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Teacher, activist, interested in energy technology, climate change, environmental issues and global security.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Think Big - Sink Big: Fennovoima Sinking Fast - Rats Are Leaving the Ship

More than 2000 experts on clean tech and renewable energy were participating Vaasa Energy Week 2013 last week in Vaasa, Finland  - new wind power is now half the price of new nuclear power   Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

More and more rats are leaving the Fennovoima -ship. They are thinking with their own brains.

LINK (Finnish) - KALEVA:

LINK (Finnish) - MTV3:
There is no trouble with Finnish nuclear power companies to Think Big. Fennovoima and Olkiluoto-3-4 projects are a clear sign of ability to Think Big when everyone else in the world is thinking small about nuclear power investments (if you don't count China, Russia, North Korea and other politically and from a military point of view centralized countries, and of course Iran , Saudi-Arabia, Arab-Emirates and all the other countries willing to have their own bomb). But realism has something to do with businesses, I have heard. And during the Vaasa Energy Week,  last week in Vaasa, I heard many specialists on renewable energy telling that the real business is now in renewables. New wind power is half the price of new nuclear power. Solar is getting cheaper. The main problem with renewables seems to be that sometimes the price for generated energy gets too low due to overproduction.

So when a Finnish company is continuing its efforts to build a brand new nuclear power plant in Hanhikivi -area in Pyhäjoki, it is struggling with raising constructing costs - the estimate now shows the plant to be costing 8-9 Billion Euro - a slightly smaller unit than Olkiluoto-3 which may break 10 Billion Euro limit if it gets ready for power generation in 2015-2020. I hope not. This spending money on old-fashioned and unsecure way of generating power should be abandonned straight away. The investments should be made for creating smart grids for wind and solar power generation.

New onshore wind power is even cheaper than new coal power in Australia according to Christian Kjaer (EWEA)   Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

In Vaasa some experts on renewable energy were just wondering why Finland is spending 2 Billion Euro for constructing old technology power grids, while Germany is investing Billions on constructing smart grids. Yesterday I saw on TV news that Fingrid had invested almost two Billion Euro for "securing the grid" as they said. They had built a new 110 Million Euro gas turbine power plant for fast peak power generating in Forssa, southern Finland.

LINK (Finnish) - MTV3:

Our Minister of Trade and Economy Mr. Jan Vapaavuori was ponting out that this power plant was needed for securing grid beacuse of increasing wind and solar power generation. But the news reporter knew better the reason: this kind of fast to maximum power PPs are made to secure Olkiluoto-3 and other big nuclear power plants if they go suddenly offline.The need of additional 1600 MW of power generating capacity in 10 minutes or less is compromizing the grid unless you build this kind of fast PPs. In the end of 1970ies we had Inkoo 1000 MW coal power plant to secure our grid if our NPPs should have emergency shutdowns: in half an hour that 1000 MW could be fully achieved if needed. Those power plants were just kept most of the time idling and they were expensive to have. Nowadays these fast supply PPs are mostly gas turbine powered. They are expensive to have but a must if you have large power generating units like Olkiluoto-3. Of course they can be used for backing up wind or solar power, but nordic hydro power does that job more easily and cheaper. And by constructing smart grids with storing capacity quick changes in power output or demand can be managed though it needs much R&D to be fully realized in a large scale.

The message I hope Finnish power industry and leading politicians should now understand is that every Billion Euro investment on old technology is giving our European, Asian and American competitors more advance for their projects. If we are trying to remain in centralized DDR-like power generating  thinking we'll end up with watching them winning the multi-billion global renewable projects that we could have technology and know-how to win. It's a question of HOW and WHERE to Think Big. Now it's time to Think Big - Renewables!

SolarWindProNet Admin was also participating Vaasa Energy Week - and Thinking Big :-)      Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints  


Sunday, March 17, 2013

NRC Finally Admits Solar Storms Can Threaten Nuclear Power Plants Causing Multiple Meltdowns

The Sun was quiet - not at all stormy during the historical Venus Transit last year. But solar storms could trigger geomagnetic storms that may be capable of causing months long blackouts and multireactor meltdowns - a possibility NRC is now gathering more information of  for better estimating the risk and possible means of dealing with it.  Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

NRC says it cannot rule out the possibility of severe solar storms causing geomagnetic storms that may cause multiple nuclear meltdowns in US nuclear reactors and spent fuel pools. Further investigation is needed to better estimate the real risk, but there may occur some new regulations and means of securing the US NPPs against long blackouts caused by geomagnetic storms.



I hope this new information makes it easier for the other nuclear regulators of the world to realize and re-estimate the dangers of long blackouts for the nuclear industry. I'm waiting the reaction of Finnish nuclear regulatory authority - STUK to study the new information available about severe solar storms and months long blackouts.

At least one "Black Swan" is just now being indentified by NRC ( US Nuclear Regulatory Commission) - the voulnerability of NPPs against severe geomagnetic storms.    Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

As energy blogger I have written about this issue from the very beginning of my blogging.  I see this question to be a real "Black Swan" until sufficient structural changes and backup systems are provided to secure our electrical grids and transformers - and NPPS and spent fuel pools - against long blackouts caused by solar storms or other such events affecting power grids.

Let's hope the discussion begins!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Former Prime Minister of Japan Naoto Kan Has A Message to The World

Mr. Naoto Kan tells his Experiences as Prime Minister during the FD Nuclear Disaster on a new video.   Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

The second anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster has revealed many good articles and videos about this worst accident of our industrial history. One of them is this excellent video speech which the former Prime Minister of Japan, Member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Naoto Kan has given for Helen Caldicott Foundation "Symposium: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident" that is being held in New York the 11th and 12th March 2013. Mr. Kan could not attend the Meeting but gave his speech via video. The video behind the following link is 16 minutes - worth watching!


On the video Naoto Kan explains his experiences as prime minister during the FD -crises and how it affected his way of thinking about nuclear power. He reveals that 50 million people would have been evacuated for decades if the worst case scenario had happened. Well, that's something really to think about.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Russian Asteroid Could Have Killed Tens of Thousands of People and Caused A Worldwide Nuclear Fallout

There are plenty of space rocks moving ten times faster than bullets through our solar system. Thousands of potentially hasardous asteroids are estimated to circle around us crossing the earths path in space. It's a question of timing whether they will hit or not. This bright spot in the picture is not an asteroid - it's our fellow planet Venus.   Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

It was a big surprize. The scientists admitted it was an extraordinary rare event. That two relatively large asteroids came so close to the earth in 24 hours time from different directions. And the other, smaller one actually hit the atmosphere. And it is also rare for an object this big to evaporate and explode high in the air without hitting the earth. And the bigger space rock, 45-60 meters long, just passed by. This time. We were lucky. This time.




Scientists say that if this 15 meter wide smaller asteroid had striken the earth and exploded there, it would have been equivalent to 20-30 hiroshima bombs. It could have killed tens of thousands of people nearby. If hit into a major city it could have killed millions.

The evidence of continous threat of asteroids can be found on the surface of the moon. There is no atmosphere to protect our natural satellite from impacts. And the impact craters are not eroded by winds and water.   Photo: Jukka Seppälä/Creator's Fingerprints

And the radioactive fallout. It would have been far more worse than Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It would have been far worse than Harrisburg. More worse than Chernobyl. Worse than Fukushima.

And why is that? Asteroids are not normally radioactive. But Cheljabinsk and Majak nuclear arms facilities with masses of spent nuclear fuel are. This kind of mega-explosion could have devastated some of these nuclear facilities and caused a masssive, world-wide radioactive fallout.



Well, we were lucky as well as the Russians were. We got some more time for preparations. One day a 15-50 meter or bigger asteroid is going to strike our planet. We'd better get rid of nuclear power as quick as possible. The nuclear industry said that a core meltdown accident would be as impossible as an asteroid strike to some nuclear power plant. Now we have had five nuclear reactor meltdowns - and been very near to a catastofical asteroid strike straight to a nuke concentration.

Somebody up there likes us. We have been warned. Those who have ears....

Photo: J.S/C.F.