energymaters.com

THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

EPA ADMIN TO PARTICIPATE IN US/CHINA BILATERAL TALKS ABOUT AIR AND CLIMATE

06 DEC 2013

                                                                                              US – EPA WANTS US TO KNOW

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to Travel to China to Discuss US-China Clean Air and Climate Cooperation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy will be in China on Monday, 09 Dec 2013 thru 12 Dec. to discuss US /China cooperation on air quality, climate pollution and environmental issues. She will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong during her four-day visit.

WHILE IN CHINA, Administrator McCarthy plans to underscore steps China has already taken to address air pollution, additional steps to come, and how the United States and China can continue to work together. Highlights of her visit include co-chairing the U.S.-China Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation; delivering a keynote speech at Tsinghua University; and meeting with senior officials, business leaders and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

The U.S. and China represent the world’s largest economies, consumers of energy, and emitters of carbon pollution. Climate change is a shared challenge, and building on more than 30 years of successful cooperation and partnership, the United States and China must work together to build a clean energy economy for a healthier, safer planet.

Earlier this year (2013), President Obama announced a Climate Action Plan that outlines commonsense steps to cut carbon pollution from power plants, the biggest individual source of carbon pollution in the United States. In September, the EPA proposed standards for new power plants that are flexible, drive economic growth, and spark the clean energy innovation needed for a low-carbon economy.

China is taking action to address climate change while reducing traditional air pollution and promoting economic growth, and the U.S. stands ready to help.

All times local

Monday, December 9 (2013)

BEIJING
WHAT:  Opening Remarks at International Workshop on Fuel Desulfurization
WHEN: Monday, December 9, 9:40 am
WHERE: Ballroom 1&2, Regent Beijing Hotel

WHAT:  U.S. – China Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation
WHEN: Monday, December 9, 5:40 pm
WHERE: Villa 10, Diaoyutai Guesthouse

Tuesday, December 10

WHAT:  Keynote Speech and Town Hall Meeting at Tsinghua University
WHEN: Tuesday, December 10, 10:45 am
WHERE: Tsinghua University, School of Environment

Wednesday, December 11

SHANGHAI
WHAT:  China Council Green Business Roundtable on Corporate Social Responsibility
WHEN: Wednesday, December 11, 2:30 pm
WHERE: Sheraton Shanghai Pudong Hotel

Thursday, December 12

HONG KONG
WHAT: Media availability with Christine Loh, Under Secretary for the Environment, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
WHEN: Thursday, December 12th, 2:00 pm
WHERE: Berlin Suite, Basement Level, Regal Airport Hotel

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OUR TAKE

THE PUBLISHED AGENDA CLEARLY INDICATES that Ms.McCarthy’s planned trip intends to focus on ways and means to reduce the emission toxicity of “Coal-Burning Industries/Power Plants; For instance: Day one intends to address “Fuel Desulfurization”; Surely the real concern is Coal as a fuel for industries/Power Plants because in many areas of the world, the available coal is what in the USA is considered “low quality coal” because it contains many particulate and chemical components.  Sulfur is one of the most prevalent and lethal, because when coal is burned, sulphur gas is given up into the atmosphere, where it combines with water (or rain) to form sulfuric acid, or “ACID RAIN”; Acid rain immediately attacks trees/forests, and reacts chemically with any limestone (alkaline) subterranean water aquifers (most of them are), and destroys them in the long run. Least we underestimate the toxic effect of acid rain on trees/forests, let us remember that trees are the only natural defense we have against carbon dioxide, because they clean the air and actually consume the carbon dioxide; If these are gone, so are we. Also affected by sulfur in the air, are most of the world’s sculptures and building facades, as well as very important Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and other Architectural Treasures.

Today, great contributors to ill health among humans and fauna are two coal combustion gasses: Sulfurous, and Nitrous oxides,. Unfortunately –these are already highly prevalent in many urban areas, and more so in China >http://america.aljazeera.com/multimedia/photo-gallery/2013/12/photos-smog-blanketsshanghai.html, Mexico, and other places, where the air is some days actually “sickening”. Problem is that such gasses trend to remain at ground level on windless, or humid days, thus becoming even more noxious to humans. My City of San Antonio, TX is no exception, and on such days, I stay indoors, fortunately for me, as a retired person I can afford to do so.

OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST at the conclave, topics are: Environmental Cooperation, Corporate Social  Responsibility. Green Business, and a Town Hall Meeting (Probably polite questioning by local media (media availability), and hopefully, some timely questions/comments by students/faculty ? at “Tsinghua University, School of Environment”. Let there be no doubt that China has always known how to fete, and welcome their guests; This will be no exception. We did notice the glaring absence (in the agendas provided) regarding CLEAN AIR AND CLIMATE CHANGE COOPERATION per-se.

OUR COMMENT:

There is no doubt on my mind that EPA Chief, Ms. Mc Carthy, is a great defender of the Coal industry in general.  Perhaps because her Chief, US DOE Secretary Ernest E. Moniz, has even promised $8B for improvements to that Industry. Even so, Ms. Mc Carthy defends the coal Industry with natural zeal.  At a recent Congressional Hearing, she defended technical advances of the experimental technology known as “Carbon Sequestration, Compression and Disposal” (CSCD)  as the answer to Carbon Dioxide Production/elimination. Folks, she defended this technology with a fervor not found in any scientist/ or prudent Politician.  You may recall that CSCD, also implies the underground burial of carbon dioxide from Power Plants and Industry. Just consider the technical and socio-political challenges involved. Such technology has been under study for several years with no progress to date. When a town was approached several years ago about experimenting under their back yard they said: “Not in MY Back Yard !” MINE NEITHER !- Hell, fracking is enough!; Still, Ms McCarthy insisted to a US Representative that there are two (2) such experiments underway. One (somewhere) in the USA; the other in Canada, with US resources. The Conservative US Representative who asked the question knew she was talking “Pie in the Sky”.  McCarthy is probably funding them. It was clear to us that “Coal-burning” IS NOT her favorite subject: However given its weather/climate change potential, and other VITAL HEALTH CONCERNS, IT SHOULD BE!  She should be replaced, but won’t, because she wittingly, or unwittingly, protects regional energy barons’ interests.  And then there is the sad matter of our Nuclear Waste Disposal at Richland WA., But that is another story.> http://energymaters.com/?p=1331

Now is the time for Dan Utech, Pres. Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”, to make a difference.  Do you suppose he was invited to the China /USA Bilateral talks ?  We suspect he was not, but should attend, even if only as an observer.  Given normal protocol he should be accorded a title of co-chairperson. > http://energymaters.com/?p=1305

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#20-2013


December 6, 2013 at 2:12 AM Comments (0)

RICHLAND-“AMERICA’S FUKUSHIMA”, A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN IN OUR N.E.

30 Nov. 2013

RICHLAND, Wash. On a wind-swept plateau, underground steel tanks that hold the nation’s most deadly radioactive waste are slowly rotting. The soil deep under the desert brush is being fouled with plutonium, cesium and other material so toxic, that it could deliver a lethal dose of radiation to a nearby person in minutes. The aging tanks at the former Hanford nuclear weapons production complex contain 56 million gallons of sludge, the by-product of several decades of nuclear weapons production, and they represent one of the nation’s most treacherous environmental threats.

US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY(US DOE) OFFICIALS have repeatedly assured the public that they have the advanced technology needed to safely dispose of the waste. However; an industrial city at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex has been under development for 24 years, designed to transform the sludge into solid glass to prepare it for permanent burial. Even so with $13 billion already spent, there are serious doubts that the highly complex technology will even work, or that the current plan can clean up all the waste. Alarmed at warnings raised by outside experts and some of the project’s own engineers, DOE officials last year ordered a halt to construction on the most important parts of the waste treatment plant. One would produce highly radioactivity resistant glass destined for a future geological repository, and the other a lower radioactivity rated glass that could be buried at Hanford. Over the last two (2) years, technical problems on the project have multiplied. Concern has grown that explosive hydrogen gas could build up inside the treatment plant’s pipes and tanks. Some project engineers now say that. lumps of plutonium could form inside the plant’s mixing tanks potentially causing a spontaneous nuclear reaction. A federal oversight board found that employee safety concerns had been disregard, while the DOE’s Inspector General reported an estimate that more than a third of the plant’s nuclear safety reviews required on every pipe, valve and device were never conducted .(BECHTEL- WHERE ART/WERE THOU ?).

PREOCUPIED POLITICIAN Sen. Ron Wyden(D-Ore.), chairman of the “Energy and Natural Resources Committee”. Said about Bechtel: They are missing one important target after another…It feels like we are going around in circles”.

FEDERAL CHIEF-ENGR. AT HANFORD, GARY BRUNSON WANTS BECHTEL GONE. Brunson recommended a year ago that the prime contractor, Bechtel National, be removed as the plant designer, citing 34 instances of serious safety and engineering errors. Two other senior managers have also publicly said the project’s technology is flawed and that safety concerns have been disregarded.

BECHTEL PROJECT MANAGER-NOT WORRIED. Bill Hamel who is managing construction of the waste treatment plant, said: “I am 100% sure that whatever the tests show, the mixing hardware or the chemical processes can be adjusted to allow the treatment plant to fulfill its mission…This entire design is based on safety,”  On a recent tour of the plant, Hamel navigated around walls 6 feet thick designed to protect workers from radiation. Massive stainless steel tanks that can hold up to 375,000 gallons of sludge were lined up in areas that will someday be sealed off from human entry ( HAMEL, DOES YO’ MAMA KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?).

BECHTEL NATIONAL TECHNICAL DIRECTOR AT HANFORD, Russell Daniel said: The probability of an explosion is no greater than 1 in 1 million…even if 20 feet of hydrogen gas accumulated inside a pipe and detonated, it would not cause a rupture or any damage…This is a very large, very complex facility…We continue to make progress”.  US DOE disagrees. Nov 2013 they formally offered a more cautious prognosis.  It notified Washington State officials that it might miss some of the most important project deadlines, promised three years ago under a “consent agreement” reached to address earlier lapses; Now, 14 of 19 key milestones are in jeopardy

ENDLESS DELAYS –NOT ACCEPTABLE – not when a million gallons of sludge from about a third of the 177 underground tanks have leaked into the soil, and some of it has reached aquifers under the plateau. The Columbia River, the West’s biggest waterway, is seven miles downhill from the waste and, under a worst-case scenario, it could be hit by the radioactive plumes in as little as 50 years, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology. Suzanne Dahl, who runs the Ecology Department’s Hanford office said:”It is really disappointing” In late Sep 2013, DOE Secretary Ernest J. Moniz tried to intervene with a vague plan for accelerating the project. He offered options that included the development of a new treatment plant and a change in the chemical process for treating some of the liquid waste. (JUDGING FROM MONIZ’S PAST PRONOUNCEMENTS “VAGUE” IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT).

BECHTEL’S BASIC PLAN is to pump the waste into a “pre-treatment plant”, a factory larger than a football field, and 12 stories tall, that would filter and chemically separate the waste into two streams: One high, another, low-level radioactivity. Then, two (2) other plants would “vitrify,”(mix the waste with molten glass), One would produce highly radioactive glass destined for a future geological repository, and the other a lower radioactive glass that could be buried at Hanford. But Sen. Ron Wyden(D-Ore.), among other critics, dismissed it, calling it “a plan for a plan”. (HMM…!  BECHTEL SURE SOUNDS LIKE JAPAN ‘S CENTRAL GOVT. ABOUT FUKUSHIMA) The questions concern Bechtel’s decision not to use traditional mechanical mixers with paddles driven by electric motors, as have been employed at other nuclear processing plants; Instead, the company chose pulse jet mixers, which function like giant turkey basters powered by vacuum and air pressure, they would suck waste into a cylinder within the tanks and then spit it out under high pressure. Such a system has never been used in such large tanks. The decision was based on the concern that mechanical systems could break down in highly radioactive “black cells,” as the tanks are known, over the 40-year design-life of the plant. Even so, doubts have grown about whether the pulse jet mixers can adequately agitate the waste and prevent the formation of hydrogen gas and clumps of plutonium at the bottom of the tanks and in pipes.

SERIOUS PROBLEMS WERE EXPOSED LAST YEAR by Walter Tamosaitis, one of the scientific chiefs of the project. He disclosed that the innovative technology for mixing the waste in processing tanks could cause dangerous buildups of explosive hydrogen gas and might allow plutonium clumps to form. ” Tamosaitis was fired for telling it like it is, but his candor made him a “whistleblower, and there is now Senatorial action afoot to protect him.

ENTER – THE US DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD, an independent Federal Agency that oversees nuclear weapons sites, validated Tamosaitis’ concerns about the mixing technology and found that Bechtel’s safety culture at the project was flawed. Construction on the project’s two (2) most important components: The pre-treatment plant, and the high-level vitrification plant, were substantially slowed. The Safety Board has demanded that US DOE conduct a full-scale test of the mixing system, using nonradioactive sludge, before going any further. The test facility is under construction near Hanford, but the test completion date is uncertain.

ACADEMIA WORRIED Some of the nation’s top independent experts say the Bechtel technology is far from proven; Rich Calabrese, a University of Maryland professor (considered one of the world’s top experts in chemical mixing technology) said: “We are all out there at the frontier, trying to assess the technology…I am neutral about whether it will work or not…DOE has to demonstrate that it will do the job…people are working to make sure the right tests are done to answer that question.”

NUCLEAR ENGINEER IS PESSIMISTIC. Donna Busche, a nuclear engineer, and health physicist said: “The pre-treatment plant will not operate as it was originally intended….the facility would never be able to pass a licensing review because so many crucial tests had never been conducted and so many documents are missing…Even if concerns about the mixers are resolved, the very earliest construction could resume on the high-level plant is now set for 2014, and the pre-treatment after that…even if all of the technical doubts are overcome and if the lack of nuclear safety documentation can be resolved, there are serious concerns that the treatment plant will wear out before it can process all of the 56 million gallons of waste.. Busche leads the project’s safety team at “URS Corp” a Bechtel sub-contractor. (OOPS ! – LOOK OUT DONNA – YOUR JOB IS IN JEPARDY)

Many of the problems seem to stem from the decision to launch construction of the plant even before engineers had completed the design. The job of turning nuclear waste as thick as peanut butter into glass is at the leading edge of nuclear chemistry, a job made difficult by the complex mixture (Transuranics) of wastes that were fed into the underground tanks by some of the nation’s largest industrial corporations under a cloak of government secrecy. US DOE officials acknowledge that possibility, and say they will need a second low-level vitrification plant to complete the job. If/When that will happen is unknown -it is a project that Congress has not yet authorized. (SOUNDS LIKE MONIZ’S “PIE IN THE SKY”). And then there are budget constraints to contend with.

Thanks to the L.A.Times for their excellent story 29 Nov 2013

OUR TAKE

Just as in the 1984 movie: “GHOST-BUSTERS”, we (the USA) have been “Slimed”, and now we need to put the EVIL GHOSTS back in the GHOST TRAPs.  The analogy is deeper and more menacing than it looks. It is clear to us that Bechtel National. has taken us for a 24 year, $13 billion ride so far; with no measurable results, and given the passage of time, for plant deterioration which marks Hanford as a clear and present danger, requiring immediate attention at all levels of government, and our Industries.

It should be clear to those Federal employees who authorize the checks, that Bechtel National should be fired ASAP for “Breech of Contract”, and/or “Lack of Due Diligence”; So, why don’t they?- You know…those in authority have received (or will receive) a sizable compensation for favors granted. It could be proven by “following the money”, but that will not happen because that would be scandalous, and might reach “Untouchable” political figures.

IN OUR OPINION, what is needed is an immediate Request for a Proposal(RFP) to Nuclear Waste Remediation segment of Industry to be reviewed by, an independent organization, such as the THE US DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD. Regrettably, the US DOE seems to be lacking personnel capable of providing such advice. It may be necessary for our President to appoint an Independent “Blue Ribbon Committee” and I mean answerable to no one, but our President. There is a fitting Spanish saying: “A grandes males, grandes remedios”(“great ailments, require great remedies”).

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


November 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM Comments (0)

UKRAINE-NEIGHBOR TO RUSSIA, ENTERS INTO A CONSORTIUM TO LOOK FOR OIL/GAS

23 Nov 2013

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), co-signed a $10 billion shale/gas exploration/development deal with the Ukrainian government Jan 2013.  Shell expects to start drilling in the Yuzivska field in 2014  Ukranian  Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky said: “$10 billion would be invested if the geology meets expectations   Ukraine (neighbor to Russia, and a former member of the Soviet Union),Has for many years depended on expensive/unreliable  Russian gas imports to cover more than 60% of its consumption, is now pushing to develop its own reserves, both onshore and offshore, in the Black Sea.

Graham Tiley,  Shell’s country manager in the Ukraine,  in an interview in Kiev, on 6 Nov 2013 said: .Shell will need to drill as many as 15 wells to complete the initial exploration appraisal of the 8,000 square-kilometer (3,100 square-mile) Yuzivska field in the eastern part of the country, ”…If you look across all these different projects, and if you look at interests of not just Shell, but major oil and gas companies, you would say Ukraine has a good chance to boost its output…The sector has been under-invested and I assume over time the domestic production will increase.”Mr. Tiley added: “So far all of Shell’s projects remain in the exploration phase…Until we get out there, drill some wells and test them, we simply won’t know how much of the area is going to be commercially productive…Right now the testing phase will take some months before we have some results, and that will be only from one well…Separately, the consortium has also completed drilling its first well in the Kharkiv region together with Ukranian state company DK Ukrhazvydobuvannya, a unit of NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, and is preparing to drill two more wells in 2014.

The Ukranian government also signed a production-sharing agreement with Chevron Corp. on 7 Nov.2013 for exploration/extraction of shale gas; and plans to complete its negotiations by the end of 2013 with an “Exxon Mobil Corp-led group”(consortium), which includes Shell, to explore off Ukraine’s western Black Sea coast.

Thanks to Bloomberg for their 8 Nov 2013 story.

 

OUR TAKE

ENTER –“HYDRAULIC FRACTURING” (Fracking)  The relatively new and still controversial  Oil/Nat gas exploration/exploitation technology has produced a shale-gas boom in the USA, such that it has quickly outproduced Rusia as the world’s largest Nat gas producer. It is no wonder many other countries are looking at fracking as a potential solution to their energy problems. Ukraine could hold as much as 42 trillion cubic feet (1.2 trillion cubic meters) of shale gas, the third largest reserve in Europe, according to a 2011 U.S. Energy Information Admin. report.

RUSSIA HAS USED NAT- GAS FOR POLITICAL CONTROL of its former republics..  By forcing Nat gas pipeline-deals, port concessions for Black-Sea access, etc., Putin has successfully used Gazprom, to assert Russia’s political control of its former Republics during the past decade.; However, fracking in many places, and  domestic competition in Russia, is causing Gazprom to lose Nat gas primacy worldwide. We wish Russia would treat its neighbors as themselves, because “what goes around, comes around”, and The Russian people, as most of Eastern Europe, have endured/suffered enough since WWII.  One would hope they would be more politically understanding and helpful. Equal treatment would suffice.> http://energymaters.com/?p=1052

NATURALLY, UKRAINE SEEKS ENERGY INDEPENDENCE Another worry for Gazprom, is the urgent desire of Ukraine to free itself of dependence on Russian imports of Gazprom’s Nat gas. Over the past decade, the two countries have frequently clashed over gas prices/availability at peak-usage times. In the past, that has resulted in disruptions to the Nat gas flow through Ukraine to Europe.  Pres. Putin granted Gazprom a Nat gas export monopoly, and helped secure the “Nord Stream pipeline project” to Europe.  Significantly, Gazprom gained control over Belarus’s pipeline network, and negotiated a Nat gas price deal with Ukraine that extended Russia’s lease of a Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol used as a Russian naval base (KEEP IN MIND RUSSIA HAS NO SEAPORTS IN THE BLACK SEA. In other words, Putin et-al, has made its former Republics “A deal they could not refuse” if they wanted Nat gas.  AS WE SAY IN AMERICA: “WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES.

ABOUT UKRAINE: A country in Eastern Europe.  Its Capital city is Kiev (pop. about 3 mil.). It borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. IT HAS A LAND AREA of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe. It is also home to the now infamous  Soviet Nuclear Power Plant disaster of Chernobyl, near Kiev.  Ukraine last became independent when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.  GRAIN PRODUCER/EXPORTER Throughout its history, Ukraine has been one of the powerhouses of world agriculture due to the fertility of its land.  The country was the world’s third-largest grain exporter( as of 2011).  POLITICALLY: Since the dissolution of the Soviet union(1991),Ukraine is a Republic under a semi-presidential system with separate  Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government.  POPULATION: The country is home to 46 million people,- 77.8 % of whom are ethnic Ukranians, with sizable minorities of Russians (17%), Belarusians Romanians, and other nationalities  RELIGION The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has strongly influenced Ukraine’s architecture, literature and music.

UKRANIAN AERONAUTICAL PRODIGY, Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov (1906-1984) was a world renown Soviet cargo aircraft designer, and the first designer/chief of the Antonov world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine, later named in his honour. Antonov was personally responsible for designing a very successful line of Soviet cargo aircraft from the Antonov AN-2 (Anne) single prop, bi-plane (1946), and up to what may well be the world’s best ultra-large cargo plane, the AN 124 ( in many variants ); similar to the USAs C-5A. It has been used by many countries(including the USA) to ferry heavy,oversize cargo, over long distances at very competitive prices.

ABOUT NATURAL GAS. It is a wonderful fossil fuel because it produces about half as many greenhouse gasses as anthracite coal, when used to generate electricity. It is also very versatile as home heating fuel etc. It can also be used as a fertilizer precursor; and as such, we will someday wish we had not “burned-up” so much of it. We must view it as a “transition fuel” perhaps for 50 years; however it is a fossil-fuel, and as such, a non-renewable resource. The world should see Nat gas use as the last chance to prepare renewable (Green-energy). Fortunately, many nations can see far enough ahead to realize that we must ultimately develop/emplace sustainable green energy means, be they whatever best suits each country.

RENEWABLE ENERGY OUTLOOK IN UKRAINE The share of “renewables” within the total energy mix of Ukraine is still very small, but growing fast. In 2011 it stood at 397 megawatts (MW). Also in 2011, several large “solar power stations” were opened in Ukraine, among them Europe’s largest solar park in Perovo, (Crimea). Ukranian “State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Conservation” forecasts that combined installed capacity of wind and solar power plants in Ukraine could increase by another 600 MW in 2012. According to Macquarie Research, by 2016 Ukraine will construct and commission new solar power stations with a total capacity of 1.8 GW, which is almost equivalent to the capacity of two nuclear power plants.

UKRAINE AND OTHER EX-SOVIET REPUBLICS WANT DESPERATELY TO JOIN THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU). > http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/world/europe/thousands-of-ukrainians-protest-scrapping-of-trade-pact-with-eu.html?_r=0 Many of them are still clamoring for their governments to leave the Russian sphere of influence; However, Russia’s  Pres. Putin has been able to suppress those longings thus far.  Energy independence from Russia holds the key to do so; Hence, Russia must be looking apprehensively at their efforts to “frack” their way out of subjugation. We wish them all well, and may their efforts be rewarded with good energy exploration/exploitation partners, and energy self-sufficiency. Ukranians are a very diligent, talented, industrious, and tolerant people who deserve no less.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 


November 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments (0)

PRES OBAMA PROMOTES DAN UTECH TO ADVISOR ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

16 Nov 2013

WASHINGTON– Dan Utech, a long-time Washington insider, has been Appointed as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”. Utech will assume his new position on (Monday) 11 Nov 2013  Dan Utech came to the Obama administration in 2010, and currently serves as the “White House Deputy-Director for Climate. He will replace the departing Energy and Climate Advisor, Heather Zichal, whose last day in office was 8 Nov 2013.

ABOUT DAN UTECH For the last 3 1/2 years, Utech has played a significant role in developing and implementing much of Pres. Obama’s energy and climate agenda.  Utech will also have the unenviable task of explaining to the public, the Administration’s stand on often-contentious energy and environmental issues, such as: The Keystone XL oil pipeline, and new rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  Utech has experience with Congress that could prove helpful as he champions the White House’s energy and climate priorities.

UTECH IS A WASHINGTON “OLD-TIMER” Before joining the Obama administration, he worked in the Senate for 10 years, on the staff of the “Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee” and as Hillary Clinton’s top advisor on energy and environment issues. During the transition to Obama’s first term, Utech helped Secretary of Energy Steven Chu through the Senate confirmation process and then served as a senior advisor in the Energy Department.

ENVIRONMENTALIST Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “Dan Utech is a leader, a seasoned expert, and the right person for this critical energy and climate post…He’s well-suited to carry forward the policies our country needs to expand clean energy, cut carbon pollution, address climate change, and protect health.”

THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SAID: We decline comment on Utech’s new role (TRANSLATION: HE IS NO FRIEND OF OURS).

THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE  Pres Jack Gerard, said : “We hope to have a productive relationship with Utech…We had a constructive working relationship with Heather Zichal, and wish her well as she moves on… We look forward to working with Dan Utech to promote the U.S. energy revolution that is creating jobs, sending more revenue to our government and making America more energy secure.”

Thanks to the LA TIMES, 8 Nov 2013 for the story.

OUR TAKE

TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Ms. Heather Sichal  is out (probably dismissed) , Mr. Dan Utech is promoted to her position as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”.

WHAT MOTIVATED THE DISMISSAL/PROMOTION?  We may never learn the reasons, but as a former Federal Employee, I recall the axiom:  “If one is not doing the job, someone else will be assigned to assist you, then replace you”. Often true; always wise.

WHY DO SO MANY WELL-INTENTIONED APPOINTEES FAIL?  Well…When it comes to contentious issues such as Carbon dioxide gas emission (Coal-fired Power-Plants), and many other Industrial noxious fume generation, business as usual (Liaises-faire) is a luxury we cannot afford, or tolerate.  The time is now, to “Fish, or cut bait”. Our governments have to face the immediate need to move swiftly in an attempt to stem the tide of “extreme weather events” such as sustained droughts, prolonged rains/floods, tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, polluted air ailments, etc.  Even so, most governmental employees have shown a tendency to follow the axiom: “The wheels of government move extremely slowly, and grind exceedingly fine”.  Why no boy!-that won’t do now!  Humanity must realize that each day we allow greenhouse gasses to exist/proliferate costs many thousands (if not millions) of lives

OUR EPA IS TOO SLOW  USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is today, a good example of “business as usual”, albeit at an accelerated pace; which does not promise immediate action /relief from the Carbon Dioxide (Coal-Fired Utilities) paradigm. EPA has already held 11 Public Listening Sessions.  See http://energymaters.com/?p=1287 between 23 Oct 2013 and 08 Nov 2013. The sessions were held to:“solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants”. We were informed that the sessions were to all accounts a success; regrettably, their higher-ups would make no comment to us.. Typically, about 60 persons were allowed 3 minutes each.  The participants were from academia, the Coal fired Utility Industry and its stakeholders, and the general public. It has not been disclosed what (if anything) was gleaned from the sessions, or exactly what information was sought. That initial round of Public listening Sessions is scheduled to be followed by an additional Public Input during the “Notice and comment period”, once the EPA issues a proposal by June 2014. (NO GREAT EXPECTATIONS) Evidently the way they see it, such plans were created concurrent with the Clean Air Act long ago, and they should be followed, but where does it say that?! A midcourse trajectory- correction is sorely needed; Unfortunately, US DOE Secretary Moniz is dedicated to helping the worldwide Coal Industry; So perhaps the EPA’s attitude reflects his attitude , In my opinion, what is needed now, is an EPA Director with balls to confront the coal Barons with their doings and to bring the full weight of our Government toward making them an offer they can’t refuse. THE HEALTH OF OUR CITIZENS SHOULD BE HIS /HER PRIME DIRECTIVE.

IN MY BOOK, EPA IS “FOOT-DRAGGING” We need to keep in mind that EPA already knows full well who the principal Carbon-fired Utilities are, and where they are located, and can even quantify the amount of pollutants they emit. See: http://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/ In my mind it is the Shareholders, and Operators of such Utilities that should be asked by EPA to submit their plans for improvement ASAP, and for compliance dates. Problem is, they put profit above all else.-Hell! At least half of them could morph to burn Nat-Gas within a year if they so willed it. It is even cheaper than coal, but changes cost money.  See what I mean!. EPA should not think that the coal-Industry will ever love them, not when they are being told to spend money, but that is alright!  “It is better to be feared than loved” -Nicolo Machiavelli (c. 1,500 AD).  We don’t love the IRS either, but we comply – Don’t we?.

ENTER DAN UTECH – STAGE LEFT. We must recognize that Dan Utech is not on the chain of command for the EPA, and that is good, because as Pres Obama’s “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change” He may speak independently/directly to the President (it is known as “having the ear of the president”) at anytime regarding recommendations/ ways-and-means to bring about what he (and his staff) believe could be done to accelerate and empower the EPA in its efforts to accelerate Carbon reduction goals ASAP. Utech’s many years of experience in the field, and the Washington scene, marks him as a potential Very Important Person (VIP) in the Obama administration, and a powerful advocate for Carbon reduction goals. Let us hope his heart is in the right place, because Carbon dioxide pollution reduction cannot wait. The reduction of Global warming is far more important than the financial interests of coal Barons, and time is of the essence.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#18-2013


November 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM Comments (0)

JAPAN WANTS TO SIGN IAEA PROPOSED NUCLEAR DISASTER LIABILITY TREATY

3 Nov 2013

USA DEPT. OF ENERGY SEC. ERNEST MONIZ GOES TO TOKYO AND APPROVES

On 2 Nov 2013, in Tokyo U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “Japan would receive international help with the clean-up at the Fukushima atomic station once it joins an existing treaty that defines liability for accidents at nuclear plants, The treaty known as :The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, assigns accident liability to plant operators (TEPCO-The people that own and operate the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) rather than equipment and technology vendorsAs one gets into the real work, then these liability conventions become quite important…Certainly (Japanese)Prime Minster Abe and Minster Motegi both emphasize that the importance of moving on this in 2014 is to a large extent driven by their openness and their desire to get as much international help as they can…. Such help will be easier to secure once Japan ratifies the treaty … U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi , and other officials showed eagerness during meetings for expertise from abroad to decommission the Fukushima NPP. Liability would rest with TEPCO as the plant’s operator is known… this has global significance, and we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely.”

THE IAEA PROPOSED NUCLEAR LIABILITY TREATY – SAY WHAT?.

US DOE Secretary Moniz was in Japan to discuss cooperation with Japan with plans to ratify the The Convention on “Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage Treaty”. His visit coincided with calls for a larger government role in the response to the 12 Mar 2011 triple meltdown + at the Fukushima Dai No1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) the site of the the worst nuclear tragedy ever; and certainly since Chernobyl, in the Ukraine (formerly Russia).  TEPCO in recent months has reported large leaks of highly radioactive fluids into the Pacific Ocean. The treaty includes setting up a fund for victims of nuclear accidents and a standard for compensation claims   NOW THEN: The Compensation for Nuclear Damage treaty was adopted in 1997 under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and had 16 signatories as of 24 Jun 2013,

RADIOACTIVE WATER TREATMENT IS (STILL) THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM

TRITIUM REMOVAL is among the contaminants found in hundreds of thousands of tons of water stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the Dai No.1 site. Those levels are rising at a rate of 400 tons a day as groundwater seeping into basements mixes with cooling water that has been in contact with highly radioactive melted reactor cores. Sec. Moniz said that other companies that could assist TEPCO are builders that have worked at U.S. nuclear sites, and have specialists in cleaning groundwater and controlling its flow without identifying particular businesses. Well… Except for California-based Kurion Inc., that owns technology for removing the radioactive isotope tritium from contaminated water… FOR CESIUM REMOVAL TEPCO has had treatment systems in place for removing the radioactive cesium since shortly after the March 2011 tragedy at the plant, and is currently testing a filter to remove the radioactive element strontium.  Moniz added that the proposed liability pact has so far not been needed by foreign companies because there’s been little direct engagement between such businesses and TEPCO, although some U.S. entities have helped the utility in a consultant role.

LINKS ALREADY EXIST BETWEEN JAPAN AND USA NUCLEAR WASTE PROCESSING CORPORATIONS.

A scientist at the Savanna River National Laboratory under the USA-DOE said they already helping Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear decommissioning by providing proposals from international entities seeking participation in the Dai No.1 plant’s decommissioning and cleanup..TEPCO said 1 Nov.2013 that it is also holding talks with The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a USA DOE research center, about getting help with groundwater management, removing fuel debris and other areas, the utility said in a statement.  TEPCO engineers have also visited the site of the Hanford Engineer Works weapons lab in Washington State, where the USA DOE has spent more than $16 billion since 1989 on cleanups, to evaluate whether methods used there could be applied at Fukushima. Sec. Moniz said: “With openness, I would say the eagerness, expressed by the (Japanese)Prime Minister and by a variety of other government officials to have international help, we see our laboratories certainly continuing to contribute and we see our companies being enabled to come in as well.”

Thanks to Bloomberg, and RT

OUR TAKE.

We must remember that the IAEA is a Vienna-based energy Barons Corp (with a 2,300 employee Secretariat) founded to protect the financial interests of the world’s Energy Industry. Let us also remember that USA DOE Sec. Moniz made a trip to the IAEA (Vienna) to address the IAEA annual report on 3 Jul 2013 ostensibly to assuage their concerns about the coal Industry (now on life support world-wide).  It occurs to us that behind the scenes a more important initiative was afoot: How to protect the Uranium NPP’s Industry now, and in the future against financial Liability. One more thing to remember: The General Director of the IAEA since 2009 until today is Mr. Yukiya Amano, a former V.P. of TEPCO.  Nuff’ said!

JAPAN NEEDS HELP WITH FUKUSHIMA

But if it is money they want to help their NPP Industry, and its victims, and to protect them against financial liability, now and in the future, they are asking the wrong country.  Evidently Sec. Moniz has not heard about the budget impasse in the USA Congress, and the talks about sequestration. Linking Japanese authorities (be it TEPCO, or the Central government) to appropriate technical consultants in the nuclear remediation field here in the USA, or anywhere in the world, is already in progress, and done privately (as it should be).  Honestly, Sec. Moniz seems totally detached from the financial realities facing the USA, yet, he offers all sorts of assistance he cannot deliver. Just to think that the Dai No. 1 cleanup and decommissioning is expected to take 40 years (I think 60 Years or longer) Unless they screw things up. Talk is Cheap!

HOW IN THE WORLD CAN WE EXPECT THE IAEA PROPOSED SHARED FINANCIAL LIABILITY TO BE IMPLEMENTED?  Naturally, the Japanese government asks:  “and all we need to do is sign to get the world to assist us financially, technically, and otherwise?” Wish it were so but it is “Pie in the Sky”.

FOOLISH PLAN TO REMOVE SOME 1,500 “SPENT FUEL RODS” NOW.  Sec. Moniz said:It appears that spent nuclear fuel will begin to be removed from Unit 4 as scheduled in mid-November The spent-fuel removal at DAI No.1 Unit 4,is considered by nuclear experts to be the toughest and most dangerous operation for TEPCO; one wrong move could result in horrific quantities of radiation being released into the atmosphere or cause an explosion many times worse than the original tragedy. PROBLEM IS: Reactor 4 “Spent-Fuel Pool” contains 10 times more Cesium-137 than Chernobyl did. Scientists have warned that another nuclear tragedy of such magnitude could be the beginning of an ultimate catastrophe for the planet.  This plan seems like too dangerous an operation, and apparently intended to make it seem like that decommissioning has begun.  These spent fuel rods are trasuranic extremely dangerous radioactive material the removal of which, if just once (out of 1,500 times), is done incorrectly, or an accident occurs due to unforeseen circumstances, could precipitate an uncontrollably nuclear chain reaction of unchartered proportions that would render the rest of the NPP facility unapproachable for decades. Just to relocate the fuel rods, but where?.   They do not even know where yet in their ever more crowded environs.  THEY MUST BE KIDDING!-I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!– JAPAN NEEDS TO GET REAL!

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 


November 3, 2013 at 11:28 PM Comments (0)

EPA SCHEDULES 11 PUBLIC MEETINGS ON COAL-FIRED UTILITIES NEXT 2 MONTHS

18 Oct 2013

READ ALL ABOUT IT! The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  has scheduled eleven (11) public listening sessions across the USA to solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants. Each session will begin with brief introductory remarks followed by EPA listening to public input about reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants.  All public listening sessions are planned between 23 Oct 2013, and 8 Nov 2013.  That, is a “short-fuse” for such ambitious plans!. Please note that EPA is proposing to set separate standards for natural gas(Nat Gas)-fired utilities and coal-fired units. For now, we are talking about: Coal-burners

The Clean Air Act gives both EPA and states a role in reducing air pollution from power plants that are already in operation.  The law directs EPA to establish guidelines, which states use to design their own programs to reduce emissions.  Before proposing guidelines, EPA must consider how power plants with a variety of different configurations would be able to reduce carbon pollution in a cost-effective way.  It is hoped/anticipated that the feedback from these 11 public-listening sessions will play an important role in helping EPA develop smart, cost-effective guidelines that reflect the latest and best information available.  The agency will seek additional public input during the notice and comment period once it issues a proposal by June 2014.

THE EPA SCHEDULED SESSIONS ARE:

NEW YORK NY, 23 OCT 2013

ATLANTA GA, 23 OCT 2013

DENVER CO, 30 OCT 2013

LENEXA KS, 4 NOV 2013

BOSTON MA, 4 NOV 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, 5 NOV 2013

WASHINGTON, DC, 7 NOV 2013

DALLAS, TX, 7 NOV 2013

SEATTLE, WA, 7 NOV 2013

PHILADELPHIA PA, 8 NOV 2013

CHICAGO IL, 8 NOV 2013

For more specific information, and Points of Contact(POCs) See  http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/public-listening-sessions#main-content

OUR TAKE:

GOOD TO SEE THE EPA IS STILL ALIVE, Well…maybe. It is one agency Republican conservatives would like to do away with, or at least hamstring into impotency.  King Coal-fired electrical and industrial facilities need to be exposed as the USA’s worst air polluters.  Americans everywhere know this, and want coal replaced by Nat Gas (or green energy) wherever, and as soon as possible.  The fact that EPA has scheduled 11 Public and Stakeholders meetings over the next two months is evidence EPA priorities are well-placed.

WHAT WILL THE 11 MEETINGS BE LIKE?  Probably very much like the USA Congress recently.  On one side we should have the now well informed American citizens pointing their finger at the most notorious offenders in their respective region.(One suspects the EPA will value such information and public outrage in their assessment and deliberations)  On the other side of the divide, the Coal-fired power-plant owners (Stakeholders/shareholders), and the Operators of such Utilities will claim : Carbon ? Who? Not we!  Our coal DOES NOT STINK.  It is of the finest quality anthracite, and besides, coal created air pollution is not worse now than in the last 100 years (Americans are not fooled).  AH!, but it is much worse because of the recent proliferation of coal-fired Utilities in recent years, not the least of which is caused by the universal rejection of Nuclear Power-Plants (NPPs)by a now well informed public about nuclear waste.

BURNING OF COAL FOR ENERGY GENERATION MAKES NO SENSE NOW.  A recent Gallup poll makes that issue crystal clear See http://energymaters.com/?p=1185 and yet; here in San Antonio, Texas, our two (2) coal-burner plants at Calaveras (Skulls) lake (Spruce I, and II), together generate about 1,240 Mw, and consume about one train-load of coal daily/each.  That coal is brought from Gillette Co., WY. Transported about 1,500 miles in trains owned /maintained / financed by our “CPS Energy” public-owned Utility.  THE RUB IS: About 50 miles south of San Antonio, TX   lies the “Eagle-Ford Oil and Gas” huge development/enterprise looking for ways to sell their Nat-gas, and CPS-Energy won’t even look their way.  It would be relatively inexpensive/quick to convert such plants to Nat-gas and CPS-Energy knows it, BUT…

CPS ENERGY (A PUBLIC-OWNED CORP.) FEELS COMPELLED TO BURN ONLY COAL.   They somehow, feel compelled to buy coal from Ex-V.P. Cheney’s empire. Perhaps they have a sweetheart deal, and claim they are waiting for the EPA to mandate a change.  That is a hell of a cop-out, specially when San Antonio now has more than 60 days per year of air pollution alerts created by ozone and many other carcinogens. Honestly, the news media just says:“Just stay inside if you do not have to go outside”. There is no doubt in my mind that San Antonio Citizens are paying a much higher price than their monthly utility bill in terms of health maintenance costs, ill health, and shorter life spans. We need to remember that we could cut our carbon emissions, and other pollution at least in half by burning only Nat Gas for power generation.  How quickly we forget that in 1984 San Antonio, TX used Nat Gas only.

PLIGHT OF THE MANY OFFERS LITTLE CONSOLATION. It is of little consolation to realize that San Antonio is not alone in its air pollution plight, and that the same problem is being experienced big-time all over the USA, and in many other countries such as Mexico, and China. Still we must all do what we can to slow down global warming, and to keep from suffocating. Have you noticed in the world news, how many citizens are now wearing face masks to ward-off air pollution. IT IS TRULY SAD!- Perhaps bitching loudly to the EPA, now that we are given a chance, may give rise to greater awareness about the need to do something about the problem NOW! If you reside in one of the cities listed above, and are a concerned citizen, PLEASE ATTEND AND PARTICIPATE!

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


October 18, 2013 at 11:43 PM Comments (0)

US SEC OF ENERGY E. MONIZ “INTERPRETS” THE WHITE HOUSE ENERGY PLAN (NOT REALLY)

31 Aug 2013

US Dept of Energy (DOE) Secretary  Ernest Moniz argues that President Obama’s plan to combat climate change is not, as critics allege, a “war on coal,” . In a speech at Columbia University in New York (about 26 Aug 2013). Moniz said: “This action has been applauded by many as the most significant step the president can take to reduce carbon emissions…This directive has also been derided by some as an action  have potentially a place in the low-carbon world.” …Pres. Obama has described his energy policy as “all of the above,” meaning a variety of energy sources, both conventional and unconventional, will be used….All of the above’ means we will invest in the technology, research, development and demonstration so that all of our energy sources can be enabled as marketplace competitors in a low-carbon energy world…The administration has said it would revamp an $8 billion federal loan-guarantee program to help companies reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. Pres. Obama is seeking government investment in technology to make fossil fuels, including coal, burn cleaner, he said. The new plan expands eligibility for federal loans to proposals that reduce emissions from oil and gas drilling, and for energy-efficiency efforts such as capturing waste heat from large industrial facilities to make electricity. Clean-coal projects also remain eligible for aid” (CLEAN COAL ?)

REGARDING ENERGY DIVERSITY Sec. Moniz said: “In Pres. Obama’s first presidential term, carbon pollution fell as a depressed economy led Americans to drive less, and low Nat Gas prices prompted utilities to shutter carbon-heavy coal plants, and burn gas for electricity…This year, coal use and Carbon emissions are up and forecast to grow in the years ahead, jeopardizing Pres. Obama’s 2009 pledge to cut greenhouse gases 17% by 2020…I am not here to debate what’s not debatable, (referring to the scientific consensus around climate change), We will focus on doing all that we can with current administrative authorities.”

FRACKING AND THE NAT GAS BOOM.  Moniz noted that: “the U.S. Nat Gas boom has played a major role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. That boom in gas production has been enabled by hydraulic fracturing, a drilling technique that has been blamed for water pollution. .if you look at each of the issues with fracking, well completions, surface water management, methane emissions, they are manageable in the sense that one knows what one has to do…They’re not always managed so that’s where it is absolutely essential to have the best practices all the time.

Thanks to Bloomberg for their quotations.

OUR COMMENTS:

In June 2013, The White House outlined policies to lower U.S. pollution blamed for global warming, including limits on emissions from new and existing coal-fired power plants. The announcement drew fire from coal producers and lawmakers from coal-producing states (“It’s always the hit dog that yelps!”). The U.S. had been on a path to reaching Pres. Obama’s goal, with emissions last year down more than 12 % from the peak in 2007, the steepest drop since the oil crisis of the late 1970s since 2006.  These remarks to a Columbia University by Sec Moniz, seem to outline his speech at the IAEA in Vienna, earlier this year. See: US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ SHOWS HIS TRUE COLORS IN VIENNA @ http://energymaters.com/?p=1238

We are sorry to say that Moniz always tells audiences what most of us already know, and have known for some time. There is nothing new in his remarks;  Indeed, we find his remarks trivial, sometimes contradictory, and frequently incoherent in their context. What do you think?  Regrettably, Sec. Moniz shows no inclination toward real cooperation with The White House, or to have a vision for our energy future;  However, at his pay level, one must :”Either lead, follow, or get out of the way”; Fortunately, Moniz is inclined to do the later, and that is good because our USA energy industry is rapidly becoming the envy of the world without his help.  We must now look to the EPA to protect our environment, and to attempt to keep the fossil, and nuclear energy industries in check as best can.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


August 31, 2013 at 12:48 AM Comments (0)

FUKUSHIMA HAS AN EMERGENCY WITH TOXIC WASTE- WATER SEEPING INTO SEA

7 Aug 2013

In Tokyo, Shinji Kinjo, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) (SUPPOSED NUCLEAR WATCH-DOG) said to Reuters on Monday 5 Aug 2013, that highly radioactive water continues seeping into the Pacific Ocean from Japan’s crippled Fukushima Dai-No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and creating an “emergency” that Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) is struggling to contain.  Mr. Kinjo said: “This contaminated groundwater has breached an underground barrier, is rising toward the surface, and is exceeding legal limits of radioactive discharge, countermeasures planned by TEPCO are only a temporary solution”. He he added with an obvious sense of preoccupation that:   “TEPCO’s sense of crisis is weak …This is why you (SAY WHO ?) can’t just leave it up to TEPCO alone to grapple with the ongoing disaster…Right now, we have an emergency ! YES!- A CONTINUING NUCLEAR EMERGENCY WITH GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES, AND THE Japanese government does not give a SH-T!  SHAME ON THEM! 

BOTH, TEPCO, AND THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HAVE ACTED IRRESPONSIBLY, ON THIS TRAGEDY SINCE ITS BEGINNING.  TEPCO has been globally condemned for its failure to harden their NPP’s against  the massive Mar. 2011 tsunami and earthquake that devastated its Dai No. 1 NPP in Fukushima; additionally , lambasted for its untimely/inept response to the reactor meltdowns, and worse: for covering –up the extent of the tragedy, and its ramifications.  Every repair, plan, and other actions taken to date has seemed like an effort to “look good”, rather than a long-range well planned effort to prevent the continuing large dumping of highly radioactive contaminated waste water into the sea.  Following the meltdowns, the Japanese government allowed TEPCO to dump tens of thousands of metric tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean in an emergency move.  It was not immediately clear how much more of a threat the contaminated groundwater could pose.  PROBLEM IS: the toxic water dumping is huge, and THE EMERGENCY CONTINUES WITH NO END IN SIGHT.

THE WORLD, AND JAPAN’S FISHERY INDUSTRY CONDEMN, THE TOXIC WATER  RELEASE; specially after TEPCO has often promised it would not dump radioactive water without the consent of local townships.  Mitsuo Uematsu at the University of Tokyo, said:”Until we know the exact density and volume of the water that’s flowing out, I honestly can’t speculate on the impact on the sea. We should also check what the levels are like in the sea water (YES, BUT WHO IS “WE”);  If  it’s only inside the port, and it’s not flowing out into the sea, it may not spread as widely as some fear.” TEPCO told Reuters, it is taking various measures to prevent contaminated water from leaking into the bay near the plant.  A company spokesman said TEPCO deeply apologized to residents in Fukushima prefecture, the surrounding region, and the public at large, for causing inconveniences, worries and trouble.

THE PROBLEM  IS, WATER GOES WHERE IT WANTS TO GO.  TEPCO pumps out some 400 metric tons a day of groundwater flowing from the hills above the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the basements of the destroyed buildings, which mixes with highly irradiated water that is used to cool the reactors to a stable condition below its boiling point (100 degrees Celsius).  Water just goes under, over, or around any obstacles in its path to lower ground. TEPCO is trying to prevent groundwater from reaching the plant by building a “bypass”, but recent spikes of radioactive elements in sea water has prompted TEPCO to finally admit that toxic water is reaching the sea.  In a typical half-measure way to prevent further leaks into the bay, and the Pacific Ocean, plant workers created an underground  barrier by injecting chemicals to harden the ground along the shoreline of the No.1 reactor building; however, that barrier is only effective to a depth of approximately two (2) meters below the surface.  By breaching the barrier, the water can seep through the shallow areas of earth, and into the nearby sea.  A break in the ground hardened barrier would accelerate the outflow, similarly to a break in a dam.  Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba Corp nuclear engineer who worked on several TEPCO plants, said: “If you build a wall, of course the water is going to accumulate there. And there is no other way for the water to go but up or sideways and eventually lead to the ocean (COMMON SENSE TELLS US SO)…So now, the question is how long do we have?” It has been estimated that contaminated water could rise to the ground’s surface within three (3) weeks, TEPCO official said on 5 Aug 2013 the company plans to start pumping out a further 100 metric tons of groundwater a day by the end of the week.  Mr. Kinjo of the The NRA concluded the obvious: …new measures are needed to stop the water from flowing into the sea that way,” The NRC task force overseeing the measures at the Fukushima Dai No.1, NPP met on 2 Aug 2013, concluded that a cumulative 20 to 40 trillion  becquerels of radioactive tritium had probably leaked into the sea since the tragic triple meltdown 12 Mar 2011.  TEPCO said this was within legal limits. Tritium is far less harmful than cesium and strontium, which have also been released from the plant. TEPCO is scheduled to test strontium levels next (THIS HAS NOT BEEN DONE YET ? COME-ON !) the admission on the long-term tritium leaks, as well as renewed criticism from the NRA, show the decaying state of the now $11 billion cleanup, and TEPCO’s failure to date to fix a fundamental problem: How to prevent water, tainted with radioactive elements like cesium, from flowing into the Pacific ocean.

OUR VIEW AND COMMENTS

THE FUKUSHIMA Dai No.1  NPP TRIPLE – MELTDOWN TRAGEDY CONTINUES. Twenty eight months after the events of 12 Mar 2011, It continues to unfold like a Kabuki Play.  Its protagonists are different, but the plot is the same, while the faceless assistants in dark-clothing,  and musicians play-on.  There is very little that is a new development in today’s story from the posts referenced below, and dating back to soon after the events. Missing in the news now, are any further efforts at filtering the cooling water and re-circulating it to minimize the quantity of toxic water produced.  An ominous, but anticipated development, is the continuing downward movement of the molten uranium masses (or mess ?) which now has reached the water table thus enabling long-life transuranic elements to migrate to more distant parts of the Province, and no one knows where.  It is disheartening to see the apathy in high Central government circles.  It seems all they want to do is to “re-start” their 50 (or so) idled NPPs.

JAPANESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT DUMB, OR GREEDY ?  It is difficult to gage whether Japan’s Central government officials are ignorant, or plain greedy; Perhaps both.  One thing is certain, about 80% of the Japanese people have vociferously expressed a distinct desire to abolish or shut down NPPs.  In another perplexing note, the Central government has allowed a French shipment of MOX (Mixed Oxide) nuclear spent fuel containing about 9% Plutonium shipped from France, apparently with the intension of using it in Japanese NPPs.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO TRANSURANIC WASTE-WATER IN THE FUKUSHIMA BAY ?.  It seems likely that since transuranic elements are very heavy, the toxic water will deposit them in the Fukushima bay.  There they will lie in wait for centuries(if necessary) for another tsunami to deposit them back on shore.  The victims of the 2011 tsunami recall the heavy stench of the bay water when the tsunami washed its bottom mud into the land well ahead of the main waves. On the mean time, all bottom feeding fish in Fukushima bay will certainly carry radioactivity up the food chain. Like it or not, such an event will be both stinky and highly radioactive, and is not a matter of “If”, but “when”.

IT IS STILL ALL ABOUT COOLING THE MELTED NPPs, AND THEIR SPENT-FUEL REPOSITORIES.  At least that is the way Mr. Shinji Kinjo, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) sees it:  as an “emergency”.  PROBLEM IS: the situation has continued to get worse by the day, and there remain at least 10 more years of “cooling it”.  What is needed is immediate governmental, and TEPCOs willingness to make permanent (not temporary) improvements in their cooling technology and geological/seismological studies to see where the radioactive plume is going now in land air and sea for the sake of its people, flora, and fauna.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

RELATED PAST ARTICLES – A FEW OTHERS ON THIS THEME EXIST – JUST SCROLL  BACK, AND CLICK AT BOTTOM LEFT OF EVERY PAGE.

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=16  18 Jun 2011 – PRODUCTION AND TREATMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WATER STILL MAJOR WORRY AT FUKUSHIMA

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=36  24 Jun 2011 – NOT MUCH HAS CHANGED AT FUKUSHIMA DAI NO. 1 – SITUATION STILL CRITICAL

http://energymaters.com/?page_id=61 -28 Jun 2011- VERY GRADUAL IMPROVEMENT ON THE CRITICAL FUKUSHIMA DAI NO.1 SITUATION

http://energymaters.com/?p=843 18 May 2012- JAPANESE NUCLEAR NEWS BLACKOUT CONTINUES TO HURT JAPAN’S IMAGE

http://energymaters.com/?p=876     16 Jun 2012 – IN JAPAN, THE POWER OF DEMOCRACY TO BE TESTED IN Oi NUKES RE-START

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August 7, 2013 at 1:03 AM Comments (2)

US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ SHOWS HIS TRUE COLORS IN VIENNA

2 JULY 2013

US ENERGY SECRETARY MONIZ ATTENDED THE IAEA ANNUAL MEETING IN VIENNA.  On 30 Jun 2013 Moniz was interviewed by Reuters. He went to attend the annual conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency-IAEA; Secretary Moniz said: “Obama expects fossil fuels, and coal specifically, to remain a significant contributor for some time…The way the U.S. administration is looking at it is: what does it take for us to do to make coal part of a low carbon future…this would include higher efficiency plants and new ways of utilizing coal…It is all about having, in fact, coal as part of that future…I don’t believe it is a ‘war on coal’.” Moniz acknowledged there could be winners and losers, but that economic models belie “the statement that there are huge economic impacts from controlling greenhouse gases…Quite the contrary. We expect that this is going to be positive for the economy” THERE IS NO DOUBT IN OUR MIND THAT MONIZ WENT TO VIENNA TO ASSUAGE THE ENERGY BARONS THERE ASSEMBLED THAT THEY HAVE A FRIEND IN THE USA – MEANING HIMSELF! (Yes, the one with the Ben Franklin coiffure).

SECRETARY MONIZ SAID HE WAS OPTIMISTIC… that the United States would meet its goal to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to about 17 % below 2005 levels by 2020. “We’re pretty close to the track right now. We’re halfway there…An $8 billion loan guarantee program for projects to develop new technologies that help cut emissions of fossil fuels would include Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology as one of a number of options…It will also include some advanced technologies for using coal very different from today’s technologies that will enable much less expensive carbon capture in future”.  CCS is a relatively new, expensive and unproven technology that captures carbon dioxide and buries it. (YEAH!  SWEEPING IT UNDER THE CARPET, PROBLEM IS, EVERYONE INVOLVED IN PAST ATTEMPTS HAS SAID: NOT IN MY BACKYARD – NIMBY!)

Thanks to Reuters for their excellent quotes, even if they missed the real Vienna story.

SECRETARY MONIZ ALSO ADDRESSED THE IAEA ANNUAL MEETING.  On 1 July 2013, Sec. Moniz made official remarks to the IAEA as posted in the DOE news organ:  http://energy.gov/articles/statement-iaea-international-conference-nuclear-security .  Of course he would have to say something about “nuclear security”, after all, that is the IAEA Trump card now that their real purpose has been exposed: To promote the interests of global Energy industries (both nuclear, and fossil fuels). We find it perplexing and irritating that Moniz who is willing to speak in Vienna Austria, has been unwilling to inform the people of the USA what his agenda and plans are.  All his statements to date indicate he sees himself as a “remover of obstacles” to the energy industry (a rubber stamp, if you will).  That is not what the USA/world needs at this critical time in global history.

THE WHITE HOUSE CLIMATE WARMING REPORT/PLAN OPPOSED. Naturally, the long-awaited White House plan drew criticism from the coal industry, which would be hard hit by carbon limits, and from Republicans, who accused the Democratic president of advancing policies that harm the economy, and kill jobs.  Senator Joe Manchin, (D -W.V), the No. 2 U.S. coal mining state after Wyoming, said the last week of June 2013, that Obama had “declared a war on coal,”  The coal industry said the rules threatened its viability. But…

GALLUP POLLS IN THE USA SHOW: UP WITH GREEN, DOWN WITH COAL Please read http://energymaters.com/?p=1185.  Environmentalists have largely cheered the White house proposals, though many said the moves did not go far enough, or had sufficient authority for implementation.  Comprehensive as the White house Energy Assessment/proposals are, they have no mechanism for implementation.  Problem is, that speaking in management terms: “That which is everyone’s responsibility, is no one’s responsibility”.  We believe what is needed is for Pres. Obama to convene the Cabinet Secretaries, DOE, DOI, and the Environmental Protection agency to draft a joint plan of action to combat global warming.  Talking about it won’t do! And working separately would fail because their Departmental responsibilities /functions sometimes overlap; Hence the need for cooperation and streamlining of their joint effort. Past Cabinet chiefs Salazar (DOI) and Chu (DOE) had already found the need for collaboration. For now, they are all “flying their own kite”.

PRES OBAMA PUT HIS PRESTIGE ON THE LINE last week to revive his stalled climate change agenda, promising new rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants, and other domestic actions including support for renewable energy Obama said he had directed the Environmental Protection Agency to craft new emissions rules for thousands of power plants, the bulk of which burn coal and which account for roughly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. With Congress unlikely to pass climate legislation, Obama said his administration would set rules using executive powers.  So sad that our congress won’t sh-t, or get off the pot!  Even on timely crucial issues.

OUR TAKE…THE US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) STINKS UNDER MONIZ.  Ernest Moniz, who has been unwilling to concede a press conference (other than to his own Department PR news branch), considered it necessary to travel to Vienna, Austria to assuage the Board of Governors of the IAEA (at their annual conference), not to worry, because they have a friend in the USA – No doubt himself, according to his remarks.  Let me refresh your mind about the IAEA. It exists to further the worldwide interests of the fossil and nuclear energy industry.  It is located in Vienna Austria with its 2,300 employee “Secretariat”.  COUNTRIES WITH EXISTING MEMBERS ON THE IAEA BOARD OF GOVERNORS ARE:  Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Niger, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Republic of Tanzania.  WE ARE NOT PRIVILEGED TO KNOW THE GOVERNORS’ NAMES; however, THEY ARE WORLD-CLASS ENERGY BARONS – ONE AND ALL!  Please read: http://energymaters.com/?p=925  

PRES. OBAMA DID NOT CHOOSE WISELY WHEN NOMINATING MONIZ.  Perhaps he did so in an attempt at Congressional “Sausage making”.  Moniz shows no inclination to follow Pres. Obama’s lead in regard to energy.  Pres. Obama has now appointed two (2) “ducies” (Chu, Moniz) in a row to the post of  Energy Secretary; Both professors, Doctors, and accountable or responsible to no one. With all due respect Mr. President, your political acumen in both selections is sorely lacking.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

We tell it like it is!


July 2, 2013 at 9:09 PM Comments (0)

FRANCE SENDS ITS “MIXED OXIDE (MOX)” HOT NUCLEAR WASTE TO JAPAN

21 Apr 2013

AREVA- S.A. said on 18 Apr 2013 that it has engaged two (2) British ships to transport Mixed Oxide (MOX) hot nuclear waste to Japan.  The MOX shipment will go round the Cape of Good Hope (So Africa – long regarded by sailors as the world’s most treacherous waters), to the SW Pacific Ocean, and on to Japan’s Takahama Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).  Looks like AREVA S.A. (little Sister to Electricite de France – EDF),  gets to do its “dirty-work” to protect the reputation of the French State-Owned Corporation with 58 NPPs– games politicians play!

“AREVA- S.A.”  IS A FRENCH BASED WORLD-CLASS CORPORATION, headquartered in Paris, France. It is essentially a NPP, and nuclear fuel purveyor.  In a broader sense, it represents the political will of France to colonize the world by meeting their energy needs, and imposing their technology and logistical support for many years.  Japan had similar ambitions until the dream blew up at Fukushima, Dai No.1 NPP about two years ago.  On 28 Jan 2010, AREVA S.A. announced a major re-organization of its nuclear and renewable operations.  Its activities are now divided into four (4) Business Groups:

     1. Mining-Front End: combines operations related to uranium exploration and mining, uranium conversion,  enrichment, and the design, and fabrication of uranium fuel for nuclear reactors.

  1. Reactors and Services: designs and builds NPPs, naval propulsion reactors, research reactors, and manufactures/sells related  equipment.
  2. Back End: manages all operations in the back-end of the nuclear cycle, from used nuclear fuel recycling, to the dismantling and value development of nuclear facilities.
  3. Renewable Energies: Including  four (4) renewable energies: wind energy, bio-energy, solar power, and  hydrogen/ energy storage.

For a comprehensive article about France’s nuclear politics/national policy, etc. read:  http://energymaters.com/?m=20120104

FRANCE SUFFERED A MOX PROCESSING PLANT FIRE OF UNTOLD CONSEQUENCES NEAR NIMES on 12 Sep 2011.  For a good description of “MOX Processing” see:  http://energymaters.com/?m=20110912.  Evidently, their “lesson learned” was: Don’t! – Ship it elsewhere.

Recall the French hot-nuclear waste shipments by rail to Germany?  See: http://energymaters.com/?m=201111 dated 26 Nov 2011.  Germany finally said: Halt! -Verboten and won’t have any more of it. 

THIS TIME THE MOX SHIPMENT IS BOUND FOR JAPAN BY SEA to Kansai Electric Power Co. -“Takahama” NPP)west of Tokyo).   AREVA- S.A.  said in a statement on 18 Apr 2013,  that the HMS Pacific Heron and the HMS Pacific Egret (both of British Nuclear Shipping Co. PNTL) had left the port of Cherbourg (in Northern France) loaded with highly radioactive MOX  nuclear fuel, and plans to reach Japanese waters after 15 Jun 2013.

WE CONTINUE TO BELIEVE THAT: THOSE WHO INSIST ON CREATING NUCLEAR WASTE (FRANCE STILL DOES! – BIG TIME) SHOULD FEEL A RESPONSIBILITY TO DEAL WITH THEIR OWN MESS, RATHER THAN SHIPPING IT ELSEWHERE

PROBLEM IS: MOX CONTAINS ABOUT 6% – 10% PLUTONIUM, and it is perceived as a national security threat, so “special precautions” will be taken taken during transportation (go figure what those will be). The shipment is certain to be controversial in Japan, where public opposition to nuclear power, and reactor restarts, remains strong two (2) years after the Fukushima tragedy which prompted the shutdown of all Japan’s 50 nuclear reactors until there were none left operating by May 2012, thus leaving the country without atomic power for the first time since 1970; As a result, Japan has had to import fossil fuels to run power stations, pushing it into a record trade deficit; But…

ALAS ! “BACK TO THE FUTURE” IN JAPANESE POLITICS. In 2013, the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, returned to power and has said it will “reassess the previous government’s decision to abandon atomic power”.  For now, only two (2) NPPs at Kansai Electric’s Ohi plant (near Takahama) are the only ones operating in Japan, naturally…

JAPAN’S BUSINESS LOBBY WAS SUPPORTIVE OF OF THE RE-START DECISION. Last 16 Jun 2012, Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of Keidanren’s said: “We welcome this decision, which was based on the government’s efforts to ensure safety and the understanding of local authorities toward restarts. The restart of nuclear power plants will contribute to the stable supply of electricity and help control the risk of rising prices. We hope other nuclear plants will restart as well, premised on the assurance of safety and understanding of local communities.” Perhaps the re-processing and or use of MOX in their reactors was the real intention for the Ohi-NPP re-start.

BAD DECISION! – For the people of Japan.  Any reactor using MOX as fuel incurs the risk that in a catastrophic “blowup” (such as the one that occurred in Fukushima), Plutonium in granular or powder form will become airborne, become a true people killer, and remain so for millennia. See:  http://energymaters.com/?p=876 , But then, Kansai considers its Ohi NPP indispensable – see: http://energymaters.com/?p=552The rub is that the Ohi NPP has not even instituted the Fukushima safety improvements!  Japanese Nuclear Industry, and its powerful Business Lobby are heartless, and in our opinion, very penny-wise, and pound foolish.

WHY DO BRITISH SHIPS TRANSPORT THE FRENCH MOX NUCLEAR WASTE?  Because that is one of their businesses.  Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited (PNTL) is controlled by International Nuclear Services (INS), a United Kingdom company involved in the management and transportation of nuclear fuels, and based in Rinsley, UK.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the UKGovernment.  Oh!- what a tangled web we weave: When first we practise to deceive!” now if  one of their transport ships loaded with nuclear waste, were stranded on your shores, “who you going to call?- Ghostbusters!”  Seriously, who are you going to file legal suit against, and where? Remember the British Petroleum (BP) humongous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico some 3 years ago?  Well…it is still being litigated while all the protagonists point fingers at one another.  SEE! It’s madness with a method, contrived by very skillful merchants of death, in a very litigious country still controlled by the Uranium and Oil Cartel Lobby.  Notice that after having been denied approval by Parliament on the building of eight (8) NPPs in the UK, they have returned to the PR charge again- big-time! We have no choice but to build NPPs (They all say that!). Like hell they don’t!  But they just want to keep on doing what is highly profitable for a very few, and to hell with humanity.

GREAT BRITAIN ALSO HAD A BAD MOX EXPERIENCE AT SELLAFIELD on the NW English coast (Border with Ireland), and decided to close the facility on Aug 2011.  Yeah!  The British NDA was managing that too.  It is evident that MOX fuel reprocessing is both dangerous, and a “nasty” job whose time (technically speaking) may not be here yet.  Both France and GB tried, and failed. Now it will be up to Japan, and they are a four-time looser.  Ref: http://energymaters.com/?m=20110807

THIS IS AN IMPORTANT STORY BECAUSE IT DEMONSTRATES THAT THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE URANIUM NUKE INDUSTRY IS STILL: HOW TO DISPOSE OF ALL THE PERSISTENT POISONS(Transuranics) THEY PRODUCE.  IF THEY KNEW HOW, THEY WOULD.

REMEMBER: We “Tell it like it is” and connect the points; that is why we keep this journal.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#12-2013

 


April 22, 2013 at 9:11 AM Comments (4)

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