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Earth

Submission + - Fukushima ocean radiation won't quit (nature.com)

mdsolar writes: ""The Fukushima disaster caused by far the largest discharge of radioactivity into the ocean ever seen. A new model presented by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts estimates that 16.2 petabecquerels (1015 becquerels) of radioactive caesium leaked from the plant — roughly the same amount that went into the atmosphere.

Most of that radioactivity dispersed across the Pacific Ocean, where it became diluted to extremely low levels. But in the region of the ocean near the plant, levels of caesium-137 have remained fixed at around 1,000 becquerels, a relatively high level compared to the natural background. Similarly, levels of radioactive caesium in bottom-dwelling fish remain pretty much unchanged more than 18 months after the accident."

The solution to pollution is not dilution...."

Submission + - Roundup tolerant GM maize linked to tumor development (heraldonline.com)

spirito writes: The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM maize, and Roundup, the world's best-selling weedkiller, shows that levels currently considered safe can cause tumors and multiple organ damage and lead to premature death in laboratory rats, according to research published online today by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology.
Earth

Submission + - expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years (guardian.co.uk)

DevotedSkeptic writes: "One of the world's leading ice experts, Professor Peter Wadhams, has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years.

In what he calls a "global disaster" now unfolding in northern latitudes as the sea area that freezes and melts each year shrinks to its lowest extent ever recorded, Prof Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University calls for "urgent" consideration of new ideas to reduce global temperatures.

Wadhams has spent many years collecting ice thickness data from submarines passing below the arctic ocean. He predicted the imminent break-up of sea ice in summer months in 2007, when the previous lowest extent of 4.17 million square kilometres was set. This year, it has unexpectedly plunged a further 500,000 sq km to less than 3.5m sq km. "I have been predicting [the collapse of sea ice in summer months] for many years. The main cause is simply global warming: as the climate has warmed there has been less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer."

Submission + - Towards a 50% Efficient Solar Cell

necro81 writes: IEEE Spectrum magazine has a feature article describing DARPA-funded work towards developing a solar cell that's 50% efficient, for a finished module that's 40% efficient — suitable for charging a soldier's gadgets in the field. Conventional silicon and thin-film PV tech can hit cell efficiencies of upwards of 20%, with finished modules hovering in the teens. Triple-junction cells can top 40%, but are expensive to produce and not practical in most applications. Current work by the Very High Efficiency Solar Cell program uses optics (dichroic films) to concentrate incoming sunlight by 20-200x, and split it into constituent spectra, which fall on many small solar cells of different chemistries, each tuned to maximize the conversion of different wavelengths.
Japan

Submission + - Japan Aims to Abandon Nuclear Power by 2030s (nytimes.com)

mdsolar writes: "Reuters reports "Japan's government said it intends to stop using nuclear power by the 2030s, marking a major shift from policy goals set before last year's Fukushima disaster that sought to increase the share of atomic energy to more than half of electricity supply.

Japan joins countries such as Germany and Switzerland in turning away from nuclear power after last year's earthquake unleashed a tsunami that swamped the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986. Japan was the third-biggest user of atomic energy before the disaster.

In abandoning atomic power, Japan aims to triple the share of renewable power to 30 percent of its energy mix, but will remain a top importer of oil, coal and gas for the foreseeable future.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda's unpopular government, which could face an election this year, had faced intense lobbying from industries to maintain atomic energy and also concerns from its major ally, the United States, which supplied it with nuclear technology in the 1950s."

Meanwhile the US nuclear renaissance appears to be unraveling. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/31/unraveling-the-nuclear-renaissance/
 "

Japan

Submission + - TEPCO can't afford to develop renewable energy: disasters cost (washingtonpost.com)

mdsolar writes: ""The head of the Japanese utility that owns the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant says last year’s meltdowns sapped away money it might have used to switch to alternative energy, making it all the more important for the company to stick with nuclear.

Naomi Hirose, president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., said Thursday it is “quite troubling” that the government, responding to public opinion, is moving toward eliminating nuclear power, but he said TEPCO would follow whatever energy policy Japan adopts.""

Comment Re:Living is moving (Score 1) 813

Everything I did was low impact. I did do a little real running in a sprint triathalon on the weekend, but with a brace. The brace was for a 32 year old injury that I got messing around on a moped during a summer job. Things wear out. But, I think low impact helps with carrying forward.

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