Take your hands and hold them palms down, middle fingertips touching. Your right hand represents the North American tectonic plate, which bears on its back, among other things, our entire continent, from One World Trade Center to the Space Needle, in Seattle. Your left hand represents an oceanic plate called Juan de Fuca, ninety thousand square miles in size. The place where they meet is the Cascadia subduction zone. Now slide your left hand under your right one. That is what the Juan de Fuca plate is doing: slipping steadily beneath North America. When you try it, your right hand will slide up your left arm, as if you were pushing up your sleeve. That is what North America is NOT doing. It is stuck, wedged tight against the surface of the other plate.
Without moving your hands, curl your right knuckles up, so that they point toward the ceiling. Under pressure from Juan de Fuca, the stuck edge of North America is bulging upward and compressing eastward, at the rate of, respectively, three to four millimetres and thirty to forty millimetres a year. It can do so for quite some time, because, as continent stuff goes, it is young, made of rock that is still relatively elastic. (Rocks, like us, get stiffer as they age.) But it cannot do so indefinitely. There is a backstop—the craton, that ancient unbudgeable mass at the center of the continent—and, sooner or later, North America will rebound like a spring. If, on that occasion, only the southern part of the Cascadia subduction zone gives way—your first two fingers, say—the magnitude of the resulting quake will be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.6. That’s the big one. If the entire zone gives way at once, an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude will be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2. That’s the VERY big one.
General Electric wants to be a "sizable" player in the market for energy storage systems, a sector the company expects to quadruple to $6B by 2020. "We believe in the space and its ability to grow," Jeff Wyatt, GE's (GE) general manager for energy storage, told Reuters. Demand for industrial battery systems has attracted a wide range of companies, including Tesla Motors (TSLA), which said in April it plans to package batteries for utilities as well as homes and businesses.
Energy storage systems would be needed to make intermitant generators (wind and solar) more practical.
You're assuming Iran intends to abide by the agreement? They are determined to get the bomb and Putin is helping them just to stick it to President Obama.
(CBS SF) — The fault that produced a 4.0-magnitude earthquake in Fremont early Tuesday morning is expected to produce a major earthquake “any day now” and Bay Area residents should be prepared, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist said.
The 2:41 a.m. earthquake on the border of Fremont and Union City occurred on the Hayward Fault at a depth of 5 miles. The epicenter was at a spot just north of the intersection of Niles Canyon Road and Mission Boulevard.
The quake caused some BART delays early Tuesday while work crews checked the tracks, but appears to have caused no major damage. At least 13 smaller quakes or aftershocks had been reported near the same location as of 6:42 a.m., the largest of which was a 2.7-magnitude at 2:56 a.m.
While damage from the quake was minimal, scientists warn that a much larger one is expected on the Hayward Fault, which extends from San Pablo Bay in the north to Fremont in the south and passes through heavily populated areas including Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward and Fremont.
The last big earthquake on the fault, estimated to have a 6.8-magnitude, occurred in 1868, according to the USGS.
It killed about 30 people and caused extensive property damage in the Bay Area, particularly in the city of Hayward, from which the fault derives its name. Until the larger 1906 earthquake, it was widely referred to as the “Great San Francisco Earthquake.”
“The population is now 100 times bigger in the East Bay, so we have many more people that will be impacted,” said Tom Brocher, a research geophysicist with the USGS.
“We keep a close eye on the Hayward Fault because it does sit in the heart of the Bay Area and when we do get a big earthquake on it, it’s going to have a big impact on the entire Bay Area,” Brocher said.
While a 2008 report put the probability of a 6.7-magnitude or larger earthquake on the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system over the next 30 years at 31 percent, Brocher said the reality is a major quake is expected on the fault “any day now.”
NWBO Has gone from $4 to $12 since last October! I prefer the somewhat safer play of BIB, the triple-leveraged biotech ETF. Its gone from $40 to $103 in twelve months. I bought more today!
Advances in our understanding of physics always pay off in the long run. That's how we got nuclear power.
A new particle called the pentaquark has been discovered by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The previously unseen class of particle was first predicted to exist in the 1960s but has eluded physicists until now.
It was detected by Cern's Large Hadron Collider beauty (LHCb) experiment at the LHC in Switzerland.
A new particle called the pentaquark has been discovered by scientists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
The LHCb experiment specialises in investigating the slight differences between matter and antimatter.
LHCb spokesperson Guy Wilkinson said: 'The pentaquark is not just any new particle. 'It represents a way to aggregate quarks, namely the fundamental constituents of ordinary protons and neutrons, in a pattern that has never been observed before in over fifty years of experimental searches.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said its output rose in June, despite oil price volatility, and warned that low prices might not give the boost to the world economy that some expected.
In its monthly report, the cartel reporting an increase in oil production of 283,000 barrels per day in June, to average of 31.38 million barrels per day. This comes despite a fall off in the oil price since the middle of May.
Oversupply in the oil market caused the price of Brent crude to crash 60 percent between June 2014 and January. It is currently down 45 percent from a year ago and was trading around $57.70 a barrel on Monday.
However, there is a potential upside to lower oil prices -- economists predicted that this could put more money in consumers' pockets and help economies across the world. But OPEC warned that other geopolitical factors were preventing this from happening.
"While current oil prices will continue to support the world economy to some extent, numerous challenges are likely to offset this positive effect, preventing higher growth," OPEC said.
"Among these issues are the high debt levels across the OECD, still high unemployment in the euro zone in combination with the uncertainties in Greece, expectations of rising interest rates in the U.S., overcapacity amid a slowing economy in China, and on-going geopolitical issues."
More bad news. Th Spot Ux SWU Price took out the lows this year and is currently at a price lower than at any time since 1985 according to a chart by UXC Consulting.
VIENNA: A top-level meeting at the Iran nuclear talks this week was a stormy affair, Iranian media reported Wednesday, with the country's foreign minister warning: "Never threaten an Iranian."
The altercation happened Monday evening as foreign ministers from Iran and six major powers including US Secretary of State John Kerry met in Vienna seeking to nail down a historic nuclear accord.
They failed to overcome their remaining differences, and have given themselves until Friday to finalize the accord to end a 13-year standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
The spark, during a discussion on lifting an arms embargo as part of the nuclear deal, came when other ministers expressed concerns about Iran being a destabilizing influence in the Middle East, Iranian media reported.
This prompted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to threaten to drag the others before an international court for supporting former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, an arch enemy of Iran, the reports said.
Diplomats stopped short of confirming the comments, but one senior Western envoy said the meeting saw a "very heated exchange of views."
Hungary and the European Atomic Energy Community Euratom have dealt with all issues regarding a nuclear deal between Moscow and Budapest for the construction of reactors and supply of fuel, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told Sputnik.
Anastasia Levchenko - According to the spokesman, the government has been cooperating with Euratom in all matters, and is waiting for a few last-minute legal and professional issues to be sorted out with the European Commission.
"All questions have been sorted out with Euratom considering the fuel contract and Euratom's questions regarding the freedom of supplying," Kovacs said.
In May, the Hungarian government confirmed a contract under which Russia would build two reactors at the Paks nuclear power plant (NPP).
A series of deals, signed in late 2014, agrees on the construction of the NPP's units 5 and 6 with Russian-built VVER-1200 reactors, as well as nuclear fuel supplies and maintenance.
In March, media reports suggested that the European Commission had blocked the project. The Hungarian government denied those rumors.
Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear agency, confirms scientists are testing 10th generation centrifuges. No other country even possesses 9th gen tech, putting Rosatom years ahead of the competition.
“We’re on to 10 Gen,” announced Aleksandr Belousov, general director of Urals Integrated Electrochemical Plant (UIEP), a Rosatom subsidiary in Novouralsk, Sverdlovsk Region, in the Urals.
“Scientists and engineers are solving technical issues, which is quite difficult. Any kind of new research and technological development is a venture undertaking, you can either succeed or fail... Any new machinery must be economically efficient. [10Gen] is being developed out of economic expediency, not for mere modernization. The more energy-intensive the machinery is, the more technical problems emerge,” Belousov said.
Last week the second cascade unit of 9 Gen gas centrifuges has become operable at the UIEP, with the first 9 Gen unit introduced in late December 2013. Having two 9 Gen centrifuge cascades means that UIEP is the leader in the industry, making up to 48 percent of Russian radioisotope market and 20 percent of the global market, RIA Novosti reports.
The 9 Gen centrifuges are four times more productive than 8 Gen centrifuges, which means a similar productivity pace should be applied to 10 Gen units, Belousov said.
Development of nuclear enrichment centrifuges in the Soviet Union began in 1952. Over the time general dimensions of the machinery changed a little yet the productivity has augmented by 14 times, whereas operating costs have diminished by at least 10 times, aide to the UIEP head, Gennady Solovyov, said.
The modern Russian centrifuge is a state-of-the-art component made of composite materials and special aluminum alloy. Its rotor spins with unbelievable speed of 1,000 rotations per second and can do it without a single stop for 30 years. Mechanical malfunctions are extremely rare, no more than 0.1 percent (one failure per 1,000 units) per year.
In the ongoing battle to clean up Japan's crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, Toshiba is deploying a novel robot that's a bit like a scorpion.
Developed with the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID), the cylindrical machine is designed to enter the primary containment vessel (PCV) of the Unit 2 reactor at the plant, which was heavily damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. The catastrophe sparked a nuclear emergency and long-term evacuations.
Toshiba wants to deploy the device to help determine the condition and location of melted-down fuel in the reactor, which is too dangerous for workers to enter. The effort is part of decommissioning work at the plant that's expected to take decades.
The robot is 54 centimeters long, and can put itself right-side up if it topples over. It has a joint near its middle that allows it to raise its tail like a scorpion, bringing a camera and LED lights to bear on its environment, complementing another camera and LEDs in its nose section.
The video feed will be used by operators using devices resembling PlayStation game controllers. Control signals are sent to the robot through a wire. The 5-kilogram (11-pound) machine also has a thermometer and a dosimeter. It can withstand about 100 Sieverts per hour of radiation for 10 hours.
Reuters IN A MAJOR VICTORY for energy industry groups, the Supreme Court rules 5-4 against EPA regulations limiting power plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants.
The Supreme Court held "EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost
is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants."
The new regs were a backdoor attempt to reduce CO2 by shutting down coal plants by making impossible demands on other gasses they emit.
Greece, which may default on an International Monetary Fund debt repayment due on Tuesday after talks with creditors broke down, owes its official lenders 242.8 billion euros ($271 billion), according to a Reuters calculation based on official data, with Germany by far the largest creditor.
Private investors hold 38.7 billion euros of Greek government bonds following a major write-down and debt swap in 2012 that reduced the Greek debt stock by 107 billion euros and the value of private holdings by an estimated 75 percent.That figure includes loans made under two bailouts from European governments and the IMF since 2010 -- worth a nominal 220 billion euros so far, of which some has been repaid -- as well as Greek government bonds held by the European Central Bank and national central banks in the euro zone.
The Greek government has also issued 15 billion euros in short-term Treasury bills, mostly to Greek banks.
Yes, but there is a case to be made for diversification of power sources and a distributed grid. If everybody had a home battery, they could charge up at night and cut down on electricity demand during peak hours. This would make the distribution grid more reliable and also more terrorism-resistant.
Nuclear power is expected to attract $1.3 trillion in investment between 2015 and 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s most recent annual report on the energy industry, but there are “seismic shifts” in the works that will, essentially, rearrange the industry as we know it, the report says.
Some of the seismic shifts predicted in the report called New Energy Outlook (or NEO) 2015 are already known or are already suspected. In five bullet points, Bloomberg said the report points to huge shifts in the dependence on renewable energy sources, the efficiency of our appliances and where money will be spent.
The five bullet points are 1. Solar, solar everywhere; 2. The shift to private electricity generation and battery storage for homes; 3. An unexpected slowdown in demand expectations based on the improved efficiency of our appliances; 4. An over-zealous expectation that natural gas will bring the developed world away from a dependence on coal and 5. An inexorable rise in CO2 emissions that even increased dependence on renewable power sources will not reverse.
Among the report’s startling points, NEO 2015 says “some $12.2 trillion will be invested in global power generation between 2015 and 2040 with only 22 percent of that taking place in Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development countries, against 78 percent in the power hungry emerging markets.”
NEO 2015, however, predicts that the concentration of new power generation will spread around the globe with a huge shift of investment and environmental influence.
NEO 2015 says, coal will attract $1.6 trillion in new investment, gas will attract $1.2 trillion and nuclear will attract $1.3 trillion.
The Earth is being battered by a huge solar storm, which could disrupt the power grid and GPS as well as letting people see beautiful auroras.
A potent blast of magnetic plasma shot out of the sun on Sunday, travelling faster than usual, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It brought with it the biggest solar storm at least since March, and perhaps since September 2005.
The solar weather brought with it aurora — spectacular lights that could be seen over the US overnight. Their effects were spotted and shared by Scott Kelly, an American astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station.
Solar storms can disrupt communications, navigations systems, the power grid and other systems that rely on radio communications, but there were no reports of damage, according to NOAA space weather physicist Doug Biesecker. It was likely that important systems like the electrical grid saw current fluctuations, but they have been built to be able to handle such disruption.
Solar bugs rejoice! India will be the next large market after China. The Indian government has approved a five-fold increase to India’s solar power capacity, hoping to reach 100GW by 2022.
The 100GW target comprises of 40GW rooftop and 60GW utility-scale projects, at a total investment of $90 billion, or about 5% of India’s GDP.
In the first phase, the government will provide a small capital subsidy. The Narendra Modi government is also floating a plan to attract foreign investors with supply contracts that are denominated in dollars rather than rupees, to protect foreign investors from currency fluctuations.
Building utility-scale solar systems has become cheap. Deutsche Bank said in March that India and China are very close to grid parity (“Solar Electricity Is Competitive Globally: Deutsche“). In other words, solar projects do not need much government subsidy to survive.
Foreign solar manufacturers are smelling opportunities and money. SunEdison (SUNE) already plans to invest $15 billion in India by 2022, in addition to a $2 billion joint venture with India’s Adani Group. China’s solar blue chip Trina Solar (TSL) will invest in a $500 million plant with India’s Welspun Energy. Construction is expected to be completed in 18 months.
If you read Kurzweil's book "The Coming Singularity" you realize how inaccurate linear projections become when extended into the future. Technology is growing exponentially. If you charted the ability to clean up waste vs time, the Piketon estimate is based on a linear projection using today's technology. By 2030 we'll have mega swarms of intelligent microbots equipped with uranium-eating bacteria to handle the cleanup. if we don't have something more advanced.
Don't forget, Jimmy Carter once famously predicted the world would run out of natural gas by the year 2000, and prohibited natural gas power plants to help preserve the supply.
Rutgers University announced Monday that a team of university scientists had isolated a strain of bacteria that “breathes” uranium, which may make it invaluable in decontaminating groundwater at sites like uranium mills where radioactive material was processed for nuclear weapons.
The scientists, doing research for the U.S. Department of Energy, first noted that the uranium at an ore mill in Rifle, Colorado, was harmful even to microorganisms, which prompted a search for active microbial activity in the area. It was also known previously that certain microorganisms that cannot breath oxygen make use of solid iron for respiration and that this has decreased the amount of uranium in groundwater. But scientists had not previously proved that the bacteria were, in fact, “inhaling the uranium,” the university said in a statement.
Scientists know little about how these organisms behave in the environment. But Lee Kerkhof, a professor of marine and coastal sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, said that he is optimistic the discovery can have beneficial uses. “There is depleted uranium in a lot of armor-piercing munitions, so places like the Middle East that are experiencing war could be exposed to high levels of uranium in groundwater,” he said.
“After the newly discovered bacteria interact with uranium compounds in water, the uranium becomes immobile. It is no longer dissolved in the groundwater and therefore can’t contaminate drinking water brought to the surface,” Kerkhof said in a statement.
The discovery is described in detail in Public Library of Science One from April 13, 2015. The bacterium that breathes uranium comes from a common strain of bacteria known as betaproteobacteria.