Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

China Energy Update 6/17

Clean Energy in China and the US
China spends a great deal of money on environmental performance, however the policy errors involved demonstrate waste, below-average gains in energy ...
As Investment in Clean Energy Rises, Muddling Through is the Only ...
Pike Research's Smart Energy Annual Report 2012,released last week, ... amounts in clean energy are the planet's two largest emitters of carbon: China and the ...

Hu pledges support to solve eurozone debt crisis
China Daily
China will work with the rest of the international community to support ... there is a huge potential for cooperation between China and Denmark in energy, green ...
Renewable Energy Investment Powers to Record $257 Billion
After leading the world for two years, China saw its lead over the US shrink to just $1 billion in 2011, as it recorded renewable energy investment of $52 billion, ...
Hu, Danish PM witness signing of 11 agreements
China Daily
China Daily Website ... The documents included the memorandum of understanding on establishing a China-Denmark renewable energy partnership, the ...
Canada must 'think big' on energy strategy to tap Asian markets
Vancouver Sun
Junsai made it clear that Canada was not the only game in town and warned that China has other options for meeting its energy needs. Of course, it's hard not to ...
Chinese exports crushing German solar industry
Deutsche Welle
China in particular has been rapidly developing its solar industry. In March 2011 it declared solar energy a key market in its five-year economic plan. As a result ...

Closer Sino-Danmark cooperation urged[1]|chinadaily.com.cn ...
China Daily
Cooperation in renewable energy and innovation will become a new engine for growth for Sino-Danish relations, Danish Ambassador to China Friis Arne ...
The Naked Cost of Energy -- Stripping Away Financing and Subsidies
The ethical drivers for and against energy production are not just an academic exercise. They are the reason for China's recent expansion of coal and the rise of ...

109th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

109th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers


Fighting Climate Change With Carbon Capture May Cause Quakes

Fighting Climate Change With Carbon Capture May Cause Quakes

Businessweek - ‎Jun 15, 2012‎
By Jim Efstathiou Jr. on June 15, 2012 Burying carbon dioxide in the ground, considered a promising way to combat climate change, may increase the risk of earthquakes, according to a report. The process, in which liquefied carbon dioxide is stored in ...

Storing carbon in ground could make earth shake, warn scientists

Sydney Morning Herald - ‎13 hours ago‎
BURYING carbon dioxide in the ground, considered a potential way to combat climate change, may increase the risk of earthquakes. The process, in which liquefied carbon dioxide is stored in caverns, ''may have the potential for causing significant ...

China Energy Update 6/16

COLUMN-Germany offers energy blueprint: Gerard Wynn
China vows punishment over forced abortion at seven months ... On the one hand, global non-hydro renewable energy generation has grown by 10 percent ...
Oil Rout Has China Hoarding Most Since Olympics: Energy Markets
China is hoarding crude at the fastest rate since the Beijing Olympics four years ago as the slump in international prices prompts it to import unprecedented ...
SunSi's Subsidiary Signs Distribution Agreement With TransPacific ...
MarketWatch (press release)
With billions of dollars earmarked for renewable energy projects by the Chinese government over the next ten years, we believe China is an excellent market for ...
China Energy & Cleantech Monthly Recap
The China Perspective
June 14 – Output from the energy-saving and environmental protection industry is expected to r.
Investing in green energy—for profit
PhysicsToday.org (blog)
China's subsidies for its green energy sector were also in the news recently. In March the US Commerce Department imposed tariffs of 2.9–4.73% on all solar ...
Utility Products
Protectionism stifles new energy
China Daily
Dealing with the trade protectionism that has emerged in this gloomy global economic climate should be an important topic during the upcoming G20 summit.
M&As to eye energy, mining
China Daily
The energy and mining sectors will be the major focus of Chinese companies investing abroad through mergers and acquisitions, as the nation's overseas direct ...
BP: World energy consumption grew 2.5 percent in 2011
State Journal
All of the net growth in energy consumption took place in emerging economies, with China alone accounting for nearly three-quarters of consumption growth.
ET Solar and CECEP to Form System Development Venture in ...
MarketWatch (press release)
Established in September 2009, the CECEP Solar Energy Technology Co., Ltd is a holding subsidiary of the China Energy Conservation and Environmental ...

Review: "Super-Fuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future"

atomic power review

Posted: 15 Jun 2012 02:27 PM PDT
When I first received my copy of Richard Martin's book "Super-Fuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the Future," I was thinking to myself "Well, this is going to be just fabulous. Here we go with another loony story about alternative reactor designs - we all know that LWR plants (Light Water Reactor) are the only ones that made it, and everything else went by the wayside .. so why bother any more?"

I also thought about some reading I'd done when I was researching the article I did on this website about Elk River. That reactor, a unique indirect-cycle BWR plant, initially had thorium in its fuel (as did Indian Point 1, and a couple of other plants, too) but the program was abandoned almost as quickly as it started. Another volume in my library called "Minerals for Atomic Energy" which I consulted during the project relates the extreme difficulty in extracting thorium from monazite deposits - making it fairly uneconomical. Thorium never again figured in LWR plant operation, or any serious mainstream economic considerations about the nuclear fuel cycle, past the 60's. So, I thought, as I began to read the book, that I was about to be really unimpressed by a wild narrative of impossible designs and people all too willing to believe the unbelievable.

I was wrong by quite a long shot.

BP Review 2012: Coal Use Expanding Faster than Crude Oil

BP Review 2012: Coal Use Expanding Faster than Crude Oil

BP Review 2012: Coal Use Expanding Faster than Crude Oil thumbnail The 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy is now available for download. It reveals that worldwide demand for coal is growing significantly faster than worldwide demand for crude oil. And that is just the beginning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Safety questions could delay N.H. plant's relicensing

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  • Safety questions could delay N.H. plant's relicensing
    Safety concerns detected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission could slow the relicensing process for NextERA Energy's Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire. An NRC report shows "open items ... [that] involve consideration of operating experience and development of pressure-temperature limits, alkali-silica reaction in safety-related structures and aging-management programs for certain safety-related components," the agency said. NextEra spokesman Alan Griffith called the renewal process "extremely rigorous" but said company officials "remain confident that we can prove to the NRC that we can address any issue they have." SeacoastOnline (Portsmouth, N.H.)

NuStart Energy consortium dissolving with goal achieved

NuStart Energy consortium dissolving with goal achieved
A utility consortium focused on the licensing of new reactor projects in the U.S. will dissolve as of June 30. NuStart Energy Development, which was established in 2004, considers its main objective accomplished following the approval of Southern Co.'s Plant Vogtle expansion project in Georgia. The group's resources will be redistributed to its members. SNL Financial (free content)

South Carolina to produce more energy from nuclear, official says

South Carolina to produce more energy from nuclear, official says
South Carolina is working to increase its production of cleaner energy sources, including nuclear power and natural gas, said Dukes Scott, executive director of the state's Office of Regulatory Staff. Approximately 41% of the state's energy generation will be "non-emitting" by 2022, Scott said. He expects the number of reactors in the state to increase, with new projects from Duke Energy and South Carolina Electric & Gas. Anderson (S.C.) Independent-Mail

Background Information on Upcoming Energy and Power Subcommittee Hearing

Subject: Background Information on Upcoming Energy and Power Subcommittee HearingBackg

The Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, regarding “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on EPA's Greenhouse Gas Regulations.” A background memo can be found here. Continue checking the link to review witness testimony, which will be posted as it becomes available.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.


Michael Beckerman
Deputy Staff Director
Energy & Commerce Committee
2125 Rayburn House Office Building

Fracking Update 6/15

Debate over fracking, quakes gets louder
The use of hydraulic fracturing to open underground natural gas formations has a low risk of triggering earthquakes, federal experts reported Friday.
Some drilling triggers small quakes, but fracking not a high risk ...
Washington Post
WASHINGTON — The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas does not pose a high risk for triggering earthquakes large enough to ...
Fracking fluid injection wells do cause quakes, study finds
Plain Dealer
The study also said that large geothermal heating systems could have caused seismic problems.

Plain Dealer
Report: Don't worry much about quakes and fracking
Sacramento Bee
A new government report says the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing does not pose a high risk of triggering earthquakes big enough to feel.
Report: Dont worry much about quakes and fracking
FuelFix (blog)
Jess Burrow, left, and James Patterson, look over the damage caused outside the home of Joe and Mary Reneau when their chimney was toppled by Saturday's ...

FuelFix (blog)
Fracking for oil and gas poses little quake risk-study
Reuters UK
Waste water disposal is higher risk for quakes * Only one quake officially linked to fracking * Best practices protocol should be developed By Ayesha Rascoe ...
Energy technologies run risk of causing earthquakes, new report says
Tulsa World
Hydraulic fracturing has a low risk for causing earthquakes -- but underground injection of fracking wastes and other energy technologies present greater ...

Report: Long-term quake risks linked to carbon storage, fracking ...
The Hill (blog)
The study finds that the increasingly widespread gas drilling method hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, itself probably won't cause dangerous quakes, noting it ...

FAS In Depth June 15, 2012: Leaks and National Security

FAS In-Depth: June 15, 2012

Leaks and National Security

The brewing controversy over leaks of classified information presumes that disclosures of classified information to unauthorized persons are always impermissible and undesirable.  But that presumption does not correspond precisely to the reality of government operations as they are conducted in practice.
A resolution introduced by Sen. John McCain and twenty Republican colleagues calling for appointment of a special counsel to investigate recent leaks stated flatly that “the unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a felony under Federal law.”
Speaking on the Senate floor on June 12, Senator John Cornyn said that "the unauthorized release of classified information is a crime–it is a crime–because it threatens our national security and puts the lives of those who are sworn to defend our Nation in jeopardy. Everyone agrees [this] is criminal conduct.”
Steven Aftergood writes that these statements are imprecise and misleading.  While some unauthorized disclosures of classified information are indeed contrary to law, it is not the case that all such disclosures violate the law.  In fact, there is no law that categorically prohibits the release of classified information.
For more information on leaks and the threat to national security, check out these FAS resources and much more on our website.

FAS Projects:
Government Secrecy Project
Secrecy News

Blog Posts
Not All Leaks of Classified Information Violate the Law
Some Unauthorized Disclosures of Classified Info Are Routine
The Leak Wars
McCain Calls for Special Counsel to Investigate Leaks

Congressional Research Service Reports:
Protecting Classified Information and the Rights of Criminal Defendants: The Classified Information Procedures Act
Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information
Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals
The Protection of Classified Information: The Legal Framework
The State Secrets Privilege: Preventing the Disclosure of Sensitive National Security Information During Civil Litigation

Press Coverage:
Jun 12: National Public Radio, "Does Leaking Secrets Damage National Security?"
Jun 11: Reuters - The Great Debate blog, "Sometimes Leaking Classified Information is Perfectly Fine"
Jun 11: Washington Times, "White House Backs Holder's Decision to Appoint U.S. Attorneys to Probe Leaks"
Jun 10: Washington Post, "Leak Probe's Risks for Administration Depend on Two Veteran Prosecutors"
Jun 9: New York Times, "For U.S. Inquiries on Leaks, a Difficult Road to Prosecution"
Jun 9: New York Magazine, "Eric Holder Launches National Security Leak Investigation"
Jun 8: Politico, "The 'Leak' Wars"
Jun 7: Salon, "Probing Obama's Secrecy Games"
Jun 7: CNN, "Congressional Leaders Call for Halt to 'Cascade of Leaks'"
Jun 7: CNN, "Obama Has Been 'Very Tough' on Leakers"

Other Resources:
Feinstein, Chambliss, Rogers, Ruppersberger Deplore Leaks of Classified National Security Information
Report on Sensitive Compartmented Information Leaks in the Department of Defense (Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence, Department of Defense)
Secrets and Leaks: The Costs and Consequences for National Security (Remarks by Congressman Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence to the Heritage Foundation)
Statement of John Ashcroft Concerning the Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information (Department of Justice)

US NRC Blog update: Potassium Iodine - A protective measure not a magic pill

U.S. NRC Blog

Potassium Iodine – A protective measure not a magic pill

by Moderator
One of the protective measures that communities around nuclear power plants might use in the case of a radiological emergency is potassium iodine. But potassium iodine, often just called by its chemical symbol, KI, can be confusing for the public -- exactly what does it do and when should it be taken?
So here are some facts about KI:
  • It is not an “anti radiation” pill. Potassium iodide is a salt, similar to table salt. It is routinely added to table salt to make it "iodized." Potassium iodide, if taken within the appropriate time and at the appropriate dosage prevents the thyroid gland from taking in radioactive iodine. This can help to reduce the risk from thyroid disease, including cancer as a result of a severe reactor accident. KI doesn’t protect the thyroid gland from any other radioactive element nor does it protect the thyroid or the whole body from external exposure to radiation. Its use is very limited.
  • KI comes as a tablet, either in 65 mg or 130 mg strengths. The usual dose for a child is 65 mg, however, it is very important that the FDA dosing guidelines be followed for small children as too much stable iodine can also be harmful to them. The tablet can be easily crushed and mixed with liquid to make it easier to swallow.
  • It is important that KI not be taken unless directed by appropriate state or local authorities during the emergency and then, it should be taken in accordance with those directions.
  • KI is NOT the same thing as table salt, and table salt should never be ingested as a substitute.
  • The NRC provides KI – free of charge -- to states that have requested it for their population within the 10-mile emergency planning zone of a nuclear power plant. Some states have distributed KI to residents of a plant’s emergency planning zone. In other states, KI is stockpiled and would be distributed if and when it is necessary.
  • In the event of a serious nuclear incident, KI could be used in addition to evacuation or sheltering in place in accordance with directions from responsible state/local officials. For more information, see Consideration of Potassium Iodide in Emergency Planning.
The FDA’s Frequently Asked Questions on KI is a very good resource if you want more information.
Patricia Milligan
Senior Level Advisor

The "protection platform" above SPF #4 at F. Daiichi, has been installed.

The "protection platform" above SPF #4 at F. Daiichi, has been installed. The platform is intended to keep debris out of the pool while the mangled upper superstructure is removed later this year. The platform is not intended to be permanent and will be removed after the superstructure is gone and the fuel bundles in the pool will be prepared for removal/relocation. Here's Tepco's pics of the emplacement...

i-Nuclear update: Hendry promises 'full transparency' on CfD contract terms for EDF's Hinkley Point C


Hendry promises ‘full transparency’ on CfD contract terms for EDF’s Hinkley Point C

by I-Nuclear
Minister of State for Energy Charles Hendry told MPs June 14 that “there will be full transparency over the terms” of any long-term contract with a guaranteed power price for EDF Energy’s new nuclear power plants in the UK.
But his remarks may not go far towards extinguishing controversy around how the deal with be negotiated and how much of it will become public.

PennEnergy Top Oil & Gas News 6/15

Top Oil & Gas News
Report: Fracking regulations could cost billions
New regulations proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management for unconventional natural gas exploration could cost the country billions of dollars each year, suggests a new report released by energy industry group Western Energy Alliance.
Full Article
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Turkey seeks multiple oil sources amid Iran sanctions
Turkey is stepping up efforts to boost its oil purchase sources as it cuts its imports of Iranian crude oil following US sanctions against Iran's energy sector.
Full Article
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Energy Insights
Human Capital - Canadian Oil Sands
Canada’s energy industry is threatened by the global crunch for talent. The country is already short when it comes to the number of qualified workers needed to keep growth plans on track, and workforce requirements in the oil sands sector of Alberta will continue to rise as projects continue to come to fruition.
Full Article

INPO-WANO News Update 6/15

INPO - WANO News and Report

Nonproliferation Update 6/15

Iran affirms commitment to NPT
Iranian Foreign Minister spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said the government was eager to restate its commitment to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Nuclear Suppliers Group: Don't Rush New Membership
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Nuclear Nonproliferation and Safeguards ... At a time when global political will to enforce nonproliferation is faltering, and other multilateral instruments, such as ...

Powers want "diamonds for peanuts:" Iran ex-official

Chicago Tribune - ‎2 hours ago‎
VIENNA (Reuters) - A former Iranian negotiator dismissed on Friday as "diamonds for peanuts" a proposal by world powers that Tehran halts higher-grade uranium enrichment and closes an underground nuclear site in exchange for reactor fuel and civil ...

Uranium enrichment, Iran's trump card at nuclear talks: NY Times

Tehran Times -
TEHRAN – The enrichment is a point of enormous pride to Iranians and a high card in their talks with the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany), the New York Times said in an analysis published on Thursday.

Assassins of 2 Iranian nuclear scientists arrested: Intelligence Ministry

Tehran Times -
TEHRAN – The Iranian Intelligence Ministry issued an official report on Thursday announcing that the assassins of nuclear scientists Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan and Majid Shahriari have been arrested. Ahmadi-Roshan, a graduate of Sharif University of ...

Iran will not relinquish its nuclear rights: cleric

Tehran Times -
TEHRAN – The leader of this week's Friday prayers in Tehran has said that Iran will not give in to Western pressure to relinquish its right to advance its peaceful nuclear program. “The Iranian nation, which has experienced war, pressure, ...

Baird urges tough stand on Iran as nuclear talks loom

Globe and Mail -
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has urged key countries heading into nuclear talks with Iran to maintain a hard line on sanctions. Mr. Baird convened a meeting on Wednesday with ambassadors from so-called “P5+1” countries, who will meet Iranian ...

Respect is crucial in nuclear talks with Iran

The Guardian (blog) -
After a decade, we are nearing an endgame on Iran's nuclear file. The initial positive atmosphere during Tehran's talks with the P5+1 (the five members of the UN security council plus Germany) in Istanbul in April had been lost by the next round of ...

'We're strongly against weapons of mass destruction' – Iran's nuclear negotiator

RT -
The international community turns a blind eye on Iran being discriminated and terrorized over its peaceful nuclear program while demanding that Tehran live under the rule of international law, accuses Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili. 

Obama's Drift Toward War With Iran

The Atlantic -
By Robert Wright The most undercovered story in Washington is how President Obama, under the influence of election-year politics, is letting America drift toward war with Iran. This story is the unseen but ominous backdrop to next week's Moscow round ...

The Court Decision on Spent Fuel and Vermont Yankee

The Court Decision on Spent Fuel and Vermont Yankee

Meredith Angwin of Yes Vermont Yankee reviews a recent legal ruling about spent fuel storage.  The court ruled that the NRC must re-evaulate on-site fuel storage for the case that a central long-term repository may not be built.  The court ruling requires a generic (not site-specific) evaluation, and it adds further pressure for a central repository. It has very little immediate effect on power plant operations or licensing  Celebration of the ruling by Vermont Yankee opponents is premature, to say the least..

Yucca Montain Commentary Update 6/15

If not the trench, then the mountain
Nevada Appeal
Yucca Mountain isn't as indestructible as was the phoenix, but it's on its way. Sixteen years ago, I weighed in on this absurd debate. It was as hot and heavy then ...
Wasteland: the 50-year battle to entomb our toxic nuclear remains
The Verge
In the desert and in Washington DC, a war still rages to find the one place in America that no one cares about.
Wasteland: The nuclear graveyard under New Mexico
The Verge
For the last half-century, scientists and politicians have struggled to create a viable solution for permanent waste disposal at Yucca Mountain, located 90 miles ...

What New Mexico can teach us about storing nuclear waste

Washington Post (blog) - ‎Jun 13, 2012‎
The nation's nuclear waste is piling up. The proposed storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain has been nixed — possibly for good. And the problem is only growing more acute: On Friday, a DC federal appeals court ruled that the current strategy of ...

EDITORIAL: Politics trumping hard science

North County Times -
From Washington to Southern California, we are witnessing a dismaying erosion of scientific foundations for public policy when it comes to nuclear technology. Here at home, Encinitas became the latest city whose elected leaders have decided they are ...

Wasteland: the 50-year battle to entomb our toxic nuclear remains

The Verge -
By Matt Stroud on June 14, 2012 11:41 am 163Comments The Veteran's Memorial Highway veers through seemingly endless Nevada desert before it intersects State Route 373, just a short way from the Jackass Aeropark. At this crossroads 100 miles northwest ...
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