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Paying coal power stations like this one at Ratcliffe-on-Soar near Junction 24 of the M1 to stay open is not the answer. Photo: UniversityBlogSpot via Flickr (CC BY).

To keep the lights on, pay people to use less electricity

Chris Goodall

17th May 2016

Government plans to pay coal and diesel generators to stay open the winter after next to 'keep the lights on' betray dangerously old-fashioned thinking, writes Chris Goodall. Not only would it subsidise our dirtiest electricity - it's also incredibly costly. Why not just pay people to reduce their demand when power supplies are stretched? more...
This is what we need more of to save money and energy and reduce CO2 emissions: closed cell foam insulation installed between the rafters of this roof will keep the occupants warm for many years to come. Photo: Bryn Pinzgauer via Flickr (CC BY).

Set up for failure and corporate profit? The rotten core of the Green Deal

Sue Roberts

18th May 2016

The UK's 'Green Deal' energy efficiency scheme was a massive failure, writes Sue Roberts. But few knew just how bad until the NAO's report - which reveals that its main effect was to line the pockets of the Big Six energy companies, load the public with expensive loans, create a tangle of red tape, and engineer the collapse of the UK's nascent energy efficiency sector. more...
Will it all come to nothing? Artist's impression of the planned Hinkley C nuclear power station. Image: EDF Energy.

From one disaster to the next - Hinkley C's last days?

Oliver Tickell

13th May 2016

Another week, another series of disasters for EDF and it's Hinkley C nuclear power project, writes Oliver Tickell, with the company's credit rating downgraded partly due to its exposure to the project, and its Chinese partner CGN ruling out a takeover of the site. How much longer can the tragicomedy continue before the curtain falls? more...
The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant is set to cost $1.2 billion to decommission, but the fund set up by its owner, Entergy, contains just $625 million - and Entergy has already been rumbled for using the fund to pay for nuclear waste disposal. Photo: U

US nuclear industry's plan thanks to NRC: let taxpayers carry the can for closed power plants

Linda Pentz Gunter

13th May 2016

With five reactors closed in the last three years, the US nuclear industry is in shutdown mode, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - and that means big spending on decommissioning. But now the nuclear regulator is set to exempt owners from safety and emergency costs at their closed plants - allowing them to walk away from the costs and liabilities, and palm them onto taxpayers. more...
Explosion cloud from the UK's Operation Hurricane atomic bomb test on Australia's Montebello Islands, 3rd October 1952. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).

Chernobyl, genetic damage, and the UK nuclear bomb tests - justice at last?

Chris Busby

6th May 2016

Britain's nuclear bomb test veterans suffered severe genetic damage from radiation, writes Chris Busby, and their case for compensation is being heard in the High Court today. Key to their case is evidence of similar damage inflicted on in utero babies exposed to radiation from the Chernobyl disaster, and how the dreadful health impacts of radiation cascade down to future generations. more...
The Dounreay nuclear plant, now undergoing decommissioning, as seen from Sandside Bay in March 2008. Photo: Paul Wordingham via Flickr (CC BY).

UK-US air transports of high enriched uranium: global security at risk for commercial gain

Ernie Galsworthy / NFLA

3rd May 2016

Planned air transports of high-enriched uranium from Dounreay in Scotland to the US state of Tennessee would risk of accident or a terrorist seizure of weapon-usable nuclear material, writes Ernie Galsworthy. The motive for the transport appears to be purely commercial - and would thus put the public at needless risk for the sake of a cut-price nuclear waste / fuel deal between US and UK authorities. 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...
The Zaporozhye nuclear power station seen from the 'Nikopol' bank of the river Dnieper, Ukraine. Photo: Ralf1969 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Thirty years after Chernobyl, what chance of a post-nuclear Ukraine?

Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko

26th April 2016

The Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe may have scared most of the world off nuclear power, write Jan Haverkamp & Iryna Holovko. But mysteriously, not Ukraine, where the reactor meltdown actually took place. Thirty years on more than half of Ukraine's electricity is still nuclear, while the power sector is dominated by powerful oligarchs. So what are the chances of a post-nuclear Ukraine? more...
Impression of the double VVER-1200/392M (AES-2006) reactors for at Russia's Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant II, almost identical to the reactors planned for Ostrovets, Belarus. Photo: Rosenergoatom via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Thirty years after Chernobyl, Belarus goes nuclear

Kieran Cooke

25th April 2016

Belarus may have taken the brunt of the fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine, writes Kieran Cooke. But now it's pushing ahead with its own nuclear power station at Ostrovets - just 50km from Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, where the project is causing widespread public concern. more...
Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham by the burning Condamine River in Queensland, Australia. Photo: Jeremy Buckingham.

Australian river on fire with fracked coal seam gas

The Ecologist

22nd April 2016

So much methane is bubbling into a river surrounded by hundreds of fracking wells that it's a fire hazard! Local campaigners blame the coal seam gas industry for the gas releases which are spreading along Queensland's river Condamine and gaining in intensity. 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...
Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl's Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster. Photo: Timm Suess via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Linda Pentz Gunter

25th April 2016

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the 'official' perception of Chernobyl's silent forests as a thriving nature reserve. more...

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The futuristic visitor centre planned for the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon.

Swansea Lagoon is our promised green energy future - so why isn't it in the Energy Bill?

Stephen Tindale

4th May 2016

Tidal lagoons could generate 8% of the UK's electricity, writes Stephen Tindale, and go on doing so for 120 years to come. With the Hinkley C nuclear project looking ever more dicey, and with promises to shut down coal fired generation by 2025, a promised new tidal lagoon In Swansea Bay would come in very useful. So why hasn't the government included it in the Energy Bill? more...
The protection of our coastal waters, management of our fishers, cleanliness of our air and the protection of our widlife are all mandated by European law. Outside the EU, this iconic view of the Seven Sisters could be sadly tarnished. Photo: weesam2010 v

Remain in the EU to protect our environment

Caroline Lucas

20th April 2016

Remember when the UK was the 'dirty man of Europe'? What has changed since then, writes Caroline Lucas, is our membership of the EU - which has made us raise our environmental performance on everything from fisheries to air pollution, nature conservation, clean bathing waters and renewable energy. Leave, and it could all go into reverse. 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 famous Bunda Cliffs overlooking the Great Australian Bight. Photo: Matt Turner.

BP's deep sea oil exploration in South Australia - no way!

Graham Readfearn / DeSmog.uk

14th April 2016

BP's plans to explore for oil in the deep seas of the Great Australian Bight came under fire today at the company's Annual General Meeting in London, writes Graham Readfearn. The drilling would risk the ocean's rich marine wildlife - while blowing a massive hole in Australia's COP21 emissions targets. more...
Abandoned children's toys at Chernobyl - Pripyat, 17th May 2008. Photo: Fi Dot via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

It's not over yet! 40,000 more cancer deaths predicted in Chernobyl aftermath

Dr Ian Fairlie

26th April 2016

Thirty years since the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl the impacts are still being felt, writes Ian Fairlie, and they will persist long into the future. Some 40,000 cancer deaths can be expected across Europe over the next 50 years, and 5 million people still living in areas highly contaminated with radiation. Yet the nuclear madness continues, with even Belarus building new nuclear reactors. more...
With damming of the Tapajos river, a whole world of biodiversity, beauty and indigenous cultures will be destroyed forever. Photo: Canoe on the Tapajos by Clairex (CC BY-NC-SA).

European companies line up to bid for Amazon megadam

Zachary Davies Boren / Greenpeace Energydesk

13th April 2016

Disregarding revelations of systemic political corruption in Brazil's hydropower sector, President Dilma Rousseff is ploughing ahead with a cascade of giant dams on the mighty Tapajos river. Among the companies touting to win huge construction contracts are France's EDF and Engie, and Germany's Voith and Siemens - in a consortium led by Brazil's Electrobras, which stands accused of high-level corruption over four other dam projects. 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...
'Getting out of nuclear - we can do it!', reads the banner at this 2011 protest against Hinkley C. French Energy Minister Segolene Royal might just share the opinion. Photo: Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament via Flickr (CC BY).

French energy minister: Hinkley C must not 'dry out' renewables funding

Angelique Chrisafis & Chris Johnston

8th April 2016

France's energy minister Ségolène Royal has backed union demands for the EDF's Hinkley C project in Somerset to be re-examined, write Angelique Chrisafis & Chris Johnston - adding that the project must not go ahead if it would 'dry out' funds needed for EDF's renewable energy program. more...
Mikhail Gorbachev's party member's card issued in 1986, the year of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Mikhail Gorbachev: 30 years after Chernobyl, time to phase out nuclear power

Linda Pentz Gunter

26th April 2016

Thirty years after Chernobyl former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev remains haunted by the world's greatest ever industrial catastrophe, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. Now 85 and a committed environmentalist, he's still campaigning to bring the failed nuclear experiment to an end before further disasters follow, and encouraging a clean, efficient and renewable global energy economy. more...
The Thar desert in Rajasthan, India. Photo: Nick Kenrick via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Protecting God's Creation: churches commit to the green energy transition

Tim Gee / Christian Aid

19th April 2016

Pope Francis's famous encyclical on climate change is part of a broad global shift to environmental awareness among faith communities, writes Tim Gee. Christian churches and congregations are among those joining the fast growing fossil fuel divestment movement, switching to renewable energy, and reaching out to wider society to help protect our home planet, Earth. more...
South Water Caye Marine Reserve is one of seven protected areas that make up the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System World Heritage site, at risk from oil exploration and drilling. Photo: © Antonio Busiello / WWF-US.

Industrial expansion threatens half of natural World Heritage Sites

The Ecologist

6th April 2016

Precious World Heritage Sites that protect vital biodiversity and human cultures are at risk from oil decelopment and other industries. Under threat are not just nature, wildlife, land and water but the 11 million people who depend on the 114 sites' environmental quality for their livelihoods. more...
Glamorous? More than you think. Hot water heaters that respond to grid signals could be the key to stabilising the grid and using up surplus energy from peaking renewables. Photo: marlb0r0 man via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Water heaters as batteries: as sexy as a Tesla?

Margaret McAll / RMI

6th April 2016

Tesla's Powerwall battery may be the poster-boy of the forthcoming dynamic power grid, writes Margaret McAll. But a far more accessible, low cost solution beckons: grid-interactive water heaters can soak up excess power from peaking renewables, reduce expensive peak demand, and cut power companies' need to invest in generation and distribution. more...
Ffos-Y-Fran open cast mine, Merthyr Tydfil. Photo: Caradog Llywelyn via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Flesh against fossil fuels: let's shut down the UK's largest coal mine!

A Climate Activist

18th April 2016

Next month thousands will gather in Wales to shut down the UK's open cast coal mine at Ffos­y­fran, whose 3,500 acres abut both Merthyr Tydfil, one of Britain's most deprived communities, and the glorious Brecon Beacons national park. It will be one of dozens of coordinated actions across the UK, and around the world, to bring the age of coal to the rapid end it so richly deserves. more...

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