Energy Conservation The UK Way – Stiff upper lip and all

Pip pip.

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More tomorrow.

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Nuclear Power Plants Are Old And Dangerous Worldwide

Questions have been raised about the safety of Nuclear Power Plants around the world since the incident in Japan. I will get to Japan in a couple of days but first this just out from the AP. Turns out the US has some worries of its own. They have just been covered up.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=137291169

AP IMPACT: US Nuke Regulators Weaken Safety Rules

by The Associated Press

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. June 20, 2011, 03:38 am ET

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.

Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.

Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP’s yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.

Yet despite the many problems linked to aging, not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.

Industry and government officials defend their actions, and insist that no chances are being taken. But the AP investigation found that with billions of dollars and 19 percent of America’s electricity supply at stake, a cozy relationship prevails between the industry and its regulator, the NRC.

Records show a recurring pattern: Reactor parts or systems fall out of compliance with the rules. Studies are conducted by the industry and government, and all agree that existing standards are “unnecessarily conservative.”

Regulations are loosened, and the reactors are back in compliance.

“That’s what they say for everything, whether that’s the case or not,” said Demetrios Basdekas, an engineer retired from the NRC. “Every time you turn around, they say `We have all this built-in conservatism.'”

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Unprompted, several nuclear engineers and former regulators used nearly identical terminology to describe how industry and government research has frequently justified loosening safety standards to keep aging reactors within operating rules. They call the approach “sharpening the pencil” or “pencil engineering” — the fudging of calculations and assumptions to yield answers that enable plants with deteriorating conditions to remain in compliance.

“Many utilities are doing that sort of thing,” said engineer Richard T. Lahey Jr., who used to design nuclear safety systems for General Electric Co., which makes boiling water reactors. “I think we need nuclear power, but we can’t compromise on safety. I think the vulnerability is on these older plants.”

Added Paul Blanch, an engineer who left the industry over safety issues but later returned to work on solving them: “It’s a philosophical position that (federal regulators) take that’s driven by the industry and by the economics: What do we need to do to let those plants continue to operate? They somehow sharpen their pencil to either modify their interpretation of the regulations, or they modify their assumptions in the risk assessment.”

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Much more tomorrow

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New Way To Be Fuel Efficient – Computer program from U of I

Flash! This just in from Website mavin Carol Kneedler who owns and operates www.o3internet.com. As a plug please call her if you have any website work you need done.

http://csl.illinois.edu/news/green-gps-calculates-most-fuel-efficient-route

Green GPS calculates most fuel-efficient route

by Kim Gudeman, CSL Green GPS technology May 3, 2011 – 3:14pm

A new software interface reduces energy consumption in transportation systems.

Green GPS, developed by computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, works like general GPS navigation, except that in addition to calculating the shortest and fastest routes, it also projects the most fuel-efficient route.

“Currently at least 30 percent of total energy in the United States is spent on cars,” said Principal Investigator Tarek Abdelzaher, associate professor of computer science and researcher in the Coordinated Science Laboratory. “By saving even 5 percent of that cost, we can save the same amount of total energy spent on the nation’s entire information technology infrastructure.”

The technology runs on cell phones, which links to a car’s computer using an inexpensive, off-the-shelf wireless adapter that works in all cars manufactured since 1996. The car’s onboard diagnostics system uploads information about engine performance and fuel efficiency to the phone, which uses the data to compute the greenest route.

A grant through the National Science Foundation to Abdelzaher and Robin Kravets, also a member of Illinois’ computer science faculty, is funding a large-scale deployment of the service via the University of Illinois’ car fleet. The Office of Naval Research is funding research related to the technology’s networking component. Researchers — including Dr. Omid Fatemieh, graduate student Hossein Ahmadi and research associate Hongyan Wang — also are collaborating with IBM through its “Smarter Planet” initiative.

Pete Varney, who oversees some of the approximately 500 vehicles used by the Urbana-Champaign campus, hopes research will help maximize fuel efficiency for the fleet. The units will be installed on up to 200 vehicles, including full-size vans that could be carrying 1,000 pounds or more in tools and equipment.

“The less money we can spend on fuel, the more money we can direct toward maintaining other things on campus,” said Varney, director of Transportation & Automotive Services.

In addition, researchers are developing a social network of drivers who can share information about their cars. In the future,

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For more see the rest of the article. More Tomorrow.

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HB 14 Is Still A Bad Idea – But this is a great article

I have many problems with this legislation. For example, if a Power Company wanted to build a powerplant would this be considered an infrastructure improvement subject to 8 1/2 month review after construction had started? It’s the “after construction has started” part that is most bothersome. To the argument about 44 other states having similar statutes, as your mother said, “Would you jump off a bridge because you saw a friend do it”? Amend that to, “Would you jump off a bridge if you saw a whole bunch of people do it”? We usually call those folks lemmings.

http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=184920

Electricity legislation sparks debate

by Kate Springer
April 14, 2011

Everyone can agree on one thing: Illinois needs to update its energy grid. But the Energy Modernization Act, also known as House Bill 14, would allow  $2.6 billion worth of upgrades. It sounds like a good thing but the proposal is meeting resounding opposition from critics.

The AARP, Citizens Utility Board and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan have dubbed HB 14 a “Trojan horse” or ComEd’s “automatic rate-hike bill” in an effort to fight the legislation.

During the past three months, Commonwealth Edison Co. and Ameren Corp., a downstate utility, have been lobbying legislators to pass HB14, which would allow them to invest in “smart meters” and infrastructure upgrades over the next 10 years in return for an alternative way to set rates.

In the current system, ComEd must spend about 11 months in hearings to convince the Illinois Commerce Commission that it needs a rate increase based on wholesale electricity prices.

Most recently, ComEd petitioned the ICC for a $396-million rate hike. Ten months after its request on April 13, an ICC judge recommended a $166-million increase, or a hike of 3 percent, on the average monthly bill. That was only half of ComEd’s request. The official adjustment will be decided by the end of May.

It’s a familiar pattern and one that ComEd would prefer to avoid.

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She is a pretty good writer. And she has 2 blogs:

http://katespringerblog.blogspot.com
http://katespringerblog2.blogspot.com

More tomorrow.

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Either you are furit or agen it but Nuclear Power has a problem

http://blogs.forbes.com/christopherhelman/2011/03/15/in-panic-germany-to-shut-pre-1980-nukes/

Christopher Helman

In Bizarre Panic, Germany’s Merkel To Shut Pre-1980 Nukes

What a bone-headed move. There’s nothing wrong with the 7 nuclear plants that German Chancellor Angela Merkel decreed would be shut down. Just last fall Germany decided to extend the lives of these plants, which provide roughly 10% of Germany’s electricity. With solar and wind entirely unscalable, how’s Germany going to make up the electric deficit? Either by ramping up the use of fossil-fuel burning plants (and importing more natural gas from Russia) or importing power from its neighbors–like nuke-friendly France.

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OR

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http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/03/16

Published on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 by Truthdig.com

No Nukes Is Good Nukes

When it comes to the safety of nuclear power plants, I am biased. And I’ll bet that if President Barack Obama had been with me on that trip to Chernobyl 24 years ago he wouldn’t be as sanguine about the future of nuclear power as he was Tuesday in an interview with a Pittsburgh television station: “Obviously, all energy sources have their downside. I mean, we saw that with the Gulf spill last summer.” Futaba Kosei Hospital patients who might have been exposed to radiation are carried on stretchers Sunday morning after being evacuated from the hospital in the town of Futaba near the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. (AP / The Yomiuri Shimbun, Daisuke Tomita)

Sorry, Mr. President, but there is a dimension of fear properly associated with the word nuclear that is not matched by any oil spill.

Even 11 months after what has become known simply as “Chernobyl” I sensed a terror of the darkest unknown as I donned the requisite protective gear and checked Geiger counter readings before entering the surviving turbine room adjoining plant No. 4, where the explosion had occurred.

It was a terror reinforced by the uncertainty of the scientists who accompanied me as to the ultimate consequences for the health of the region’s population, even after 135,000 people had been evacuated. As I wrote at the time, “particularly disturbing was the sight of a collective farm complete with all the requirements of living: white farm houses with blue trim, tractors and other farm implements, clothing hanging on a line and some children’s playthings. All the requirements except people.”

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You decide. More next week.

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Newt Gingrich And Energy Policy – For energy advice he calls his mother and his daughter

OK I can only take this for another day and I am done. These guys really do not know what they are talking about. They make up numbers that have no basis in this universe, and the reality is they only survive because they take huge amounts of industry money.

http://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Newt_Gingrich_Energy_+_Oil.htm

Newt Gingrich on Energy & Oil

Former Republican Representative (GA-6) and Speaker of the House

Kyoto treaty is bad for the environment and bad for America

Kyoto is a bad treaty. It is bad for the environment and it is bad for America. It sets standards that will require massive investments by the US but virtually no investments by other countries. The Senate was right when it voted unanimously against the treaty. We should insist on revisiting the entire Kyoto process and resolutely reject efforts to force us into an anti-American, environmentally failed treaty.

The US should support substantial research into climate science, managing the response to climate change, & in developing new non-carbon energy systems. It is astounding to watch people blithely propose trillions of dollars in spending on a topic on which we have failed to spend modest amounts to better understand.

It is astounding to have people focus myopically on carbon as the sole source of climate change. The world’s climate has changed in the past with sudden speed and dramatic impact. Global warming may happen. On the other hand it is possible Europe will experience another ice age.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006

Focus on incentives for conservation & renewable resources

A sound American energy policy would focus on four areas: basic research to create a new energy system that has few environmental side effects, incentives for conservation, more renewable resources, and environmentally sound development of fossil fuels. The Bush administration has approached energy environmentalism the right way, including using public-private partnerships that balance economic costs and environmental gain.

Hydrogen has the potential to provide energy that has no environmental downside. Conservation is the second great opportunity in energy. A tax credit to subsidize energy efficient cars (including a tax credit for turning in old and heavily polluting cars) is another idea we should support. Renewable resources are gradually evolving to meet their potential: from wind generator farms to solar power to biomass conversion. Continued tax credits and other advantages for renewable resources are a must.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006

Stop scare tactics about drilling in Alaska

It is time for an honest debate about drilling and producing in places like Alaska, our national forests, and off the coast of scenic areas. The Left uses scare tactics from a different era to block environmentally sound production of raw materials. Three standards should break through this deadlock.

  1. Scientists of impeccable background should help set the standards for sustaining the environment in sensitive areas, and any company entering the areas should be bonded to meet those standards.
  2. The public should be informed about new methods of production that can meet the environmental standards, and any development should be only with those new methods.
  3. A percentage of the revenues from resources generated in environmentally sensitive areas should be dedicated to environmental activities including biodiversity sustainment, land acquisition, and environmental cleanups in places where there are no private resources that can be used to clean up past problems.

Source: Gingrich Communications website, www.newt.org Dec 1, 2006

Gas tax sounds OK in DC, but not outside Beltway

When the Bush Administration tried to convince me that a gasoline tax increase would be okay and would barely be noticed, I tested the theory with two phone calls. First I called my mother-in-law in Leetonia, Ohio, and then I called my older daughter in Greensboro, North Carolina. My mother-in-law is retired, at the time, aged 75. She has a lot of friends who live on limited incomes, and driving happens to be one of their pleasures. She was personally against the idea of a gas tax increase, and she thought the idea would go down very badly with her friends. Then I called my daughter Kathy. She runs a small business, and her husband is the tennis coach at the university. Her reaction was, to put it mildly, scathing. “What planet do they live on?” she asked. She thought such a tax increase was the very antithesis of why people had elected the Republicans. After those two conversations, any doubts I may have had simply vanished, and I opposed the tax increase. Source: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, by Newt Gingrich, p. 29-30 Jul 2, 1998

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    God what slime. More tomorrow.

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    Cleanest Places In The World – This one the US did not make

    Not even close which as it should be. But when they picked the worst, they picked all third world countries. I mean really. Unless you have money no one wants to live in a  third world country. What is the point? Also much of the pollution there is created by US corporations one way or another. Anyway.

    http://blisstree.com/live/cleanest-and-greenest-places-in-the-world-71/

    Thursday, October 25, 2007 – 12:54 am ET

    Cleanest and Greenest Places In The World

    By: Noel

    I delved deeper into the study done by Reader’s Digest as I have talked about in my previous post. After all, come the day I decide to go live in another country, I would certainly want to live in somewhere green.

    As per the authors of the study, they said, “It’s an inescapable fact: People living in affluent countries tend to be better educated, enjoy a higher standard of living, live longer lives and have a brighter future. The downside: Their material wealth results in a larger carbon footprint.”

    Anyhow, here are some of the top ten lists that you may want to know about as per the results of the study.

    10 best countries

    1. Finland
    2. Iceland
    3. Norway
    4. Sweden
    5. Austria
    6. Switzerland
    7. Ireland
    8. Australia
    9. Uruguay
    10. Denmark

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    Read more there. More here next week.

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    Oil Spill In The Gulf Of Spewexico – How many times must this happen

    This just in from Mobile Alabama:

    http://blog.al.com/live/2010/05/gulf_of_mexico_has_plenty_of_f.html

    Breaking News from the Press-Register

    Local news updates from Mobile and surrounding communities

    Gulf of Mexico has plenty of familiarity with oil spills

    By Press-Register staff

    May 04, 2010, 4:33PM

    Oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has led to a number of disasters and near disasters over the past 31 years. In some cases, authorities were unable to stamp out fires or stop spills for months; in others, quick action and good luck prevented disasters from becoming worse than they could have been.

    ixtoc.jpgView full size(Courtesy NOAA)Stopping the oil from the IXTOC explosion took over nine months.IXTOC (1979)
    The IXTOC I was an exploratory well that blew up in the Bay of Campeche on June 3, 1979, after oil and gas feeding from the well ignited. At its height the well may have pumped upwards of 30,000 barrels of oil (1.26 million gallons) into the Gulf a day; currents eventually brought the oil to the Texas shore that August.  Engineers were finally able to cap the well on March 23, 1980.  The spill is the second-largest in history, behind the deliberate oil spills created at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.  Total cleanup costs are estimated at $498 million (about $1.4 billion in 2010 dollars).Burmah Agate.jpgView full size(Courtesy NOAA)The Burmah Agate caught fire after a collision on November 1, 1979, killing 31 sailors.

    Burmah Agate (1979)

    As the Texas coastline struggled against the fallout from the IXTOC, a new disaster compounded the woes. The Burmah Agate collided with a freighter near Galveston, Texas on November 1, 1979, causing the ship to explode and killing 31 crew members. The ship spilled 2.6 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico and burned for over two months. Megaborg.jpgView full size(Courtesy NOAA)The Megaborg caught fire while fueling a number of smaller ships.

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    aaaak

    Please read the whole article…I had to stop before I suffocated..

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    Healthcare Professionals Waste So Much Money – It is a dieing shame

    The Disposable Society and Industrial Society hit the medical profession hard. They throw out and stamp out enough product to treat most of the third world. It is despicable actually. We wonder why we spend twice as much on medicine as the rest of the world and have crappier outcomes? Well once hospitals became “cost centers”, the game was pretty much over.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224183113.htm

    Going Green in the Hospital: Recycling Medical Equipment Saves Money, Reduces Waste and Is Safe

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2010) — Wider adoption of the practice of recycling medical equipment — including laparoscopic ports and durable cutting tools typically tossed out after a single use — could save hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars annually and curb trash at medical centers, the second-largest waste producers in the United States after the food industry.

    The recommendation, made in an analysis by Johns Hopkins researchers in the March issue of the journal Academic Medicine, noted that with proper sterilization, recalibration and testing, reuse of equipment is safe.

    “No one really thinks of good hospitals as massive waste producers, but they are,” says lead author Martin Makary, M.D., M.P.H., a surgeon and associate professor of public health at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “There are many things hospitals can do to decrease waste and save money that they are not currently doing.”

    Hospitals toss out everything from surgical gowns and towels to laparoscopic ports and expensive ultrasonic cutting tools after a single use. In operating rooms, some items that are never even used are thrown away — single-use devices that are taken out of their packaging must be tossed out because they could have been contaminated. Selecting such good devices for resterilization and retesting could decrease the amount of needless waste from hospitals.

    And, the researchers say, hospitals could procure more items designed to be used safely more than once after being sterilized.

    Hospitals, they add, are increasingly attracted to reprocessing because recycled devices can cost half as much as new equipment. Only about a quarter of hospitals in the United States used at least one type of reprocessed medical device in 2002, and while the number is growing, the practice is not yet widespread, they say. Banner Health in Phoenix, they write, saved nearly $1.5 million in 12 months from reprocessing operating room supplies such as compression sleeves, open but unused devices, pulse oximeters and more.

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    One Hospital ONE point 2 million $$$. How many Hospitals are there in operation in the US? My god people wake up.

    Why The Energy Companies Lobbied Against Healthcare – To stave off Cap and Trade

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/31633532/as_the_world_burns/

     

    As the World Burns

    How Big Oil and Big Coal mounted one of the most aggressive lobbying campaigns in history to block progress on global warming

    JEFF GOODELLPosted Jan 06, 2010 8:15 AM

    Meet the 17 polluters and deniers who are derailing efforts to curb global warming in Tim Dickinson’s “The Climate Killers.”

    This was supposed to be the transformative moment on global warming, the tipping point when America proved to the world that capitalism has a conscience, that we take the fate of the planet seriously. According to the script, Congress would pass a landmark bill committing the U.S. to deep cuts in carbon emissions. President Obama would then arrive in Copenhagen for the international climate summit, armed with the moral and political capital he needed to challenge the rest of the world to do the same. After all, wasn’t this the kind of bold move the Norwegians were anticipating when they awarded Obama the Nobel Peace Prize?

    As we now know, it didn’t work out that way. Obama arrived in Copenhagen last month without any legislation committing the U.S. to reduce carbon pollution. Instead of reaching agreement on how to stop cooking the planet, the summit devolved into bickering over who bears the most blame for turning up the heat. The world once again missed an opportunity to avert disaster — and the delay is likely to have deadly consequences. In recent years, we have moved from talking about the possibility of climate change to watching it unfold before our eyes. The Arctic is melting, wildfires are turning into infernos, warm-weather insects are devouring forests, droughts are getting longer and more lethal. And the more we learn about climate change, the more it becomes apparent how enormous the risks are. Just a few years ago, researchers estimated that sea levels would likely rise 17 inches by 2100. Now they believe it could be three feet or more — a cataclysmic shift that would doom many of the world’s cities, including London and New Orleans, and create tens of millions of climate refugees.

    Our collective response to the emerging catastrophe verges on suicidal. World leaders have been talking about tackling climate change for nearly 20 years now — yet carbon emissions keep going up and up. “We are in a race against time,” says Rep. Jay Inslee, a Democrat from Washington who has fought for sharp reductions in planet-warming pollution. “Mother Nature isn’t sitting around waiting for us to get our political act together.” In fact, our failure to confront global warming is more than simply political incompetence. Over the past year, the corporations and special interests most responsible for climate change waged an all-out war to prevent Congress from cracking down on carbon pollution in time for Copenhagen. The oil and coal industries deployed an unprecedented army of lobbyists, spent millions on misleading studies and engaged in outright deception to derail climate legislation. “It was the most aggressive and corrupt lobbying campaign I’ve ever seen,” says Paul Begala, a veteran Democratic consultant.

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