as a successor to the BN series and the 300 MWe unit at the SCC could be the forerunner to a 1200 MWe version for wide deployment as a commercial power generation unit. The development program is as part of an Advanced Nuclear Technologies Federal Program 2010-2020 that seeks to exploit fast reactors as a way to be vastly more efficient in the use of uranium while 'burning' radioactive substances that otherwise would have to be disposed of as waste."
More on small nuclear power reactors:

Japanese firm continues investing in nuclear

Japanese firm continues investing in nuclear: "Toshiba's stake in Westinghouse will increase to 87% in January 2013 when it completes the purchase of the Shaw Group's 20% stake in the company. Shaw announced over a year ago that it planned to sell its stake back to Toshiba."

Nuclear industry preparedness for the unexpected

Nuclear industry preparedness for the unexpected: "If there is one longstanding silver lining from the tragedy of Fukushima, it is that the nuclear industry will continue to use the event as a benchmark for improving safety at nuclear plants around the world.
Of course, the same thing occurred following the Three Mile Island accident in the US in 1979, and the terrorist attacks in the US in 2001.
Fukushima, however, will remain the industry barometer for what could go wrong, as two natural disasters combined to create the worst nuclear disaster in history.
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has responded quickly since Fukushima. The agency has established the Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate, a group of more than 20 full-time employees focused exclusively on implementing the recommendations and related activities of the NRC’s Japan Near-Term Task Force (NTTF).
The result? Increased preparedness and a feeling -- in the US at least -- that the nuclear industry is prepared for anything."

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 was awarded jointly to Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland "for ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems" congratulations to the winners for this well-deserved recognition!
Check out this great short video for more background on the science behind the Nobel Prize in Physics 2012:

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A great resource: things worse than nuclear power

A great resource put together by a couple of MIT engineers: The fear of nuclear power is mainly from a widespread misunderstanding and fear of radiation:
See the link for "the real waste problem, solar edition":
Also see: "There is no insane spike, and definitely not to over 7,000 counts let alone 1,700. You can get the excel data for EACH hour from me (email worsethannucpow @ gmail) or get it yourself from the EPA at
There is not a nuclear plant in the area, let alone (as previously established in one of the reddit edits) there is no appreciable DOD land in the area. What is more likely to cause a small increase in radiation readings and maybe even an explosion is natural gas fracking, which is very common in the general area (Ohio is in the top 7 states for number of fracking wells) and has even caused earthquakes in Ohio (confirmed by the USGS- U.S. Geological Survey). Natural gas fracturing injects radioactive tracers into the ground in order to map out a well. This fact is not something they want publicized too much. They also inject millions of gallons of fluids in order to explode underground and release natural gas trapped in the rock."
This is also quite good: 
"The past year in Japan, the country has used between 6-10% less power but produced approximately 20-30% more carbon emissions (as well as other pollution- SO2, NOx, ozone, etc, which goes along with that).  While it is not easy to find in the news, Japan has seen a doubling of the use of oil, a 30% increase in liquified natural gas, and a 5% increase in the use of coal. (Reuters imports report)
All of these imports have meant that for the first time in many years, Japan has a trade deficit.  And because they are planning to permanently shut down their nuclear plants, the deficit, a depressed economy further kneecapped by expensive and unreliable energy, the carbon emissions, and the pollution are there to stay.  The Kyoto protocol, signed in Japan, simply cannot be met by a Japan without nuclear power-- even with drastic conservation." 
Also don't miss:
Also a great resource:
This is also a must read: "Why has the anti-nuclear movement succeeded? It is easy and tempting to write-off its success to dishonourable actions from the leadership of the movement which:
- Lies
-Distorts information
-Grants itself the luxury of being single-issue, and ignores the rest of the world’s problems when they don’t suit them
- Uses fear-mongering freely and to great effect
-Never, ever feels obliged to correct the record when their fear-mongering is subsequently shown to be completely false"
This is also a great resource: