Good News At Fukushima – Looks like they will start removing spent fuel rods

I do not believe in always presenting “bad news” about any given subject. Do I post happy news about coal? Not very often. Do I post good things about oil drilling? Not much. How about great stories about Nukes? No. But when a bad situation gets better, especially of the scope of what has gone on in Japan. Hell goods is hard not to report. Few people realize that removing the spent fuel rods from all three reactors is at least half the job.

http://www.stltoday.com/news/world/worst-hit-reactor-at-fukushima-may-be-easiest-to-clean/article_e1bd8254-2e1c-5345-80e3-70b298e6ad86.amp.html

Worst-hit reactor at Fukushima may be easiest to clean up

By MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press

OKUMA, Japan (AP) — High atop Fukushima’s most damaged nuclear reactor, the final pieces of a jelly-roll shaped cover are being put in place to seal in highly radioactive dust.

Blown apart by a hydrogen explosion in 2011 after an earthquake and tsunami hit Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, reactor Unit 3 is undergoing painstaking construction ahead of a milestone that is the first step toward dismantling the plant.

The operating floor — from where new fuel rods used to be lowered into the core — has been rebuilt and if all goes as planned, huge cranes will begin removing 566 sets of still-radioactive fuel rods from a storage pool just below it later this year.

It has taken seven years just to get this far, but now the real work of cleaning up the Tokyo Electric Power Co. plant can begin.

“If you compare it with mountain climbing, we’ve only been preparing to climb. Now, we finally get to actually start climbing,” said Daisuke Hirose, an official at the plant’s decommissioning and decontamination unit.

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UIS Has A New Student Union – It is Green as all get out

I am a graduate of Sangamon State University. What is now University of Illinois Springfield. They just build a Student Union and I am so proud of it. It could be LEED certified and it is student centered. Our Student Union was in a temporary building 0n the temporary campus “down the hill”. This is just so cool.

Strategic Design of the UIS Student Union

This is the part I like:

Environmentally Excellent

UIS is seeking a LEED Gold certificate (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council), both for the sake of the environment and in order to take advantage of energy saving measures. For this reason, the building will have a green, or “living,” roof with vegetation and a growing medium over a sloped membrane. This roof will provide insulation, help to lower air temperatures, and last much longer than other roofs—50 to 60 years rather than the 20 to 30 years most roofs last. The vegetation will most likely include wildflowers that will change throughout the growing season, adding to the building’s beauty.

To reduce storm runoff and eliminate water irrigation, the Student Union will have a rainwater reclamation system that takes advantage of the roof’s slope. Also in consideration of LEED approvals, lighting will be designed to meet the USGBC’s very stringent requirements.

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No Man Is An Island – But this wind farm may need one

I have to admit I love European design and innovation. They seem to want what is best for human kind in a stylish sort of way. Still this is big for even the Dutch who always dream big.

https://qz.com/1169226/the-worlds-largest-wind-farm-is-being-planned-by-electric-grid-firm-tennet/

ICE-AGE DREAMS

The Dutch plan to build an artificial island to support the world’s largest wind farm

Wind farms need a lot of space—not something the world has much to spare. That’s why they’re being pushed out into the sea.

TenneT, the operator of the Netherlands’ electric grid, has come up with an ambitious plan to build an artificial island in the middle of the North Sea that on completion would support the world’s largest wind farm.

The location for the artificial island is a region called the Dogger Bank, about 100 km (60 miles) off the coast of Yorkshire in the UK. During the last Ice Age some 20,000 years ago, when sea levels were 100 meters lower than today, Dogger Bank was actually a landmass called Doggerland, which connected mainland Europe to the British isles. The bank’s shallowness means it won’t require ungodly amounts of sand to build the island, and it will be able to support the thousands of wind turbines that need to be tethered to the sea floor. Its location also puts any electricity generated from the farm within reach of five countries.

Wind power generators are searching for better locations because wind farms are a much less dense form of electricity generation compared to fossil-fuel power or nuclear power. A nuclear power plant can generate 400 times as much energy per unit of area compared to a wind farm.

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Can Beating Climate Change Be This Easy – I certainly hope so

Sorry this is so late but the Christmas Season collided with my volunteering at Dana Thomas House which collided with the death of my dear friend Bob Paddack. Plus my car developed a penchant for flat tires. So I have been breathless. I could have ended on a downer note by posting about dumbass 45’s attempts to repeal regulations put in place after the Deep Water Horizon’s humongous oil spill, but that is insane so without further ado.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/switzerland-giant-new-machine-sucking-carbon-directly-air

In Switzerland, a giant new machine is sucking carbon directly from the air

Originally published by E&E News

The world’s first commercial plant for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air opened yesterday, refueling a debate about whether the technology can truly play a significant role in removing greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.

The Climeworks AG facility near Zurich becomes the first ever to capture CO2 at industrial scale from air and sell it directly to a buyer

Developers say the plant will capture about 900 tons of CO2 annually — or the approximate level released from 200 cars — and pipe the gas to help grow vegetables.

While the amount of CO2 is a small fraction of what firms and climate advocates hope to trap at large fossil fuel plants, Climeworks says its venture is a first step in their goal to capture 1 percent of the world’s global CO2 emissions with similar technology. To do so, there would need to be about 250,000 similar plants, the company says.

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2-degree target [for global temperature rise] of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climework

 

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Happy New Year everyone. Go there and read. More next week.

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Pana IL Students Need Money For Solar Car – Please help them out

Disclaimer: I know no student involved in this endeavor nor do I know anybody at their High School. These have got to be brave and hard working students. They deserve all the support we can give. According to the article they need at least $9,000 to complete the project so please give all you can.

http://www.sj-r.com/news/20171211/pana-students-take-on-solar-car-challenge

Pana students take on solar car challenge

PANA – Apparently building a moonbuggy wasn’t hard enough.

Pana High School students this year are setting out to build a solar-powered car from scratch and race it across Texas to California as part of the 2018 Solar Car Challenge.

Building the battery-powered four-wheeled rovers that Apollo astronauts used on the moon in the early 1970s is a tradition at Pana.

But industrial arts teacher Steve Bonser said students learned about the solar car challenge this summer and decided to give it a shot — despite being warned it wouldn’t be easy.

“The kids voted unanimously to up the game and take on a lot more work and build this solar car,” he said.

Starting to take shape

The framework of what will hopefully become a solar-powered car is beginning to take shape in the shop at the junior high school.

Bonser said the students have finished most of the design work and constructed the frame for the 8-foot long car. The goal is to have the entire vehicle, which will be street legal, finished in March.

Still early on in the process, Bonser said, the school was fortunate Battery Specialists in Taylorville donated a golf cart, which will provide some parts.

 The school also acquired solar panels that will power the battery. But much of how it will all come together is still an unknown.

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Go there and read. Please donate to this project. More next week.

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Home Energy Efficiency – From a Realtor’s perspective

I agreed to publish this here because it is such a different perspective then the one I have or CES has. We tend to blame builders for not just serving up top notch energy efficient residences. Then there is the issue of retrofitting. As always this is no endorsement of Ryan or his Real Estate firm. Believe me I have no intention of buying a home in Alaska.

 

Ryan Tollefsen REALTOR®
Unity Home Group at Keller Williams Realty Alaska Group
101 W. Benson Blvd. Suite 101
Anchorage, AK 99503

Check out my all new Great Alaskan Getaway Guide

http://www.constructiondive.com/news/more-buyers-want-green-homes-real-estate-agents-say/439944/

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Now, a “green home” really isn’t all that green when observed on its own, but the fact
remains that most of new construction and existing homes are going to be detached
single-family residences. This means that we need to do the best we can with the hand we
have been dealt, and that would suggest that incremental improvements across the board
may be the best option in terms of reducing waste. Recent trends in US real estate have
affected what buyers are looking for in some positive ways, but there are still far too few
green homes available for buyers who want this option.!That makes it a frustrating search
for potential green home buyers, and discourages them from truly setting their sites on a
home that works for them. Additionally, because they aren’t making their voices heard,
many builders are not working to make homes that meet green specications (beyond the
bare minimum). They don’t realize the level of demand that would be there, if buyers felt
they would have the option.
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More Buyers Should Push for Green Homes
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There’s really one way to remedy the issue: buyers who want green homes should push
for them across as many channels as they can. If more buyers continue to ask for green
homes, more builders will produce these homes out of necessity. But buyers need to be
the catalysts in both demand and advocacy aimed toward other potential green buyers.
More of them want green homes, but they back down when they see these homes aren’t
available. Builders and sellers both need to know the value of creating these kinds of
homes or making changes to existing homes, so buyers will be more likely to purchase
those homes instead of other options. This might mean more negotiations with sellers and builders, and it will likely come at an increased cost — costs that will likely be recouped over time, but another upfront cost nonetheless.
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What are Buyers Looking For?
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When the average buyer!wants a green home, they don’t necessarily require one that’s
completely off grid. Some buyers will seek these out, but most will be looking for energy
efifciency, sustainable materials, and a smaller carbon footprint than what would be seen
with a standard house. In many cases, that’s enough to entice buyers to make a purchase,
and to keep them happy with the home they have selected. It also depends on the area of the country and the local market, because some buyers want and need different options due to weather or other factors.
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More Demand Will Require an Increase in Supply
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The more buyers start asking for green homes, the more likely it is that builders will create them. Sellers will also start making changes to the homes they are putting on the market, in order to entice buyers to come see their home instead of a different one. That’s an important consideration, too, since sellers may need to retrofit their homes in some ways and add options that they would not have chosen to put in if they were remaining in the house. Some green living changes can be expensive, but these changes don’t always have to be costly. There are lower priced options, as well.
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Trends are Moving in the Right Direction, at Least
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Even though there are still far too few green homes, and even though buyers aren’t making their voices heard as loudly as they could, the trend of green living is still going in the right direction. More buyers see the value of it, and more builders and sellers are starting to make changes in that direction. There is still a long way to go before energy efficiency and reducing waste becomes the standard for new homes and improved existing homes, but a larger pool of buyers demanding these features can help move the needle bit by bit.

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Go to the web links and read. More next week.

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A Major Energy Transition Has Begun – Just the first sentence makes this article important

This is a really really long good article. So I am going to shut up and let you read. I have not felt this good in a long time.

https://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/london/feature-china-and-the-new-energy-economy-26831057

Feature: China and the New Energy Economy

London (Platts)–31 Oct 2017 1239 pm EDT/1639 GMT

There is an increasingly inescapable sense that an energy transition of enormous proportions is taking place. The number of ‘bans’ announced on Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles is growing, even if governments are placing them relatively far out on the political horizon.

More and more car manufacturers are taking note and shifting R&D spending into Electric Vehicles (EVs), a move which has profound implications for the development curves, and thus future cost, of EVs versus ICE vehicles.

In October, US automaker General Motors said that it would launch two new pure electric models in 2018 and a further 18 by 2023.

Its competitor Ford announced the creation of a new internal team to “think big and move fast” in order to accelerate the electrification of its auto production. Both are some way behind their European counterparts.

It is not hard to see why such decisions are being made now. While the number of EVs on the road remains just a fraction of the total parc, global sales are growing by about 40% year-on-year, making EVs the biggest growth story in the auto market in decades.

And, if governments are going to regulate against ICE vehicles and subsidize EVs, thereby changing the consumer choices which otherwise might be made, then what other path is there to tread?

CHINESE WHISPERS

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Go there and read. Rejoice. More next week.

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Trump Fills The Swamp – 10 months in and Trump is the most corrupt President ever

Really? No Bid. Nothing. We had experience in the mountains and no one else wanted the contract. That is all they have to say? A company from the Secretary of Interior’s hometown. Zinke had nothing to do with it? WHAT!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/small-montana-firm-lands-puerto-ricos-biggest-contract-to-get-the-power-back-on/2017/10/23/31cccc3e-b4d6-11e7-9e58-e6288544af98_story.html?utm_term=.f40f2a9969f7

Small Montana firm lands Puerto Rico’s biggest contract to get the power back on

October 23

For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane Maria made landfall.

The company, Whitefish Energy, said last week that it had signed a $300 million contract with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to repair and reconstruct large portions of the island’s electrical infrastructure. The contract is the biggest yet issued in the troubled relief effort.

Whitefish said Monday that it has 280 workers in the territory, using linemen from across the country, most of them as subcontractors, and that the number grows on average from 10 to 20 people a day. It said it was close to completing infrastructure work that will energize some of the key industrial facilities that are critical to restarting the local economy.

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SIGH. Go there and read. More next week.

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GM Goes All Electric – Well, not right away but it is a good start

Much like Solar and Wind, Electric Cars have had an up hill battle. But what does that mean. It makes it sound like this is natural. Well it is not. Electric Cars were not about “ramping up” to need. It was about battling the forces of evil who did not want alternative forms of energy to succeed. Yah that is right, the fossil fuel industry and their investors and supporters have done everything in their considerable power to prevent their success. They have lied, cheated and lobbied elected bodies all the way down to townships in Colorado for example.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/2/16400900/gm-electric-car-hydrogen-fuel-cell-2023

GM will release at least 20 all-electric cars by 2023

9 comments

Both battery and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

General Motors announced today that it will introduce two new all-electric vehicles within the next 18 months, the first of at least 20 new EVs that the automaker will launch by 2023. GM also renewed its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell technology, a clean fuel concept that still needs major infrastructure upgrades before it can become a viable alternative.

At a press conference in Detroit this morning, GM’s executive vice president of global product development Mark Reuss said that the company was “committed to an all-electric future,” but cautioned that it wasn’t going to happen “by flipping a switch.”

“These aren’t just words in a war of press releases,” Reuss added. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

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NASA Names Newest Building After African American Woman – Katherine Johnston has her own place

This is not CES’ stuff. Sure, I am sure the building is energy efficient and well thought out but, I include this post because I saw the movie. I was so impressed. NASA put her in a building with no “Blacks Only” bathroom. So every day she would have to spend a half hour or more getting to the bathroom and back. Yet she got our white male astronauts to and from the moon with no complaints. WOW is all I can say. Please read the book and see the movie.

NASA Dedicates Building to Hidden Figures Heroine Katherine Johnson

When NASA’s Langley Research Center built its newest, state-of-the-art research facility in Hampton, Va., it was only right that they named it after Katherine Johnson, the NASA engineer and subject of the book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

“You want my honest answer? I think they’re crazy,” the 99-year-old math genius said when she heard about the naming of the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. The building was dedicated on Sept. 22 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and students from Black Girls Code and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

The $23 million, 37,000-square-foot data center is named after Johnson, who broke the glass ceiling for black women in the space program. In 2015 Johnson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work as a trailblazer in the space program.

 

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