Saturday, June 20, 2009

MIT & Entergy Produce Blueprint to Reduce CO2 Emissions

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Energy Initiative (EI) and Entergy Corporation have teamed up to produce a blueprint for how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal. In March, MIT invited 54 top scientists, policy-makers, industry executives and non-profit leaders to participate in symposium to devise strategies on how to address coal's role in global warming.

Entergy believes that coal plants aren't going away anytime soon because they provide inexpensive sources of baseload electricity both in the United States and abroad. If the U.S. ignores coal in its efforts to curb global warming, the nation's efforts will be rendered useless because China is building more coal plants and needs a technological solution to make coal burn cleaner.

MIT organized the conference, selected participants and published the report. The goal was to find out what's technologically feasible, how low coal emissions can potentially go, and what it would cost to reach these goals. Coal emissions can be reduced by improving the efficiency of existing coal plants, capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide, using bio-mass to supplement coal as a fuel or rebuilding existing coal plants.

The MIT report says that the government needs to spend $12 billion to $15 billion over the next decade to "dramatically expand" programs to demonstrate large-scale, sustained carbon capture and storage technology for existing plants, plus $1 billion annually for ten years to create other options. (

Natural Methods for Controlling Fleas

By Vacuum Home

As most pet owners know, fleas are often unwanted companions that cause a number of health hazards to both you and your pet. While health risks rung bigger for your pet, flea bites on humans can still transmit other parasites such as worms. Fleas are also notorious for finding niches in your home and will get into any area where your pet sleeps or plays. Normally, the tell-tale sign of a flea infestation is when you see gnat like critters in your home or on your pet. But if you're unsure, run a fine tooth comb and groom your dog or cat. If you find little black knits that look like dirt, then you have fleas; the little black speckles are actually flea excrement stuck to your pet's fur.

Most pet owners revert to flea treatments to solve this problem. However, many flea treatments have toxic elements that are harmful to your pets. There are natural effective ways to eliminate fleas without polluting your environment or poisoning your pet.

While many pet owners thing grooming pets regularly is an adequate way to control fleas, the fact is that fleas are notoriously hard to detect and exist in stages that go beyond just their final adult stage - at which point they become detected. For effective flea control, consider two battlefronts: indoor and outdoor.

Scientific Studies Show Vacuuming Kills Fleas

Fleas have multiple life stage, while adult fleas mate and feed off of their initial host animal, females lay eggs on the floor, furniture, and bedding. After about fourteen days these insects then go through three larval stages before they reach the adult stage.

Recent scientific studies have shown that by merely vacuuming, fleas in all stages of their lives can be eliminated anywhere between 96 to 100 percent, through the combination of brushes, fans and powerful air currents. The flea's journey into a vacuum is a one-way trip that begins when the vacuum brushes rapidly wear away the cuticle, a waxy out layer found on most insects that help them stay hydrated. Minus this protection, adult fleas, larvae and pupae have a tendency to die of dehydration. While often seen as a just a mediocre household tip, vacuuming fleas have now been proven to work quickly quietly and effectively.

The same goes for the unhatched eggs, which also cannot survive the stress of a vacuum. Focus your efforts to the areas where your pet spends most of his time. The problem with this, however, is that although your pet might spend 23 hours a day sleeping in one nook of the room, the other 1 hour a day is spent running around your whole house. Logic dictates that anyplace your pet goes the fleas can (and will) follow. So unless an area is absolutely off limits to your pet (and your pet actually obeys these rules), it will need to be vacuumed just as much as anyplace else. Remember, the goal is total eradication of your fleas; there are no acceptable levels of infestation.

Vacuuming is a great strategy because it involves no chemicals and physically removes the problem. If you are in the market for a new one, try to find a bagless model; this makes it a lot cheaper and easier to use for flea control. Any extra hoses or attachments it might have are good because they will let you get into the nooks and crannies a little easier.

Diatomaceous Earth is the Natural Solution to Outdoor Flea Control

While pets play and roam outdoors, they're walking flea magnets. If you have pets, you definitely have fleas lurking in your yard, which is why this is one area that has to be target for effective flea control. However, this becomes difficult since you can't exactly vacuum your yard. There are options you can consider if you choose to take control of fleas both indoors and outdoors. One of the the best natural method to kill outdoor fleas is by using diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is soil that is essentially crushed up sea-shells. It's an all natural product made from tiny fossilized water plants. These plants have been part of the earth's ecology since prehistoric times. About 30 million years ago, the diatoms built up into deep chalky deposits of diatomite - which are mined and group up to a powder much like talcum powder. The material won't seem that much different to you -it will, however, make a big difference to the fleas.

This type of soil has microscopic, jagged edges that will make tiny cuts on the outside of insects that crawl over it. You and your pets won't notice it, but the soil will cut fleas and cause them to leak water; they will gradually dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous earth is a safe, environmentally friendly way to kill the fleas and other pests that are living in your backyard. You won't do any permanent damage because no chemicals are involved - however, if you have some other insect that you want to live in your back yard for some reason, you shouldn't put this out there.

This lets us breathe a sigh of relief as we no longer have to rely on chemicals or toxins and instead have a simple, easy and efficient way to remove fleas. This is especially reassuring as effectiveness of insecticides has been shown to diminish as time goes on and insects develop a strong immunity to the chemicals.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is amending its regulations to reflect the licensing, inspection and annual fees it will charge its applicants and licensees for fiscal year (FY) 2009.
The agency is required by Congress to recover for the U.S. Treasury most of its annual appropriated budget through two types of fees. One is for specific NRC services, such as licensing and inspection activities. This fee is calculated using the current hourly rate multiplied by the time spent by staff performing a service. The other is an annual fee paid by licensees, which recovers generic regulatory expenses and other costs not recovered through fees for specific services. These fees are contained in NRC regulations 10 CFR Part 170 (fees for license-specific services) and 10 CFR Part 171 (annual fees). These fees are paid to the NRC and transferred to the U.S. Treasury’s general fund.

By law, the NRC must recover, through fees to applicants and licensees, 90 percent of its budget authority for FY 2009 (Oct. 1, 2008 - Sept. 30, 2009), less the amounts appropriated from the Nuclear Waste Fund for high-level radioactive waste activities and from general funds for waste-incidental-to-reprocessing and generic homeland security activities. The total amount of fees to be recovered by Sept. 30 is approximately $870.6 million, about $91.5 million more than in FY 2008.

The FY 2009 fee rule, published today in the Federal Register, includes fees based upon the Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009. Approximately one third of the fees will be billed for specific services (Part 170) and the remaining two thirds will be billed to annual fees (Part 171). The hourly rate for Part 170 activities increases about 8 percent from $238 to $257 per hour. The increase in FY 2009 fees is due primarily to an increase in reactor license renewals and new uranium enrichment and recovery licensing activities. The NRC decreased fees for small entities in FY 2009.

The FY 2009 annual fees are categorized by types of licensees/applicants and include the following:

Class/Category FY 2009 Annual Fee

Operating Power Reactors

(including Spent Fuel Storage/Reactor Decommissioning annual fee) . . $4,625,000

Spent Fuel Storage/Reactor Decommissioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $122,000

Test and Research Reactors (Non-power Reactors) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $87,600

High-Enriched Uranium Fuel Facility . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $4,691,000

Low-Enriched Uranium Fuel Facility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,649,000

UF6 Conversion Facility . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... . . . . . . . . . . $969,000

Conventional Mills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $31,200

Typical Materials Users:Radiographers . . .. . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $22,700

Well Loggers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $9,700

Industrial Gauges (Category 1C) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . $2,700

Broad Scope Medical (Category 7B) . . . . . . . . . . . . . .... . . . . . . . . ... . . . $36,300

NRC estimates that the FY 2009 annual fees will be paid by 104 nuclear power plant licensees, 4 non-power reactors, 19 spent fuel storage/reactor-in-decommissioning facilities, 11 fuel cycle facilities, 7 uranium recovery facilities and approximately 3,800 material licensees. (NRC)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Center Registered to Participate in RGGI Offset Program

The Center has registered to participate in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) offset program. The Center established a Carbon Mercantile Exchange (CMX) to provide an offset trading service. The Center is also developing projects to produce greenhouse gas offsets. Our participation in the RGGI offset program will serve to enhance our efforts to mitigate global climate change and warming.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Inc. (RGGI, Inc.) has contracted with Perrin Quarles Associates to administer RGGI COATS. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is a cooperative effort by participating states to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. More information RGGI, Inc. is a non-profit corporation created to provide technical and administrative services to the CO2 Budget Trading Programs of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.