As expected, federal regulators have approved a new physical security standard for the high-voltage electricity grid.

On November 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Reliability Standard CIP-014-1 (Physical Security). The standard, proposed by Commission-certified Electric Reliability Organization North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), is designed to enhance physical security measures for the most critical parts of the nation’s “bulk-power system,” the high-voltage backbone of the nation’s electric grid.

Dow Chemicals Plans To Layoff 5,000 Employees

EPA Proposes To Remove 72 Chemicals From Approved Pesticide Inert Ingredients List: On October 22, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requested public comment on a proposal to remove 72 chemicals from its list of substances approved for use as inert ingredients in pesticide products. 79 Fed. Reg. 63120. EPA reportedly is responding to petitions submitted by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and others that have asked EPA to issue a rule requiring disclosure of 371 inert ingredients found in pesticide products. EPA developed an alternative strategy designed to reduce the risks posed by hazardous inert ingredients in pesticide products more effectively than by disclosure rulemaking. EPA outlined its strategy in a May 22, 2014, letter to the petitioners, which is available online. Many of the 72 inert ingredients targeted for removal are on the list of 371 inert ingredients identified by the petitioners as hazardous. The 72 chemicals are not currently being used as inert ingredients in any pesticide product and include:

There’s power in smashing apart giant uranium atoms. But the future of energy may actually lie in the reverse process: the fusion of atoms.

In a recent conversation with Breaking Energy, Dr. Michael Gamble spoke of his research with fusion technology, a process that fuses together tiny atoms like hydrogen and water to momentarily release energy. The nuclei of the two atoms initially repel each other, and have to overcome repulsion of the electric force before fusing together into a joint molecule whose nucleus is held stable with the strong force. Keep reading →

Physicists at the University of Michigan have made a breakthrough discovery that could change the way solar panels are constructed, making them cheaper to manufacture.

The team, led by Dr. Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics, discovered that at the right intensity, light traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity can generate magnetic effects 100 million times stronger than previously estimated. That magnetic power, could be used to create an “optical battery,” Rand said. Keep reading →