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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.

Submission + - Another natural born citizen leaves the race for president (washingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: Following Martin O'Malley, Rand Paul has suspended his campaign for president. This time however, the participation of an ineligible candidate played a role. Ted Cruz, who took the lead in delegates in Iowa in not a natural born citizen http://www.salon.com/2016/01/2... and is thus not eligible to be president. The fairness of the process that led to Paul's suspension seems in doubt.

Submission + - Former DoE employee pleads guilty in secret selling sting (washingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: A former Energy Department employee accused of attempting to infiltrate the agency’s computer system to steal nuclear secrets and sell them to a foreign government pleaded guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of attempting to damage protected government computers in an email “spear-phishing attack.”

Charles Harvey Eccleston, a former employee at the department and at the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), was arrested March 27 by Philippine authorities after an undercover FBI sting operation.

Eccleston, 62, a U.S. citizen who had been living in the Philippines since 2011, was “terminated” from his job at the NRC in 2010, according to the Justice Department. In January 2015, the department said, he targeted more than 80 Energy Department employees in Washington at four national nuclear labs with emails containing what he thought were links to malicious websites that, if activated, could infect and damage computers.

Submission + - Hinkley Point nuclear fiasco spooks Hitachi boss (telegraph.co.uk)

mdsolar writes: The head of Hitachi has warned that the debacle surrounding the construction of Hinkley Point nuclear plant throws up “very serious concerns” about its own investment in the UK.

Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman and chief executive of the Japanese industrial giant, said the setbacks experienced by Hinkley’s developer EDF raised questions about how future plants including its Wylfa Newydd project are funded.

Hitachi’s subsidiary Horizon is planning to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey that is expected to start generating power by the mid-2020s.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Nakanishi revealed that he had expressed concerns about the expected costs of the project with Philip Hammond during the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Japan this month.

Submission + - California Public Utilities Commission votes to continue net metering (pv-tech.org)

mdsolar writes: In a narrow 3-to-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) made the motion to extend net metering for rooftop solar in the Golden State.

The CPUC voted today on the proposal to implement ‘net metering 2.0,’ which would have served as a replacement to the current net metering program. The new plan would have impacted how much solar customers would be credited for the excess power they collect through their rooftop installations.

Three California utilities — PG&E, Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric — were leading the charge for amendments to the current net metering plan, arguing that the current agreement stands as an unfair subsidy.

Sean Gallagher, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, said: “By voting to continue net metering in California, the CPUC is driving a stake in the ground and solidifying its place as America’s leading clean energy state. Today’s decision hands Californians a projected $1.6 billion a year and seizes upon a golden opportunity to enable Golden State’s homes, and businesses of all kinds, to choose to go solar.”

California now joins Colorado, New York, New Jersey and New Mexico as states that have recently decided to continue or expand its net metering program. Over 450,000 customers in California have installed PV systems, with a increasing number of installations sprouting up across a number of demographics.

Submission + - China admits nuclear emergency response 'inadequate' as safety concerns halt con (scmp.com)

mdsolar writes: China admitted on Wednesday its nuclear emergency response mechanism is “inadequate” for coping with “new situations and challenges” arising from its nuclear power plants.

The central government also said it had halted construction of two new-generation nuclear reactors in Guangdong province, because of safety concerns, but vowed that they would not be abandoned.

Submission + - Deadly landslide at planned French nuclear waste site (thelocal.fr)

mdsolar writes: he deadly landslide occurred in an underground laboratory site at Bure in the Meuse department (see map below).

The two people involved in the incident were in a tunnel currently being dug at the site, a spokesman for the emergency services said.

Officials said no nuclear waste was at the site at the time of the incident.

Psychological counselling was offered to employees at the facility.

The site is managed by the National Agency for the Management of Nuclear Waste (Andra) and is designed to hold waste 500 metres underground, once it opens for use.

The project is still in a testing stage with scientists examining whether the most toxic nuclear waste could be contained safely underground.

Submission + - Doomsday Clock stuck near midnight due to climate change and nuclear war (theguardian.com)

mdsolar writes: The Doomsday Clock, the symbolic countdown to humanity’s end, remained stuck on the brink of the apocalypse for a second year on Tuesday, because of the continued existential threats posed by nuclear war and climate change.

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the group which created the clock in 1947, said it was keeping the clock hands set at three minutes to midnight – the closest the clock has come to destruction since the throes of the cold war in 1984.

“The clock ticks now at just three minutes to midnight because international leaders are failing to perform their most important duty,” the scientists said.

The ominous forecast was imposed despite two major diplomatic accomplishments last year: the Iranian nuclear deal and the historic Paris agreement to fight climate change.

Submission + - California insurance commissioner calls for coal divestment (reuters.com)

mdsolar writes: California's insurance commissioner on Monday asked all insurance companies doing business in the state to voluntarily divest from coal companies and said he will also require insurance companies to disclose their coal company holdings.

Coal use by utility companies has plummeted amid low natural gas prices and new federal regulations aimed at curbing carbon emissions, a major contributor to climate change.

Ten years ago coal produced 50 percent of the nation's power supply but now accounts for only about 35 percent, according to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration.

The lack of demand has driven the price of coal down and helped force Arch Coal Inc ACIIQ.PK, the nation's second-largest U.S. coal miner, to file for bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

Submission + - EDF struggling to fund new Hinkley Point nuclear reactors (theguardian.com)

mdsolar writes: The UK’s first new nuclear power plants for decades face fresh delays, amid reports that French energy giant EDF is unsure it can finance the £18bn project.

Directors were expected to meet this week to sign off on a plan to build two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

A final decision has been on the cards since October, when China’s state nuclear firm CGN announced that it would take a 33.5% stake in the project during a visit to the UK by premier Xi Jinping.

But executives at state-owned EDF, which owns the rest of the project, have delayed a final decision amid funding problems, according to French financial journal Les Echos.

Submission + - Paris Treaty Could Broaden EPA's Authority Over Greenhouse Gases (insideclimatenews.org)

mdsolar writes: A decades-old and little-used provision of the Clean Air Act intended to make the United States a good environmental neighbor could now be employed to comprehensively control the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new analysis.

Authored by a team of professors, attorneys and environmental scholars specializing in climate change, the study analyzes a section of the Clean Air Act intended to safeguard international borders from air pollution. Their prescription could provide the most potent approach for achieving the targets of the Paris climate agreement, the analysts say.

"The time is ripe for EPA to consider use of its authority for international air pollution control," the study urged.

The provision has been part of the Clean Air Act since it was passed in the early 1970s. It authorizes the EPA to require states to address emissions that endanger public health or welfare in other countries––if those countries extend the same protections to the U.S.

Submission + - US could switch to 80% RE, no batteries needed (smithsonianmag.com)

mdsolar writes: The United States could lower carbon emissions from electricity generation by as much as 78 percent without having to develop any new technologies or use costly batteries, a new study suggests. There’s a catch, though. The country would have to build a new national transmission network so that states could share energy.

“Our idea was if we had a national ‘interstate highway for electrons’ we could move the power around as it was needed, and we could put the wind and solar plants in the very best places,” says study co-author Alexander MacDonald, who recently retired as director of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

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