From RT News:
The discovery of large hydrocarbon deposits in the Arctic has sparked international competition over resources in frozen waters. Regional powers are quickly filing claims for the sea shelf, with Russia preparing to bring in the biggest bid to the UN.
Ahead of Moscow preparing to file a 1.2 million square kilometer Arctic waters bid to the UN later this year, President Vladimir Putin commissioned Russian ministries to get ready to take the new territories in the Sea of Okhotsk under full control and protection.
The Russian president ordered maintenance of border patrols of the extended sea shelf be in place by July 1, 2014.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has been instructed to ensure maritime authorities extend the Russian shelf in the Sea of Okhotsk beyond the generally recognized 200 nautical miles zone by December 1, 2015.
The Foreign Ministry is obliged to bring all the necessary documents, including new maps of the Sea of Okhotsk and scientific data serving as proof of Russia’s bid, to the UN by March 1, 2015.
Experts say the future of the world economy, to some extent, is dependent on the Arctic.
Last year, Russian energy giants, Gazprom and Rosneft, were granted rights to develop large hydrocarbon deposits recently discovered in the Pechora and Kara seas. The find could be a pot of gold for Russia’s gas industry.
Public skepticism about global warming is increasing.
Major International Climate Report Challenges UN Alarmism
The UN report, which is already becoming a laughingstock as top climate scientists and experts ridicule its claims and failed forecasts, argues that the IPCC is now 95 percent sure that human activity is behind global warming. The biggest problem for the UN, critics point out, is that in brazen defiance of IPCC theories and predictions, there has been no real global warming for the last 17 years. Indeed, many independent experts and scientists are forecasting global cooling as solar activity declines.
Meanwhile, the 1,200-page NIPCC report, dubbed “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Physical Science,” counters much of the hysteria being propagated by the UN and national governments in their effort to secure a planetary carbon regime. Among other key points, the dozens of independent scientists found that the human impact on climate is very small. Any warming that may be caused by human greenhouse gas emissions, the report argues, is likely so small that it is essentially invisible against a background of natural variability.
And your counter argument is "shut up"?!? What is your degree in again?
A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finds that solar facilities in California are acting like “mega traps” that kill and injure birds. As a result, “entire food chains” are being disrupted.
USFWS’s National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory studied three solar farms in Southern California: Desert Sunlight, Genesis Solar and Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS). Two-hundred and thirty-three different birds from 71 species were found over the course of a two-year study.
The three main causes of death were:
1. Solar flux: Exposure to temperatures over 800 degrees F.
2. Impact (or blunt force) trauma: The birds’ wings are rendered inoperable while flying, causing them to crash into the ground. Birds that do not die are often injured badly enough to make them vulnerable to predators.
3. Predators: When a bird’s wings are singed and it can not fly, it loses its primary means of defense against animals like foxes and coyotes.
Hummingbirds, swifts, swallows, doves, hawks, finches, warblers and owls were just some dead birds found at the solar facilities’ “equal opportunity” mortality hazards.
In one instance, lab staff observed a “falcon-type bird with a plume of smoke arising from the tail as it passed through [a] flux field.”
The study found that besides the intense heat, birds may be mistaking large solar panels for bodies of water. The injured birds then attract insects and other predators to the area. They, too, are then vulnerable to injury or death.
In one instance, researchers found “hundreds upon hundreds” of butterfly carcasses (including Monarchs). The insects were attracted to the light from the solar farms, which in turn attracted birds and perpetuated a cycle of death and injury.
Sadly, Yahoo limits the size of the post and doesn't allow publishing a link to the source so I was forced to "cherry pick" a portion.
The article notes:
One or two 233U bombs were tested in the Nevada desert during the 1950s and, perhaps ominously, another was detonated by India in the late 1990s. But if the American experience is anything to go by, such bombs are temperamental and susceptible to premature detonation because the intense gamma radiation 233U produces fries the triggering circuitry and makes handling the weapons hazardous. The American effort was abandoned after the Nevada tests.
The gamma-ray problem is created by a quirk of the process that turns thorium into 233U. A small amount takes a different path and ends up as radioactive thallium—which is very radioactive indeed. Its gamma rays are so powerful that they can penetrate concrete a metre thick. Extracting, smelting and machining material containing even trace amounts of it is beyond the scope of all but a handful of national weapons laboratories. Rogue nations interested in an atom bomb are thus likely to leave thorium reactors well alone when there is so much poorly policed plutonium scattered around the world. So a technology abandoned because it could not be turned into weapons may now, in part for that very reason, be about to resurface.
The effects of man-made global warming are reaching epic proportions. Just how bad has it gotten? Consider this: The Great Lakes are still 52.9% ice covered, which is 1,000% above the average. Dating back to 1980, no other year comes even close. Worse, according to NOAA measurements, "Global Sea Ice Extent is 959,000 above the 1981-2010 mean. That is ranked 4th for the day. And that is 4.61% above 'normal.'" Additionally, "Antarctic Sea Ice Extent is 1,403,000 above the 1981-2010 mean. That is ranked 1st for the day. And that is 23.74% above 'normal.'" It's also this young year's 30th daily record. Clearly, we've got work to do. Like stocking up on blankets.
In Washington’s world of special interests, the wind industry stands out among the most persistent.
Over the past 20 years, its lobbyists have secured billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies for multinational wind companies that claim to represent a nascent industry on the cusp of economic competitiveness.
The Senate Finance Committee now wants to keep the spigot of federal money flowing. On April 3, the committee voted to include an extension to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) in its tax extenders package. The PTC, which expired on Dec. 31, is a lucrative subsidy that provides wind developers a 2.3-cent tax credit per kilowatt hour of electricity produced over a 10-year period. This adds up quickly, with the wind industry receiving $1.3 billion in 2012 alone.
The PTC is a solution in search of a problem. Originally included in the Energy Policy Act of 1992, the PTC was intended by Congress to kick-start renewable-energy development. Since then, Congress has renewed the PTC multiple times and increased its value on multiple occasions.
The PTC has outlived any purpose it may have once had. Wind generation has grown by nearly 5,000 percent since the PTC’s inception. In 1992, wind installations produced 2,887,523 megawatt hours of electricity. In 2013, the wind industry produced 167,665,000 megawatt hours of electricity.
In other words, Big Wind is doing just fine.
The wind industry is not even an infant industry. Wind developers were advertising in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in 1897. Despite the wind industry’s longevity, its backers would like people to think that they are almost ready to stand on their own without subsidies — after more than 115 years of trying.
India has abundant thorium reserves, and the country’s nuclear-power programme, which is intended, eventually, to supply a quarter of the country’s electricity (up from 3% at the moment), plans to use these for fuel. This will take time. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research already runs a small research reactor in Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai plans to follow this up with a thorium-powered heavy-water reactor that will, it hopes, be ready early next decade.
China’s thorium programme looks bigger. The Chinese Academy of Sciences claims the country now has “the world’s largest national effort on thorium”, employing a team of 430 scientists and engineers, a number planned to rise to 750 by 2015. This team, moreover, is headed by Jiang Mianheng, an engineering graduate of Drexel University in the United States who is the son of China’s former leader, Jiang Zemin (himself an engineer). Some may question whether Mr Jiang got his job strictly on merit. His appointment, though, does suggest the project has political clout. The team plan to fire up a prototype thorium reactor in 2015. Like India’s, this will use solid fuel. But by 2017 the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics expects to have one that uses a trickier but better fuel, molten thorium fluoride.
Thorium itself is not fissile. If bombarded by neutrons, though, it turns into an isotope of uranium, 233U, which is. Thorium can thus be burned in a conventional reactor along with enriched uranium or plutonium to provide the necessary neutrons. But a better way is to turn the element into its fluoride, mix that with fluorides of beryllium and lithium to bring its melting-point down from 1,110ºC to a more tractable 360ºC, and melt the mixture. The resulting liquid can be pumped into a specially designed reactor core, where fission raises its temperature to 700ºC or so.
The completion of decontamination work allowed residents of a small part of the Fukushima exclusion zone to return home Tuesday, just over three years after they were forced into exile.
The reopening of the Miyakoji area of Tamura, a city inland from the wrecked nuclear station, marks a tiny step for Japan as it attempts to recover from the 2011 disasters.
But the event is a major milestone for the 357 registered residents of the district. The trickle of returnees highlights both people's desire to return to the forested hamlet and the difficulty of returning to normal.
"Many of our friends and neighbors won't come back," said Kimiko Koyama, 69, speaking on her return to the large farmhouse she had occupied for 50 years, while her husband Toshio, 72, tried to fix a television antenna on the roof.
"There are no jobs. It's inconvenient and young people are scared of radiation," she said. "My daughter won't bring our grandsons here because of the radiation."
Italy has been a global leader in nuclear nonproliferation, working with the United States since 1997 to eliminate more than 100 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium.
At the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit, the United States and Italy announced the successful removal of all eligible fresh HEU and plutonium from Italy. These shipments were completed via a joint effort between the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) and Italy’s Società Gestione Impianti Nucleari (SOGIN). This is the thirteenth shipment of material from Italy to the United States under this program.
At the 2012 Nuclear Security Summit, Italy and the United States pledged to work together to remove this material prior to the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. The material was located at three SOGIN facilities in Italy (EUREX Plant - Saluggia, IPU and OPEC Plants - Casaccia, and ITREC Plant - Trisaia). More than 17 kilograms of HEU and plutonium were removed, including UK and U.S.-origin material stemming from research and development activities in Italy. Prior to removal, the material was securely stored under International Atomic Energy (IAEA) safeguards. In order to complete this project, GTRI and SOGIN needed to overcome significant technical challenges including:
This material will be stored at secure facilities in the United States until it is disposed of or downblended to LEU and utilized for civilian purposes. The United States and Italy plan to continue to work together to eliminate additional stocks of special nuclear material to make sure they never fall into the hands of terrorists, and are prepared to help other countries do the same.
I got that. No problem.
Corn ethanol is really a hidden farm subsidy. Farmers and agrobusinesses reaped huge windfalls and since a lot of swing states have a lot of farmers, both political parties pushed ethanol mandates. Although the Obama Administration (and Bush before him) label it an "energy" policy, it is just a way for Congressmen to get more pork for their districts.
Russia and China are building most of the world's nuclear reactors, providing financing to meet demand and leveraging energy to extend their political influence, according to CNBC.
The United States is taking a back seat, building just 7 percent of plants globally compared to Russia's 37 percent and China's 28 percent. There are 71 nuclear plants under construction around the world with 160 more "in licensing and advanced planning stages," CNBC said, citing the Nuclear Energy Institute.
After the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear meltdown, the United States and its partners shared their safety know-how with Moscow, according to Reuters.
Russia has the advantage that it can build in countries the United States avoids out of concern for nuclear proliferation, such as Iran, and Moscow is less concerned about nuclear safety in general. Washington shares and sells nuclear know-how to a restricted roster of 21 countries, according to CNBC.
Moscow energetically seeks opportunities in the $500 billion nuclear exports market with the Kremlin and Russia's nuclear sector working in tandem.
In addition to supplying Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's regime in Iran, Russia is building 18 other plants abroad, including in Venezuela for President Nicolás Maduro, who had been Hugo Chávez's foreign minister, and in Turkey for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. To build in the former Soviet satellite of Hungary, Russia is prepared to offer $14 billion in financing, according to Bloomberg.
Moscow is also expanding its domestic nuclear energy sector with nine reactors under construction, Reuters reported.
Critics of U.S. reticence to challenge Russia, and other nuclear exporting countries such as China, say that Washington is losing business and influence. Barbara Judge, an American-British businesswoman and former chairwoman of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority, told CNBC that Russia was using nuclear building and financing as a way to wield geopolitical and economic influence.
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazil is fighting against time to avoid crippling power blackouts and electricity rationing as a drought prevents the world's most water-rich nation from recharging its hydroelectric dams.
A decade of growth has diversified the electricity system away from hydropower, but policymakers, industrial companies and investors in the world's seventh-largest economy may find little cause to relax.
Rio de Janeiro-based energy consultancy PSR puts the odds of rationing at nearly 1 in 4.
"Rationing or not, the drought's impact on Brazil will be large," said PSR Director Jose Rosenblatt. "There's no way to avoid it."
Hydro reservoirs, which generate two-thirds of Brazil's power, are at near-record lows. To keep the lights on and factories open, all of the country's main thermal power plants are running full throttle as an estimated 600,000 visitors prepare to arrive for the June start of the soccer World Cup.
The situation is already testing the government of President Dilma Rousseff as October's presidential election nears.
The risks of rationing and costs associated with the drought threaten growth and investment in the country, Standard & Poor's said on Monday when it downgraded the credit rating on Brazil's foreign currency debt.
The administration said on March 13 that it will cost 12 billion reais ($5.2 billion) in 2014 to rescue utilities forced to pay record-high prices to replace cheap hydro with more-expensive power from natural gas, coal and oil plants.
That will probably drive up inflation this year and next. At nearly 6 percent, the rate is close to the top of the government's target band. If the 2001-2002 drought is any guide, Brazil's expected 1.7 percent 2014 growth rate could fall to 1 percent or less, according to Brazilian bank BTG Pactual SA.
Rationing, the bank says, is the worst option, but higher power prices for a steel mill or mine would cut corporate profit almost as surely as assembly lines or shops shut by rationing.
The International Energy Agency has issued projections that the United States will displace Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2015. By 2020, notes a report in Investing Daily, the United States will produce 11.6 million barrels a day. During the same period, Saudi Arabia’s output is expected to fall from 11.7 million bpd to 10.6 million bpd.
In “America’s Energy Edge,” an essay in the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs (the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations), Robert D. Blackwiil and Meghan L. O’Sullivan noted that during the past five years U.S. energy producers have taken advantage of two new technologies: “horizontal drilling, which allows wells to penetrate bands of shale deep underground, and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses the injection of high-pressure fluid to release gas and oil from rock formations.”
The resulting uptick in energy production has been dramatic. Between 2007 and 2012, U.S. shale gas production rose by over 50 percent each year, and its share of total U.S. gas production jumped from five percent to 39 percent.... Between 2007 and 2012, fracking also generated an 18-fold increase in U.S. production of what is known as light tight oil, high-quality petroleum found in shale or sandstone that can be released by fracking. This boom has succeeded in reversing the long decline in U.S. crude oil production, which grew by 50 percent between 2008 and 2013. Thanks to these developments, the United States is now poised to become an energy superpower.
At the heart of this story is a technique that has been used so successfully to increase U.S. oil production: fracking, the popular term for what scientists call hydraulic fracturing. Basically, hydraulic fracturing is the fracturing of rock — in this case shale containing oil — by a pressurized liquid. Water mixed with sand and chemicals is injected at high pressure into a borehole, producing small fractures in the shale,
The March 23, 2014 Telegraph carried this article stating that “Biofuels do more harm than good, UN warns.”
Of course a lot of other people have been saying that for years. In 2007, near-riots took place in Mexico over the increase in corn meal prices triggered by corn for automobile biofuel alcohol. Even Al Gore fessed-up in 2010 that his idea for corn ethanol was a “bad idea” prompted by his presidential ambitions. George W. Bush was also a strong proponent of corn ethanol.
The day of reckoning seems to have come for all these acolytes of this green boondogle. The U.N. IPCC, the self-declared expert on all things climate, has finally seen the light of reason and perhaps the multitudes of the food-starved. The new mantra seems to be easier to swallow…”biofuels bad.”
What to tell the EPA which has mandated the use of nonexistent stocks of biofuels, and fines consumers for not using the nonexistent fuel?
Japan's government announced that it will turn over a large stockpile of highly enriched uranium and plutonium to the US for "elimination." Tokyo made the announcement on the eve of a nuclear disarmament conference at The Hague.
Japan will turn over hundreds of kilograms of sensitive atomic material of potential use in bombs to the United States to be downgraded and disposed of, the two countries' leaders said ahead of a nuclear security summit on Monday.
China had voiced concern earlier this year about Japan's holding of plutonium but Washington and the United Nations nuclear agency in Vienna have made it clear they are not worried about the way Tokyo is handling the issue.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a joint statement that all highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium would be removed from the Fast Critical Assembly at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.
Like uranium, plutonium is used to fuel nuclear power plants and for research purposes, but can also provide material for nuclear weapons. A Fast Critical Assembly is used for studying the nuclear physics of so-called fast reactors.
"This effort involves the elimination of hundreds of kilograms of nuclear material, furthering our mutual goal of minimizing stocks of HEU and separated plutonium worldwide, which will help prevent unauthorized actors, criminals, or terrorists from acquiring such materials," said the joint statement released by the White House.
"This material, once securely transported to the United States, will be sent to a secure facility and fully converted into less sensitive forms."
USEC is high-risk, possibly high-reward. Basically, it's a gamble. It will be years before the new plant is making money and they can start paying down debt.
There are better investments out there. American Airlines (AAL) is up 140% in the past year and still sells at a PEG ratio of 0.2, indicating it is incredibly cheap.
Gilead Pharmaceuticals (GILD) is a big biotech, up 70% in the past year but selling at a PEG ratio of 0.57, indicating that it is still also very cheap.
NYMT is a mortgage REIT that pays a 14% dividend. It is still recovering from a dip last September, but is up 15% this year and firing on all cylinders.
URG, from a technical standpoint, has a chart that's a textbook "head and shoulders" formation. This is very bearish and if it doesn't get good news soon it could go a LOT lower. Hold it at your own risk. Hope this helps.
(AP) Police have surrounded a nuclear plant in eastern France after more than 60 Greenpeace activists occupied it Tuesday to protest the nation's reliance on atomic power.
Activists hung a banner reading "Stop Risking Europe" next to one of the reactors at the Fessenheim plant near the German border. France's oldest nuclear plant, it has become a flashpoint for anti-nuclear campaigners who say it is unsafe and should have been closed long ago.
In a statement Tuesday, Greenpeace France said the activists had come from 14 countries across Europe "to denounce the risk to Europe from France's nuclear power," and to promote a transition to other energy sources. France relies on nuclear power more than any other country for its electricity needs.
Two police helicopters and some 200 officers were dispatched to the site as authorities tried to peacefully remove the activists from the site, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television.
The nuclear safety agency ASN said the intrusion "has not had any impact on the safety of the facility." Utility Electricite de France, which operates the plant, says the activists were unable to get inside any of the buildings at the plant, though images released by Greenpeace show them on the roof of one.
This protest comes a month after Greenpeace dumped a truckload of coal at the doorstep of France's presidential palace. The group wants European countries to commit to raising their percentage of renewable energy use to 45 percent by 2030
I wonder how they will launch them without the space shuttle?
From UK Mail Online:
US Navy bosses have revealed futuristic plans to beam power from space.
They believe large arrays of space solar modules could send solar power to Earth.
The radical scheme could be used to power military installations and even cities.
Dr. Paul Jaffe, a spacecraft engineer at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, has built and tested two types of module to capture and transmit solar power.
The scheme uses a 'sandwich' module, which packs all the electrical components between two square panels.
The top side is a photovoltaic panel that absorbs the Sun’s rays.
An electronics system in the middle converts the energy to a radio frequency, and the bottom is an antenna that transfers the power toward a target on the ground.
The modules would be assembled in space by robots to form a one kilometer, very powerful satellite.
A second design, a 'step' module, modifies the sandwich design by opening it up, which allows it to receive more sunlight without overheating, thereby making it more efficient.
Even the Navy admits the plan sounds like a sci-fi plot.
In short, the plan contains a rather obvious violation of the absolute priority rule.
Nonetheless, USEC reports that about 65 percent of its bondholders support the deal. Based on a quick look at the known holders — again via Bloomberg — this does not look like an unsophisticated bunch. It includes Highbridge Capital, J. Goldman & Company, GLG Partners and the like.
So they have agreed to a deal that gives the preferred shareholders money that the bondholders would normally be entitled to demand.
Maybe, just maybe, this suggests that the academics need to think a bit more about the subtleties of the absolute priority rule.
Sometimes continuing the business as a going concern means realizing the soft power of those that would normally have lower-ranked claims. In this case, it’s probably not a coincidence that the two preferred shareholders are big players in the power industry.
Stephen J. Lubben is the Harvey Washington Wiley Chair in corporate governance and business ethics at Seton Hall Law School and an expert on bankruptcy.
Published Mar 14th,2014
There is theory and then there is actual practice. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of USEC, which processes uranium for power plants, provides a nice reminder.
Academics, in both the business and legal worlds, spend a lot of timing worrying about the “absolute priority rule.” This is the idea that secured creditors are paid in full before unsecured ones, and the unsecured creditors are paid in full before shareholders receive anything.
Academics have long argued that failure to heed the absolute priority rule with great rigor results in higher debt costs for all borrowers in the economy. It’s the basis for many academic criticisms of Chapter 11.
But now we have the USEC reorganization plan, which creditors and preferred shareholders have agreed to support. It would give the holders of existing convertible notes cash for their accrued but unpaid interest, as well as new notes and just more than 79 percent of the stock of the reorganized company.
The preferred shareholders — Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox — would receive just more than $40 million in notes and not quite 16 percent of the new equity. The old shareholders would retain a 5 percent interest in the company.
All other claims would ride through the bankruptcy unaffected.
Of real interest is what’s happening to the preferred shares — especially relative to the convertible debt. The preferred shareholders are upgrading their place in the capital structure — becoming creditors instead of mere shareholders — while also retaining a nice piece of the potential upside.
But the holders of convertible debt are not being paid in full. USEC, which is based in Bethesda, Md., estimates they are recovering a bit less than 70 percent, but Bloomberg News reports that the bonds are trading at about 40 percent to face value. Even allowing for some discount for the possibility the plan will fall through, this suggests USEC’s estimate is a bit on the optimistic side.