Monday, May 25, 2009

Russia continues nuclear fuel supply treaty

This month Russia has completed a nuclear fuel agreement with Japan.

TOKYO, May 12 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Japan signed an intergovernmental nuclear cooperation deal on Tuesday during Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's visit to Tokyo.

The agreement, signed after talks between Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso, opens the door for cooperation in the field of nuclear fuel cycle services and the construction of nuclear power plants.

This follows last years supply agreements with India and China.

Following the G8 energy ministers statement from Italy(see previous post)

We note that in the opinion of a growing number of countries nuclear power can contribute to diversify the energy mix, to increase power generation security and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We reaffirm that the fundamental prerequisite for the peaceful use of nuclear energy is the international commitment to safety, security and safeguards for non-proliferation (3S), while supporting the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

We call all States to adhere to existing international nuclear treaties
and continue to promote development and implementation of robust
international treaties, standards, recommendations, and monitoring
procedures both at international and national levels.

Now Russia and the US utilities will sign a nuclear fuel supply agreement.

MOSCOW — Russia, already a large supplier of nuclear-reactor fuel to Europe and Asia, is expected on Tuesday to sign its first purely commercial contract to supply low-enriched uranium to United States utilities.

With the signing, Russia’s nuclear-fuel trade with the United States will shift to a commercial footing, similar to Russia’s dealings with other consumers of fuel, like France and the Netherlands, both longtime buyers of Russian uranium.

For the United States, the change is a sign that Washington is acquiescing to the idea of a major Russian role not only in the international nuclear power market, but also in the domestic market. Russia’s outsize role in supplying uranium to American utilities had previously been justified because the fuel was a byproduct of a program to eliminate nuclear weapons. Now the Russians will be selling nuclear fuel from virgin uranium.


Energy security the Italy G8 energy initiatives.Overview.

One of the cornerstones of the G8 Energy ministers following on from initiatives at the St Petersberg summit, is on energy security, with multifaceted solutions across a broad series of energy resources, technology and innovation. There is no simple solution of an emergent technology that is better than an existing one, each is limited by economic or perceived constraints real or imagined.

What the G8 initiatives will do, is to implement transparency of the energy complex, identify areas of cooperation in energy resource management and transfer. Provide structure for the efficient and economic transfer of technology to the worlds poorest countries to enable development and independence, This will also enable those countries to bypass the carbon cycle where possible and to enable positive economic growth and improved standards for education,health,and infrastructure.The initiatives will enable existing economic growth .

The statement ( policy initiatives) is in two parts, One a broad statement on the coupled energy –climate complex and transparency, expansion of electricity to the 2 billion who live without, and secondly on mechanisms such as carbon capture, energy diversification including nuclear.

Part 1

While recognising varied national circumstances among the participating countries, we agree that we must play an important role in achieving global energy availability and access, while contributing to sustainable development.

Energy Investments

1. We believe that coping with the interlinked issues of energy investments,
energy access and availability, and the climate change challenge
is key to the future of our countries. The current financial and
economic crisis must not delay investments and programmed energy
projects which are essential to economic recovery and sustainable
prosperity through the world.

2. We stress the need to define and share long-term scenarios on energy
policy with the aim to increase transparency and reduce volatility in
the energy markets. Consequently, we urge governments and energy
companies to adopt a long-term view in planning their investments in
energy infrastructure.

Energy Access for the Poor: Focus on Africa
1. We recognise that though energy demand is growing worldwide, modern
electricity services are steadily available for only one fourth of the world population.

2. Energy poverty remains widespread in many areas, most notably in Africa and region of Asia and Latin America. We commit to take resolute action without delay, together with countries’ governments, international financial institutions, local communities and the private sector
3. We confirm that access to modern and commercial energy services
while combating energy poverty, is an important element of economic
development and improvement of human and social living standards,
including clean water, education, health care while contributing to the
achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

Part 2

The climate change challenge has a global nature asking for the involvement
and collaboration of all countries, developed and developing based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

We endorse a comprehensive approach to address all greenhouse gas emissions. We recognise the importance of increasing energy efficiency through the entire energy chain and of accelerating the demonstration, development and deployment of low-emission energy technologies, including renewable energy sources, smart grid systems and energy storage, refurbishment of power generating facilities and cogeneration, sustainable mobility and low-emission transport vehicles, advancing demonstration of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), and for those of us interested, nuclear power.

4. We are aware that despite diversification strategies, fossil fuels will continue to be a key component of the energy mix in worldwide, for many decades into the future. Therefore, the development of innovative technologies such as Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will contribute to tackle the climate change challenge.

We support the launch of large – scale CCS demonstration projects globally and call for the active involvement of the private sector in this endeavour.

We support work by the International Energy Agency, Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute and Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) to advance this technology. The International Energy Forum, OPEC and other institutes may join their effort. We expect that the CSLF Ministerial Meeting to be held in London on October 12-13, 2009 might represent a timely opportunity to assess the state of the art and to identify financing mechanisms

The two main points here are goals for the development of indigenous energy in Africa such as hydro (although this will be opposed by the various NGO whose vested interest occupation is keeping Africa poor).

The realization that an immediate transformation from fossil fuels to alternatives is technically and economically impossible. This due to the immense destruction of wealth of existing assets, and the 45 trillion dollar replacement problem.

Global Carbon Capture and Storage has a wealth of transparent information ,and some interesting innovative mechanism eg.

Advanced Concepts

Advanced Chemical and Biological Approaches Recycling or reuse of CO2 from energy systems would be an attractive alternative to storage of CO2. The goal is to reduce the cost and energy required to chemically and/or biologically convert CO2 into either commercial products that are inert and long-lived or stable solid compounds.
Two promising chemical pathways are magnesium carbonate and CO2 clathrate, an ice-like material. Both provide quantum increases in volume density compared to gaseous CO2. As an example of the potential of chemical pathways, the entire global emissions of carbon in 1990 could be contained as magnesium carbonate in a space 10 kilometers by 10 kilometers by 150 meters.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ocean Acidification a negative feedback.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Groundbreaking Victoria University research shows that ocean acidification may have no negative effect on tropical corals and local sea anemones - in fact it may improve photosynthesis.

Ocean acidification is when carbon dioxide from the atmosphere dissolves into our oceans and makes them more acidic. Research to date has shown that if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, ocean acidification could have severe—and irreversible—consequences for marine life.

But Victoria Master’s student Michael Doherty says his research shows that ocean acidification has no negative effect on photosynthesis in the coral and sea anemone he studied, and that it might actually improve the process.

“Plants and algae get carbon from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide, and photosynthesis is the process by which the organism turns this carbon into sugar—providing essential energy for life. Algae live within ‘animals’ like corals and anemones, and through photosynthesis provide energy for themselves and the animal,” says Mr Doherty.

Indeed Ingrid Zondervan found similar findings with Phytoplankton,


Decreasing marine biogenic calcification: A negative feedback on rising atmospheric pCo2

Ingrid Zondervan, Richard E. Zeebe1, Björn Rost, and Ulf Riebesell
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. In laboratory experiments with the coccolithophore species Emiliania huxleyi and Gephyrocapsa oceanica, the ratio of particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) to particulate organic carbon (POC) production decreased with increasing CO2 concentration ([CO2]). This was due to both reduced PIC and enhanced POC production at elevated [CO2]. Carbon dioxide concentrations covered a range from a preindustrial level to a value predicted for 2100 according to a "business as usual" anthropogenic CO2 emission scenario. The laboratory results were used to employ a model in which the immediate effect of a decrease in global marine calcification relative to POC production on the potential capacity for oceanic CO2 uptake was simulated. Assuming that overall marine biogenic calcification shows a similar response as obtained for E. huxleyi or G. oceanica in the present study, the model reveals a negative feedback on increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations owing to a decrease in the PIC/POC ratio

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Maldives highstand sealevels in the Holocene

An interesting discussion on the future of sea level rise and low stand Islands involves the Maldives,and is used often by Al Gore as a catastrophic example.

This is discussed in the blogosphere for example.

Some of the statements regarding sea levels from the global warming crowd have been silly. The conservative increases predicted were minimal, and more importantly, within the error range and thus meaningless.

Surely that makes sense too. We have had a forty year temperature rise of less than a degree, now ended that is within the temperature channel associated with the Holocene for which we have zero evidence of significant convincing sea level variation.

As the Holocene is the emergence from the iceage to present and the temperature was of the same increasing gradient an intersting problem arises in Geology where sealevels were higher in the Maldives 2100-4000kbp .

Holocene reef growth in the Maldives: Evidence of a mid-Holocene sea-level highstand in the central Indian Ocean

P.S. Kench1, S.G. Smithers2, R.F. McLean3 and S.L. Nichol1

Radiometrically calibrated ages from three reef cores are used to develop a Holocene reef growth chronostratigraphy and sea-level history in the Maldives, central Indian Ocean. Last interglacial reef (U-series age 122 ± 7 ka) was encountered at 14.1 m below mean sea level. An age of ca. 8100 calibrated (cal) yr B.P. immediately overlying this Pleistocene surface records the initiation of Holocene reef growth. Massive in situ corals occur throughout the cores and the consistency of the three age-depth plots indicate that the reef grew steadily between 8100 and 6500 cal yr B.P., and at a decreasing rate for the next 2 k.y. The position of modern sea level was first achieved ca. 4500 cal yr B.P. and sea level reached at least 0.50 ± 1 m higher from 4000 to 2100 cal yr B.P. before falling to present level. Emergent fossil microatolls provide evidence of this higher sea level. Results are significant to two long-standing issues relating to Maldivian sealevel history. First, the ambiguity of a late Holocene highstand has been resolved with clear evidence of its existence reported here. Second, the uncertainty of the regional pattern of sea-level change in the central Indian Ocean has been clarified, the Maldivian results broadly agreeing with island records in the eastern, rather than western Indian Ocean. Our results provide the first field evidence confirming geophysical model projections of a highstand 4–2 k.y. ago in the central Indian Ocean, though the observed level (+0.50 ± 0.1 m) is lower than that projected.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

New Zealand proposed Agriculture emissions trading scheme, Why bother?

In an interesting debate in New Zealand on the planned introduction of an emissions trading scheme. Which mostly effects its competitive export agriculture industry we ask why bother?.

As an example a submission to the select parliamentary review committee from Dairynz.

DairyNZ says don't tax farmers

DairyNZ says it would make no sense to tax dairy farmers for greenhouse gas emissions until technology exists to enable farmers to reduce the emissions. It would also be unwise to place obligations on New Zealand's leading industry when none of its international competitors are likely to face similar charges.

In a submission to the Emissions Trading Scheme Review Committee today [4th May], DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton said dairy farmers were willing and capable of adopting farming practices that will increase resource use efficiency and reduce dairying's environment footprint.

"Little exists by way of mitigating technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farming, so it would be economically unjust to hold farmers liable for those emissions," he said.

He urged the Committee to consider this carefully when deciding the place of agriculture in an emissions trading scheme.

As this is related to Methane and nitrate oxide emissions as we have previously discussed ,this is in effect a waste of time as the imposed constraints eg IPCC and Kyoto are based on outdated scientific understanding ( as per previous post)

Previously stated

Morowitz outlined four rules that bound the construction of “scientific” hypothesis and limit the ability of “men to play god”

Two that are appropriate here are,

1 Though shall not violate the laws of physics and chemistry, for these are expressions of divine eminence.

2 Though shall not eschew miracles, for as Spinoza taught, they contravene the lawfulness of the Universe

Cause and effect benefits, and the profit/loss portion of the regulatory algorithm are never identified let alone quantified. The elementary physics suggest that always the Le Chatelier-Braun Principle(If any change is imposed on a system in near equilibrium, the system will change in such a way as to counteract the imposed change.)

Indeed if we use the Nox for example rather then write a lot of legislative rubbish we can write the simple algorithm

( SNOx--NOx--O3 –OH)

An important atmospheric sink for methane is the OH (hydroxyl) radical. The reaction of methane with OH radicals is the first step in a series of reactions which eventually leads to compounds that are readily removed from the atmosphere by precipitation or uptake at the surface. OH radicals also act as a chemical sink for other trace gases. For this reason, OH radicals are known as "the detergent of the atmosphere" (Crutzen, 1995).

In an interesting paper we see indeed that soil NOx emissions (SNOx) do indeed lower troposphere CH4 levels in southern latitudes.

Influence of modelled soil biogenic NO emissions on related trace gases and the atmospheric oxidizing efficiency

J. Steinkamp1, L. N. Ganzeveld2, W. Wilcke3, and M. G. Lawrence1

Abstract. The emission of nitric oxide (NO) by soils (SNOx) is an important source of oxides of nitrogen (NOx=NO+NO2) in the troposphere, with estimates ranging
from 4 to 21 Tg of nitrogen per year. Previous studies have examined the influence of SNOx on ozone (O3) chemistry. We employ the ECHAM5/MESSy atmospheric
chemistry model (EMAC) to go further in the reaction chain and investigate the influence of SNOx on lower tropospheric NOx, O3, peroxyacetyl nitrate (PAN), nitric acid (HNO3), the hydroxyl radical (OH) and the lifetime of methane ( CH4 ). We show that SNOx is responsible for a significant contribution to the NOx mixing ratio in many regions, especially in the tropics. Furthermore, the concentration of OH is substantially increased due to SNOx, resulting in an enhanced oxidizing efficiency of the global troposphere, reflected in a 10% decrease in CH4 due to soil NO emissions. On the other hand, in some regions SNOx has a negative feedback on the lifetime of NOx through O3 and OH, which results in regional increases in the mixing ratio of NOx despite lower total emissions in a simulation without SNOx. In a sensitivity simulation in which we reduce the other surface NOx emissions by the same amount as SNOx, we find that they have a much weaker impact on OH and CH4 and do not result in an increase in the NOx mixing ratio anywhere

So decreasing SNOx increases CH4 why bother.

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