New Atlas: Diamonds Turn Nuclear Waste Into Nuclear Batteries

One problem with dealing with nuclear waste is that it's often hard to tell what's waste and what's a valuable resource. Case in point is the work of physicists and chemists at the University of Bristol, who have found a way to convert thousands of tons of seemingly worthless nuclear waste into man-made diamond batteries that can generate a small electric current for longer than the entire history of human civilization.

How to dispose of nuclear waste is one of the great technical challenges of the 21st century. The trouble is, it usually turns out not to be so much a question of disposal as long-term storage. If it was simply a matter of getting rid of radioactive material permanently, there are any number of options, but spent nuclear fuel and other waste consists of valuable radioactive isotopes that are needed in industry and medicine, or can be reprocessed to produce more fuel. Disposal, therefore, is more often a matter of keeping waste safe, but being able to get at it later when needed.

Guardian: EU Declares War on Energy Waste and Coal Subsidies in New Climate Package

Europe will phase out coal subsidies and cut its energy use by 30% before the end of the next decade, under a major clean energy package announced in Brussels on Wednesday.

The 1,000-page blueprint to help the EU meet its Paris climate commitments also pencils in measures to cut electricity bills, boost renewable energies and limit use of unsustainable bioenergies.

The EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, said that the new energy efficiency target was a centerpiece of the package, and would curb energy imports, create jobs and bring down emissions.

“Europe is on the brink of a clean energy revolution,” he said. “And, just as we did in Paris, we can only get this right if we work together.”

Bloomberg: From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years

Peak demand for oil is the big new thing. True, the International Energy Agency, in the annual World Energy Outlook it released earlier this month, didn't envision a peak coming before 2040 barring a big acceleration in anti-climate-change efforts. But at least it's talking about the possibility, and forecasting a slowdown in demand growth in the meantime.

Others think the big day is coming much sooner. Simon Henry, the chief financial officer of Royal Dutch Shell, recently predicted a demand peak "between five and 15 years hence.” And as Bloomberg's Javier Blas and Laura Blewitt pointed out last week, even the IEA thinks that demand from passenger cars, long the biggest users of oil, has already peaked.

Fortune: Here's Why the Drop in Oil Prices Isn't Over

Like a year ago, crude oil futures are tumbling again Tuesday as hopes for a cut in output from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fade due to entrenched differences between its most important members.

The benchmark contract for U.S. crude was down 3.9% at $45.27 a barrel, after Reuters reported that Iran and Iraq -- two countries that are ramping up production after years of politically induced disruptions -- are resisting pressure from Saudi Arabia to rein it in.

Analysts have warned that the global glut that drove prices to nine-year lows earlier this year could stretch well into next year if OPEC fails to deliver a cut, after raising expectations in recent weeks. And time is now running out.

Press-Telegram: AES Proposing to Build Largest Battery Facility in the World in Long Beach

Power company AES Corp. may soon win approval for a 300-megawatt battery facility that would be capable of storing more electrical power than any such facility previously constructed.

“It is the largest that we know of in the world,” AES Southland President Jennifer Didlo said.

AES and its affiliates are simultaneously pursuing three major projects for the company’s Long Beach site, the Alamitos Generating Station, along the western bank of the San Gabriel River. The firm is also seeking approval from state regulators to build a brand-new natural-gas-fueled power plant, and if permission is granted, AES would demolish its existing plant.