By Harry Babad, © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved.

Introduction 

Read 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 materials I share in the articles that follow come 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. In addition, I subscribe to New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, Business Week, Wired, National Geographic, Smithsonian – all which I skim for articles of interest. I also pick up items from Greenpeace and Union of Concerned Scientists, when the provide reference I can check,

Some of what I chase is called out in publications by the libraries of the Pacific Northwest [NewsBridge], Sandia, Argonne and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, which are managed by the US Department of Energy. Other articles I found interesting come from technology feeds from the, Discover Magazine, various international energy and green advocacy groups as well as The American Association for the Advancement of Science from the American Nuclear Society magazine Nuclear News is a source and for chemistry related news Chemical & Engineering New from the American Chemical Society.

Article selection (my article – my choice} are obviously and intentionally biased by my training, experience and at rare times my emotional and philosophical intuitive views of what works and what will not… But if you have a topic I neglect, send us feedback and I’ll give it a shot.

Since my tid-bits are only a partial look at the original article, click on through the provided link if you want more details, as well as <often> other references on the same topic(s).

I’ll continue posting articles for your 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 your selves. Coming soon; ‘my call on global warming’, and 13 reasons you hated nuclear power, for reasons now disproved. But if you’re a true believer, then unsubscribe to our blog – none can change your mind but a disaster and that might not wake you up to seeming realities proven by fact not faith.

…and while you’re at it, Help Stamp Out Nucleophobia and Raise You Sci-Tech IQ

Doc.

Titles, As Usual, in No Formal Order, The New Snippets

  • Black Is the New Green – Photosynthesis-based fuel
  • Hydro Power Without the Dams: Ontario Invests in Free Flow Underwater Turbines
  • For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy — Noisy Wind Turbines Attract Complaints
  • The Big Potential of Micro Nukes — Moving Van Sized ‘Modular’ Nuclear Reactors for Your City and Mine
  • New Coal Plants in China, India Built Under UN Clean Development Mechanism
  • Hydrocarbons and Geothermal Energy — A silent minority report
  • Kiss My Ash: How King Coal’s Lobbyists Are Undermining Coal Ash Regulation — Coal ash dumps a ‘time bomb’ for Michigan and other water
  • Toxic Sludge From Hungary Spill Coats Villages, Threatens Danube — Another unintended environmental consequence

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Black Is the New GreenPhotosynthesis based fuel

Lilac Amirav is breaking a sweat trying to do what nature has been doing effortlessly for some 3 billion years. She and 30 or so colleagues at the Helios project are trying to build miniature machines that re-create photosynthesis, the process by which green plants take in sunlight and carbon dioxide and produce energy. In a leaf, the product of this reaction is the sugar molecule, which serves as a kind of biological battery: All the plant has to do is break sugar’s chemical bonds, releasing the energy it needs to sustain itself. Amirav’s goal is to tweak this process to better suit the energy needs of a world population that by 2050 is expected to reach 9 billion, a growing percentage of which will want to drive their own cars. She and her colleagues at Helios, a joint project of U. C. Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, want to build an artificial leaf that drips ethanol, or some other alcohol, which you could pump right into your gas tank.

New energy technologies have never been in greater demand. With consumption growing, oil supplies often tight, and the world in a warming trend, the search is on for better energy sources—clean coal, safe nuclear reactors, and more far-reaching ideas like artificial photosynthesis.

Automobiles (transportation) pose a particular problem because they require a portable source of energy that can deliver a concentrated punch, a quality that sunlight does not possess. But the status quo is unacceptable. Tailpipe exhaust accounts for some 20 percent of the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide; an economic recovery could easily cause the return of $140-a-barrel oil.

The scientists at Helios—and at a growing number of labs around the world doing related work—could revise those equations. Photosynthesis consumes carbon dioxide. If we could pull carbon out of the air and use it to wean cars off fossil fuels, that would go a long way toward reducing humankind’s production of greenhouse gases without impeding technological progress.

Check out the references and see how the studies of nanotechnology-based materials is being pursued to duplicate, and perhaps make more efficient what is commonplace in our natural biological world. We have a long way to go. But judging from the progress at Helios, and other projects, we getting closer to both understanding the science and capturing it to create an alternate source of transportation fuel, one more closely linked to today’s sunlight rather then that captured in now buried plants during prehistoric times.

By Fred Guterl, Discover Magazine October 20, 2010

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/20-black-is-the-new-green

More References

There are all sorts of approaches to creating fuel from sunlight, avoiding the potentially energy wasting  ‘GO Trap’ by not collecting electricity. Not that making electricity from sunlight is either good or per se bad, it’s the bottom line for total lifecycle cost per gallon of gasoline energy equivalent including green house gas emission related costs, that counts. Here’s a taste – Google On.

Artificial Photosynthesis — From Wikipedia, (October. 10, 2010)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Photosynthesis

Helios Project — Lawrence Berkley National Labs Solar Energy Research Center. http://www.lbl.gov/LBL-Programs/helios-serc/index.html

Artificial Photosynthesis: Turning Sunlight Into Liquid Fuels Moves A Step Closer — ScienceDaily (Mar. 12, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090311103646.htm

Getting to the Hydrogen Highway Via the Nano Road, by Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 20, 2009. http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2009/04/20/hydrogen-highway-nano-road/

Water Oxidation Advance Boosts Potential for Solar FuelScienceDaily (Mar. 18, 2010http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311141207.htm

Hydrogen From Sun And Water, by Mitch Jacoby’s in Chemical & Engineering News, AUGUST 10, 2009. http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/87/i32/8732notw.html

Bio Solar Energy Conversion-Artificial Photosynthesis — Beckman Institute of the California Institute of Technology {Undated} http://mmrc.caltech.edu/BB/photoconversion.html

How Artificial Photosynthesis Works by Julia Layton.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-tech/energy-production/artificial-photosynthesis.htm

Also Check My Early September Greening Article

Fuel From The Sun <—> Water + sunlight = fuel by Stephen K. Ritter Chemical & Engineering News, 88(27), July 05, 2010

http://pubs.acs.org/isubscribe/journals/cen/88/i27/html/8827sci1.html

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Hydro Power Without the Dams: Ontario Invests in Free Flow Underwater Turbines

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could generate clean power from rivers without having to dam them? That’s what Verdant Power is trying to do with its free flow turbines (which we’ve covered in the past on this site: “Lunar Power” comes to New York and NBC Coverage of Wave and Tidal Power).

The Cornwall Ontario River Energy Project – 15 Megawatts — The province of Ontario is investing C$2.2 million into a project to demonstrate the feasibility and commercial viability of using free flow turbines to harness some of the St. Lawrence River’s kinetic energy and turn it into electricity.

This project is for 15 megawatts, enough to power 11,000 average-sized homes, but Verdant estimates that “there is enough potential power in the water currents of Canada’s tides, rivers and manmade channels to generate 15,000 MW of electricity using its technology”. That would be about the equivalent of 15 big coal power plants.

But we have to wonder… Did they pick Cornwall just because they could make a really cool acronym? The Cornwall Ontario River Energy (CORE) Project.

How Does a Free Flow Underwater Turbine Work? Very simply, it works like a wind turbine, but the blades are moved by a water current instead of by the wind. “The turbine blades rotate slowly allowing fish to pass through safely with minimal environmental impact.” Of course, the impact won’t be zero, but if we consider that Ontario is currently getting a good amount of its power from coal plants, this definitely looks like a step in the right direction.

One key difference with wind turbines is that free flow hydro turbines are not visible, so the “not in my backyard” (NIMBY) attitude shouldn’t be a problem. Another benefit over wind power is that hydro delivers power more predictably.

Read the article to discover the potential use of tidal power Tidal Power in the East River in New York City
 Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project (pdf) in New York City’s East River. Also check out the potential for The Future of Free Flow Hydropower Turbines. It’s probably still too early to know how cost-competitive this technology will be. What we do know is that there won’t be a clean energy silver bullet, so it is important to keep improving in that area even if other types of renewable energies are ahead right now (wind, solar, and even wave power).

By Michael Graham Richard, Ottawa, Canada Broadcast on 04-14-08

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY (alternative energy) — http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/04/verdant-power-free-flow-underwater-turbines-hydro.php

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For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy — Noisy Wind Turbines Attract Complaints

Oh brave new wind — The law of unforeseen consequences!

Inalhaven, Me. — Like nearly all of the residents on this island in Penobscot Bay, Art Lindgren and his wife, Cheryl, celebrated the arrival of three giant wind turbines late last year. That was before they were turned on. In the first 10 minutes, our jaws dropped to the ground,” Mr. Lindgren said. “Nobody in the area could believe it. They were so loud.”

Now, the Lindgrens, along with a dozen or so neighbors living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility here, say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life in this otherwise tranquil corner of the island unbearable.

They are among a small but growing number of families and homeowners across the country who say they have learned the hard way that wind power — a clean alternative to electricity from fossil fuels — is not without emissions of its own.

Lawsuits and complaints about turbine noise, vibrations and subsequent lost property value have cropped up in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among other states.

There’s lots more, check it out. To paraphrase an old quotation, ’no new energy form goes without punishment. {Doc.} Is this super NIMBY or an acoustic cover up? Only time and measurements will tell; but there are lots of European based articles on this subject. Just Google <European Windmills + Noise>

By Tom Zeller Jr., New York Times, Published: October 5, 2010 — http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/energy-environment/06noise.html?_r=1&nl=&emc=aua1

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The Big Potential of Micro Nukes Moving Van Sized ‘Modular’ Nuclear Reactors for Your City and Mine

The race is on to develop refrigerator-size reactors that could power small towns or plants

David H. Freedman comments that I’m standing 20 feet from the brightly glowing core of a laboratory nuclear test reactor the size of a moving van, and the Geiger counter next to me is going nuts. But no worries, I’m told. The light, visible on a nearby monitor hooked up to a camera inside the reactor, is not from nuclear fission; it is harmless emission from electrons zipping out of the core and shedding their energy into the water that surrounds it. And the stream of particles eliciting the shriek from the Geiger counter is not from the reactor at all. Just for a giggle, the reactor manager has placed the detector next to a Fiestaware cup, which happens to be one of many everyday items that are mildly radioactive. He keeps it on hand to tease visitors.

I am actually getting less radiation here than I would on the beach or in an airplane. You’ll have to forgive the folks at Oregon State University’s Radiation Center for having a little fun. Nuclear power fell into a long funk after the partial core meltdown at the Three Mile Island reactor in Pennsylvania in 1979. All new nuclear plant construction in the United States came to a halt, and before the industry could recover, the 1986 reactor breach at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine seemed to seal the fate of nuclear power in this country. Now the technology is hot again—this time in a good way—because it produces virtually no carbon emissions and it backs us away from the turbulent politics and economics of oil.

OSU’s nuclear engineers are basking in that glow. While the industry was in deepfreeze, they were pressing ahead with one of the most promising emerging technologies in energy: micro-size nuclear reactors, fully functional power plants a good deal closer to the size of the test reactor I’m standing near. It is a far cry from the standard nuclear plant—the size of a small town, cranking out enough electricity to power a major city—not to mention the even bigger plants going up in China and France. To say China’s aim of 60 GW of new nuclear in operation by 2020 is ambitious is an understatement. By speaking with the people at the centre of this project, both government officials and executives from the foreign firms that are supplying the technology ,and after analysis by international experts at the Energy Social Media Blog several documents  reports how China aims to achieve this goal. <See reference>

Given the economies of scale in the power industry, why would anyone want to go teeny? “There are economies of small, too,” says Jose Reyes, chairman of OSU’s nuclear engineering department and chief technology officer at nearby NuScale Power, a commercial spin-off of the department. For one thing, Reyes explains, miniaturized nuclear plants are small enough to mass-produce, driving down costs, and they can be shipped just about anywhere by truck or boat, even to locations that are off the grid.

For one thing, Reyes explains, miniaturized nuclear plants are small enough to mass-produce, driving down costs, and they can be shipped just about anywhere by truck or boat, even to locations that are off the grid.

Also, micro nukes can be designed to run a long time without maintenance or refueling. They could be sealed like a big battery and buried underground for as long as three decades (30 years), so terrorists could not get into them and nuclear waste could not get out. A spent micro nuke could simply be plucked out of the ground and shipped whole to a waste-processing or recycling facility anywhere in the world (e.g., China or France); the old one could be swapped out for a new one, cartridge-style. In contrast, a conventional nuclear plant requires several years of customized design and construction, and at the end of its life several years more are needed to dismantle it and decontaminate the massive site around it.

Toshiba, Hyperion Power Generation, Sandia National Labs, and TerraPower—a company underwritten in part by Bill Gates—also have downsized nuclear reactor concepts in the works. Micro nukes are more reliable than wind power, cheaper than solar, and much easier to operate than conventional nuclear plants. Initially, micro nukes are likely to be installed in clusters as safer, simpler replacements for existing commercial reactors that need decommissioning. But in the coming decade, small-scale (nukelets) like NuScale’s may well eclipse solar and wind as the green energy of choice, bringing plentiful electricity to billions of people who lack it and possibly powering individual neighborhoods within cities.

Read about the OSU’s one-third-scale test version of the NuScale reactor, which is being extensively studied as the basis of the next design stage before going to licensing and commercialization, abroad if not in the USA.

OSU houses a one-third-scale test version of the NuScale reactor, faithful to the real thing except for electrically powered heating rods that stand in for the radioactive core. Operating since 2008, the uncomplicated-looking contraption seems like the sort of thing you would expect to find at the back of a small brewpub. But the device runs like a top, sending a copious river of steam into the air above the building. (Reyes nixed a student scheme to dye the steam green and hook it up to a train whistle.) NuScale plans to submit its design to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in early 2012. The NRC is expected to take at least three years to approve it, due to a backlog of applications at the agency and to the newness of micro nuke designs. Still, that is probably a few years sooner than most other micro nukes can expect to get the nod; the NuScale reactor’s light-water technology is quite similar to the industry-standard approach with which the NRC is intimately familiar.

To speed things up further, NuScale is initially marketing its micro nukes in bundles of 12 set up to replace existing nuclear power plants—which means that the company will not have to wait for approval of specific sites, since the go-ahead for safe siting will already be in place. Having an installed base of safely operating reactors should make it easier to win approval for selling the units individually or in smaller bundles later on, Reyes contends. “We’ll learn a huge amount about building and running the reactors every time we produce a batch of 12,” he says. NuScale is in active discussions with several utility customers.

Sticking with proven light-water technology has some downsides, Reyes acknowledges. To keep the water from boiling and losing it’s heat-transferring properties, light-water reactors cannot run at the high temperatures that are most efficient for producing power. And even at lower temperatures, preventing boiling requires high pressure. In the unlikely event that an overheating core causes a reactor breach, the pressure could potentially cause an explosive venting of radioactive gases into the environment.

To get around these problems, Japan’s Toshiba and Hyperion Power Generation of Santa Fe, New Mexico, are pushing rival micro reactors. Their versions, which have been in development for more than a decade, use circulating molten metal—sodium and lead bismuth, respectively—as coolants and heat conduits instead of water. Without the risk of water boiling, the reactors can run at higher temperatures, producing enough heat to extract hydrogen from water for use in fuel cells. And if one of these reactors melted open, a very unlikely event, there would be no venting, just a well-contained hot mess underground.

There are more references about the potential for, and advantages for micro (Small-Scale) nuclear reactors

Article by David H. Freedman; photography by Nicholas Eveleigh, from the June 2010 Issue of Discover Magazine, Posted November 22, 2010. — http://discovermagazine.com/2010/jun/05-the-big-promise-of-micro-nukes

Additional References

Nuclear Power in China: How the Red Dragon Will Lead the World by Penny Hitchin — Published: Oct 1, 2010 in Power Engineering World Wide — http://www.powergenworldwide.com/index/display/articledisplay/4114678000/articles/power-engineering-international/volume-18/issue-9/features/nuclear-power-in-china-how-the-red-dragon-will-lead-the-world.html

A Preassembled Nuclear Reactor, By Kevin Bullis in MIT’s Technology Today — http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=22867&channel=energy&section/

IEER/PSR: ‘Small Modular Reactors’ No Panacea for What Ails Nuclear Power, PR-Canada.Net – PR-CANADA.net , by the Canadian The IEER/PSR  Group, October 01, 2010  — http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/ieerpsr-small-modular-reactors-no-panacea-for-what-ails-nuclear-power-104024223.html. And the ‘Makhijani  and Boyd’ Factsheet cited therein.

<Note the group objects to government subsidies for nuclear power but not for coal, oil, or other energy forms –Doc. – If you want more information about the unfocused inapplicable use of technical data and innuendo found therein, drop us a note.>

Small Modular Reactors, From Wikipedia, Updated October 23, 2010. — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Modular_Reactors

Global Energy Needs: Defining a Role for a “Right Sized Reactor”, by Dr. Thomas L. Sanders, President of the American Nuclear Society, March 2010. — Presentation notes, personal communication to doc_Babad.

Experts Found Wanting By Stephen Heiser: Russians Go To Sea With Reactors, We Go To Water With Wind Mills?, by Stephen Heiser in Nuclear Power Industry News, Jul 28 2009. — http://nuclearstreet.com/nuclear_power_industry_news/b/nuclear_power_news/archive/2009/07/28/experts-found-wanting-by-stephen-heiser-russian-go-to-sea-with-reactors-we-go-to-water-with-wind-mills-1722.aspx

Small Nuclear Reactors Are Becoming Big

Business, by Jeremy van Loon and Alex Morales in Bloomberg Business Week, May 20, 2010. — http://www.businessweek.com/print/magazine/content/10_22/b4180020375312.htm

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New Coal Plants in China, India Built Under UN Clean Development Mechanism

Twelve companies are set to fund 20 “efficient” coal-fired power plants overseas in exchange for the right to continue producing their own emissions at home.

The Guardian (UK) has the story and explains it all, but the justification is that the new plants would be more “efficient” than older ones, and would be paid for by carbon offsets that British and European companies bought instead of cutting their own emissions.

Here’s the real crux of the problem: if Medupi is allowed to sell offsets, the Guardian continues, “It would be able offset all the emissions from a major new coal power station in the UK, effectively allowing the British government to meet its carbon-reduction targets by subsidizing a plant in South Africa that would have been built anyway.”

Check out CDM-Watch (Check the Reference) to learn more about criticisms of the Clean Development Mechanism from people who follow it regularly, and about what can be done to fix it.

Article by Rachel Cernansky at Planet Green.com, July 15, 2010. — http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/new-coal-plants-china-india-built-under-un-clean-development-mechanism.html?print=true

Check the added detail at:

Rich Countries To Pay Energy Giants To Build New Coal-Fired Power Plants. The UN’s Clean Development Mechanism to use European carbon offset credits to subsidize 20 ‘efficient’ coal plants in India and China. Article by John Vidal, environment editor guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 14 July 2010. — http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/14/un-carbon-offset-coal-plants

CDM-Watchhttp://www.cdm-watch.org/ (Scrutinizing Carbon Offsets)

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Hydrocarbons and Geothermal Energy — A silent minority report

Geothermal power is probably the lowest-profile renewable energy option we have. It doesn’t get nearly the attention that wind and solar power do–even from me–although it has been quietly cranking out about 0.4% of the US electricity supply for many years. That roughly matches the expected output of all the wind turbines likely to be installed here this year. I’ve commented previously on the striking similarities between geothermal exploration and production and the processes and risk profile of oil and gas exploration & production, but I don’t believe I’ve ever mentioned a small but potentially important overlap between the two: geothermal heat extracted from the fluids produced from oil and gas wells. The potential contribution of “geothermal hydrocarbon co-production” (GHCP) might not be as large as from conventional hydrothermal reservoirs or engineered geothermal systems (EGS), but this approach has the advantage of capitalizing on additional energy from a source that’s already being exploited.

In its report on the US geothermal industry earlier this year, the Geothermal Energy Association listed five projects involving GHCP and related efforts to tap the mechanical energy of high-pressure gas reservoirs, or geopressured fluids. The Department of Energy has recognized this potential and provided partial funding for several of these projects under its stimulus programs. GEA also cited an estimate from Southern Methodist University’s Geothermal Energy Program that GHCP from the onshore Gulf Coast region alone could provide up to 5,000 MW of reliable power. That doesn’t include the potential for using the large volumes of produced water in new or abandoned wells to tap the energy of higher-temperature rock formations underlying the hydrocarbon reservoirs using engineered geothermal systems (EGS).

There’s more — Check it out.

Article by Geoffrey Styles, The Energy Collective, November 9, 2010. — http://theenergycollective.com/geoffrey-styles/46900/hydrocarbons-and-geothermal-energy

Geothermal Industry Interim US Market Update, October 22, 2010 b y the Geothermal Association. — http://www.geo-energy.org/pdf/reports/Geothermal_Industry_Interim_Update_October2010_Final.pdf

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Kiss My Ash: How King Coal’s Lobbyists Are Undermining Coal Ash RegulationCoal ash dumps a ‘time bomb’ for Michigan and other water supplies, environmentalists say

The dangers associated with waste from coal-fired power plants got some attention last month when a billion gallons of coal ash spilled from a storage pond in Tennessee, contaminating surface waters with arsenic, mercury and lead. Michigan has plenty of its own problems stemming from coal ash contamination, regulators and environmentalists say, but because the ash is stored underground the problems have largely gone unnoticed. Stored in unsecured landfills, coal ash can leach toxins into groundwater, endangering the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, which contains 20 percent of the world’s fresh water.

The dangers associated with waste from coal-fired power plants got some attention last month when a billion gallons of coal ash spilled from a storage pond in Tennessee, contaminating surface waters with arsenic, mercury and lead. Michigan has plenty of its own problems stemming from coal ash contamination, regulators and environmentalists say, but because the ash is stored underground the problems have largely gone unnoticed.

Stored in unsecured landfills, coal ash can leach toxins into groundwater, endangering the ecosystem of the Great Lakes, which contains 20 percent of the world’s fresh water.

There’s a lot more here…check it out and read the referenced report. By the way, I wonder why these ‘green’ reporters in Michigan and Tennessee didn’t mention just how radioactive <it’s like Low-Level Waste> these unregulated ash piles are …but what a bit of uranium, thorium and radon more or less among friends.

Doc Sez what I report here is old news – problems with coal ash have been recognized since at least before 2008, as referenced below.

Article by Eartha Jane Melzer The Michigan Messenger, January 16, 2009http://michiganmessenger.com/11691/coal-ash-dumps-a-time-bomb-for-michigan-water-environmentalists-say

Referenced Report in the Article

DeSmogBlog and Polluter Watch present: Coal Fired Utilities to American Public: Kiss My Ash [a pdf]. This report reveals that between October, 2009 and April, 2010 industry representatives held at least 33 meetings with White House Office of Management and Budget staff–at least 4 months before the first public hearing on the proposed ruling on coal ash was held on August 30th.

More References

Coal Combustion: Nuclear Resource or Danger, by Alex Gabbard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, February 5, 2008. — http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev26-34/text/colmain.html

Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste, By Mara Hvistendahl, Scientific American,  December 13, 2007. — http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

Metals Pollute Waters Near US Coal Ash Spill: Group By Timothy Gardner

Reuters, NEW YORK | Fri Jan 2, 2009. — http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5013BO20090102?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews

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Toxic Sludge From Hungary Spill Coats Villages, Threatens Danube — Another unintended environmental consequence

A red-tinged toxic sludge has been winding its way though villages in Hungary this week – the result of a metal plant reservoir that burst its banks in Ajka. The images have been both striking and shocking and local residents are growing more vocal in their distress over the disaster. Rescue workers continued clean-up efforts in villages already coated in the waste and the European Union called for action to prevent the flow from reaching the Danube River.

“This is a serious environmental problem,” EU spokesman Joe Hennon told reporters. “We are concerned, not just for the environment in Hungary, but this could potentially cross borders.” At least four people have died and 120 were injured when the reservoir of an alumina plant about 100 miles from Budapest broke Monday, sending a wave of solids loaded, hazardous liquid sludge into nearby villages. Injuries included chemical burns from contact with the waste. Hundreds of people have evacuated the area. Hungary has declared a state of emergency in three counties and said the clean up could cost tens of millions of dollars and will take at least a year. Click the link and read on…

While the spill itself has now been contained at the plant, she said, authorities are trying desperately to keep the waste from reaching the Danube. Workers are pouring plaster into the Marcal river, which feeds into the Danube, to try to bind the sludge, reported the Guardian, and have used other chemicals to try to neutralize its extremely alkaline pH.

Article by Talea Miller, PBS News Hour, October 6, 2010. — http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2010/10/toxic-sludge-from-hungary-spill-coats-villages-threatens-danube.html.

Also check: http://www.bullfax.com/?q=node-company-head-arrested-over-sludge-torrent-hungary for related stories. Although Sludge flood like Hungary’s unlikely in US according to regulators and experts, this has not yet been well documented. Think of the coal ash releases described earlier in this blog or other liquid ‘slag’ sumps.

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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: — Many of these items were found by way of the links in the newsletter NewsBridge of ‘articles of interest’ to the national labs library technical and regulatory agency users. NewsBridge is electronically published by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, in Richland WA.  If using NewsBridge as a starting point, I follow the provided link to the source of the information and edit its content (mostly by shortening the details) for information for our readers. I also both follow any contained links, where appropriate, in the actual article, and provide you those references as well as those gleaned from a short trip to Google-land. Obviously if my source is a magazine or blog that the material I work with.

In addition, when duplicating materials that I cite, I do not surround each bit of quoted text with quotation marks, the only place I keep quotes intact is where the original article ‘quotes’ another source.  Remember, when Doc sticks his two bits in, its in italics and usually indented when it more than an added word or clarifying phrase.

Closing Remarks, Quips or Quotes

In my humble opinion — The energy density of conventional agricultural or urban waste, particularly when subtracting the energy to collect & prepare it for use is minuscule. High density-energy is our future requirement – not cardboard and poop.

‘G-d won’t allow global warming,’ congressman Representative John Shimkus (R-IL), who is seeking to head Energy Committee, says. I wonder what the representative would say about the plagues during the middle ages, the AIDS epidemic, The big one due off of the west coast, Hurricane Katrina and worse, or the Holocaust and African genocide.

Before G-d we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” – Albert Einstein.

Finally, a Greening Tid-Bit From my world-traveling sister who is a European history addict:

An environmental law almost implemented in Germany – by the Third Reich — The water intake for any communities drinking water must be located downstream of the nearest factory effluent outlet. Even the Nazi’s could not get this law ‘implemented’ – Carl Holder – Energy Consultant

May your world get greener and all creatures on Earth become healthier and 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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Comments
  1. Harry {doc) Babad says:

    Folks:

    In this article I quoted my friend Carl Holder’ “In my humble opinion — The energy density of conventional agricultural or urban waste, particularly when subtracting the energy to collect & prepare it for use is minuscule. High density-energy is our future requirement – not cardboard and poop.”

    He recently responded to my historical comment about municipal drinking water intake locations, proposed but never implemented by the Third Reich” in Nazi Germany. I’ve attached his emailed comment for your consideration. doc

    “Now that EPA has ‘cleaned’ industrial discharge, my quote should be updated… A city’s water intake should be just downstream from the up-stream’s city’s sewer discharge. Chlorine is a terrible additive to sewer discharge simply for the control of coliform bacteria (a no never-mind to the river). Ozone or preferably gamma irradiation should be added {used} …. please do not add chlorine to our rivers, especially not upstream. Thanks, Carl

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