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State of the Union and Energy Policy

Here's the passage from tonight's State of the Union address that dealt with energy policy:
Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources - and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative - a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in …

Another Blogger for Nuclear Energy

In a post about the energy policy proposals that may be in tonight's State of the Union address, Dean Armstrong had this to say:
There is nothing inherently wrong in nuclear power--it's cleaner than coal (yes, a point for another post). We need new energy sources as use naturally increases with time, and it's the most efficient way.UPDATE: And be sure to visit Dave Huether at NAM blog.

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The Industrial Safety Accident Rate in the Nuclear Energy Industry

The World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO)'smission is
To maximise the safety and reliability of the operation of nuclear power plants by exchanging information and encouraging communication, comparison and emulation amongst its members.WANO provides a wide variety of data on the nuclear industry, and today, we're going to look at the Industrial Safety Accident Rate or ISAR. According to WANO, the ISAR at U.S. nuclear power plants is far lower than the rate at related industries like electric utilities or manufacturing.


The ISAR is calculated by taking the number of accidents resulting in lost work, restricted work, or fatalities for every 200,000 worker hours. The Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to this as 100 full-time workers (100 workers * 40 hours per week * 50 weeks = 200,000 worker hours). Please note that the rate reported from BLS does not include fatalities.

To find what these rates are for other industries in the U.S. go to the BLS IIF webpage. If you scroll d…

Natural Gas Supply Between Russia and Georgia Disrupted

From the Associated Press and Pajamas Media:
Iran started exports of natural gas to Georgia on Monday in answer to Tbilisi's appeal for help for its severe energy shortage, and Georgia's president vowed to reduce his U.S.-allied nation's energy dependence on Russia.

Mysterious explosions Jan. 22 on the Russian pipeline network that transports gas into Georgia cut off supplies to the ex-Soviet Caucacus Mountain state, leaving millions of Georgians shivering in their homes in bitterly cold temperatures...

Georgia has accused Russia of waging an energy blockade in retaliation for its government's pro-Western policies. Although Russian gas supplies resumed gradually Sunday, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili promised in a televised address to the nation that Georgia would diversify its energy imports.

"We are working to ensure that next winter, Russia's share of energy supplies in Georgia will drop significantly," he said.Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer…

A Civil Debate on Nuclear Energy and Renewables

Click here for a pointed, but civil, debate on nuclear energy and renewables between Dave Erickson and James Aach over at Re/Action on Climate Protection. Here's an excerpt from one of Erickson's comments:
Re: Nuclear/fossil fuel and numbers. First of all, we want to get rid of the fossil fuel plants. That's the whole reason for this discussion. In particular, we're discussing the replacement of the coal plants that generate over 50% of the power in the US as a first step. This amounts to 0.3 TW total capacity. If you figure 1000MW for a nuclear power plant, that amounts to 314 new nuclear plants. As you know, it takes 10 years to build a nuclear power plant. As you also know, it is an enormous project to build one nuclear plant, not to mention find the site.Later, Aach responds to a number of the assumptions built into this model, but there is one point I'd like to address.

Coal powers 50% of U.S. electric generation because it is abundant and the least expensive o…

Newsweek Highlights Nuclear Energy

Over at Newsweek's international edition, the magazine is taking a broad look at the global resurgence of nuclear energy and the reasons behind the revival. Click the following links for all of the articles in the package:

Energy: The New Nuclear Power Boom

Nuclear Energy: China Leaps Forward

India's Nukes: A Deal With 'Difficulties'

Europe: A Climate Change For Nuclear

The Nuclear Waste Problem

Thanks to Synthstuff for the pointers.

UPDATE: The Energy Blog has further thoughts.

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Deutch and Moniz Propose New Course for Used Fuel Management

Today's must-read comes from yesterday's edition of The Washington Post, where former Director of the CIA John Deutch and former Undersecretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (both served during the Clinton administration), have proposed a way forward for used nuclear fuel management:
What should be done? First, and most important, the government should take title to the spent fuel stored at commercial reactor sites across the country and consolidate it at one or more federal sites until a proper disposal pathway is created. This can be done safely and securely for an extended period and, indeed, such extended storage should be incorporated into a proper disposal strategy. It would take the pressure for a hasty disposal solution off both government and industry.

Second, the president should continue his broad diplomatic effort for supplier countries such as France, Britain, Russia and the United States to supply fresh fuel (and remove spent fuel) for countries with small nuclear power p…

A Deal for Kyoto Supporters

Virginia's Matt Schor has a message for the supporters of the Kyoto Protocol:
I'd support an international treaty for greenhouse emission reduction if it called for a meaningful reduction (e.g. 90%) and the means for achieving this, nuclear power, were explicitly agreed upon. To call for reductions without agreeing on a path to get there is just whistling in the wind.Technorati tags: , , , , , ,

Nuclear Energy and Renewables Can Work Together

In today's edition of the Guardian (U.K.):
Surrounded by some of the world's roughest seas, Britain could generate a fifth of its electricity by harnessing the power of tides and waves.

The potential of marine energy is revealed in a report by the government's energy advisers. Wave and tidal power could replace the electricity that is currently produced by UK nuclear power stations, they state, and could prevent the need for Britain to rely on increased Russian gas imports.To which Tim Worstall replied:
Wave and tide power are indeed interesting sources of electricity. But, umm, why use it to replace nuclear? Why not get 20% (roughly the current share) from nuclear, 20% from tide and wave? Then we'’d be even better little global citizens, wouldn'’t we?Once again, we see yet another example of blinkered thinking. Worstall is correct here: There is no reason why nations can't leverage both wave energy and nuclear power in order to offset imports of natural gas. In …

Nonproliferation Blog

We don't spend a lot of time on nonproliferation issues here at NEI Nuclear Notes, though that may change. In the interim, stop by Nuclear Fuel Cycle, a blog on nonproliferation issues published by a group of graduate students in intelligence at Mercyhurst College.

By the way, when it comes to intelligence and counterterrorism, it looks like the students at Mercyhurst have got some game.

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Georgia Power and Southern Pick AP-1000 for Vogtle

Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear Operating Company announced today the companies are pursuing the Westinghouse AP1000 as the nuclear reactor technology for potential new nuclear units at the Alvin W. Vogtle Electric Generating Plant. The companies said the Plant Vogtle Early Site Permit (ESP) and Combined Construction and Operating License (COL) applications will be based on the AP1000 design.

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Russia Targets Nuclear to Provide 25% of Electricity by 2020

We've been writing plenty about Russia and its natural gas supplies over the past few weeks. Even though that nation has the largest proven reserves of natural gas (1,700 tcf or 27 percent of global reserves), it hasn't stopped officials from thinking about building new nuclear capacity. From RIA Novosti:
A member of Russia's financial watchdog said Friday that the development of nuclear power was the country's best energy option.

This statement echoes the national energy strategy until 2020 that ranks nuclear power as one of the main guarantors of the country's energy security.

"Our objective is to ensure that within 10 to 15 years nuclear power plants account for at least 25% of overall electricity generated in the country," Mikhail Beskhmelnitsin, an Audit Chamber expert, said. "We have to build 40 to 50 energy units during that period."Technorati tags: , , , , ,

RFID and Nuclear Components

Hitachi has developed an interesting application for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in the nuclear industry.
With the RFID tag system, RFID tags are attached to construction materials as they are delivered so they can be efficiently monitored in distribution management. Subsequently, it will lead to preventing human errors and ensuring the traceability of the materials used. The navigation system uses RFID tags attached to both cable cores and end terminals to simplify cable connection work and help workers easily check for errors when they connect cables.Neat stuff.

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Reaction to GNEP Proposal

There's plenty of reaction to yesterday's news concerning the Bush Administration proposal for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership, including this AP account that quotes NEI's Chief Nuclear Officer, Marv Fertel:
"Reprocessing could help avoid or delay the need for a second repository," Marvin Fertel, a senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry's lobbying group, told a congressional hearing last March.

But Fertel emphasized that the nuclear industry views fuel reprocessing as a technology that is still decades away from being economical - and won't be as long as fresh uranium is plentiful and relatively cheap.More later, as we pile through the coverage.

UPDATE: American ex-pat Jim Freeman has some thoughts.

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Bush Administration to Back Reprocessing

From today's Wall Street Journal (free feature):
The Bush administration plans to announce a $250 million initiative to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, a first step toward reversing a 1970s policy that rejected reprocessing as too dangerous to pursue.

The administration's decision to put the money into its fiscal 2007 budget to test new technologies is part of an effort to jump-start the nuclear-power industry at a time when energy prices are high and concerns about global warming make nuclear power plants more acceptable.

According to nuclear industry officials and others briefed on the proposal in recent weeks, the program could be announced as early as next week in President Bush's State of the Union address. If the technology works, it could vastly reduce the amount of spent nuclear waste that would have to be buried in underground storage, such as at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, set to open after 2012.More later.

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Westinghouse Looking To Bolster Work Force

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
Apparently feeling good about its prospects under Japanese ownership, Monroeville-based Westinghouse Electric Co. yesterday hoisted a big help-wanted sign, offering a $1,000 bounty to employees for referring successful job applicants for the 400 or more openings it expects to have this year.

The nuclear power plant designer, which employs almost 9,000 worldwide, is looking to hire at least 400 people a year corporate-wide over the next six to seven years, with many of the openings in the Pittsburgh region where it employs about 3,000.There's more going on here than just the prospect of new reactor build. The fact is, the nuclear energy work force is aging, so recruiting a new generation of plant employees across multiple disciplines is a real priority.

If you're interested in a career at any one of the nation's 103 nuclear reactors, click here for a brochure (PDF) on the sort of opportunities that are available.

Thanks to Interested Participan…

Another Bogus European Opinion Poll

I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but there's another public opinion poll getting some play today that probably doesn't reflect the reality on the ground when it comes to public opinion in Europe about nuclear energy:
European citizens want their governments to focus on developing solar and wind power and are less enthusiastic about nuclear energy, according to a survey released on Tuesday. The Eurobarometer poll showed 12 percent of those surveyed favoured developing the use of nuclear energy, while 48 percent supported solar and 31 percent backed wind power development.
(snip)
The survey, covering almost 30,000 people, was carried out in the 25 EU member countries as well as acceding and candidate states from Oct. 11 to Nov. 15 last year.All this story really needs is a brief sentence explaining that the poll results might have been different had it been taken after the record cold snap that struck the continent simultaneously with a natural gas supply c…

NPR On "Take Title"

Yesterday at NPR, David Kestenbaum did a short report on legislation moving through Congress that would result in the U.S. government "taking title" of used nuclear fuel at the reactor sites where it is currently stored -- an initiative that NEI and its member companies oppose. Included in the piece is an interview with NEI's John Kane.

For more on the proposal from our archives, click here, here and here.

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European Natural Gas Crisis Continues

Across Europe, the temperatures keep dropping, and Ukraine keeps diverting natural gas supplies meant for other customers in other nations. Monday was the sixth straight day that Russia's Gazprom said that it was unable to meet demands of foreign customers.

Here's something to think about: In the 1970s, as America endured an oil embargo, nuclear energy was able to displace oil-fired electric generating capacity. Today, nuclear energy could perform the same manuver, but this time displacing natural gas, freeing up those supplies for home heating and industrial use.

Here's something else to think about: Going forward, three of the largest suppliers of natural gas will be Russia, Iran and Algeria. Conversely, the two largest sources of uranium are Canada and Australia.

Who do you trust?

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Some Notes on Decorum

I'd like to remind our readers that our comment strings are made available to debate facts and opinion, and not to make personal attacks on other participants in the forum.

Thanks for your time and attention.

New Nuclear Energy Insight Web Page Debuts

Nuclear Energy Insight, NEI’s monthly newsletter, has a new Web page for the new year.

The page, www.nei.org/Insight, features articles from each month’s publication. Readers also can access archives of past issues dating to 1997 and download entire issues. New readers can subscribe to Nuclear Energy Insight via the Web page.

The January issue of Insight features an article on a new study that reaches this conclusion: "The case for nuclear power is now solid on economics alone." There also are reports on how the Three Mile Island plant powers the local economy and how nuclear technology is helping heart patients. Other articles discuss a new partnership between two Georgia universities to educate nuclear engineers, a DOE proposal to simplify fuel-handling systems at Yucca Mountain, and increasing worldwide support for nuclear energy.

Senator McCain on Energy Security

Here's U.S. Senator John McCain from a Sunday morning interview he did with Fox News:
And the second lesson we should have learned from this, and what’s going on in Venezuela with Mr. Chavez, and what Putin did vis-a-vis the Ukraine, we’ve got to get quickly on a track to energy independence from foreign oil. And that means, among other things, going back to nuclear power.

But we better understand the vulnerabilities that our economy and our very lives have that when we’re dependent on Iranian mullahs, and wackos in Venezuela, and now Mr. Putin obviously deciding at least under one occasion to exercise the oil card, which never happened in all the days of the former Soviet Union.Thanks to AZ Congress Watch for the pointer. And there's more from James Chang.

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Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards has re-elected Graham Wallis as chairman, William Shack as vice chairman and John Sieber as member-at-large.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has appointed Jeanne Lopatto to the newly created position of special assistant for federal and international programs. Lopatto previously served as director of public affairs for the Department of Energy.

Donald Miller, vice president of Urenco Inc., left the company on Jan. 20. He had been with Urenco since 1985.

Constellation Energy’s subsidiary, Constellation NewEnergy, has named Terry Harvill vice president of regional regulatory and government affairs (Michigan and Ohio). Harvill joins Constellation NewEnergy from DTE Energy Co., where he was director of regulatory policy and operations. Harvill also served as a commissioner of the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Robert Eby will lead USEC Inc.’s American Centrifuge engineering and manufacturing operations in Oak Ridge…

Progress Energy Selects Harris Site for Combined License

Progress Energy just announced it will prepare a combined construction and operating license (COL) for its Harris Nuclear Plant, southwest of Raleigh, N.C.

The company also announced it has selected Westinghouse Electric Company to supply the reactors for the potential future expansion of Progress Energy's nuclear generation in the Carolinas. These announcements are important next steps in the process as the company continues to evaluate options to meet the demands of its rapidly growing customer base.

...

"A renewed emphasis on conservation and energy efficiency is an important factor in planning for the future," said [Bob McGehee, chairman and CEO of Progress Energy]. "However, even with more conservation and energy-efficiency programs, energy use will continue to grow as more people move to this region. To meet that growing demand for electricity, we'll need to add significant new power generation.

...

The company informed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) …

NBC's West Wing: "Duck and Cover" Indeed...

Oh, Lisa, I agree with almost everything you just said, but I'll come back to that later... As Lisa did a good job blogging here, NBC aired their Duck and Cover episode of West Wing tonight.

I saw no basis in reality for any of the show. Isn't it great how even the characters on the show point fingers at the regulators for failures instead of the companies who own them and have a vested interest in running them well? Only in Hollywood does the agency blamed for the failure also get to the hero and kill one of their own putting a stop to the emergency... oh, I'm am so getting ahead of myself...

OK, first of all no stuck valve is going to require rigging a temporary cooling pipe. Current nuclear designs are not so fragile that simply any one or two valves failing could put the public in jeopardy. That's all phrased in the negative. Put another way, the reactor has one source of cooling while operating, a different sources of cooling (often 2 or 3) while shutdown, and yet t…

The West Wing's Nuclear Farce

When I first decided to pursue a degree in nuclear engineering, my mom said to me, “Lisa, you realize this means we will never have a meaningful conversation about your work, right? I get a math rash balancing my checkbook.” But over the years, she's picked up quite a bit of information from my frequent chattering about nuclear issues. While she and I have quite a few political differences, I have to smile when she calls me to rail against the propaganda she sees from local antinuclear activists.

So I decided to give her a heads up that one of her favorite shows, The West Wing, would be airing tonight an absurd episode involving a nuclear power plant accident. She said, “You know I wouldn’t believe what they say without talking to you.” I’ve trained her well! Too bad the writers at NBC don’t have the same inclination to speak to someone with some educational, technical, and working background in the nuclear industry before writing fairy tales. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a …

NBC Cancels West Wing

Guess that nuclear accident storylinedidn't help:
The new president on "The West Wing" will be a real short-timer: NBC announced Sunday it was pulling the plug on the Emmy-winning political drama after seven seasons in May.

NBC, struggling to regain its footing after the worst season in its history, also outlined several midseason schedule changes _ including the moves of popular dramas "Law & Order" and "Las Vegas."

"The West Wing" announcement wasn't much of a surprise. Although this season's story line with a presidential campaign involving a Democrat played by Jimmy Smits and Republican portrayed by Alan Alda has been strong critically, ratings have sunk with its move to Sunday nights.Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

California PUC Announces Plan to Cap GHG Emissions

Thanks to my colleague Mary Quillian, I was able to find the following draft decision that was issued late last week by the California Public Utilities Commission:
Today we state our intent to develop a load-based cap on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E), Southern California Edison Company (SCE), and non-utility load serving entities (LSEs) that provide electric power to customers within these respondents' service territories. Over the longer term, we also intend to develop a GHG limitation program that includes emissions from the natural gas sector, as the requisite emission reporting and certification protocols become available.

As discussed in this decision, we will establish a baseline for the GHG emissions cap on a historical year basis, with 1990 as our preferred reference year. Our final determination on this matter will await further consideration of implementation issues associate…

Miss Nevada On Board With Yucca Mountain

Couldn't help but notice this item this morning:
Crystal Wosik, the first Miss Nevada to preside over a Miss America pageant held in the Silver State, tried to put the rest of the country at ease Thursday over the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.

"During her interview with the judges, they asked her what she thought about Yucca Mountain and she told them that it has to go someplace, and that (Yucca Mountain) was the best-built facility in the country," said the state's pageant director Nancy Ames, following the interview portion of the Miss America pageant in Las Vegas.Technorati tags: , , ,

Jeopardy! Tackles Nuclear Energy

In case you missed it last night, click here for video from the first round of last night's episode of Jeopardy!, which contained a category on nuclear energy.

UPDATE: Here's a breakdown of the questions and answers (or is it answers and questions?):

$200 A boiling water reactor produces this vapor inside the reactor vessel to generate power. What is steam?

$400 These slender tubes holding fissionable materials are bundled together and loaded into the core. What are [fuel] rods?

$600 It may be a person who slows down two debaters, or a substance that slows down neutrons to permit fission. What is a moderator?

$800 Entergy Corp. says that the Indian Point plant’s containment structures are this material, 3 ½’ to 6’ thick. What is concrete?

$1,000 In the photo here, everything is working normally as these two towers do their jobs. What are cooling towers?

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More Polling Sleight of Hand from the Guardian

A few weeks ago, we told you about a poll commissioned by the Guardian (U.K.) that claimed a majority of Britons opposed the expansion of nuclear power. Of course, what the Guardian failed to mention was that the poll had been taken weeks before Russia decided to play games with Western Europe's natural gas supply.

Then, I said it might be time to take another poll. And the same holds true today, as the Guardian is touting results from a poll that was done by the Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research:
[T]he Tyndall Centre today releases the results of a survey of public attitudes to climate change and nuclear power, which show that 42% of people oppose building nuclear reactors and 34% support it. The results broadly mirror previous surveys: a Guardian/ICM poll last month showed 48% against new building and 45% for.

The Tyndall Centre survey of 1,491 people, carried out with Mori, found 60% of people supporting new building as long as renewable energy sources were developed an…

Summary of Long Now Debate on Nuclear Energy

We've been passed an e-mail summary of Friday night's Long Now debate on climate change and nuclear energy that was authored by Stewart Brand. The account is reprinted below:
The Long Now Foundation
Seminars on Long-term Thinking

Climate Change and Nuclear Prospects
(Cavanagh-Schwartz discussion)

Given the power to decide who would go first--- anti-nuke Ralph Cavanagh from Natural Resources Defense Counsel or pro-nuke Peter Schwartz from Global Business Network--- the large audience Friday night voted for Schwartz to make the opening argument.

It is the threat of "abrupt climate change" that converted him to support new emphasis on nuclear power, Schwartz said. Gradual global warming is clearly now under way, and there is increasing reason to believe that human activity is driving it, mostly through the burning of coal and oil. If warming is all that happens, it will be an enormous problem, but some regions of the Earth would gain (Russia,Canada) while many others would l…

Nuclear Energy Industry Transitions

Cameco Corp.'s newest board member is John Clappison. Clappison recently retired as the managing partner of the Toronto office of PricewaterhouseCoopers.

PPL Corp. Vice President James Seif is resigning to serve as campaign manager for Bill Scranton, a Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate. Seif had been vice president of PPL for nearly five years.

In addition, PPL Corp. has named Matt Simmons vice president and controller, effective, Jan 30. Simmons currently is vice president of finance and controller at Duke Energy Americas. PPL also announced appointments to two newly created positions, effective immediately: Russell Clelland, formerly director of finance, is now assistant treasurer, while Mark Woods has transitioned from director of financial accounting and reporting to assistant controller.

Duke Power has named Ronald Jones senior vice president of nuclear operations. Jones formerly was vice president of Oconee Nuclear Station. Bruce Hamilton will fill that position.

Hanson on Energy Security

Victor Davis Hanson says it's time for the left and right in American politics to meet in the middle and do something about America's energy independence and energy security:
If the left pushed nuclear power and more drilling, and the right pushed more mandatory efficiency standards and alternative fuels, the United States could cut its imports and collapse the world price.

Imagine the dividends to America that transcend even scaling down our trade imbalances. Cash-hungry failed foreign nations would now have fewer resources to aid terrorists like al Qaeda or Hezbollah, or even to fund anti-Western madrassas. The Arab Street would have to blame its own elites for mismanagement rather than Western bogeymen. And it would be far easier to curb weapons of mass destruction if madmen lacked the oil to pay for them.Technorati tags: , , , , , , , ,

Lovelock: Earth in "Grave Danger"

Scientist and climate expert James Lovelock, who has been warning for the past two years that the world must turn toward nuclear energy in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions and stave off the effects of global warming, is raising the alarm once again in the pages of the Independent (U.K.):
The climate centres around the world, which are the equivalent of the pathology lab of a hospital, have reported the Earth's physical condition, and the climate specialists see it as seriously ill, and soon to pass into a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years. I have to tell you, as members of the Earth's family and an intimate part of it, that you and especially civilisation are in grave danger.On February 2, Lovelock's next book, The Revenge of Gaia will be published. For a preview, click here.

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U.K. Labor Leader Endorses New Nuclear Build

U.K. labor leader Derek Simpson is getting his union ready to put its weight behind new nuclear build:
"The debate on the energy crisis is in limbo and we need urgent action or Britain will face the prospect of blackouts and soaring utility bills over the next five years.

"The nation's energy needs will be hostage to politically unstable states unless the Government's energy policy promotes clean coal technology and new nuclear power build."Technorati tags: , , , , , , ,

The Price Of Dependence on Russian Natural Gas

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Daniel Twining, a fellow with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, has a warning for countries that become dependent on Russia for supplies of natural gas:
A closer look at the way Russia has wielded energy supplies to support its allies and bludgeon its rivals in Eurasia suggests that major economies increasingly dependent on Russian gas and oil exports--including great powers in Europe and Asia, and even the United States--are rendering themselves vulnerable to the ambitions of an autocratic, imperial state that has not refrained from using energy as a geopolitical weapon and has been ruthless in its treatment of both internal political opponents and neighboring states.For more, click here for an overview of the situation from Lionel Beener from the Council on Foreign Relations.

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