Posts Tagged ‘alternative energy’

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How to power California with wind, water and sun

New research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

 

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“Pandora’s False Promises

Pandora’s Promise, is a new pro-nuclear propaganda documentary released theatrically in the US in July 2013. It is funded in part by individuals with a vested interest in seeing the development of new reactors and is seemingly a vehicle by which to raise the profile of the anti-environmental Oakland think tank, The Breakthrough Institute, whose personnel feature prominently in the film. Despite the film’s premise and early claim that it features “a growing number of leading former anti-nuclear activists” who now support nuclear energy, no one in the film ever led the anti-nuclear movement. Nor was any credible, independent scientific or medical professional with expertise in the areas covered in the film consulted or featured. Beyond Nuclear has bird-dogged the film from the beginning, and has produced numerous critiques. We have also published a definitive report – Pandora’s False Promises: Busting the pro-nuclear propaganda – and a two-page synopsis. These documents address virtually all of the myths, lies and omissions typically found in pro-nuclear rhetoric and are intended to address these long after Pandora’s Promise fades into deserved oblivion.”

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • Nuclear power, no matter the reactor design, cannot address climate change intime. In order to displace a significant amount of carbon-emitting fossil fuel generation, another 1,000 to 1,500 new 1,000+ Megawatt reactors would need to come on line worldwide by 2050, a completely prohibitive proposition.
  • So-called “Generation IV” reactor designs, including “fast” or “small modular reactors,” are the last gasp of a failing industry. Earlier versions of the fast breeder reactor were commercial failures and safety disasters. The ever soaring costs make nuclear power a financial quagmire for investors, and expensive new prototypes commercially unattractive.
  • Proponents of the Integral Fast Reactor, overlook the exorbitant costs; proliferation risks; that it theoretically “transmutes,” rather than eliminates, radioactive waste; that it is decades away from deployment; and that its use of sodium as a coolant can lead to fires and explosions.
  • The continued daily use of nuclear power means continued risk of radiation exposure to surrounding populations, especially children who are vulnerable to leukemia when living close to reactors. Ionizing radiation released by nuclear power plants, either routinely or in large amounts, causes cellular damage and mutations in DNA, which in turn can lead to cancers and other  illnesses.
  • Low-ball health predictions after nuclear accidents are not reliable. The 2005 IAEA/WHO Chernobyl health report has been discredited for suppressing key data to justify low death predictions that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny. Furthermore, the IAEA has a mandate to promote nuclear technology. Given the long latency period of cancers caused by radiation exposure, it is too soon to accurately predict the ultimate health impacts from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, although some health effects are already being observed.
  • The example of Germany — and numerous studies — demonstrates that both coal and nuclear can be phased out in favor of renewable energy. Jobs are more plentiful and enduring in the renewable sector. In Germany, renewable energy already employs 380,000 people compared to 30,000 in the nuclear sector.
  • The argument that only nuclear provides “carbon-free,” base load energy is out of date. Geothermal and offshore wind energy are capable of delivering reliable base load power with a smaller carbon footprint than nuclear energy. Energy efficiency is also an essential component in displacing nuclear and coal.

See: The Future Children of Fukushima

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In the early 1900s, they used electric taxi cabs in New York City.  These had removable batteries, and were swiftly recycled into service by simply replacing the battery pack.  This is the future we need, to divorce the car from the battery supply, and to extend the range of vehicles so that they can be charged wherever we go.  Agassi predicts 2 cents per mile by 2020, making petroleum cars too expensive, too polluting, and pretty much insane in the face of global climate catastrophe.

 

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Naoto Kan called upon environmental advocates around the world to work with him to build a “global network” where “Zero nuclear power is the safest.”

 

Former Japan Prime Minister calls for “global network” to oppose nuclear power and build a renewable energy future

On June 4, 2013, the San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Friends of the Earth and Physicians for Social Responsibility hosted an expert panel on the lessons of the tsunami-triggered Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe for California to bolster the campaign to permanently shut down the damaged San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Clemente, CA. The guest speakers, former Japan Prime Minister Naoto Kan, former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair Gregory Jaczko, former NRC Commissioner Peter Bradford and Fairewinds Energy consultant and nuclear safety engineer Arnie Gunderson , repeatedly warned that nuclear power is inherently dangerous and that another nation crippling nuclear catastrophe is only a matter of time if societies continue to rely on and expand atomic power.

Naoto Kan called upon environmental advocates around the world to work with him to build a “global network” where nuclear safety is understood to mean “Zero nuclear power is the safest”. In the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, Kan said, “I concluded that the only way to contain this risk was to create a society that does not rely on nuclear power.” In the closing days of his administration, Kan leveraged his resignation with the opposition party to pass energy legislation establishing Japan’s feed-in tariff requiring the nation’s electric utilities to purchase renewable energy. The policy shift has sparked a solar energy boom from non-utility producers such as farmers, local governments and cooperatives. In 2013 alone, Japan is forecast to install between 6.1 and 9.4 gigawatts of solar energy panels or roughly the equivalent capacity of seven modern nuclear reactors.

The former NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko cited the American Nuclear Society in estimating the cost of the Fukushima nuclear accident to be $500 billion at minimum. He further warned that the controversial proposed restart of the SONGS Unit 2 for trial run at 70% was “not one that instills a tremendous amount of confidence in me” and suggests the company has very real safety concerns about operating the nuclear plant at 100%. In fact, the agency’s own Atomic Safety Licensing Board has determined that start-up at reduced power is an “experiment” that warrants an independent investigation before restart.

The archived webcast is now available in its entirety at The Citizens’ Oversight Project.

 

See:

The Future Children of Fukushima