Can nuclear be part of a no-carbon future?
The answer is yes, if only because China has decided that it will.
Meanwhile, still a lot of concept-proofing to do before we can expect utilities to buy in to “new” nuclear. Here’s an example.

Forbes:

NuScale Power is a company with a mission – to build the first small modular nuclear reactor in America. As of now, they are certainly on track. In January, NuScale submitted the first design certification application for any SMR in the United States to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

This week, a mere two months later, NRC has accepted their design certification application – light speed for our nuclear bureaucracy. By accepting the DCA for review, the NRC staff confirms that NuScale’s submission addresses all of the NRC requirements and contains sufficient technical information to conduct a full review.

It seems NuScale has all its ducks in a row, absolutely critical for as fast a review and licensing as possible. Those ducks included about 12,000 pages of technical information from over 800 NuScale staff and about 40,000 NRC staff-hours in pre-application discussions and interactions.

Even so, the review will take most of 40 months, after which NRC will issue a design certification that will be valid for 15 years for NuScale to construct this new type of power plant.

The first commercial NuScale power plant is planned for construction on the site of the Idaho National Laboratory for the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and operated by experienced nuclear operator Energy Northwest.

Says NuScale CEO John Hopkins, “There is a real need to upgrade American infrastructure to provide for clean and reliable electricity to spur growth in the U.S. There is a real need to boost American manufacturing, and create American jobs.”

eclipserahu

There’s no such thing as “settled science”.

Why don’t they publish their data?

Science does not work by Consensus.

Follow the money.

Shouldn’t we present both sides?

Atlantic:

The scientists are all talking like it’s a sure thing.

On August 21, the “moon” will pass between the Earth and the sun, obscuring the light of the latter. The government agency NASA says this will result in “one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights.” The astronomers there claim to have calculated down to the minute exactly when and where this will happen, and for how long. They have reportedly known about this eclipse for years, just by virtue of some sort of complex math.

This seems extremely unlikely. I can’t even find these eclipse calculations on their website to check them for myself. Read the rest of this entry »

A major goal of the current US leadership is to destroy the very idea that any government, any people, any law, can presume to curb or regulate the naked power of wealthy corporations to do with any land, any place, or any people as they wish.

One step in that process is to undermine Teddy Roosevelt’s vision, that Nature has blessed America, and the world, with a natural heritage that must forever be protected from predations of greed.

It is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here in the United States we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals — not to speak of vulgarizing charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But at last it looks as if our people were awakening.”

New York Times:

No president has ever abolished a national monument designated by a predecessor. President Trump may try to change that.

Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, is reviewing 27 national monuments to determine if previous administrations exceeded their authority in setting aside craggy vistas, ancient cliff dwellings and other large tracts of land for protection. He is expected to recommend that some be scaled back, or perhaps eliminated entirely and transferred to state ownership.

Democrats and environmental activists see the review as part of a broad effort within the Trump administration to unravel the conservation legacy of President Barack Obama, who under the 1906 Antiquities Act put more land and water under federal protection than any other president. Yet Mr. Zinke’s study, due by Aug. 24, stretches back 21 years to include other national monuments that remain a source of acrimony, particularly in the West.

Bears Ears National Monument -1.35 million acres | Designated by Barack Obama, 2016

Hailed by environmentalists and Native American groups, pilloried by conservatives and many local residents, Bears Ears National Monument has become the poster child for the fight over Mr. Obama’s preservation agenda.

Mr. Zinke has already vowed major changes to this vast expanse of Utah sandstone and red rocks that Mr. Obama designated for protection, along with 300,000 acres of land in Nevada as Gold Butte National Monument, in the waning days of his administration.

Native American groups, for whom the rock formations and canyons are considered sacred ground, have fought to maintain the monument, arguing that archaeological sites have been defaced and that burial sites have been looted. But Utah’s political leaders denounced the decision. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Republican, called it an “egregious abuse of executive powers.”

In a preliminary report unveiled in June, Mr. Zinke recommended shrinking Bears Ears’ borders by identifying and separating “areas that have significant objects to be protected.” The early move has already prompted outrage from outdoor recreation companies like Patagonia and REI, and spurred the Outdoor Industry Association to pull their annual trade show out of Utah. They and others have vowed to go to court to fight any proposed changes to the monument.

Bears Ears Google Earth flyover, below: Read the rest of this entry »

As US gives up leadership in Environment and the energy explosion of the new century, China gratefully takes over.

CGTN- Chinese English Broadcasting:

Desertification threatens the environment as well as local economies in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. An experiment is being carried out in the Kubuqi desert to control desertification and even turn the area green.

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been shouting to anyone that will listen about the parallels between 2009’s “Climategate” and the hacking of emails in the 2016 election.  I brought it up in a call to national NPR show 2 days after the election. Still stand by it – and it’s worth another listen.

It seems clear to me, and a lot of well informed observers, that the hacking of climate scientist’s emails from the University of Anglia Climate Research Unit in 2009 was a dry run for the larger effort to disrupt elections around the world.
In the Anglia affair, emails were stolen, culled, selectively quoted or otherwise weaponized, and distributed on a Russian server to credulous media. Worked perfectly.

And, then as now, once the deception began to be recognized, the next level of chaff thrown out was that the hacking was “an inside job”. You’re supposed to believe that disgruntled climate scientists, or Dem party activists, distributed and selectively distorted emails. Either way, it serves to prolong confusion and keep the easily befuddled media busy on non-productive tasks, including even some well-meaning but soft-headed lefties.

ShareBlue:

There’s an absurd conspiracy theory that last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee servers was an inside job, not the work of Russian hackers, and it’s making its way around liberal and conservative media.

Last week, The Nation — typically a well-sourced and well-informed publication, which is highly critical of Donald Trump and tends to lean left — published an article promoting this conspiracy theory, titled “A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack.”

The article focuses on a report from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group that was most recently in the news for denying Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad was behind the 2013 Damascus chemical attack. That report, which disputed the assessment of British, French, and German intelligence agencies as well as Human Rights Watch, relied largely on the claims of Alex Jones’s InfoWars.

For this new report, VIPS cites an anonymous individual operating under the name “Forensicator” who claims to have reviewed metadata from the DNC leaks to determine they were transferred at 22 megabytes per second, which would be impossible for someone overseas to achieve over the web — therefore it must have been stolen by someone physically at the DNC. Read the rest of this entry »

This might seem off-topic, but it’s really not, because it gets to the roots of the cultural division we have in the US, a division that wasn’t created by the Republican party, but which, since the 1960s, has been consciously targeted, amplified, and exploited for electoral gain. (strong caution: frequent use of the N word)

UPDATE:

(for more: See Wiki.)

Lee Atwater, the Godfather of Below the Belt Dogwhistle politics, gives above an unguarded description of how he aims at exploiting racial tension and fear to further his goals.  This is the tap root of talk radio, Fox News, and the divisions of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion and race that we saw so fully developed in the past decade, and which have finally driven a once-great party into its current, extreme, salivating, anti-science, unelectable frenzy.  The specificity with which Atwater lays it out is stunning.

A few leading republicans are starting to recognize this and call it what it is.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindahl has now stepped forward to call out what his party has become.  The Stupid Party.

Politico:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal on Monday called on Republicans to “stop being the stupid party” and make a concerted effort to reach a broader swath of voters with an inclusive economic message that pre-empts efforts to caricature the GOP as the party of the rich.

In his first interview since his party’s electoral thumping last week, Jindal urged Republicans to both reject anti-intellectualism and embrace a populist-tinged reform approach that he said would mitigate what exit polls show was one of President Barack Obama’s most effective lines of attack against Mitt Romney.

He was just as blunt on how the GOP should speak to voters, criticizing his party for offending and speaking down to much of the electorate.

“It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that,” Jindal said. “It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.”

Another popcorn moment. Better lay in a good supply.

bugberger

But are they gluten free?

Bloomberg:

Swiss shoppers will soon get the chance to buy burger patties and meatballs made out of beetle larvae as supermarket chain Coop tests consumers’ appetite for less-common alternatives to beef and pork.

The mealworm burger patties, which also contain rice, carrots and spices such as oregano and chili, will cost 8.95 francs ($9.24) for a pack of two, spokesman Urs Meier said by phone. The bug balls will sell at the same price for a pack of 10, and both products hit shelves of select stores on Aug. 21.

“These products are perfectly suited for those who want to learn about the culinary diversity of insects,” Coop procurement manager Silvio Baselgia said in a statement. Coop suggests eating the insect balls in pita bread with fresh vegetables and smothered in yogurt sauce.

Read the rest of this entry »