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The derelict B30 pond at Sellafield, used for the storage of intensely radioactive waste, in 2006. Photo: unknown / Public Domain.

Sellafield exposed: the nonsense of nuclear fuel reprocessing

Ian Fairlie

6th September 2016

Last night's BBC Panorama programme did a good job at lifting the lid on Britain's ongoing nuclear disaster that is Sellafield, writes Ian Fairlie. But it failed to expose the full scandal of the UK's 'reprocessing' of spent fuel into 140 tonnes of plutonium, enough to build 20,000 nuclear bombs - while leaving £100s of billions of maintenance and cleanup costs to future generations. more...
Soon the world will be producing its liquid fuels for vehicles from the sun - at a lower cost than mineral petrol / gasoline. Photo: Nick Blackmer via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Artificial photosynthesis - how renewable fuels will make oil obsolete

Chris Goodall

22nd August 2016

New technologies are coming on stream that can turn sunlight and wind into liquid fuels for vehicles, homes or power plants, writes Chris Goodall. And by powering the process using 'free' renewable energy on sunny or windy days, the fuel will be as green as can be, and cost less than petroleum. more...
A new 3MW Siemens offshore wind turbine undergoing installation. Image: artist's impression by Siemens.

Global climate is spinning out of control - but now, we have the technology!

Paul Rogers

16th August 2016

As global temperatures reach new monthly highs and the Middle East is hit by record heatwaves, we might be forgiven for sliding into hopelessness, writes PAUL ROGERS. But a host of innovations in energy technology means that a carbon-free energy future is not just possible, but affordable. The first of the three paradigm shifts required to transform the climate change outlook is in place. more...
Hinkley C - it now looks as if the UK may not be saddled with this monstrous white elephant after all. Image: EDF.

Hinkley Point, Greg Clark and the fate of Britain's energy future

JONATHON PORRITT

9th August, 2016

The government's surprise delay in signing the contract with EDF to build the Hinkley C nuclear power station has opened up a the space for a forward-looking UK energy policy, writes Jonathon Porritt - one that moves us into the world of low cost renewables, and smart new technologies vital to the global clean energy transition. But is Business & Energy Greg Clark for real? Don't rule it out! more...
There gold in them thar coffee grounds ... Photo: Dominick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Thanks Hugh - now let's stop throwing away the coffee grounds!

Rhodri Jenkins, University of Bath

2nd August 2016

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has a done a great job exposing the scandal of Britain's billions of non-recyclable coffee cups, writes Rhodri Jenkins. But what about the coffee itself? The grounds can be used for everything from compost and biodiesel to boutique chemicals and supercapacitors - yet the vast majority of the world's 9m tonnes a year of waste coffee ends up in landfill. more...
The first steam generator being delivered to the Flamanville EPR, 15th March 2014. With the discovery of steel defects in the reactor vessel, it is now possible that the entire project will be abandoned. Photo: Greenpeace Cherbourg via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA

Dump Hinkley! And invest in the UK's real energy future

Chris Goodall

28th July 2016

French energy giant EDF will today give the formal go-ahead for the Hinkley C nuclear power station in Somerset, writes Chris Goodall. But that's no reason for the UK to sign up to a disastrous deal that will cost us over £1 billion per year for 35 years - money that should be used to support the green technologies of the future. more...
North Korean nuclear reactor construction under way on 24th April 2008. Photo: Wapster / Google Maps via Flickr (CC BY).

What Theresa May forgot: North Korea used British technology to build its nuclear bombs

David Lowry

26th July 2016

When Theresa May proclaims in Parliament that we need the £200 billion Trident nuclear missile system to see off the North Korean nuclear threat, writes David Lowry, just bear this in mind. It is a threat that the UK, global nuclear proliferator in chief, created in the first place, providing both the reactor technology and vital centrifuge materials to make North Korea's nuclear dream come true. more...
10 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, where solar is already the lowest cost form of electricity generation. Photo: Masdar Official via Flockr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The Switch: soon solar will be the cheapest power everywhere

Chris Goodall

22nd July 2016

Solar is already the cheapest available power across large swathes of the tropics, writes Chris Goodall - its cost down 99.7% since the early 70s. Soon it will be the cheapest electricity everywhere, providing clean, secure, affordable energy for all. more...
Tesla Powerwall battery keeping the solar lights on after sunset. Photo: Tesla.com.

Battery revolution empowers consumers, unleashes renewables, imperils Big Energy

Emma Howard / Greenhpeace Energydesk

15th July 2016

Renewable electricity is already undermining the big energy utilities' business model, writes Emma Howard, breaking their monopoly and bringing down energy bills. But with the unfolding battery revolution, it's going to reach a whole new level as wind and solar powered families and communities become ever more self-sufficient, leaving utilities high and dry. more...
It may be possible to transform this landscape into a green energy park, or back to wilderness - but it's not going to happen soon enough without a corresponding political transformation! Tar sands refinery at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Photo: kris k

Green transformation is a political project, not an economic one

Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig

19th July 2016

The idea that our profit-oriented, growth-driven economic system can deliver a sustainable society is a beguiling one, write Lili Fuhr, Thomas Fatheuer & Barbara Unmüßig. But it is doomed to failure. The changes we need are in the first place political, and will be driven by a new democratic will to put people and planet before money. more...
HMS Dragon's Lynx helicopter fires infra red flares during an exercise over a Type 45 destroyer of the kind that won't work in warm seas. Photo: Dave Jenkins / Defence Images via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Now will our politicians take climate change seriously?

Richard Galustian

14th June 2015

Rising temperatures are now affecting countries' ability to wage war, writes Richard Galustian, with Britain's new Type 45 destroyers left without power as warm Gulf and Mediterranean seas close down their engines. Will this, finally, force our politicians to understand that climate change is real and dangerous? more...
Installing a Solarcentury 'Sunstation', which embeds into the roof rather than sitting above it. Photo: Solarcentury.

Innovation for the global energy transformation: the Solarcentury Sunstation

Jeremy Leggett

1st June 2016

In the face of repeated attempts by the UK government to suppress the nation's solar industry in favour of fracking and nuclear, Jeremy Leggett tells the story of how the solar company he founded in 2000 has not just survived, but driven forward with technical innovation - including its new 'Sunstation' - an integrated 'snap-on' solar generation design that elegantly embeds into roofs. more...

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Red clover cover crop at Sandy Lane Farm, Oxfordshire: it may not be high-tech, but that's not to say it's anti-science! Photo: Sandy Lane Farm via Facebook.

Organic farmers are not anti-science - we leave that to the genetic engineers

Elizabeth Henderson

24th May 2016

Those opposed to the mass release of GM crops and foods inadequately tested for health and ecological safety are routinely accused of being anti-science, writes Elizabeth Henderson. But it's the GM corporations and their academic allies that are suppressing scientific research, and organic farmers that are building alliances with independent scientists for a future of safe, healthy food. more...
The key to further big increases in wind and solar capacity is to store surplus power as gas, then burn it CCGT gas power stations when needed to meet demand. Photo: Royd Moor wind farm, Yorkshire, by steve p2008 via Flickr (CC BY).

Renewable energy can 'keep the lights on' - here's how

David Elliott

6th May 2016

Critics of renewable energy sources like wind and solar claim that they are inefficient, unreliable and need to be backed up by coal and gas, writes David Elliott. But we have the technology to match green power supply and demand at affordable cost without fossil fuels - by deploying the 'smart grid', using 'green gas' made from surplus power, and raising energy efficiency. more...
How CRISPR works: what could possibly go wrong? In fact, an awful lot, as it turns out. Image: James atmos via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

CRISPR and the three myths of precise genome editing

Jonathan Latham, PhD / Independent Science News

25th April 2016

The very term 'genetic engineering' implies high precision in the alterations made to genes and deep understanding of their consequences, writes Jonathan Latham. In fact, we have never had either. And even with the arrival of CRISPR and other 'gene editing' systems, that remains the case: technologists are thrashing about in a perilous sea of unfathomable complexities and unknowable outcomes. more...
From front cover of 'Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming' by Andreas Malm (Verso Books).

Fossil Capital: the rise of steam power and the roots of global warming

Irma Allen

27th April 2016

We all know that coal and steam vanquished over water power in Britain's - and the world's - industrial revolution, writes Irma Allen. But as Andreas Malm sets out in his fascinating new book, the deciding factors in that victory were the unconstrained mastery over people and nature that coal provided mill owners. And so the model was set for the fossil age that may only now be coming to an end. more...
Under construction: the New Safe Confinement arch at Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, 23rd October 2013. Photo: Tim Porter via Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA).

Chernobyl entombed: new sarcophagus aims to make site safe for 100 years

Claire Corkhill

26th April 2016

The Chernobyl sarcophagus which has long contained the fissured reactor core is at risk of collapse, writes Claire Corkhill. The solution: build a pair of tracked arches 260m wide and 100m high, and slide them over the site to enclose it for a century to come: so creating a sealed space for robots and remotely operated machinery to deconstruct the reactor and sarcophagus piece by radioactive piece. more...
Image of CRISPR / Cas9. Image: NHGRI. via ja.wikimedia.org (Public Domain).

New GMOs are 'not GM' - EU folds under US pressure

Oliver Tickell

21st April 2016

The EU Commission has caved in to US pressure in TTIP trade talks by deciding to consider organisms modified by new 'gene editing' techniques as non-GM - in violation of the EU's own laws. The move could make the 'new GMOs' exempt from labeling and from health and environmental testing. more...
So cute! Two month old snow leopard cubs at the Cat Survival Trust in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, UK. Photo: dingopup via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Saving the Earth? I think there's an App for that

Paul Jepson, University of Oxford

21st April 2016

Consumer environmentalism aligns conservation with modern consumer culture, writes Paul Jepson, offering NGOs the means to reach new people and generate new funding streams. But it risks ever more shallow public engagement and digital activism where masses of people back 'solutions' that only make themselves feel good. more...
Large wind and solar farms can be planned and built in 2-3 years (compared with 10-15 years for nuclear) and are ready now to replace fossil and nuclear electricity. Photo: Brookhaven National Laboratory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

Renewable energy versus nuclear: dispelling the myths

Mark Diesendorf

19th April 2016

Don't believe the spurious claims of nuclear shills constantly doing down renewables, writes Mark Diesendorf. Clean, safe renewable energy technologies have the potential to supply 100% of the world's electricity needs - but the first hurdle is to refute the deliberately misleading myths designed to promote the politically powerful but ultimately doomed nuclear industry. more...
The nuclear show must go on! Sign for the Atomic Theater at the Museum of Science & Technology at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TN, USA. Photo: Joel Kramer via Flickr (CC BY).

'New' nuclear reactors? Same old story

Amory Lovins

12th April 2016

The nuclear industry is forever reinventing itself with one brilliant 'new' idea after another, Amory Lovins wrote in this classic 2009 essay. But whether it's touting the wonders of future SMRs, IFRs or LFTRs, the reality never changes: the reactors they are building right now are over time, over budget and beset by serious, entirely unforeseen technical problems. more...
The water may be dirty - but the heat is still valuable! Photo: susan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Let's reclaim the free energy in our sewers - we have the technology!

Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini

9th September 2016

First we heat up cold water for baths, showers and washing, write Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini. Then we chuck all that precious heat down the plughole. So how about recycling our waste heat to warm up water on its way to the boiler or hot water tank, cutting bills and emissions? Or on a larger scale, use the sewage from entire communities as a free energy source for heat pumps? more...
It took centuries of smoking before tobacco's link to cancer was proven - so how come 20 years of eating GMO's 'proves' they are safe? Photo: Ximena Salazar via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The Precautionary Principle: the basis of a post-GMO ethic

Rupert Read

18th April 2016

GMOs have been in our diets for about 20 years, writes Rupert Read. Proof that they are safe? No way - it took much, much longer to discover the dangers of cigarettes and transfats, dangers that are far more visible than those of GMOs. On the scale of nature and ecology, 20 years is a pitifully short time. To sustain our human future, we have to think long term. more...
Hiroaki Koide (小出裕章さん) speaking at EcoLaboCamp on Mt Takao, August 2007. Photo: Hanako via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Koide Hiroaki: an insider's exposé of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Katsuya Hirano & Hirotaka Kasai / Asia-Pacific Journal

17th March 2016

Koide Hiroaki has spent his entire career as a nuclear engineer, and has become a central figure in Japan's movement for the abolition of nuclear power plants. He met with Katsuya Hirano and Hirotaka Kasai to discuss the catastrophic nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima Daaichi in March 2011, and the crimes and cover-ups committed both before and after the event. more...
The Xindayang D2 at its launch last June. Photo: Geely Holdings / Xindayang.

China's electric vehicle boost drives global transport revolution

Kieran Cooke

10th March 2016

Improved technology and falling costs are moving electric car sales into the fast lane as manufacturers seek achieve significant economies of scale, writes Kieran Cooke. And now China is leading the EV charge with its plans for 5 million plug-in vehicles by 2020. more...

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