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Submission + - Nuclear and Radioactive Packages Keep Going Missing in Canada (vice.com)

mdsolar writes: If you've ever lost your wallet or car keys, you've got something in common with the people who run Canada's nuclear facilities, who keep misplacing nuclear and radiological material.

Last year alone, 14 radioactive packages were lost or stolen, according to the annual report from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), and less than half were later recovered. That's on top of the dozen of other nuclear packages from recent years that have yet to be found.

The report doesn't detail the circumstances of the losses or thefts, except to say that they were either "sealed sources" — a secure container carrying nuclear or radioactive material — or "radioactive devices."

The lapses, at a time when security services pledge neurotic devotion to tracking and recovering dangerous goods that could reach the black market, are thanks in part to a handful of private companies that are mishandling radioactive material.

User Journal

Journal Journal: A use for market simulations 4

Free market economists are very very protective of their theory for good reason. They demonstrated that the free market is more efficient than a planned economy and won the cold war, defeating communism.

Submission + - Indian Point power plant's radioactive leak is getting worse (nydailynews.com)

mdsolar writes: The amount of radioactive tritium leaking from the Indian Point nuclear power plant is growing, officials said Wednesday, prompting Gov. Cuomo to launch a multiagency probe into operations at the troubled plant.

New samples from groundwater monitoring wells show 80% higher concentrations of tritium compared with when the leak was first reported Saturday.

Cuomo had already ordered the state health and environmental conservation commissioners to investigate the incident. But on Wednesday, he ordered a more sweeping investigation that also includes the Department of Public Service.

In addition, investigators from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are scheduled to visit the plant on Thursday to look into the incident.

Entergy, the company that runs the plant, insisted there is no threat to public health or safety.

“Last week the company reported alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well's radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%,” Cuomo said. “The trends of unexpected outages and environmental incidents like these are extremely disconcerting.”

Submission + - Busting the obsolete baseload myth (nuclear-news.net)

mdsolar writes: As Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lisa Nandy, re-iterates the myth that nuclear power is an “important as part of the energy mix [if] we’re going to meet the commitments we made in Paris” we investigate how the UK could move to a 100% renewable energy system. Although Nandy says she is not happy with the Hinkley deal she says “we know we will need nuclear power as part of the mix”, but is she right? (1)

The argument seems to be that renewables are fine up to a point, but they can’t provide baseload power and so we can never move to a system based on 100% renewables – this couldn’t reliably power a modern industrial society. Since we need to phase out the use of fossil fuels to combat climate change we need nuclear power to provide some baseload.
The reality is that baseload power as a concept is obsolete. And a system powered 100% by renewables supported by a backbone of electricity storage, smart grid technology and management, energy efficiency, and 21st century technology is feasible now. In fact, not only is it feasible, but strong market and social forces mean that such a system is increasingly the only kind of system that makes any sense.

Submission + - Obama Targets $110B Nuclear 'Boondoggle' (usnews.com)

mdsolar writes: The president hopes to pull the plug on the MOX facility in South Carolina, where scientists hoped to blend fuel from nuclear weapons.

One of the most radioactive federal projects in recent memory is finally getting a thumbs-down from the Obama administration.

After spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to prop-up the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina, where the Energy Department once hoped to turn weapons-grade plutonium into civilian nuclear fuel, the White House would "terminate" the troubled program and replace it with a less-expensive alternative in its final budget request to Congress.

Submission + - LIGO Scientists Will Make Gravitational Waves Announcement Thursday (rdmag.com)

mdsolar writes: First proposed by Albert Einstein 100 years ago, gravitational waves set off a media frenzy last month when theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss tweeted about their potential discovery using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), which is run by Caltech and MIT.

Now, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration has invited journalists to Washington, D.C.’s The National Press Club for an update on the search for gravitational waves, which will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

According to the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the announcement is meant “to update the scientific community on the efforts to detect (gravitational waves).”

LIGO, designed to detect the tiny vibrations from gravitational waves, consists of two identical detectors, one located in Livingston, La. and the other in Hanford, Wash.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space-time, and are thought to be caused by some of the largest objects in the universe. Their discovery would give scientists a new way to view the cosmos and may lead to new information about tumultuous cosmic events, such as black hole collisions and supernovae explosions.

Last week, the rumor flames were fanned when Science Magazine reported that LIGO physicists observed gravitational waves stemming from two black holes merging with one another. The media outlet based its report on an email from McMaster Univ. theoretical physicist Clifford Burgess, which ended up posted on Twitter. In the email, Burgess wrote that the discovery will be published in Nature on Feb. 11.

“This is just from talking to people who said they’ve seen the paper, but I’ve not seen the paper itself,” said Burgess to Science Magazine. “I’ve been around a long time, so I’ve seen rumors come and go. This one seems more credible.”

Submission + - Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright Scold Young Women Backing Bernie Sanders (nytimes.com)

mdsolar writes: Hillary Clinton’s older feminist supporters have a message for young women who are not backing her candidacy: Shame on you.

Women were expected to help power Mrs. Clinton to the Democratic nomination, but as she struggles to overcome a tough challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders, her support among them has been surprisingly shaky. Young women, in particular, have been drawn to the septuagenarian socialist from Vermont, and the dynamic has disappointed feminists who dreamed of Mrs. Clinton’s election as a capstone to the movement.

Two feminist icons of Mrs. Clinton’s generation made their frustration known over the weekend, calling on young women who view Mr. Sanders as their candidate to essentially grow up and get with the program.

Submission + - NY to probe 'radioactive' water leak at Indian Point (lohud.com)

mdsolar writes: New York will investigate the Indian Point Energy Center after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he learned that "radioactive tritium-contaminated water" leaked into the groundwater at the nuclear facility in Westchester County.

Cuomo, in a letter Saturday to the state Health Department and the Department of Environmental Conservation, called for the probe after he said Entergy Corp., the Buchanan plant's owner, reported "alarming levels of radioactivity" at three monitoring wells.

Submission + - Speeches That Earned Clinton Millions Remain a Mystery (go.com)

mdsolar writes: Hillary Clinton told voters in the latest Democratic debate there's "hardly anything you don't know about me."

Just minutes later, she got tangled in a question about a part of her resume that is an enduring mystery.

In the 18 months before launching her second presidential bid, Clinton gave nearly 100 paid speeches at banks, trade associations, charitable groups and private corporations. The appearances netted her $21.7 million — and voters very little information about what she was telling top corporations as she prepared for her 2016 campaign.

What she said — or didn't say — to Wall Street banks in particular has become a significant problem for her presidential campaign, as she tries to counter the unexpected rise of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders. He's put her in awkward position of squaring her financial windfall with a frustrated electorate.

Asked in the debate — and not for the first time — about releasing transcripts of those speeches, she said: "I will look into it. I don't know the status, but I will certainly look into it." She added, "My view on this is, look at my record."

Submission + - New paper finds cost ranking same as pollution ranking for energy (ssrn.com)

mdsolar writes: Three recent “roadmap” analyses outline routes to a low-carbon economy that model the decarbonization of the electricity sector and the pervasive electrification of the transportation and industrial sectors. Two of these also impose a pollution constraint on electricity resources that rejects the use of nuclear power and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage. Using independent cost estimates and sequentially “relaxing” the constraints on resource selection, this paper compares the resource costs of the resulting portfolios of assets needed to meet the need for electricity. Reflecting the continuing decline of the cost of renewable resources, the paper supports the claim that the long run costs of the 100% renewable portfolios are not only less than business-as-usual portfolios, but that the “environmental merit order” of asset selection is quite close to the “economic merit order.” Neither fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage nor nuclear power enters the least-cost, low-carbon portfolio. As long as a rigorous least-cost constraint is imposed on decarbonization, the pollution constraint is superfluous. The paper evaluates the Paris Agreement on climate change in light of these findings. The Agreement is described as a progressive, mixed market economic model with a governance structure based on a polycentric, multi-stakeholder approach for management of a common pool resource. The paper argues that this approach reflects the underlying techno-economic conditions and the fact that national governments have authority over local energy policy. It also notes that the political economy of the Agreement is consistent with current academic analysis of policy responses to the challenges of climate change and management of a large, focal core resource system.

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