Suniva is the only crystalline solar Solar Companies in the US which has been able to survive and thrive in recent times.Sunpower too has resurrected itself through strategic JVs and acquisitions.The main reason for the decline of the US solar companies has been the severe competition from the low cost Chinese Solar Industry.This has made companies like Energy Conversion Devices and Evergreen Solar shut down US factories and look towards Mexico and China to build low cost factories.However Suniva has managed to face all these competitive threats quite successfully and is looking to expand capacity in the US by building a 400 MW factory.The company even refused a DOE Loan Guarantee saying that the terms were too onerous.The company has manged to raise more then $130 million in equity and has won contracts to supply high efficiency solar cells to the Asian companies which is a first.Suniva differentiates itself through its technology which allows the production of high efficiency monocrystalline solar cells at lower cost.Note Sunpower makes the highest efficiency cells in the world in the range of 22-24% but its cost structure is too high.Suniva is looking to challenge the Taiwanese Cell Producers by marrying higher efficiency with lower cost.

Areva the French Nuclear Giant which is known more for producing equipment for nuclear power plants is been awarded federal funding by the Australian Government to build a solar coal hybrid plant in Queensland.The 44 MW Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Plant will be built near a 750 Thermal Power Station.This will be the second solar coal hybrid plant in the world when its gets finished in 2013.Note Areva has huge plans in the Solar Thermal Technology Industry after buying startup Ausra sometimes ago.The company which is an expert in power plant equipment technology such as boilers,turbines will use its expertise to build a CSP plant adding to the power output of the Kogan Creek Thermal Station.Note the cost mentioned implies around $2.4/watt which does not seem expensive.The CSP Coal Hybrid will not require storage which will help in reducing the costs of the power plant.Note a number of Fossil Fuel Solar Hybrid Plants are being planned around the world.Almost all of these power plants use CSP Technology instead of the PV Technology.Its a valuable niche for Solar Thermal Companies to explore as they face huge competition from Solar PV which is drastically reducing its costs to reach retail electricity price equality.

Spain has started cracking down on Solar Power Plants which are making huge profits through illegal Feed in Tariffs which they should not get.Note Spain had seen a massive boom in solar installations in 2008 due to unusually large ROI driven by high Feed in Tariffs.FIT are electricity rates which are higher than wholesale electricity rates paid to renewable energy power plants in order to make them competitive with cheaper fossil fuel power plants.Seeing a huge increase in the subsidy burden Spain has pretty much killed the solar market in 2009,however the problems of Fiscal Deficit has made Spain reconsider the tariffs being given to even older solar power plants.After a lot of controversy,Spain changed the FIT rules in the middle of the game through a retroactive FIT Law drawing howls of protest from solar investors like pension funds which have sued the government

Nuclear Recycling is the processing of the nuclear waste generated from the nuclear fuel cycle to extract useful elements like uranium and plutonium which can reused again in the Nuclear Fuel Cycle to generate electricity.About 97% of the used fuel can be recycled leaving only 3% as high-level waste. The recyclable portion is mostly uranium depleted to less than 1% U-235, with some plutonium, which is most valuable. Arising from a year’s operation of a typical l000 MWe nuclear reactor, about 230 kilograms of plutonium (1% of the spent fuel) is separated in reprocessing. This can be used in fresh mixed oxide (MOX) fuel (but not weapons, due its composition). MOX fuel fabrication occurs in Europe, with some 25 years of operating experience. The main plant is in France, and started up in 1995.Major commercial reprocessing plants are operating in France and UK, with capacity of almost 5000 tonnes of used fuel per year, – equivalent to at least one third of the world’s annual output. A total of some 90,000 tonnes of spent fuel has been reprocessed at these over 40 years.

Nuclear Waste is one of the most difficult waste products to transport and store because of its dangerous radioactive effects.Given the long life of some of the transuranic elements Nuclear Waste has to be stored in a safe manner for thousands of years which is a tough given that the chances of leakage become enormous in such a long time scale.Storing of Nuclear Waste has to be performed in a extremely complicated manner which is also enormously costly.Also there are problems of NIMBY with Nuclear Waste Storage as nearby residents don’t want such toxic waste stored anywhere close especially as it does not bring any economic or social benefits.Not there is no permanent storage site despite many decades of planning and billions of dollars being spent.While Japan and Europe reprocess the fuel in the hope that they will be used again that remains a dream with thousands of tons of HLW piling up.USA does not reprocess and also has more than 60,000 tons of nuclear waste waiting for a final home.Till then most of the spent nuclear fuel is being stored in spent fuel pools and dry casks making them vulnerable just like another Fukushima

A study of soil samples conducted by a team of experts from Kyoto University and Hiroshima University has revealed that as much as 400 times the normal levels of radiation could remain in communities beyond a 30-kilometer radius from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.The study found cesium-137 at levels between about 590,000 and 2.19 million becquerels per cubic meter.After the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986, residents who lived in areas where cesium-137 levels exceeded 555,000 becquerels were forced to move elsewhere.