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nuclear power

  1. Japan Plans To Replace Fukushima Reactor With World’s Largest Wind Farm

    After the 2011 disaster that shut down it's main reactor, Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant simply isn't going to make a comeback. Like several other reactors across the island nation, it's been shuttered and will likely remain so, leaving authorities there with a problem -- how do they continue to provide the energy that the plant once produced and that residents in the region depend on? This week, we got their answer: rather than reopening the nuclear plant, Japan is looking off their shores, announcing plans for a massive wind farm ten miles off the coast of the area affected by the Fukushima reactor meltdown.

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  2. Shut it Down: Japanese Nuclear Reactor On Top Of Active Seismic Fault Will Not Be Restarted

    Like most of Japan's nuclear power generators, the Tsuruga nuclear power plant in Fukui prefecture has been shut down in the wake of the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactor in 2011. It looks like Tsuruga will never get the new lease on life some were hoping to see for it, though, as recent geological research suggests that the seismic fault the plant sits atop is an active one. That likely means that the two reactors on the site, rather than being restarted, will instead have to be scrapped.

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  3. Swedish Nuclear Plants Host Surprise Activist Slumber Party, Intruders Avoid Detection for 28 Hours

    Nuclear plant security is one of those things that pretty much everyone agrees on. In essence, it's probably a bad idea to let just anyone wander around a nuclear facility without proper clearance. Just wanting security to be without faults doesn't make it that way, unfortunately. After around 70 Greenpeace activists swarmed two nuclear plants in Sweden, six managed to avoid security overnight by hiding out on rooftops. In fact, plant owner Vattenfall claimed that all the activists had been detained and their security measures had worked.

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  4. 23 Nuclear Power Plants are Potential Fukushimas

    Researchers issued a warning that the meltdown seen at the nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan two years ago could be far from an isolated incident. Around the world, 23 nuclear power plants housing a grand total of 74 nuclear reactors are situated in areas that are at risk of suffering a tsunami like the one that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi reactor, says a study published today in the journal Natural Hazards.

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  5. First New Nuclear Reactors Approved for U.S. Construction in Over 30 Years

    Despite lingering fears from the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced yesterday that it would allow the construction of nuclear reactors in America for the first time since 1978. While this is certainly a victory for the proponents of nuclear power, it could be a hard sell with a populace still wary of the dangers that come from splitting atoms.

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  6. Cooling Towers Surprised By Their Own Destruction [Video]

    If there's one thing that can make a video of destruction even cooler, it's amusingly drawn faces on the things being destroyed. In this video, it's cooling towers at various power plants being taken down and said cooling towers seem pretty surprised. This is actually an ad by a group called Ecotricity, and you might not agree with their willingness to throw nuclear power under the bus alongside most established pollution culprits like coal and other fossil fuels, but however you look at it, one of the towers has a mustache! Isn't it hilarious?! You bet it is.

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  7. Russia To Build Floating Nuclear Power Plants

    Russia has announced plans to build eight floating nuclear reactors -- the first of their kind -- to enhance the country's efforts to explore the Arctic for oil and gas reserves. The arctic is currently more navigable than it has ever been due to the melting of ice, which was previously an impediment to traversing the region. The arctic may be the last natural stronghold of oil and gas reserves in the world, so accessibility and control of the region is of high interest. The floating power plants are designed to each create enough electricity for 45,000 people, and will have the extra option of purifying sea water into fresh water. With a cost of approximately $335 million each, Russia intends to produce the floating nuclear reactors for mass production. Countries like China, Algeria and Indonesia have expressed interest in purchasing the reactors. The first power plant should be completed sometime next year, and will be deployed to Russia's Kamchatka region in the far east.

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  8. Germany Plans to Shut Down All Nuclear Reactors by 2022

    The German ruling coalition led by Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced its intent to shut down all nuclear reactors in Germany by 2022, a major decision for a country that as of last year obtained 23% of its electricity from nuclear plants. While this policy decision was precipitated by the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima following the tsunami and earthquake in March, it's long been the subject of political struggle in Germany, with the country's left-wing and environmentalist parties pushing for a nuclear phaseout well before Fukushima. So where will that new energy come from? Merkel and her allies say that Germany will cut energy consumption while increasing renewable fuel sources, while skeptics say that Germany will simply import energy from elsewhere:

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  9. 4,000 Times as Many People Die Per Unit of Coal Energy as Per Unit of Nuclear Energy

    This striking statistic and chart comes from this well-sourced Next Big Future article (interactive data visualization available here), which places the average number of deaths per terawatt-hour at 0.04 for nuclear (this takes Chernobyl into account), 36 for oil, and a whopping 161 for coal worldwide. The death rate per TWh of coal is even higher in China, at 278. (A terawatt-hour is the amount of work done by one terawatt of power expended for one hour of time.) The deaths from traditional fuel sources are generally not as high-profile as those from nuclear energy -- particularly the one million deaths that the World Health Organization estimates occur each year due to coal-related air pollution. But this only serves to illustrate the tendency of people -- and the media that feeds that tendency -- to focus on the high-impact and low-probability rather than the pervasive and pernicious. (Next Big Future and IBM via Seth Godin via clusterflock)

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  10. After Explosion, Radiation Recedes at Japanese Power Plant

    Early this morning, an explosion at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan prompted fears of high radiation leakage and a possible core meltdown. Those fears have since abated, though the situation remains dangerous. The plant, which was damaged in yesterday's massive earthquake, has been a source continual concern as Japan attempts to stage recovery efforts in the area. From The New York Times:

    Officials said late Saturday that leaks of radioactive material from the plant, which began before the explosion, were receding and that a major meltdown was not imminent. But severe problems at two nuclear plants close to the epicenter of the quake forced evacuations of tens of thousands of people from surrounding areas, hampering efforts to search for survivors and forcing Japan’s leadership to grapple with two major crises as the same time.
    Reports on the incident say that the explosion was caused by a buildup of hydrogen inside the concrete enclosure around the reactor core. Officials are being quoted as saying that the core itself was not damaged, and that amount of radioactive material released in the explosion was minimal. Since the explosion, radiation readings have actually diminished. The explosion does give workers a chance to directly cool the core, and lessen the chance of a reactor meltdown.

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