By Harry Babad © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved

Introduction

With A Chip on My Shoulder — I avoid greening sites that equate a demonstration of a concept (e.g., a lab or small scale pilot scale test) to having an industrially viable commercial solution that an instant cure all for our environmental and energy woes. My paradigm, government subsidies don’t make things commercial viable — Indeed, governments have, internationally, been shown to consistently pick losers whether as energy-green or in other technology areas. . [E.g., Corn ethanol vs Food, No cost unmetered water policies in a world of drought and shortages or off shore oil as an energy cure-all.] In addition, subsidizing industry to use its politically sold favorites… no way.

Read more about my paradigms views, prejudices and snarky attitudes at:

https://mhreviews.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/the-greening-continues-a-column-intro-may-23-2010/

The information I share in the articles that follows comes from the various weekly science and environmental newsletters to which I subscribe. When I have time, I also check a variety of energy related and environmental blogs.

Article selection (my article – my choice} are obviously and intentionally biased by my training, experience and at times my emotional and philosophical views of what works and what will not… If you want more information, read the article by clicking on its link. If that does not satisfy, Google a bit.

Bottom Line: The resulting column contains a mini-summary with links to articles I found interesting. I also get technology feeds from the New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, Business Week, Discover Magazine, various international advocacy groups, and the American Nuclear Society. I also subscribe to a number of technology blogs, which are identified when I use their posted contents.

Why a Greening Column? — This all started while writing two textbooks on things nuclear for high school students and their teachers. Googling and reading subscription turned out as a good way as any to keep up with a rapidly changing world of energy and greening – for example who would have thought a few weeks ago that off shore oil might not be the main route to US energy independence, climate change be damned?

Remember, conditions, both technical and geopolitical continuously change. — So if you’ve made up your mind about either the best way to go, or about its all a conspiracy, move on to the next article in our blog. Remember today’s favorite is tomorrows unintended consequences. However, soling unintended consequences is better than sticking one’s head in the sand. As Charles Dickens would have likely agreed — It was the best of times, the worst of times.

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No, As Usual, in No Formal Order, a Bakers Dozen Snippets

——— A List of Their Titles ———

  • Building Better Biofuels
  • EPA Proposes Stronger Air Quality Standards For Sulfur Dioxide /New Standard To Protect Millions of The Nation’s Most Vulnerable Citizens)
  • E-Transportation Jump-Start: Coalition Seeks to Pave the Way for Electric Vehicles
  • Don’t Bet On a Hydrogen Car Anytime Soon
  • Engineer Designs Micro-Endoscope to Seek Out Early Signs of Cancer
  • Experts Say — The Smart Grid Poses Privacy Risks
  • The Six Greatest Threats to U.S. Cyber Security
  • Battery Research Aims To Store Renewable Energy
  • A New Route{s} to Cellulosic Biofuels
  • As Nuclear Reactor Fleet Ages, Engineers Ask,’ Is 80 the New 40?
  • The Hidden Costs Of Fossil Fuels – And Biofuels, Too
  • Native Grasses An Explosive Idea For Cleaning Contaminated Soil
  • 10 Reasons Not to Revive the Nuclear Power Industry

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Building Better Biofuels

By Dr. Tim Donohue, Director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

(PhysOrg.com) — Making biofuels from plants brings opportunities and challenges, according to Dr. Tim Donohue, Director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, one of three U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Research Centers. The opportunity lies in the availability. Donohue gave a talk at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Frontiers in Biological Sciences Seminar Series. The series features academic government and industrial leaders who discuss novel ideas and scientific advances in biological sciences.

“We’re trying to replace fossil fuels in the liquid transportation fuels sector, so we have to use a readily available feedstock. Cellulose is the most abundant organic material on the planet,” said Donohue. It consists largely of sugar polymers (glucose plus others) that can be converted to other fuels by catalytic or microbial chemistries. And these sugars come from the non-edible parts of the plants, rather than from food sources.

The challenges include getting at the sugars trapped in insoluble fibers of the cellulose wall, and the variety of cellulosics. “Plants being considered are hardwood, softwood, corn, and switch grass. However, there’s likely no one magic solution,” said Donohue. One of the Center’s roles is to come up with the varying solutions needed.

Read more about the benefits and present limitations on biofuels production.

PysOrg.com Blog       Science-Physics-Technology-Nanotechnology News

November 17th, 2009 – Article Provided by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

http://www.physorg.com/wire-news/19935327/building-better-biofuels.html

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EPA Proposes Stronger Air Quality Standards for Sulfur Dioxide /New standard to protect millions of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens)

WASHINGTON – For the first time in nearly 40 years, EPA is proposing to strengthen the nation’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) air quality standard to protect public health. Power plants and other industrial facilities emit SO2 directly into the air. Exposure to SO2 can aggravate asthma, cause respiratory difficulties, and result in emergency room visits and hospitalization. People with asthma, children, and the elderly are especially vulnerable to SO2’s effects.

“Short-term exposures to peak SO2 levels can have significant health effects – especially for children and the elderly – and leave our families and taxpayers saddled with high health care costs,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “We’re strengthening clean air standards, stepping up monitoring and reporting in communities most in need, and providing the American people with protections they rightly deserve.”

EPA is taking comment on a proposal to establish a new national one-hour SO2 standard, between 50 and 100 parts per billion (ppb). This standard is designed to protect against short-term exposures ranging from five minutes to 24 hours. Because the revised standards would be more protective, EPA is proposing to revoke the current 2 4-hour and annual SO2 health standards.

EPA also is proposing changes to monitoring and reporting requirements for SO2. Monitors would be placed in areas with high SO2 emission levels as well as in urban areas. The proposal also would change the Air Quality Index to reflect the revised SO2 standards. This change would improve states’ ability to alert the public when short-term SO2 levels may affect their health.

The proposal addresses only the SO2 primary standards, which are designed to protect public health. EPA will address the secondary standard – designed to protect the public welfare, including the environment – as part of a separate proposal in 2011.

EPA first set National Ambient Air Quality Standards for SO2 in 1971, establishing both a primary standard to protect health and a secondary standard to protect the public welfare. Annual average SO2 concentrations have decreased by more than 71 percent since 1980

US Environmental Protection Agency  — Release date: 11-07-2009

Cathy Milbourn

http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d985312f6895893b852574ac005f1e40/f4dcb340a6d523608525767100770756!OpenDocument

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E-Transportation Jump-Start: Coalition Seeks to Pave the Way for Electric Vehicles By Larry Greenemeier 

Although the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and their related infrastructure has always suffered from chicken-and-egg syndrome, Nissan and FedEx, along with several utilities and technology companies have formed a coalition to break the stalemate. At a press conference Monday in Washington, D.C., the Electrification Coalition announced its formation as well as a new 130-page report on the dangers of oil dependence, the benefits of electric vehicles, and ways to overcome roadblocks that have kept these vehicles from being deployed en masse.

Sixty percent of the petroleum used by the U.S. daily comes from foreign sources, FedEx CEO Fred Smith said at the launch event, adding that 90 percent of all U.S. transportation is petroleum-powered. Smith made clear his position that reliance on foreign oil is “in no small way related” to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This energy mentality has to change because the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil has created what amounts to a security risk for the country as a whole, said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D–N.D.), who also spoke at Monday’s event.

The coalition’s position is that a move to electric vehicles would help the U.S. combat the economic, environmental and national security vulnerabilities caused by the country’s petroleum dependence. The coalition’s “Electrification Roadmap” report predicts that if by 2040, 75 percent of light-duty vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. are covered by electric vehicles, oil consumption in that fleet would be reduced by more than 75 percent, and “U.S. crude oil imports could effectively be reduced to zero.”

With the number of vehicles on the planet expected to grow from 600 million today to 2.5 billion by 2050, this group of companies sees electric vehicles as the best alternative, given concerns of foreign oil dependency, oil prices and climate change.

The Electrification Coalition, made up of carmaker Nissan Co., various utilities and tech companies.  Read more that the link below.

Scientific American

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=electrification-coalition

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Don’t Bet On a Hydrogen Car Anytime Soon

By Curt Suplee

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a familiar techno-turkey is back on the national policy table: the hydrogen-powered car. The Obama administration had flatlined funding for President George W. Bush’s pet initiative, briefly but heavily touted a few years back as the driving force toward a future “hydrogen economy” in which gas would displace gasoline.

Two wars and a financial sinkhole later, most Americans had managed to forget the whole thing. But then last month the Senate improbably restored $187 million for H-car research programs to an appropriations bill.

Okay, that’s barely enough to cover one year’s bonuses on the lower floors at AIG. But why is it there at all? The answer lies in the persistent, hypnotic allure of hydrogen eco-mythology, with its promise of breaking our addiction to fossil fuels and foreign oil while banishing greenhouse pollution from our skies — a vision most pointedly embodied in the hydrogen car. Or, more accurately, the notion of the hydrogen car.

Electrical current from a fuel cell, a device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, powers the prototypical H-car. The principle involved is a schoolroom classic: If you stick two electrodes into a beaker of water, the electrical energy breaks H2O apart into its ingredients, H and O, in a process called electrolysis. A fuel cell does the same thing in reverse, putting separate H’s and O’s back together into water molecules and thereby producing electrical energy, which can be used to run a motor. Click the Link — Read On.

The Washington Post, Tuesday, November 17, 2009

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/16/AR2009111602668.html

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Engineer Designs Micro-Endoscope to Seek Out Early Signs of Cancer

Traditional endoscopes provide a peek inside patients’ bodies. Now, a University of Florida engineering researcher is designing ones capable of a full inspection.

Physicians currently insert camera-equipped endoscopes into patients to hunt visible abnormalities, such as tumors, in the gastrointestinal tract and internal organs. Huikai Xie, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working on replacing the cameras with scanners that “see” beneath the surface of tissues — revealing abnormal groups of cells or growth patterns before cancerous growths are big enough to be visible.

“Right now, endoscopes just take pictures of the surface tissue. So, if you see some injury, or abnormality, on the surface, that’s good,” Xie said. “But most of the time, particularly with cancer, the early stages of disease are not so obvious. The technology we are developing is basically to see under the surface, under the epithelial layer.”

Experiments with the professor’s scanning “micro-endoscopes” on animal tissue have been promising, although his devices have yet to be tested in people. The pencil-sized or smaller-sized endoscopes could one day allow physicians to detect tumors at earlier stages and remove tumors more precisely, increasing patients’ chances of survival and improving patients’ quality of life.

Xie and his graduate students have authored at least 40 papers on various aspects of the research, which is supported with more than $1 million in grants, primarily from the National Science Foundation. In September, he delivered an invited talk, “MEMS-Based 3D Optical Micro-endoscopy,” at the 31st Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. He also recently launched a small company, the Gainesville-based WiOptix Inc., to speed commercialization of his scanning technology.

With current camera-equipped endoscopes, once doctors spot abnormalities, they typically perform a biopsy, and then send the suspicious tissue to a laboratory. But biopsy is risky and may cause bleeding and even trauma. Also, it usually takes a couple of days to receive the analysis of the biopsy sample from the laboratory. If it is cancerous, surgeons may attempt to remove the abnormality and surrounding tissue, using either endoscopes equipped for surgery or traditional surgical methods.

Xie’s endoscopes replace the cameras with infrared scanners smaller than pencil erasers. The heart of his scanner is a micro-electromechanical system, or MEMS, device: A tiny motorized MEMS mirror that pivots back and forth to reflect a highly focused infrared beam.

Computers process the return signal from the endoscopes, transforming it into a three-dimensional image of the surface tissue and the tissue beneath. One scanner even produces a 360-degree-image of all the tissue surrounding the endoscope. Doctors or other trained observers can then search the image for abnormalities or suspicious growth patterns. There’s more click on!

Also check out http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kuchi/Research/index.html

AScribe Newswire, Nov. 19 2009

http://www.ascribe.org/cgi-bin/behold.pl?ascribeid=20091119.080049&time=08%2021%20PST&year=2009&public=1

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Experts Say — The Smart Grid Poses Privacy Risks

By Brian Krebs

Technologists already are worried about the security implications of linking nearly all elements of the U.S. power grid to the public Internet. Now, privacy experts are warning that the so-called “smart grid” efforts could usher in a new class of concerns, as utilities begin collecting more granular data about consumers’ daily power consumption.

<Doc Sez, so what’s new – first the telegraph, then the cell phone. Now the Internet and the cell phone and soon the grid. Establish controls, enforce them HARSHLY and live with the reality that what can be done – will be done.>

“The modernization of the grid will increase the level of personal information detail available as well as the instances of collection, use and disclosure of personal information,” warns a report (PDF) jointly released Tuesday by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a think tank made up of chief privacy officers, advocates and academics. The report mentioned above can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Smart grid technology — including new “smart meters” being attached to businesses and homes — is designed in part to provide consumers with real-time feedback on power consumption patterns and levels. But as these systems begin to come online, it remains unclear how utilities and partner companies will mine, share and use that new wealth of information, experts warn. Read more about the issue at the link below.

Doc Further Notes: Even when you anticipate the law of unintended consequences, it is never the less difficult to deal with them. Indeed in our blogger conspiracy theory rich Internet, even relatively solvable problems become major political and headline issues. After all of all the truths we hold self evident, scientific literacy and the ability to deal with risk related issues are rarely in evidence.

The Washington Post Security Fix Blog, November 18, 2009

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/securityfix/2009/11/experts_smart_grid_poses_priva.html

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The Six Greatest Threats to U.S. Cyber Security

By Michael Cooney

It’s not a very good day when a security report concludes: Disruptive cyber activities expected to become the norm in future political and military conflicts. But such was the case today as the Government Accountability Office today took yet another critical look at the US federal security systems and found most of them lacking

From the GAO: “The growing connectivity between information systems, the Internet, and other infrastructures creates opportunities for attackers to disrupt telecommunications, electrical power, and other critical services. As government, private sector, and personal activities continue to move to networked operations, as digital systems add ever more capabilities, as wireless systems become more ubiquitous, and as the design, manufacture, and service of information technology have moved overseas, the threat will continue to grow.

Within today’s report, the GAO broadly outlines the groups and types of individuals considered to be what it called key sources of cyber threats to our nation’s information systems and cyber infrastructures.

Click on and read about our Nation’s vulnerability

Network World Inc., November 17, 2009

http://www.cio.com/article/print/508112

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Battery Research Aims To Store Renewable Energy

By Devin Powell and Philip F. Schewe, ISNS

A battery storage facility on Long Island helps to provide power for an MTA bus depot. Credit: New York Power Authority. Battery manufacturer EaglePicher, working in partnership with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, received 7.2 million [dollars] to modify and lower the cost the sodium sulfur batteries.

The biggest chemical battery in the United States is located near Interstate 90 in the small town of Luverne, Minn. The 80 ton device — the size of two tractor-trailers stacked on top of each other — stores as much energy as about 3 million rechargeable AA batteries and can power about 3,000 houses for more than an hour when discharging at its maximum rate.

The battery is also intended to soak up extra energy at night, when the wind blows strongest and when the power demand from the grid is the lowest. This energy can then be released in the afternoon to lessen the strain on the electrical grid when people return home from work.

Why Size Matters — “Most of the batteries we have in the world were made for small-scale usage,” said George Crabtree director of the material science division of Argonne National Laboratory. “You don’t need much energy to start your car, and your car battery is going to recharge again as soon as the car starts.”

But according to a 2008 report by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, large-scale batteries need to be developed to deal with the increasing amounts of renewable energy on the grid. The AIChE report warned that no proven technologies have been developed to store large quantities of solar and wind energy. “Without [massive energy storage], renewable power can only be piggybacked onto the U.S. grid to supply not more than 15 percent of the power at best,” concluded the 2008 AIChE report.

The chemistry inside these sodium-sulfur batteries is similar to that of the lead acid battery inside of a car. In the car battery, a chemical reaction provides power by sending electrons from one lead plate to another through a liquid called an electrolyte. NGK batteries replace the lead plates with molten sulfur and molten salt and the liquid electrolyte with a solid piece of ceramic that allows electrons to flow between the two hot liquids.

This gives the batteries a much longer lifetime than car battery chemistry would allow. NGK guarantees them for 15 years (4,500 charge and discharge cycles), during which their efficiency at absorbing and discharging energy drops from about 92 to 75 percent.

There’s more , check it out: Google Large Scale Storage Batteries, there’s some fine articles out there-tune in .

PhysOrg.com, November 19, 2009

http://www.physorg.com/news177830654.html

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A New Route to Cellulosic Biofuels — ZeaChem’s pilot plant will make ethanol-using termite microbes. By Phil McKenna

Biofuel startup ZeaChem has begun building a biofuel pilot plant that will turn cellulosic feedstocks into ethanol via a novel approach that uses microbes found in the guts of termites. The company says the ethanol yields from the sugars of its cellulosic feedstocks are significantly higher than the yields from other biofuel production processes. ZeaChem says its process also has the potential to produce a plastic feedstock.

The company employs a hybrid approach that uses a combination of thermochemical and biological processes. It first uses acid to break the cellulose into sugars. Then, instead of fermenting the sugars into ethanol with yeast, as is typically done, the company feeds the sugars to an acetogen bacteria found in the guts of termites and other insects. The bacterium converts the sugar into acetic acid, which is then combined with hydrogen to form ethanol.

“It’s a little more complicated than a conventional process. It’s not the obvious, direct route, but there is a high yield potential,” says Jim McMillan of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO.

In more conventional biofuel processes, much of the carbon content locked up in the sugars is lost to the formation of carbon dioxide when the sugars are fermented into ethanol. Converting the sugars into acetic acid and then ethanol, however, yields no carbon dioxide. As a result, this method has the potential to raise biofuel yields by as much as 50 percent, according to ZeaChem.

In Israel, a different concept with the same goal Cellulosic Ethanol,

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/22774/

There’s more – there’s no free lunch!

Technology Review, November 2009

http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/23989/

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As Nuclear Reactor Fleet Ages, Engineers Ask,’ Is 80 the New 40?

By Paul Voosen of the Greenwire Column

Could nuclear power plants last as long as the Hoover Dam?

Increasingly dependable and emitting few greenhouse gases, the U.S. fleet of nuclear power plants will likely run for another 50 or even 70 years before it is retired — long past the 40-year life span planned decades ago — according to industry executives, regulators and scientists.

With nuclear providing always-on electricity that will become more cost-effective if a price is placed on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, utilities have found it is now viable to replace turbines or lids that have been worn down by radiation exposure or wear. Many engineers are convinced that nearly any plant parts, most of which were not designed to be replaced, can be swapped out.

“We think we can replace almost every component in a nuclear power plant,” said Jan van der Lee, director of the Materials Ageing Institute (MAI), a nuclear research facility inaugurated this week in France and run by the state-owned nuclear giant EDF.

“We don’t want to wait until something breaks,” he said. By identifying components that are wearing down and replacing them, he said, suddenly nuclear plants will find that “technically, there is no age limit.”

Indeed, as U.S. regulators begin considering the extended operations of nuclear plants — the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) expects the first application for an 80-year license could come within five years or less — perhaps the largest lingering question is one of basic science: How do heavy doses of radiation, over generations, fundamentally alter materials like steel and concrete?

There’s more to read about

New York Times, November 20, 2009

http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2009/11/20/20greenwire-as-nuclear-reactor-fleet-ages-engineers-ask-is-94897.html

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The Hidden Costs Of Fossil Fuels – And Biofuels, Too

By Moises Velasquez-Manoff,

The ‘hidden’ costs of burning fossil fuels and biofuels aren’t factored into their market prices, but someone has to pay them. Fumes, as illustrated,  emerge from a coal-fired power plant in Germany. The hidden costs of coal plants include the effects of mercury on wildlife and people, the climate-warming effects of carbon emissions, as well as pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter.

A new report by the National Research Council seeks to put a dollar amount on the “hidden” costs of energy produced by burning fossil fuels. These costs aren’t factored into the market prices of coal, oil, and gasoline, or the prices of electricity generated by fossil fuels, the report says. But someone eventually pays for them.

The report found that, in 2005, the hidden costs of energy production with fossil fuels in the United States amounted to $120 billion. This includes the negative impact of air pollution on health, but doesn’t include the effects of mercury emitted by coal-fired plants on wildlife and people, harm done to ecosystems by air pollution, or the climate-warming effects of carbon emissions.

Coal-fired plants produce about half the nation’s electricity. The report found that pollutants like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter cost the US $62 billion. That works out to about 3.2 cents’ worth of “non-climate” damages for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated.

Natural gas had fewer hidden costs than coal. Four hundred ninety-eight natural-gas-powered electric plants caused about $740 million in damages. That’s about 0.16 cents per kWh, or 1/20th of the damage produced by coal.

Vehicles, meanwhile, which account for 30 percent of US energy use, produced $56 billion in damages. That works out to between 1.2 and 1.7 cents’ worth of hidden costs per mile traveled.

Climate considerations aside, damages wrought by ethanol made from corn were usually similar to, or even slightly worse, than damages from gasoline. That’s because of the extra energy needed to convert corn to biofuel.

The Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/Innovation/Energy/2009/1119/the-hidden-costs-of-fossil-fuels-and-biofuels-too

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Native Grasses An Explosive Idea For Cleaning Contaminated Soil

By Judy Lowe

You hear a lot these days about the benefits of native plants, but here’s a new one: Certain native grasses can convert the toxic leftovers from atrazine – second most common herbicide in the US and a stubborn pollutant in the nation’s waterways – into harmless carbon dioxide, reports the Kansas City Star.

But there’s more.

Three researchers – Robert Lerch of the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, Chung-Ho Lin of the University of Missouri at Columbia, and John Yang of Lincoln University – thought that if native grasses worked for atrazine, why wouldn’t they clean up soils contaminated with TNT and another explosive, RDX, which are chemically similar?

It turns out that two common native grasses – switch grass and Eastern gamma grass – do. This is a big deal, because “The U.S. Army has identified more than 538 sites contaminated by explosives, including 20 EPA-designated Superfund sites,” says Dr. Yang.

The grasses work by nourishing microorganisms in the soil that work to break down the explosives into harmless components. The advantage to using grasses is that they’re natural and cost effective, says Yang in an interview with the Columbia Daily Tribune. Research shows using native grasses to clean up a site costs only $200 to $10,000 for 2-1/2 acres — a fraction of cost of the traditional method of phytoremediation, reports the Tribune.

Compare those small amounts to the estimated cost of $100,000 to $1 million per acre that, the Star reports, it typically costs to haul away the soil in a field contaminated by TNT or RDX and incinerate it.

And the researchers think there may be many more potential uses for grasses in cleaning up contaminated areas.  “We really haven’t looked at that,” Dr. Lerch says. “I think it’s fair to say there is a lot more potential.”

The Christian Science Monitor

http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Bright-Green/2009/0617/native-grasses-an-explosive-idea-for-cleaning-contaminated-soil

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10 Reasons Not to Revive the Nuclear Power Industry

By Elisabeth King

(“Nuclear power redux … why?), I would add these 10 reasons why nuclear power is the wrong answer to our nation’s energy needs.

Doc Sez, I wonder how much time it took Ms. King to search the copyright protected antinuclear sites to come up with this well-worn list. What no references — Isn’t that plagiarism or am I just under educated.

But in fairness, here’s Ms King’s List followed by my reality check based on US government and international agency documentation. There’s not enough space to provide all the references that counter Ms Kings agenda, but you can check out Google for the word,

1.)        Human Error.

That’s why the nuclear industry has the toughest safety training and zero tolerance for effort. After Three Mile Island, that Safety & Training became the paradigm of the industry. Can Ms King find one that is safer – Oil recovery, coal and other minerals mining, chemical manufacturing… ?

2.)        Carbon Footprint.

I absolutely agree with Ms King – all industries including renewable need to be judged on cradle to grave costs including their carbon footprints. I guess the steel (wind power) Concrete {hydropower) chemical pollutants {Photovoltaic Solar Power) and potential from ground water contamination (hydro cracking for natural gas.) are all foot print free.

3.)        Pollution of the Soil {and Groundwater}.

So what’s unique about uranium? How about lead, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, silver and god, and zinc mining, are they pristine? The issue is not contamination but creating rigorously enforcing regulations and assuring control measure are suitable for the risk associated with mining, or oil drilling for that mater.

4.)        Waste disposal.

Are contained nuclear wastes (HLW) in airplane crash proof storage, less risky that mining wastes. Are exposed radioactive coal slag piles less dangers that EPA mandated Low-level waste burial? You surely could have fooled me, and the majority of health-risk-exposure experts. If a cause is needed, start working on lobbyist funded politicians, undereducated technically illiterate bureaucrats and an public that thinks, for the most part, that science ins a dirty work.

5.)        Leakage.

All talk, just inflammatory smoke and mirrors. Miss King, prove the validity and generality of you claim documented by multiple certified scientific analysis published, independently replicated, and peer reviewed.  Provide references by any world regulatory agency that agrees with your hypothesis.

6.) Effects on health.

Without even casting rocks at the often almost discredited linear threshold dose hypothesis, there is ample evidence that low-level of radiation behave like most other toxic substances, what you ask does that mean? At sufficiently low dose {exposures}, most amply reported in the peer reviewed open literature, there is not linear threshold to radiation, or mercury or arsenic or chromium. The human body, and its well developed, but not perfect immune system has protected mankind other of Gaia’s creatures since they evolved and thrived.

7.)        Unreliability.

Since when – All you need to do call you claim false, is to check both the DOE’s and IAEA records, since of course you believe traceable industry records are not reliable. Shutdowns are preventative – if these were bad how could nuclear power be demonstrated to have online factors approaching 90-91%.

8.)        Expense.

Capital costs up front are caused by a combination of regulatory overkill and risk adverse bankers and venture capitalist, at least in the US. Ms King, have you ever wondered why the same nuclear power plant take twice to three times as long to build in the US than in the rest of the nuclear power seeking world. Are our plants any safer? After all most of the approved designs whether by the NRC or the IAEA, are carbon-copy clones of one-another, at least for this generation of reactors.

9.)        Eventual {uranium} shortages.

Hmm — what is there neither a breeder reactor, proliferation proof recycling, a thorium fuel cycle (India), and ocean extraction of uranium or finding new deposits in your future.

10.)      Fiscal responsibility.

Humbug!  You should become a politician. “Nuclear power is by far our most expensive option: the moral equivalent of buying a mink coat with a credit card while the refrigerator stands empty and the children have holes in their shoes.” Alas even the worlds economist will challenge that premise – true we Americans lead by your wisdom, make it so. Apples and oranges comparisons, our side of full lifecycle analysis is equivalent of the medieval belief in demoniacal possession and vapors and humors cause disease.

By now you, Miss King, must be really unhappy with me… However I can back my statement up with hundreds of peer (independently) reviewed studies, can you? Or is this another case of Dylanesque ‘Blowin’ in the Wind.

The Times Record, March 5, 2010

http://www.timesrecord.com/articles/2010/03/05/opinion/commentaries/doc4b91463c450e6637811596.prt

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Copyright Notice: Product and company names and logos in this review may be registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Some of the articles listed in this column are copyright protected – their use is both acknowledge and is limited to educational related purposes, which this column provides.

Sources & Credits: — Most of these items were found in the newsletter NewsBridge that lists ‘articles of interest’ to the libraries technical and regulatory agency users. It is electronically published by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, in Richland WA.  I then follow the provided link to the source of the information and edited the content (abstracted) the information for our readers. Should I find an associated or contradictory reverence, I also share that with you.

PS:

Charles Dickens in a Tale of Two Cities

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Charles Dickens, An English novelist (1812 – 1870)

In Closing

I’ll be posting articles for you comfort and anger in the next few months. I never respond to flaming, but will take time to provide evidence in the form of both primary technical and secondary {magazine articles} references for those who ask. However, most of you can reach out and Google such information for yourselves. To prove me wrong all you need to do is to send me scientifically peer-reviewed evidence (references).

May your world get greener and all creatures on Earth become healthier
and be more able to fulfill their function in this Gaia’s world.

Harry, aka doc_Babad

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Previous Greening Columns

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