He “grills out” with a homemade solar oven, which heats up to 350 degrees. This solar oven gets hot enough to bake a killer batch of scones—and in the summer, it can whip up brownies in abrownout.
By William Gurstelle
No power? No problem.
This afternoon project will let you cook off the grid with a sun-fueled oven hot enough to raise some dough.
1) Find Parts
The project makes use of scraps (or full 4 x 8 sheets) of ¾-inch and ½-inch plywood. It also requires 4d trim nails, a 6-foot length of 1½-inch-wide flat wood trim, 36 inches of ¼-inch-square molding, a half-sheet of ½-inch rigid foam insulation, a half-sheet of ½-inch drywall, two white ceramic knobs, eight 3-inch mending plates, construction adhesive, high-temperature flat black spray paint, heavy-duty aluminum foil, No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts and a piece of ¼-inch plate glass cut to 13 x 14½ inches, with the edges sanded smooth.
2) Build the Box
Construct an open-top box using ¾-inch plywood for a 14 x 15½–inch bottom. Use ½-inch plywood to make four 7-inch-tall sides. With a vise and pliers, bend the mending plates to 135-degree angles. Fasten two plates to each box side with 1-inch No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts. Cut pieces of rigid foam insulation to line the box interior. Glue the foam to the plywood using construction adhesive. Cut and glue drywall panels to fit on top of the foam. Paint the interior black.
3) Prep the Top
Nail wood trim over the edges of the foam and drywall. Cut the molding into four 9-inch lengths. Center the glass pane over the opening. Put the moldings around the glass perimeter. Nail them down to steady the pane. Glue the knobs to the glass.
4) Make Reflectors
Cut rigid foam to four 12 x 24–inch panels. Wrap the foam in aluminum foil. Bolt the panels to the plates.
5) Bake It Up
Prep food in a black enamel pot with a lid; set the pot in the box. Replace the glass. Prop up the oven at an angle so the sun and reflectors shine directly on it. Use an oven thermometer to gauge the heat.
Note: This oven does not bake as quickly as a regular one, but our scones, with butter and lingonberry jam, were still delicious. Wear oven mitts to handle the ceramic knobs—they get hot!
The projects spread over several districts: Anand, Banaskantha, Jamnangar, Junagadh, Kutch, Porbandar, Rajkot, Surat, and Surendranagar, including this ‘Gujarat Solar Park’, Asia’s largest, have in total the potential to generate 30 lakh units of clean energy per day.
The ‘Gujarat Solar Park’ spread in 3,000-acre land has already attracted investments from 21 national and international companies.
“This achievement is not merely a step in the direction of power conservation but it provides the world with a vision that how the power needs of the future generations can be solved in an environment-friendly manner”, Modi said on the occasion.
“Due to the efforts made by the Gujarat government, the cost of solar power has come down to ₹8.50 per unit from ₹15 per unit,” Modi claimed adding that the cost will further go down to rupees four per unit in future once the supply of solar power increases.
After Hurricane Sandy put people, power, and nuclear reactors at risk along the east coast of the US- renewable energy’s economic as well as environmental benefits eliminate even more reasons not to move forward to safe energy. -Dr Helen Caldicott
New Study Finds that Solar Power Is a Bargain for Ratepayers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
BORDENTOWN, N.J., Nov. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –
The Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association (MSEIA) and the Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industries Association (PASEIA) today released a study by consulting firm Clean Power Research showing that solar power in New Jersey and Pennsylvania delivers value to the electricgrid that exceeds its cost by a large margin, making it a bargain for energy consumers.Energy providers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are required to buy certain amounts of solar power each year. They pay a premium for that solar power in the form of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates, or SRECs, and pass this premium cost on to ratepayers. The study found that solar power delivers a total levelized value ranging from $256 to $318 per MWh (25.6 cents to 31.8 cents per kWh). However, this includes a premium value in the range of $150 to $200 per MWh (15 cents to 20 cents per kWh), above the value of the solar electricity generated. The SRECs in New Jersey currently cost about $60/MWh (6 cents per KWh), and in Pennsylvania they cost about $20/ MWh (2 cents per KWH).
“This indicates that electric ratepayers in the region are getting more than a two-to-one return on their investment in solar energy,” said Dennis Wilson, President of MSEIA, “Although the current SREC prices are unsustainably low, our analysis indicates that SRECs can increase in price, deliver net benefits and still support strong solar growth. Solar power has proven it can deliver value that exceeds its cost by 50% to over 100%. This net positive benefit will only increase as solar technology continues to drop in cost.”
“Both states have considered expanded investments in solar energy. This study shows that such programs and policies are well justified from an economic standpoint and generate far more instate jobs than central plant generation. Add together the proven public health, security and environmental benefits, and it’s clear that aggressive solar power development is a win for these states and their residents,” said Lyle Rawlings, Vice President of MSEIA, New Jersey division.
“We are very excited about this study,” said Ron Celentano, President of PASEIA and Pennsylvania VP of MSEIA. “For the first time the solar industry can show the quantitative benefits of implementing solar energy technologies specifically in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more than three years we have been unsuccessful with enhancing our solar share requirement in Pennsylvania, largely because solar was perceived as only a cost to rate payers. But this study concludes that the value of solar far exceeds the costs to both the rate payer and taxpayer.”
“Solar PV does not get a fair shake in our current utility accounting protocols because those rules evolved for centralized, large scale power plants,” says Roger Clark, manager of The Reinvestment Fund’s Sustainable Development Fund, a major funder of this study. “We supported this study because it is critical to understand the costs and benefits of solar so that our energy policies, such as Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, are grounded on an accurate perception of the value of solar energy.”
Both New Jersey and Pennsylvania are major solar markets in terms of the amount of solar capacity already installed. Each has great opportunity for continued clean energy industry growth. New Jersey, the nation’s second-largest solar market with 900 MW of solar capacity, is the first state to generate more than 1% of its annual electricity from solar energy. Its annual solar share is now approaching one and a half percent, with contributions during peak demand periods several times higher. Once one of the nation’s fastest growing solar markets, Pennsylvania has since fallen to eighth place in installed capacity. Increasing the state’s near- term solar commitment would put Pennsylvania solar growth back on track.
According to Richard Perez, one of the authors of the study, “This report broke new ground in that it incorporated a wealth of utility power cost data, enabling detailed analysis of economic drivers such as the ‘merit order effect,’ according to which power can have different values depending on when it is generated. Solar energy has inherent advantages stemming from such economic drivers.” Today’s report assessed the value of modest solar penetration (15% of utility peak load) at six locations: Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Scranton, Philadelphia, Newark, Atlantic City, and Jamesburg. Research concluded that by offsetting the need for conventional power, distributed solar power delivers measurable benefits, including:
Lower conventional electricity market prices due to reduced peak demand;
Valuable price hedge from using a free, renewable fuel rather than variably-priced fossil fuels;
Avoided costs of new transmission and distribution infrastructure to manage electricity delivery from centralized power plants;
Reduced need to build, operate and maintain natural gas generating plants;
Reduced outages due to a more reliable, distributed electric power system;
Reduced future costs of mitigating the environmental impacts of coal, natural gas, nuclear, and other generation;
Enhanced tax revenues associated with local job creation, which is higher for solar than conventional power generation.
Prepared by Clean Power Research, the report was funded by the following organizations: The Reinvestment Fund’s Sustainable Development Fund, Mid Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, Advanced Solar Products, SMA Americas, Vote Solar, Renewable Power, and Geoscape Solar.
MSEIA, the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, is a solar energy advocacy trade association which represents over 100 solar companies doing business in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Established in 1997 by solar energy advocates, MSEIA is an historic and highly-effective non-profit membership organization created to advocate for solar energy incentives, create permanent solar energy jobs and a renewable energy infrastructure, and promote solar energy as a viable and important source of energy for the future. Our efforts in the legislature and with the Board of Public Utilities have been instrumental in helping to create the New Jersey solar industry.
About PASEIA: The Pennsylvania Division of MSEIA. PASEIA is an organization of manufacturers, developers, contractors, installers, architects, engineers, consultants and other industry professionals dedicated to advancing the interests of solar energy and to developing a strong local PA industry offering high quality installation and professional services to business and residential customers in the region we serve.
Frequent storms, wilder weather extremes- nuclear facilities face dangers they are not prepared for. They put all of us at risk by their very nature. This is only compounded by regulatory laxness. It’s time to regulate the regulators, and long past time to start shutting down the reactors. We have energy alternatives that are safer and better. We must put our attention to developing and using them. We can’t wait until the nuclear industry is satisfied that they have gotten the last possible cent they can squeeze out of the public and government coffers. — Dr. Helen Caldicott
Constellation Energy’s Nine Mile Point Unit 1, on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario near Oswego, New York, is the second-longest-operating nuclear station in the United States; it opened in 1969, the same year as Oyster Creek, and shares the same design. (Photograph courtesy Constellation Energy via PRNewsFoto)
This article was originally published in Global Security Newswire, produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
The danger Hurricane Sandy posed to nuclear power plants along the East Coast highlights some of the same vulnerabilities that terrorists looking to release harmful radiation into the environment could exploit, watchdog groups said this week.
The unprecedented storm posed two main challenges to atomic energy facilities: rising water levels and interruptions to the electricity grid. Both have the potential to disrupt crucial cooling systems at the plants, and particularly those for pools used to cool spent reactor fuel. If spent fuel rods overheat and are exposed to air, they can cause fires and dangerous radiation releases.
In Lacey Township, N.J., the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant faced both of these challenges. High water levels threatened to submerge a water pump motor used to cool water in the plant’s spent fuel pool, Reuters reported. The situation, caused by a combination of rising tide, wind direction, and storm surge affecting the Atlantic Ocean and adjoining estuaries, prompted the facility to declare an emergency “alert,” according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
In addition, the Oyster Creek plant at one point experienced a power disruption that necessitated the use of two backup diesel generators, according to Reuters.
While such auxiliary power can usually keep cooling systems for a nuclear reactor itself operating, activists warn that NRC regulations do not require that such resources also be connected to the mechanisms that cool spent fuel pools.
“As soon as the electric grid goes down, water circulation pumps stop operating,” Kevin Kamps, a radioactive-waste specialist with the group Beyond Nuclear said in a statement released during the storm.
Pool water can begin to boil within “several hours” of loss of cooling, he noted, and could leave fuel rods exposed within “several to many days.”
Kamps told Global Security Newswire that the same problems could be caused by an intentional attack.
“While high winds can knock out the electric grid, so too can sabotage or terrorism,” Kamps said. He added that “normal cooling-water flow pathways and mechanisms,” threatened by high water during the storm at Oyster Creek and other nuclear plants, “could also be disrupted intentionally.”
In the event of a disruption to the usual spent fuel pool cooling system, power-plant operators could use fire fighting equipment in an attempt to replenish water lost through evaporation. Japanese authorities tried similar tactics during the Fukushima Daiichi disaster last year. Watchdog groups argue that relying on this is insufficient, however.
Steam generated by a boiling spent-fuel pool “could short-circuit critical safety systems throughout the nuclear plant,” Kamps said.
Robert Alvarez, who served as a senior adviser to the Energy secretary during the Clinton administration, noted that spent fuel pools were originally designed for temporary storage lasting no longer than five years. He cited a 2006 study by the National Academy of Sciences that said pools at nearly all of the more than 100 reactors in the United States now contain high-density spent-fuel racks that allow about five times more waste to be stored in the pool than was originally intended.
“The Oyster Creek spent-fuel pool is currently holding about 3,000 irradiated assemblies (including a recently discharged full core) containing about 94 million curies of cesium 137—more than three times more released from all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests,” Alvarez, now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, said by e-mail. “Whether or not mega-storm Sandy portends what’s in store for the near future, it’s still too risky to use high-density spent-fuel pools as de facto indefinite storage for some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.”
Watchdog groups have long advocated for an NRC rule that would require used fuel rods to be removed from pools and placed in hardened, dry casks as quickly as possible. Alvarez said dry casks at the Fukushima Daiichi site were “unscathed” by the earthquake and tsunami that threatened the plant’s spent fuel-storage pools last and caused meltdowns in three reactors.
Even in a worst-case scenario, the “consequences of a breach in a dry cask in terms of radioactive releases is about 2,500 times less than a spent-fuel pool fire,” Alvarez said. “Whereas a spent-fuel pool fire could create life-threatening contamination of hundreds of square miles.”
Following the Fukushima disaster, watchdog groups petitioned NRC to immediately require a number of upgrades at U.S. atomic energy plants. Among the activists’ demands were that the commission requires dedicated backup power systems for spent-fuel pools and that fuel rods be removed from the pools after five years.
NRC officials rejected the demands that they act immediately on these items, but agreed to consider them in their long-term review of lessons to be learned from Fukushima. Kamps said the threats posed by this week’s storm underscored the urgency of requiring such upgrades.
For now, the commission “is focused on the current situation with the plants,” according to NRC spokesman David McIntyre, who emphasized that “all of them are safe and have performed according to design and their license conditions.
“If there are lessons to be learned from Sandy, we will look at them, but we do not have the luxury that [the watchdog groups] have of being able to jump to conclusions before a situation even plays out,” McIntyre added.
In total, the Hurricane Sandy impacted at least a half-dozen nuclear plants, Reuters reported. Other affected sites include Unit 1 of the Salem, N.J., plant – which was shut down due to high water and debris – and Indian Point 3 in New York, which went offline due to fluctuations in the power grid caused by the storm.
John Keeley, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents the nuclear-power industry, noted that the majority of nuclear plants “in the path of the storm continued to produce electricity” and that the “ones that did shut down did so safely and securely.”
This article was originally published in Global Security Newswire, produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
Solar Flare of Fourth of July 2012 – This still from a NASA video shows a Fourth of July solar flare from sunspot AR1515 on the sun on July 4, 2012 as seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. (Credit: NASA/SDO)
The National Weather Service statistical data of U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that heat kills more persons per year than lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods combined. In the 10 years from 1994 to 2003, on the average excessive heat claimed 237 lives each year. By contrast, floods killed 84; lightning, 63; tornadoes, 58; and hurricanes, 18.
In the killer heat wave of 1980, more than 1,250 people died. In 1995 more than 700 deaths in the Chicago, Illinois area attributed to the heat wave. In August 2003, in Europe, a record heat wave killed an estimated 50,000 lives.
The sun unleashed some powerful solar flares on July 4, 2012. One solar flare erupted at 0947 GMT (5:47 a.m. EDT) and hit its peak strength eight minutes later. According to the Space Weather Prediction Group operated by NOAA the flare fired off from the active sunspot AR1515, registered as a class M5.3 solar storm on the scale used by astronomers to measure space weather.
Sunspot AR1515 is a huge active region on the sun that covers an area about 62,137 miles long (100,000 kilometers). It has been responsible for a series of strong solar flares in recent days and may not die off soon. In fact, the sunspot region has now spewed 12 M-class solar flares since Tuesday, NASA officials said in a statement on Thursday. This sunspot region has also produced several coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are clouds of plasma and charged particles hurled into space during solar storms.
Spaceweather.com, a space weather tracking website run by astronomer Tony Phillips announced, “The chance of the occurrence of an X-flare is increasing today as sunspot AR1515 develops a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for the most powerful explosions. The sunspot itself is huge, stretching more than 100,000 km (8 Earth-diameters) from end to end.”
X-class solar flares are the strongest sun storms the sun can unleash. M-class flares considered medium-strength, and C-class the weakest.
Radio blackouts can occur when a layer of Earth’s atmosphere, called the ionosphere, is bombarded with X-rays or extreme ultraviolet light from solar eruptions. Disturbances in the ionosphere can change the paths of high and low-frequency radio waves, which can affect information carried along these channels.
So, these flares directed towards Earth have the potential to disrupt satellite transmissions in their paths; endanger unshielded astronauts in space; disrupt GPS signals and communications; and can damage power systems and communications infrastructure on the ground.
That same morning on July 4, 2012, another solar flare that reached M2 on the sun storm scale was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft currently watching the sun. The flare peaked at 0437 GMT (12:37 a.m. EDT).
Spaceweather.com said that as of July 4, Earth will be in the crosshairs of any major flares and “any X-flares will certainly be Earth-directed,” they explained. “The sunspot is directly facing our planet.”
However, NASA officials said that the CMEs triggered by this week’s solar flares, however, are moving relatively slowly, and will likely not hit Earth since the active region is located so far south on the face of the sun.
But, the sunspot is slowly rotating toward Earth, and scientists are still monitoring its activity.
“Stay tuned for updates as Region 1515 continues its march across the solar disk,” officials at the Space Weather Prediction Center, a joint service of NOAA and the National Weather Service, wrote in an update.
The sun is now in the midst of an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle. The current cycle, known as Solar Cycle 24 the 24th solar cycle since 1755, when recording of solar sunspot activity began. Though this current solar cycle, began on January 8, 2008 there was minimal activity through early 2009.
NASA predicts that solar cycle 24 will peak in early or mid 2013 with about 59 sunspots. But the International Space Environment Service predicts the cycle to peak at 90 sunspots in May 2013
Extreme Heat - Watches, warnings and advisories
M6.1 Solar Flare of July 5, 2012 – The image is shown in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red. (Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA)
YesterdayJuly 5, 2012 a solar flare was registered as M6.1. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the above image of the sun when the flare peaked at 7:44 AM EDT. The M6.1 eruption of yesterday is a little over half the size of the weakest X-class flare, NASA officials said.
Currently we live in Ellicott City, Maryland. Last Friday (June 29), the high temperature of 103°F at BWI Marshall Airport would have set a record on any other June day. The record for June 29 in Baltimore was 105°F. That day, we experienced a sudden storm that surprised almost everyone in Maryland.
This storm that devastated much of Maryland on Friday, is known as a “derecho“ and its impact was among the most severe and widespread. Storm reports show wind gusts neared 70 mph.
Derechos are widespread storms in which multiple bands of strong storms packing damaging winds move hundreds of miles. According to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, their name comes from the Spanish word for “direct” or “straight ahead”, the way the storms typically move.
The heavy winds, typically upward of 60 mph, come from downbursts in storm clouds, caused by differences in the heat and density of air within the storm systems.
The death of an elderly Baltimore County man was reported to state officials today (Friday), the 12th death in Maryland from a massive storm that struck July 29 and extreme heat that has lingered since. The man brings to nine the number of heat-related deaths in the state. Another three people died in the storm. No additional details on the heat deaths were available.
This prevailing hot weather is expected to last for the next three days, including potentially deadly heat and more severe storms.
Today, in the wake of the X-class solar flares occurring on July 4 and on July 5, the National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning at about 2 p.m, cautioning of heat indices around 110°F in Central Maryland on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a high of 104°F Saturday in Baltimore, and heat indices could reach 110°F to 115°F.
Each National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO) can issue the following heat-related products as conditions warrant:
Excessive Heat Outlook: when the potential exists for an excessive heat event in the next 3 to 7 days. An outlook is used to indicate that a heat event may develop. It is intended to provide information to those who need considerable lead time to prepare for the event, such as public utilities, emergency management and public health officials.
Excessive Heat Watch: when conditions are favorable for an excessive heat event in the next 12 to 48 hours. A watch is used when the risk of a heat wave has increased, but its occurrence and timing is still uncertain. It is intended to provide enough lead time so those who need to set their plans in motion can do so, such as established individual city excessive heat event mitigation plans.
Excessive Heat Warning/Advisory: when an excessive heat event is expected in the next 36 hours. These products are issued when an excessive heat event is occurring, is imminent, or has a very high probability of occurrence. The warning is used for conditions posing a threat to life or property. An advisory is for less serious conditions that cause significant discomfort or inconvenience and, if caution is not taken, could lead to a threat to life and/or property.
So, we will have to postpone our normal weekend yard work and other outdoor activities.
The unpredictable financial implications of constructing, running, decommissioning plants and handling risks are causing a global rethink on nuclear energy
For a professed proponent of liberalisation and free trade, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s penchant for a technology that cannot float without subsidies is telling. Nuclear power’s unfavourable economics are not lost on Dr. Singh.
Recently, Westinghouse Electric and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to negotiate the setting up of AP1000 reactors in Gujarat, ending a slump in interest from the Toshiba subsidiary in India’s nuclear market. For Toshiba’s Westinghouse and other nuclear equipment suppliers, the Civil Nuclear Liability Act’s clause on supplier liability was the key hurdle to investing in India. The companies wanted the Indian government to insulate them from the financial fallouts of any potential disaster caused by their technology by spreading that liability among taxpayers. The recent MoU suggests some progress in moving towards this goal.
More obstacles remain, though. Nuclear projects are un-bankable. The government may deploy mental health specialists to deal with the fears of Kudankulam protestors. But those shrinks are unlikely to be able to allay the fears of financiers or nuclear equipment suppliers.
According to nuclear energy expert Peter Bradford, “The most implacable enemy of nuclear power in the past 30 years has been the risk not to public health but to investors’ wallets. No nuclear power project has ever bid successfully in a competitive energy market anywhere in the world.” Mr. Bradford was member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and chair of the New York and Maine electricity regulatory commissions. He teaches a course on nuclear power at the Vermont Law School.
Unpredictable financial implications associated with constructing, running, decommissioning plants and handling nuclear risks are causing a rethink on nuclear energy worldwide. But these developments seem to slip by India without so much as causing a ripple.
Germany and Switzerland have decided to phase out nuclear power, despite their substantial dependence on it. Israel abandoned its year-old civilian nuclear programme after Fukushima. Belgium revived a pre-Fukushima decision to phase out nuclear power, using the Japanese disaster as a reminder. Italy and Kuwait gave up their nuclear debut by abandoning plans for 10 and four plants respectively. Mexico dropped plans for constructing 10 plants. All of Japan’s 54 reactors are now closed, and plans for 14 new reactors killed.
The story of nuclear energy’s unviability is told not just by the actions of naysayers, but also by the experiences of those — like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Vietnam and South Africa — pursuing nuclear programmes. All of them want the nuclear option, but have no idea how they will finance it.
If the U.S. is Dr. Singh’s inspiration, then the so-called nuclear renaissance’s trajectory in that country gives even more cause for despair. In 2009, the U.S. declared a nuclear revival with promises of more than 30 new reactors. Today, most of these projects are doomed. Even candidates for federal loan guarantees such as the South Texas project, and the Calvert Cliffs-3 project in Maryland, have been mothballed.
State governments in the U.S. do not seem to share the Federal Government‘s enthusiasm for nukes. Bills to reverse moratoria on nuclear plants in Minnesota, Kentucky and Wisconsin failed last year. In Missouri, North Carolina and Iowa, legislators defeated bills to charge electricity consumers in advance to finance reactors.
“At the time of Fukushima, only four countries — China, Russia, India and South Korea — were building more than two reactors. In these four nations, citizens pay for the new reactors the government chooses to build through direct subsidies or energy price hikes,” Bradford notes.
Finland was among the few that reiterated its commitment to nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. The 1,600 MW Olkiluoto nuclear plant uses French company Areva‘s technology. Areva’s modular design was expected to make it faster and cheaper to build. But 11 years later, the project is behind schedule and its $4.2 billion budget is up now by 50 per cent. After Fukushima, Areva admits that the same plant would cost $8 billion. Even Areva’s home project, in Flamanville, France, has suffered a $4 billion cost overrun and a four year delay. Indeed, 31 out of 45 reactors that were being constructed globally around 2009 were either delayed or did not have official dates for commissioning, says a report for the German Government by consultant Mycle Schneider.
In Kalpakkam, meanwhile, the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor was slotted to contribute to the grid in March 2012. In 2005, Baldev Raj, Director of the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam, boasted that the 500 MW unit will be completed in 2010, 18 months before schedule. Till date, there is no sign of this happening. The Kudankulam plant, which is now 23 years old since conception, lost only eight months due to protestors.
In Jaitapur too, the government has more to worry about than local protestors. Areva, the technology supplier, is in trouble. Last year, it announced losses of €1.6 billion, and the sacking of 1,200 workers in Germany. Last June, it decided to suspend production at a Virginia reactor component plant due to declining market prospects. Its expansion plans in France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. may never materialise. Areva expected to sell 50 nuclear reactors this decade. It has not received a single order since 2007.
Now, with a socialist president at the helm in France, Areva’s future looks even more uncertain. French President François Hollande had promised voters a reduction in nuclear dependence from 75 to 50 per cent, and shutdown of an aging reactor in Fessenheim. Whether or not he carries through with these promises, it appears certain that no new plants will be built or planned during his term. Both conservative-led Germany and socialist France will make up the shortfall from the nuclear phase-out, by investing in renewables for electricity and new jobs. In replacing nuclear with renewables, these nations are declaring that despite its carbon dividend, nuclear is too risky — financially, politically and environmentally — to pursue.
(Nityanand Jayaraman is an independent writer and volunteer with the Chennai Solidarity Group for Kudankulam Struggle.)
“Each new sunrise provides the catamaran with the light needed to continue its journey,” the PlanetSolar team wrote on its website.
It took the 115-foot boat 584 days — roughly 19 month — to make it all around the world. That is admittedly not a super-fast pace.
But there were stops along the way to promote solar power and even an encounter with pirates. There was also some waiting for the sun to come up to power those lithium batteries.