New York Times: Portugal Gives Itself a Clean-Energy Makeover
LISBON — Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country’s wind and hydropower, but also its sunlight and ocean waves. Today, Lisbon’s trendy bars, Porto’s factories and the Algarve’s glamorous resorts are powered substantially by clean energy. Nearly 45 percent of the electricity in Portugal’s grid will come from renewable sources this year, up from 17 percent just five years ago.

Extract Says Uranium Deposit in Namibia Could Be the World's Sixth Largest
‘Extract Resources Ltd., the uranium explorer partly owned by Rio Tinto Group, said an increase in resources at its Rossing South project in Namibia makes the deposit the sixth biggest in the world. Extract upgraded the size of the resource to 257 million pounds, a tenfold increase from July 2009, it said in a statement today to the Australian stock exchange. The deposit was previously rated the world’s eighth largest, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Leslie said in a webcast. “We fully expect to continue to move up the ranking” as Extract has a large area yet to explore at Rossing South, Leslie said. “We think there’s significant scope to expand the resource
beyond what we’ve announced today.” Extract, about 15 percent owned by Rio Tinto, is aiming to develop the world’s second-biggest uranium venture after Cameco Corp.’s McArthur River mine in Canada. The company intends to gain from a nuclear power revival as countries turn to the technology to meet energy demand and cut
emissions...’

The Denki Shimbun: Fukushima I unit 3 to be loaded with MOX fuel
‘TOKYO --On August 6, the governor of Fukushima Prefecture gave his approval for a pluthermal (plutonium thermal) program at unit 3 of the Fukushima I nuclear power station (NPS), owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co., Inc. (TEPCO) and located in the prefecture. In response, TEPCO is planning to load the unit with uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel by August 21. Start of the unit's operation using MOX fuel is expected in late September. Japan's nuclear utilities conclude agreements with the municipalities in which their power stations are located as well as adjacent municipalities, and must obtain their advance approval for the addition of new or enlargement of existing facilities, or facility changes. As a prerequisite for approval of the pluthermal program, Fukushima Governor Yuhei Sato had requested the national authorities and TEPCO to make a technical check of three items including assurance of safety in the event of earthquakes.’

Japanese citizens file suit seeking MOX suspension
‘Officials at a public meeting at Calhoun Community College last week cited Japan as an example of a country using plutonium to enrich fuel in nuclear reactors. Not all Japanese are happy about the new fuel. A group of Japan citizens filed a lawsuit in that country Monday, demanding a halt to mixed plutonium-uranium oxide, or MOX, operations at Kyu-shu Electric Power Co.’s Genkai nuclear plant. The suit is the first in Japan to seek the suspension of MOX fuel. The plaintiffs, led by Hatsumi Ishimaru, argued that its use could lead to an accident, jeopardizing local residents’ rights and the environment. MOX “would harm generations of our descendants, so we just have to say ‘no’ to it,’’ Ishimaru told Japan’s Kyodo News. The Tennessee Valley Authority is considering using MOX fuel at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, both to save money and to help the government dispose of a plutonium surplus.’

Bloomberg: E.ON, RWE Poised to Cut Spending as Nuclear Tax Erodes Profits
‘E.ON AG and RWE AG, two of the worst performers in Germany’s benchmark DAX share index this year, are poised to cut dividends and investment because a proposed tax on nuclear reactors will erode the utilities’ profits. Germany wants 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) a year from the nuclear industry from 2011 to trim the budget deficit, the government said in June. That led Dusseldorf-based E.ON to extend its drop this year to 20 percent while RWE, based in Essen, is down 18 percent. HeidelbergCement AG has posted the biggest decline in the 30-member DAX, which is up 6.6 percent. The country’s two largest electricity suppliers will invest about 17 billion euros in power plants and natural gas pipelines and other energy assets this year to use more cleaner-burning fuels. The spending may fall in coming years as the tax could cut yearly earnings at RWE by 1 billion euros and at E.ON by 1.5 billion euros, said Kepler Capital Markets analyst Ingo Becker. Germany’s four reactor operators will meet Deputy Finance Minister Werner Gatzer this week to discuss an agreement on the tax, Handelsblatt reported yesterday, citing unidentified people close to the companies. The deal would see the utilities agree to the tax and avoid similar levies in the future, the newspaper said in an e-mailed summary of an article. Spokesmen for E.ON and RWE said the companies have not yet commented on the potential effect on earnings of a 2.3 billion- euro nuclear tax as details haven’t been set...’

The China Post: In going nuclear, Southeast Asia should learn from EU
‘Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are planning to build two nuclear power reactors each, with several more proposed. The Philippines is looking at refurbishing a power reactor that was completed in the 1980s but was never put into operation because of safety concerns and corruption allegations. Malaysia is said to have made a decision to commission a nuclear reactor, with 2023 set as a target date. Singapore is expected to start a feasibility study later this year. This is despite the many concerns over the hazards of nuclear power and disposing of dangerous radioactive waste. ASEAN countries are turning to nuclear power as an alternative source of energy to fossil fuels, as rapid economic development has led to surging demand for electricity. Another consideration is that nuclear power generation does not produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Under the Treaty of Bangkok that came into force in 1997, ASEAN countries are committed to a nuclear weapon-free zone in the region and to non-proliferation. This pact obliges members not to “develop, manufacture or otherwise acquire, possess or have control over nuclear weapons”. So there should be little worry that countries with civilian nuclear facilities would seek to develop nuclear weapons. Rather, the key concerns in the region over nuclear power are mainly related to safety. As has been pointed out, this is a region prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There are also the problems of bureaucratic corruption, home-grown terrorist activity and a safety culture that is not strong enough in some places...’

Energy Dept. faces suit over nuclear plant docs
‘A group that promotes renewable energy is suing the Energy Department (DOE) to compel disclosure of documents related to federal loan guarantees for an Atlanta-based utility giant to build two nuclear reactors in Georgia. The lawsuit highlights a political divide between the White House — which strongly supports nuclear power and wants to expand federal financing — and the many environmental groups that oppose new reactors. The Obama administration in February announced its intent to provide $8.3 billion worth of loan guarantees to Southern Co. to help launch what the nuclear industry hopes will be the first wave of new plants in decades. But in a lawsuit filed in federal court on Monday, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said DOE has stonewalled a Freedom of Information Act request about the loan guarantees that the group filed in March. “This is too large a sum of taxpayer's money, being spent on too risky a project for there to be this much cover-up and secrecy. This is the first award of what could be tens of billions of dollars more in new federal subsidies for the nuclear industry — setting the precedent of hiding the financial ball from the public in round one is a bad start,” said Stephen Smith, the group’s executive director...’

Australia - Federal Coalition at odds with CLP over Kakadu
‘The Federal Coalition says it would match Labor's commitment to prevent uranium mining at Koongarra by taking up a traditional owner's offer to incorporate it into Kakadu National Park. But the Coalition's promise is out of step with the Northern Territory Opposition's position on the issue. Country Liberals deputy leader Kezia Purick says a mine on the site could be worth $1.4 billion and the traditional owner should continue negotiating with French mining company AREVA. "It's been made an election issue by [Environment Minister Peter] Garrett, the failed Garrett," Ms Purick said.’