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+ - Cost Pressure Intensifies for Southern Co. Nuclear Plant->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The delays and cost overruns are piling up for a new plant in Georgia that was supposed to prove nuclear energy can be built affordably.

Instead, the companies building first-of-their-kind reactors at Plant Vogtle expect they will need an extra three years to finish construction. The plant's owners and builders are fighting over who should pay for more than $1 billion in unexpected construction expenses — a figure that could easily grow.

Those eye-popping sums do not include the extra borrowing and inflation costs of the owners. At the end of the day, utility customers will end up paying most of the bill. A sister project in South Carolina owned by SCANA Corp. and Santee Cooper has run into similar delays and cost pressures.

Meanwhile, natural gas prices remain so low that regulators in Georgia say building a nuclear plant would not make financial sense if a utility was starting from scratch."

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+ - Most Americans Support Government Action on Climate Change->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "An overwhelming majority of the American public, including nearly half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans say they are more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They are less likely to vote for candidates who question or deny the science of human-caused global warming.

Among Republicans, 48 percent said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called "the most powerful finding" in the poll. Many Republican candidates either question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue."

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+ - UMaine System Votes to Divest from Coal->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The University of Maine System Board of Trustees took a historic vote Monday by adopting a policy to divest all direct holdings from coal companies. Unity College in Unity, Maine was the first college in the country to divest from all fossil fuel holdings in 2012. But this marks the first time a public land grant institution or university system has taken a smaller step toward that goal.

  With stricter limits being placed on carbon emissions around the world, students, faculty, staff and alumni in the Divest UMaine Coalition have been pressing for this action for the past two years. Before the board's vote, students like Connor Scott asked the trustees to consider what makes the best environmental and financial sense in the face of climate change.

"In the long run staying invested in the fossil fuel industry, specifically ones like coal whose entire net worth has decreased over 75 percent, is more risky than taking the jump of starting the process of divestment now," Scott said."

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+ - Taiwan President Supports Phasing Out Nuclear Power->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Taiwan should not arbitrarily abandon any energy options if it does not want to suffer from electricity shortages, President Ma Ying-jeou () told the National Energy Conference yesterday.

Addressing the two-day conference, which opened in Taipei yesterday, Ma agreed with calls for Taiwan to phase out nuclear power, but proposed doing so gradually and in a way that would not cause power shortages, increase electricity rates or violate the nation’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions."

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+ - 2014 one of the warmest years on record globally->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Provisional full-year global mean temperature figures show 2014 was one of the warmest years in a record dating back to 1850.

The HadCRUT4 dataset (compiled by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit) shows last year was 0.56C (±0.1C*) above the long-term (1961-1990) average.

Nominally this ranks 2014 as the joint warmest year in the record, tied with 2010, but the uncertainty ranges mean it's not possible to definitively say which of several recent years was the warmest.

Colin Morice, a climate monitoring scientist at the Met Office, said: "Uncertainties in the estimates of global temperature are larger than the differences between the warmest years. This limits what we can say about rankings of individual years.

"We can say with confidence that 2014 is one of ten warmest years in the series and that it adds to the set of near-record temperatures we have seen over the last two decades.""

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Comment: Protecting the one planet we've got (Score 1) 200

It is interesting that "pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay" is part of a speech that emphasizes keeping Earth habitable. This is opposite to the SF "Run Away! Run Away!" meme. Given how long space colonization will take, this is actually the reality. Earth must be preserved to have the time and investment available for an ambitious effort.

+ - Paris Terror Spurs Plan for Military Zones Around Nuclear Plants->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "Lawmakers in France want to create military zones around its 58 atomic reactors to boost security after this month’s Paris terror attacks and almost two dozen mystery drone flights over nuclear plants that have baffled authorities.

“There’s a legal void that needs to be plugged,” said Claude de Ganay, the opposition member of the National Assembly spearheading legislation to be considered by parliament on Feb. 5. The proposals would classify atomic energy sites as “highly sensitive military zones” under the control of the Ministry of Defense, according to an outline provided by de Ganay."

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