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+ - France investigating mysterious drone activity on 7 nuclear power plant sites->

Submitted by thygate
thygate (1590197) writes "In France, an investigation has been launched into the appearance of "drones" on 7 different nuclear power plant sites across the country in the last month. Some of the plants involved are Creys-Malville en Bugey in the southeast, Blayais in the southwest, Cattenom en Chooz in the northeast, Gravelines in the north, and Nogent-sur-Seine, close to Paris. On each occasion "drones" were seen on the domain somewhere from late in the evening to early in the morning, while it is forbidden to fly over these sites on altitudes less than 1 km in a 5 km radius. According to a spokesman of the state electric company that runs the facilities (EDF), there was no danger to the security and production of the plants. However these incidents will likely bring nuclear safety concerns back into the spotlight. France is number one country in the world when it comes to dependency on nuclear power, with a total of 58 centrals spread over 19 sites across the country.

Greenpeace's head of its anti-nuclear power campaign has already denied involvement. Their spokesman added that these events are very troubling, and also mentions they have learned about more "drone" activity above the French Center for nuclear research (CEA) close to Paris."

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+ - Drones spotted over seven French nuclear sites->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "France’s state-run power firm Électricité de France (EDF) on Wednesday said unidentified drones had flown over seven nuclear plants this month, leading it to file a complaint with the police.

The unmanned aircraft did not harm “the safety or the operation” of the power plants, EDF said, adding that the first drone was spotted on 5 October above a plant in deconstruction in eastern Creys-Malville.

More drone activity followed at other nuclear power sites across the country between 13 October and 20 October, usually at night or early in the morning, EDF said, adding that it had notified the police each time.

Greenpeace, whose activists have in the past staged protests at nuclear plants in France, denied any involvement in the mysterious pilotless flight activity.

But the environmental group expressed concern at the apparent evidence of “a large-scale operation”, noting that drone activity was detected at four sites on the same day in 19 October – at Bugey in the east, Gravelines and Chooz in the north and Nogent-sur-Seine in north-central France."

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Comment: Re:No magic wand? (Score 1) 654

by mdsolar (#48261151) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
Not really. God having rules and tending not to break them is not a restriction on omnipotence in the sense of 'can't' but rather 'won't.' God also binds Himself in terms of covenants, as for example a promise not to bring on a deluge again that destroys everything. God's rule breaking tends to be for a particular purpose. Raising Lazarus, for example, was meant to inspire faith. But rule breaking is rare and seems to require faith in turn since it is unlikely you can persuade God to do that again in your presence just to check up on His capabilities. So, you must accept the testimony from a long time ago that that miracle occurred.

Comment: Richard Dawkins and Lawence Krauss (Score 1) 654

by mdsolar (#48260165) Attached to: Pope Francis Declares Evolution and Big Bang Theory Are Right
These comments seem to indicate that the Pope thinks that Evolution and Cosmology don't provide any support for atheism as proposed by Dawkins or Krauss (as reported in a new book by Amir Aczel). Aczel also criticizes their claims, saying they are unscientific. He manages to bring mathematicians Cantor and Gödel into his argument in "Why Science Does Not Disprove God." http://www.amazon.com/Why-Scie...

+ - Partial Solar Eclipse 2014 Arrives Thursday->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes ""It's already been a big week for skywatchers, and more celestial fun is on the horizon.

On Tuesday, skywatchers were treated to the annual Orionid meteor shower. And now a spooky partial solar eclipse will darken skies for viewers across North America on Thursday, Oct. 23.

A partial solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes in front of the sun, casting a shadow on Earth and blocking a portion of the sun from view.

The eclipse will be visible in the late afternoon between the East and West Coast of the U.S., as far north as the Arctic, and as far south as Mexico."

If you can be in an area with dappled sunlight, you may notice the individual spots of light are no longer round during the eclipse."

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+ - Power Plants Seek to Extend Life of Nuclear Reactors for Decades->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The prospects for building new nuclear reactors may be sharply limited, but the owners of seven old ones, in Pennsylvania, Virginia and South Carolina, are preparing to ask for permission to run them until they are 80 years old.

Nuclear proponents say that extending plants’ lifetimes is more economical — and a better way to hold down carbon dioxide emissions — than building new plants, although it will require extensive monitoring of steel, concrete, cable insulation and other components. But the idea is striking even to some members of the nuclear establishment.

At a meeting of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May, George Apostolakis, a risk expert who was then one of the five commissioners, pointed out that if operation were allowed until age 80, some reactors would be using designs substantially older than that.

“I don’t know how we would explain to the public that these designs, 90-year-old designs, 100-year-old designs, are still safe to operate,” he said. “Don’t we need more convincing arguments than just ‘We’re managing aging effects’?”"

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+ - Ebola Test Is Positive in Second Texas Health Worker->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The authorities in Texas reported on Wednesday that a second health care worker involved in the treatment of a patient who died of the Ebola virus had tested positive for the disease after developing a fever.

The worker, who was not identified by name, had been “among those who took care of Thomas Eric Duncan after he was diagnosed with Ebola,” a statement from the Texas Department of State Health Services said."

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+ - Coalition accused of 'bullying' ANU after criticism of divestment->

Submitted by mdsolar
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The government has been accused of bullying the Australian National University, after Joe Hockey criticised it for divesting from a number of fossil fuel companies.

In highly unusual remarks about a business’s investment decisions, the treasurer said ANU should reconsider its decision to jettison investment in seven firms – Santos, Iluka Resources, Independence Group, Newcrest Mining, Sandfire Resources, Oil Search and Sirius Resources.

“I would suggest they’re removed from the reality of what is helping to drive the Australian economy and create more employment,” Hockey told the Australian Financial Review.

“Sometimes the view looks different from the lofty rooms of a university.”

Hockey is one of several politicians to publicly rebuke ANU over its fossil fuel divestment. The assistant infrastructure minister, Jamie Briggs, said he would write to the ANU vice-chancellor, Ian Young, to ask him to reconsider the blacklisting of coal seam gas company Santos.

“To publicly denigrate the reputation of one of South Australia’s finest companies is a disgrace,” Briggs said. “This seems to be taking green activism to a new level where it is damaging Australian companies and potentially job creation in the country.”"

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Comment: Re:"152% too low"? (Score 1) 423

by mdsolar (#48072005) Attached to: Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming
"The results suggest that previous estimates of the heat stored in the upper 700 meters of the ocean since 1970 have been too low. In the Southern Ocean in particular, they estimate past heat tallies were 48% to 152% too low." Let's start with the 48% number. What do we need to get the new estimate from the old estimate? Multiply the old estimate by 0.48 and add that to the old estimate. Simplified, just multiply the old estimate by (0.48 +1). For the 152% number, it would be a factor of 2.52.

Thermal energy can be added to or released from a system so there is no problem using a negative sign when describing it. But that is not what is going on here.

Comment: Gas price (Score 1) 517

by mdsolar (#48008669) Attached to: Utilities Should Worry; Rooftop Solar Could Soon Cut Their Profit
Natural gas does not seem to do all that well below $3/MMBTU so utilities will have to find less costly generation and lower prices if they want to retain their market share. Wind, and soon solar, could pin natural gas down to $3/MMBTU and start to cut its share, so utilities should be looking at these forms of generation to avoid losing custom to DIY.

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