German farmers harvest $15 million from wind power

Harvesting Clean Energy on Ontario Farms, a new report commissioned by the Heinrich Boell Foundation,

highlights the untapped business opportunities for farmers that can be found in renewable energy. The report will be presented during a tour through the Canadian province of Ontario in partnership with the Climate Action Network Canada, Pembina Institute, and The United Church of Canada. It focuses on numerous benefits of renewable energy, such as rural economic development and improved environmental conditions. It also describes the government policies needed to allow farmers to embrace these benefits.Some farmers in northern Germany make $2.5 million in a good year growing wheat. They make $15 million harvesting the wind, as the Ottawa Citizen reports.


ABC News: Beyond Nuclear warns of flooding at Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant

Epic flooding on the Missouri River continues to capture news headlines as two nuclear power plants, Fort Calhoun nuclear station, north of Omaha and Cooper Station, south of the city, are slowly being  inundated by the rising water. An eight foot high rubber berm around the Fort Calhoun reactor site collapsed early Monday morning sending flood water up around the walls of the reactor building, turbine hall and other auxillary buildings onsite.

Beyond Nuclear's Paul Gunter appeared today on ABC News Good Morning America with concern about the flood water potentially penetrating into the reactor building causing electrical short circuits, shutting down accident management systems and potentially igniting fires.

There are now early reports that the flood water is seeping into the Fort Calhoun turbine hall.  The reactor remains shut down since early April 2011 and will not reopen until after flood waters recede. The unprecedented flooding could continue into August 2011.

Watch Paul Gunter on today's Good Morning America.


CNN reports on latest with flooding at Ft. Calhoun and Cooper

Making ominous comparisons to what the tsunami caused at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, CNN has reported on the collapse of the Aqua dam at Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant north of Omaha on the historically flooded Missouri River, when a worker punctured it, leading to loss of electric grid power and the need to fall back onto emergency diesel power. It has also reported on the situation at Cooper atomic reactor -- a Fukushima Daiichi twin, General Electric Boiling Water Reactor of the Mark 1 design -- including the need to shut the plant down if the water rises much more. (A couple errors in the report: Fort Calhoun is already shut down, and has been since April; and the collapsed Aqua dam has previously been reported as 1/3rd of a mile long, not 3/4ths of a mile long). Meanwhile, NRC has established an incident response center at Fort Calhoun, in the wake of the berm collapse and loss of offsite power. NRC Chairman Greg Jaczko is due to visit the site today; NRC has boosted its onsite presence at Ft. Calhoun, which it now staffs 24/7.


Electricity disrupted at Fort Calhoun

An Associated Press article reporting on the collapse of a flood wall protecting the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant against historic flood waters on the Missouri River mentions that "The berm's collapse didn't affect the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling, but the power supply was cut after water surrounded the main electrical transformers, the NRC said. Emergency generators powered the plant Sunday while workers tried to restore power." (emphasis added) If the emergency diesel generators were also to fail (as by being submerged under flood waters), the final line of defense, in terms of running vital reactor cooling systems, would be the direct current (DC) emergency batteries. At most U.S. atomic reactors, such batteries only have 4 hours of life.


"Flood wall fails at Fort Calhoun"

An aerial view of the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant in eastern Nebraska, surrounded by Missouri River flood waters June 24, 2011. Credit: Reuters/Lane HickenbottomThe Omaha World-Herald reports that the "Aqua dam" protecting vital areas at the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant against the historic flood on the Missouri River 20 miles north of Nebraska's largest city has collapsed. The 8 foot tall, berm shaped rubber wall, filled with water, has failed. It had been looked to as a major last line of defense to protect vital "systems, structures, and components" at the atomic reactors and its auxiliary buildings -- including the high-level radioactive waste storage pool. But even worse flooding is expected in the future. Meanwhile, as reported by Reuters, the Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Greg Jaczko, was scheduled to visit the Cooper atomic reactor south of Omaha today, followed by a helicopter survey of flooding on the Missouri and countermeasures upstream of the two Nebraska nuclear power plants. Jaczko is scheduled to visit Fort Calhoun on Monday. As the Nebraska Watchdog reports, just last year NRC busted Omaha Public Power District for vulnerability to flooding on the Missouri River; this likely has enhanced response capability in the current crisis, but as flood waters continue to rise, and with the failure of the Ft. Calhoun anti-flood rubber berm, the question remains, did it do so well enough