OCT 10, 2017 

Will Trump Nuke Energy Markets?

Brian H. Potts , CONTRIBUTOR

  President Trump’s administration shocked the utility world by proposing a rule late last month that would effectively socialize the costs of coal-fired and nuclear power plants in this country. Many of these plants are uneconomic or, at best, marginally economic right now because of low natural gas prices. They’re on the brink of closure. But the new proposed rule would force large regional energy markets to bail these plants out — and soon — under the auspices of ensuring grid efficiency and resiliency.

Florida Power and Light workers Juan Madruga (R) and Pehter Rodriguez (L) confer at the Turkey Point Nuclear Reactor Building in Homestead, Florida May 18, 2017.The plant holds two nuclear reactors with FPL, Florida Power and Light, hoping to expand on adjacent land. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

트럼프의 기본적 에너지 정책

원전 키우고 천연가스산업 쇠퇴시킨다.

To put it lightly: This rule, if adopted, would radically transform energy markets and the utility industry. And the primary loser would be the natural gas industry.

On Sept. 29, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry dropped his bomb, called the Grid Resiliency Rule, on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The secretary directed that the Commission issue rules within sixty days to halt the “premature retirements of power plants that can withstand major fuel supply disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters,” i.e., coal-fired and nuclear power plants. More specifically, Mr. Perry directed the Commission to expeditiously issue rules forcing the participants in regional energy markets (typically covering many states) to pay the owners of these plants for their “operating and fuel expenses, costs of capital and debt, and a fair return on equity and investment.”

In other words, the owners of these plants would get a market-backed guarantee that their plants will be profitable for many years to come, regardless of market conditions.

The rule’s details are somewhat scant and murky. And the ultimate decision as to what to do now lies with FERC, not Secretary Perry. But as proposed, any coal-fired or nuclear power plant that meets the following criteria would be guaranteed cost recovery plus a reasonable rate of return:


it must be physically located within a FERC approved regional market run by an independent system operator or regional transmission organization;

it must be able to provide essential energy and reliability services;

it must have a 90-day fuel supply on site enabling it to operate during an emergency, extreme weather conditions, or a natural or man-made disaster;

it must be compliant with all relevant environmental and energy laws; and

it must not be subject to cost of service rate regulation by any state or local regulatory authority.

Only coal and nuclear plants can meet all five requirements, primarily because they’re the only types of power plants that can have a 90-day fuel supply on site. Which is the proposed rule’s point: coal and nuclear plants can operate more reliably after a natural disaster or if there’s a disruption in the fuel supply (say, for example, because a large natural gas pipeline goes down or is attacked).

Whether or not coal and nuclear plants are actually needed for reliability purposes is a hotly debated subject. But regardless, as I’ve argued elsewhere, having our entire grid primarily reliant on one fuel — natural gas — would be risky from an economic standpoint. If natural gas prices unexpectedly rise or we have large unforeseen disruptions in supply, the impact on our economy could be disastrous—if we do not have an alternative.

There’s therefore some sense to enacting rules that help incentivize fuel diversity.

The Trump administration’s proposal, however, seems a bit much, and a bit too fast.

As currently drafted, the proposal would appear to allow merchant power plant owners to offload the costs of their coal and nuclear plants onto regional markets, which would also have to pay the owner’s a rate of return. In some of the states with a lot of floundering merchant coal and nuclear plants (like Ohio), the states themselves have been debating bailing these plants out. Mr. Perry’s proposal would instead allow these bail-out payments to be spread more widely, across a multi-state regional market.

But that’s not all. The proposed rule would also appear to allow utilities in regulated states — where ratepayers are already paying for these plants and paying a rate of return on them — to do the same thing. If a regulated utility or its state public utility commission removed one or more coal or nuclear power plants from a utility’s rate base (meaning the utility would no longer be able to earn a rate of return on the plant from its ratepayers), the proposed rule would then appear to allow the utility to heft those costs onto the regional market.

Such a result would drastically alter regional markets and could lead to a large regulatory power shift from state public utility commissions to regional market operators (like MISO and PJM).

What might make more sense — at least in the interim — is for the regional market operators to instead require that market participants have a certain amount of capacity available of each power plant type. Capacity markets already exist that require utilities to have a certain amount of power plant capacity available to generate electricity (whether the plants actually run or not). But they generally don’t, however, distinguish between power plant fuel type or the ability of the plant to provide resiliency and reliability.

But they could. In other words, these markets could require that a certain amount of coal and nuclear power plant capacity be available to operate at all times and also mandate certain resiliency and reliability measures.

This might help slow down the retirement of some currently uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants. And it would do so without actually forcing us to use these less economic power plants for our everyday energy needs.




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What’s pushing Chinese high-speed train projects off the rails overseas?

China’s efforts to export its rail technology are not going in a straight line

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017

Laura Zhou

South China Morning Post

New problems for Sino-Thai high-speed rail line


edited by kcontents

The multibillion-dollar Sino-Thai high-speed rail project has again hit a delay – this time an environmental assessment threatens to derail the beleaguered scheme.

The assessment is just one of a number of barriers that China has come up against in its push to sell high-speed technology around the world and lead the way for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s New Silk Road strategy to connect China to Europe and beyond.

The stumbling blocks include:

Local regulations

Since plans for the high-speed link between the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming and the Thai capital Bangkok were unveiled in 2014, the project has been dogged by repeated delays over loan terms, labour regulations, financing, land-use rules and environmental protection regulations.

It has been a similar story in Indonesia, where transport officials say problems with land procurement are in part to blame for the lack of progress in the last two years on a high-speed link between Jakarta and Bandung.

High costs

China has banked on its ability to build high-speed rail for less than its competitors in Japan and Germany. The World Bank estimates that Chinese high-speed lines cost between US$17 million and US$21 million per kilometre to roll out, compared with US$25 million - US$39 million per kilometre in Europe.

But even China’s price can be too much – high costs are believed to be one of the main reasons the Sino-Thai railway has stalled. China put the price tag at US$16.09 billion, or 560 billion baht, last year, well beyond Thailand’s budget. After talks on designs and land prices, the projected cost was shrunk by more than two-thirds to about US$5.15 billion, or 179 billion baht.

Rising costs have also posed problems for Jakarta – the budget for the Bandung line has blown out from US$5.2 billion to almost US$6 billion because of a design change that involves the purchase of some private land.

Political and economic volatility

After civil war broke out in 2011, state-owned China Railway Construction was forced to abandon its US$3.55 billion project in Libya linking the capital Tripoli with Sirte, the hometown of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

And last year plans for a 468km high-speed project in Venezuela, once billed as a first for South America, were left by the wayside as the country’s economy collapsed. The Chinese builder said the cause was as lack of funding from Venezuela.

Other reasons

In 2014, concerns about transparency in the bidding process prompted Mexico to abruptly revoke a US$3.75 billion contract for a line between Mexico City with the central city of Queretaro soon after it was awarded to a Chinese-led consortium.

Two years later, private US firm XpressWest terminated a joint venture with China Railway International (CRI) to build a high-speed line between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. XpressWest cited “difficulties associated with timely performance and CRI’s challenges in obtaining required authority to proceed with required development activities”. The Los Angeles Times reported that the biggest challenge could be a US federal government requirement that high-speed trains must be made in the United States to secure regulatory approval.




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Interview - NuGen to secure buyer for UK Moorside nuclear project by early next year

Susanna Twidale

FILE PHOTO - A company logo is seen outside the office of NuGen in Whitehaven, Britain February 13, 2017. REUTERS/Phil Noble

LONDON (Reuters) - Toshiba’s (6502.T) NuGen nuclear project in Britain expects to secure a new investor by early next year, assuring the project’s future, NuGen’s chief executive officer told Reuters in an interview.

NuGen, in Moorside, northwest England, is expected to provide around 7 percent of Britain’s electricity when built but was thrown into doubt after developer Toshiba’s nuclear arm Westinghouse went bankrupt this year.

Toshiba’s NuGen joint venture partner Engie (ENGIE.PA) subsequently pulled out of the project, leaving the Japanese firm searching for new investors.

“There are multiple credible bidders and we expect to find a new buyer, and a clear way forward by early next year,” NuGen Chief Executive Tom Samson told Reuters in an interview.

NuGen is looking for outside investors to back its plans for a nuclear power plant at Moorside sourcewhitehavennews.co.uk

edited by kcontents

South Korea’s Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) (015760.KS) and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) have both said they are interested in bidding for the project.

It was initially hoped electricity generation would begin by 2025 but Samson said a new delivery plan will be set up by the new owners.

“Clearly there will be a shift in the start date from 2025 to later in the 2020s, but the plant could still be up and running before 2030,” he said.

The timing will largely depend on which of the bidders is successful, as KEPCO and CGN are both likely to want to use their own nuclear reactor technology.

New reactor designs in Britain must go through a four-year, Generic Design Assessment (GDA) approval process with the country’s regulator.

KEPCO’s reactor design has yet to start the regulatory process, while CGN began the approval process earlier this year as the company also plans to build a new nuclear plant in Bradwell, Essex.

Toshiba’s Westinghouse was initially expected to provide the reactor technology, and this already has GDA approval.

“We are not ruling out any technology at this stage,” Samson said.

Britain needs to invest in new capacity to replace ageing coal and nuclear plants that are due to close in the 2020s, but large new plants have struggled to get off the ground due to high costs and weak electricity prices.

Samson said the company has called on the government for support for the project.

“We are exploring options for the government to participate in the project but it is just a dialogue at the moment and no policy decisions have been made,” he said.

To help spur investment Britain has a contracts for difference (CfD) scheme, providing a guaranteed minimum electricity price for some new projects.

Earlier this month a CfD auction for offshore wind projects cleared significantly lower than the contract awarded to investors in the long-delayed Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant, the first to be built in Britain for more than 20 years.

“We are confident that, just as with offshore wind, with wider deployment the costs of nuclear will come down over time,” Samson said.


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Top 6 most innovative 3D printing companies in China

China has been hailed as a future 3D printing leader because of its fast developments. Although the biggest advances are coming from industries such as manufacturing, health care, and construction, Chinese companies have also been pushing through different frontiers in 3D printing technology, and are even bringing these complex machines into our homes. Check out China’s most innovative 3D printing companies.

Sichuan Revotek

Revotek’s bioprinting machine. Photo from Sichuan Revotek.

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FCC will allow Alphabet’s Project Loon to deliver air balloon LTE to Puerto Rico

To help island recover from Hurricane Maria

by Nick Statt@nickstatt  Oct 7, 2017

Image: Project Loon

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday granted Alphabet-owned Project Loon an experimental license to operate in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands for the purpose of helping the islands regain connectivity. The license extends from October 6th until April 4th, 2018, and it was granted to Ben Wojtowicz, a software engineer and member of Alphabet’s X lab who works on Project Loon.

The helium balloons are expected to deliver emergency LTE cellular reception to allow residents and local governments to contact friends and family, coordinate relief and restoration efforts, and reestablish communication with the outside world. It’s unclear to what extent Loon will cover Puerto Rico or parts of the Virgin Islands, or how many balloons the team plans to deploy.

“The purpose of the [Special Temporary Authority] is to support licensed mobile carriers’ restoration of limited communications capability in areas of Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria,” the license reads.

Just last week, the Loon team said it was looking into helping Puerto Rico, still devastated by Hurricane Maria, regain connectivity. The island, home to nearly 3.5 million people, remains crippled by the Category 4 storm that struck last month, which disabled more than 90 percent of Puerto Rico’s cell towers and left its communications infrastructure in shambles. In a report issued yesterday, the FCC revealed that 83 percent of cell towers on the island are still down, with the US Virgin Islands in a similar state.

Loon is one of Google’s original “moonshot efforts designed to bring connectivity to remote areas of the world and locales struggling in the aftermath of natural disaster. It appears to be a perfect fit for helping Puerto Rico get back online. Helping speed up the process is the Loon team’s existing involvement with telecommunications provider Telefonica on the island.

In a statement given to Engadget, a spokesperson for Alphabet’s X lab said the team needs to work with a partner network of a local telecom, like Telefonica, to make it all work. “To deliver signal to people's devices, Loon needs be integrated with a telco partner's network — the balloons can't do it alone,” the spokesperson explains. “We've been making solid progress on this next step and would like to thank everyone who's been lending a hand.” This isn’t Loon’s first deployment; the team has been expanded its testing over the years to include initiatives in Brazil, France, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka, among others.




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Microsoft is bringing new Edge apps to iOS, Android

Microsoft is rolling out new Edge apps for iOS and Android (plus an updated Launcher app for Android) as part of its strategy to try to keep Windows 10 PCs central to users' computing mix.

Mary Jo Foley

By Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft | October 5, 2017

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is taking the next step in its quest to try to keep Windows PCs relevant by bringing Edge to iOS and Android.

Microsoft isn't doing this in the way many had thought it might. The company is not porting the Edge browser to iOS and Android. It is instead bringing the Edge "experience" (its look and feel) -- in the form of new apps -- to these non-Windows platforms.

Microsoft is not bringing Edge apps to iOS and Android simply in order to give users running Windows 10 PCs alongside non-Windows phones a better way to sync their bookmarks, favorites, tabs and Reading View, even though that will happen as a by-product.

Instead, Microsoft's main intent in bringing Edge to iOS and Android is to improve its "Continue on PC" feature that it's been touting for Windows 10.

"By far, the majority of our Windows 10 users have iOS and Android phones," said Joe Belfiore, vice president of Windows Experience, during a phone interview I had with him this week. "But there's no good system to unify PCs with these phones. These two (Edge for iOS and Android) apps will knit all this together for all our customers."

With "Continue on PC," users will be able to share a web site, app, photo, and other information from their phones to their Windows 10 PCs in a faster and more seamless way.

Instead of using the underlying Microsoft EdgeHTML rendering engine, the iOS Edge app will use Webkit like Apple does, and the Android Edge app will use the Chromium Blink engine.

Starting today, October 5, iOS users can test the Edge preview app by accessing it through Apple TestFlight. Android phone users can sign up to try out the Android version of the Edge preview app, which Microsoft officials said will be coming "soon."

Belfiore said. Initially, both versions of Edge for iOS and Edge for Android will be in US English only, but Microsoft officials say they'll expand to other languages/countries as it expands the preview.

Not all of the features that ultimately will be supported in the Edge apps for iOS and Android will be available right out of the gate. For example, roaming passwords, history, and tabs are not there yet. And support for iPads and Android tablets will be added at some point in the future.

Those testing these new apps will only be able to get the full "Continue on PC" experience at this point if they are Windows Insiders. But once the final Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is available, which happens starting October 17, anyone with a Windows 10 PC running that version of Windows along with these new preview apps will be able to try out the "Continue on PC" feature, officials said.

Microsoft has been testing an early version of "Continue on PC" with Windows Insiders since this summer. That version of the feature, which required testers to link their Windows 10 PCs to their iPhones or Android phones, and enabled them to share a web page from Safari or Chrome which they could view on their Windows 10 PCs by adding an item to share on their phones. Belfiore said Microsoft will continue to enable this version of the "Continue on PC" scenario but it won't be as simple or feature rich as the one that will be offered via the new Edge apps for iOS and Android.

"Microsoft won't promote this (original "Continue on PC") version, but we won't take it away," he said.

Microsoft also is updating its Arrow Launcher for Android today and renaming it "Microsoft Launcher." A beta of Microsoft Launcher is available in the Google Play Store today for those interested in testing it.

Microsoft Launcher is more customizable and feature-rich than Arrow, Belfiore said. Microsoft wants users to come to see the Launcher as delivering the best way for Android phone users to stay connected to their Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft is adding the ability to put People as icons on Android home screen so that users ultimately will be able to call, send texts, and send and receive notifications directly to those contacts.

Microsoft also is working to make the Launcher the best way to use the "Continue on PC" feature. For example, by pressing and holding a photo, that photo will open automatically on a Windows 10 PC either immediately or later (through a link in the Action Center), Belfiore said. The Microsoft Launcher also includes a customizable feed including news, recent activities, favorite people, and most-used apps for those who want it.

One way to think about what Microsoft is doing on Android is trying to bring some of the features that were popular with Windows Phone users to the platform. The ability to customize the home screen (though not with Live Tiles like Windows Phone), the focus on People at the center, an ability to more easily sync experiences across PCs and phones are all hallmarks of Windows Mobile/Windows Phone, Belfiore noted.

"All these things are what Windows Phone users loved and love and are what we want to bring (to Android)," he said.

The bigger-picture reason Microsoft is bringing these new Edge and Launcher apps to market is to try to find ways to keep Windows PCs part of the increasingly mobile-centric computing market. This is a strategy Microsoft first outlined at its Build conference earlier this year.

On a related note, Microsoft still is contemplating how and if it might make its Edge browser an app available through the Windows Store, Belfiore said. Microsoft officials said years back this was the plan, but to date, Microsoft has not separated the browser from the Windows 10 operating system so that it can be updated separately and more frequently through the Store.


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President Paik

Judge Jin-Hyun Paik (Republic of Korea) was today elected as President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and Judge David Attard (Malta) as VicePresident for the period 2017 – 2020 by the members of the Tribunal.

President Paik has been a member of the Tribunal since 2009. In accordance with the Rules of the Tribunal, the President is elected for a period of three years and may be re-elected. He presides at all meetings of the Tribunal, directs its work and supervises its administration. He represents the Tribunal in its relations with States and other entities and is required by the Statute of the Tribunal to reside permanently at the seat of the Tribunal in Hamburg.

Vice-President Attard

Vice-President Attard has been a member of the Tribunal since 2011. The VicePresident is elected for a period of three years and assumes the functions of thePresident in the event of a vacancy in the presidency or of the inability of the President to exercise the functions of the presidency.

The curricula vitae of President Paik and Vice-President Attard may be found on the website of the Tribunal.




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CEOs predict the challenges and trends for the future of world energy

Anmar Frangoul

Published 2 Hours Ago

The main challenge of the contemporary world is energy poverty, according to the director general of State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom, who claims that 2 billion people around the world are being "constrained" in terms of their access to power.

Speaking on a panel at Russian Energy Week 2017, Alexey Likhachev said that by the 2040s the demand for power will triple.

"This is what we forecast," he said. "I guess the conclusion is fairly simple … All sources of power generation will be in high demand," he added.

Rosatom is Russia's largest electricity generating business, and produced 196.37 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2016. Environmental commitments by national governments and international agreements needed to be taken into account, and there would certain changes in the structure of power generation worldwide, Likhachev explained.

When it came to the nuclear industry, specifically, Likhachev offered a broadly positive outlook. "I am quite sure that nuclear power generation will at least maintain its footprint," he said, suggesting the nuclear industry will continue to increase capacity and remain part of a wider energy mix worldwide.

Also appearing on the panel, moderated by CNBC, was Pekka Lundmark, president and CEO of the Finland based Fortum Corporation.

Lundmark sought to emphasise the importance of renewable energy in the years ahead. "While we know that this is a massively complicated and difficult issue, I think it's extremely important that those economies in the world that are relying and continue to rely on hydrocarbons … Also start putting more and more money into renewables," he said. "Russia is now starting to do that."

He went on to argue that the world would need a creative and dynamic energy mix in the years ahead.

"I would agree with Alexy that absolutely nuclear needs to be part of that," he said, before also stating that the importance of gas would increase.

"It is a fact that the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine, and in those parts of the world … large European markets like Germany, for example, that don't have enough hydropower, the importance of gas in providing security of supply will be extremely important."




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東電の原発再稼働 国は自らの無責任を正せ








source Gooブログ

edited by kcontents















































 衆院選では、各党は考えを明確に示し、国会での議論につなげる 。国民も改めて考える。





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Nobel prize in chemistry awarded for method to visualise biomolecules

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson receive £825,000 prize for developing method for generating 3D images of life-building structures

The winners of the Nobel chemistry prize: Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson. Photograph: NobelPrize.org

Hannah Devlin and Nicola Davis

Wednesday 4 October 2017 11.19 BST First published on Wednesday 4 October 2017 10.59 BST

The Nobel prize in chemistry has been awarded to three scientists for developing a technique to produce images of the molecules of life frozen in time.

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson will receive equal shares of the 9m Swedish kronor (£825,000) prize, which was announced by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Wednesday.

The technique they developed, called cryo-electron microscopy, has allowed the structure of biomolecules to be studied in high-resolution for the first time, an advance that revolutionised the field of biochemistry.

Before the breakthrough, electron microscopes were only suitable for imaging dead matter, because the powerful electron beam destroyed biological material. Henderson, a Scottish scientist and professor at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, succeeded in using one of these microscopes to generate the first three-dimensional image of a protein at atomic resolution.

Joachim Frank, a German-born professor at Colombia University in New York, made the technology more generally applicable. Dubochet, who is Swiss and an honorary professor at the University of Lausanne, refined a vitrification technique that allowed biomolecules to be rapidly frozen while retaining their natural shape.

The resultant imaging technique has allowed scientists to explore the architecture of everything from the proteins that cause antibiotic resistance to the surface of the Zika virus. And by capturing snapshots of the same system at different time-points, scientists can stitch together jittery film sequences of biological processes as they unfold.

This has paved the way for both new basic insights into life’s chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.

The development of cryo-electron microscopy: The final technical hurdle was overcome in 2013, when a new type of electron detector came into use. Photograph: NobelPrize.org

Last year’s prize went to three European chemists for developing “nano-machines”, an advance that paved the way for the world’s first smart materials.

On Monday, three American scientists shared the 2017 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for their painstaking work on circadian rhythms and the Nobel prize in chemistry went to another American trio for the first observation of gravitational waves.




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