Fukushima robot finds lava-like deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel

July 24, 2017 by  
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Six years after the Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns, there’s still a lot of cleanup to be done. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) deployed an underwater robot to assess damage inside the Unit 3 reactor in Japan last week, and the robot obtained images of debris that might be melted nuclear fuel. In some areas, the debris was around three-feet-thick. The robot captured eerie footage of the damaged reactor at Fukushima, spotting what could be melted fuel. It found what the Associated Press described as solidified lava -like lumps and rocks inside the pedestal that rests beneath the core in the Primary Containment Vessel. In some places the fuel was mixed with broken reactor pieces, hinting at a difficult cleanup to come. The multiple-day exploration started last Wednesday and finished over the weekend. Related: Fukushima radiation levels at highest since 2011 disaster TEPCO spokesperson Takahiro Kimoto told the Associated Press they now have to analyze the debris seen in the robot-captured images before they can figure out how to remove it. According to The Guardian, the reactor can’t be decommissioned until all the nuclear fuel has been found and removed – a process that could still span decades. It hasn’t been easy to search for melted fuel at Fukushima due to high radiation levels and damage. TEPCO said the expedition would help them gain a clearer picture of conditions at the damaged reactors that will aid them in cleanup efforts. The International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning developed the robot, which was inserted into the Primary Containment Vessel through what TEPCO described as a pipe designed to guard against radioactive gas escaping. Thrusters on the robot enabled it to move around through the cooling water that’s accumulated inside the structure since 2011. The robot also had front and rear cameras. Via The Guardian and TEPCO Images via International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning/TEPCO

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Fukushima robot finds lava-like deposits thought to be melted nuclear fuel

Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

July 24, 2017 by  
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Germany’s offshore wind boom is accelerating. The Federal Republic has already brought online a total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind capacity in the first six months of 2017 and industry groups said in a recent joint statement that they expect to see total installations of 900 MW by the end of the year. If Germany hits the 900 MW mark in 2017, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. At the current rate of expansion, Germany could be on track to blow past government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, the industry groups said. The country’s installed offshore wind total is already at 4,729 MW from 1,055 turbines. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade The industry groups said that the offshore wind industry is moving away from the era of costly subsidies to becoming more commercially viable and bringing costs down for consumers. “This paradigm shift offers the next government chances to lift expansion targets to at least 20 gigawatts (20,000 MW) up to 2030 and at least 30 GW to 2035, utilizing the economic and industrial political potential of offshore wind,” the industry groups said. Germany’s offshore wind farms delivered 8.48 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity to the grid in the first six month of 2016 — producing more electricity than was generated in all of 2015 (8.29TWh). Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia 1 , 2 , 3

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Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

Studiolada used all wood materials to create this affordable open-source home anyone can build

July 24, 2017 by  
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Skillfully blending the basics of frugality and sustainability into one beautiful home design, French firm Studiolada Architects has just unveiled the Open Source House. The team took a bare bones approach to the home’s design, forgoing superfluous features such as plaster and paint in favor of local sustainable wood on the exterior as well as the interior. In order to promote responsible and affordable building practices, Studiolada  released the plans to build the home for all to use. Located in Baccarat, France, the Open Source Home – which is just over 1,200 feet and includes a separate garage – was built for a retired couple who were looking to create a home that would be as cost effective and energy-efficient as possible. Accordingly, the architects decided to take the fuss out of the home’s design, instead opting to strategically use a combination of bare basics to create a stunning design. Related: Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’ Using wood panels as the principal building material reduced the project’s overall cost and footprint because the wooden beams and wall panels were cut and varnished in a nearby workshop. Prefabricated concrete was used to embed the support beams, which were then clad in wooden panels. In fact, wood covers just about everything in the home, from the walls and flooring to the ceiling and partitions. Sustainable materials such as cellulose wadding and wood fibers were even used to insulate the home. By keeping the wood panels exposed instead of covering them with plaster and paint, the design team achieved a clean, minimalist interior that is both homey and inviting. The open layout includes a living room, kitchen and mezzanine located on the first floor, and the bedrooms and bathroom are on the upper floor. The living room opens up to a spacious terrace and private yard. Large glass panels provide optimal natural light to the interior as well as connect the home to its natural surroundings. If you are inclined to create a similar home, you can check out the plans, sections, details, cost estimates and descriptions for free here . + Studiolada Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Olivier Mathiotte

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Studiolada used all wood materials to create this affordable open-source home anyone can build

Japan’s Homeless are Cleaning up Fukushima Waste for Less than Minimum Wage

December 31, 2013 by  
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  Photo © Shutterstock A recent Reuters report reveals that a black labor market run by Japanese gangsters, or yakuza, has been using taxpayer funds to clean up radioactive fallout in northern Japan. The gangs have been rounding up homeless men and illegally putting them to work for less than minimum wage. These exploited workers are often charged for food and shelter, which just makes the situation worse when they end up in debt to their employers. Due to the dangerous nature of the job , it’s been hard to find enough workers for the project, which is already running behind schedule and expected to take decades to complete . Read the rest of Japan’s Homeless are Cleaning up Fukushima Waste for Less than Minimum Wage Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Fukushima , fukushima cleanup , government corruption , homelessness , Japan , minimum wage , nuclear disaster , nuclear power , nuclear power plant , nuclear reactor , nuclear waste , workers rights        

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Japan’s Homeless are Cleaning up Fukushima Waste for Less than Minimum Wage

Japanese Government Pledges $470 Million for Fukushima Ice Wall and Other Cleanup

September 3, 2013 by  
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Recent revelations that the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant has been gushing radioactive water into the ocean have forced the Japanese government to step in amid concerns that the plant’s operator, TEPCO, is unable to manage the crisis. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced today that the government is taking charge of the cleanup with two projects estimated to cost 47 billion yen ($470 million). Read the rest of Japanese Government Pledges $470 Million for Fukushima Ice Wall and Other Cleanup Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: fukushima cleanup , fukushima dai-ichi , fukushima power plant , ice wall , Japan , japan pledges to help with Fukushima , japanese government , nuclear disaster , nuclear power , nuclear power plant , Radioactive waste        

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Japanese Government Pledges $470 Million for Fukushima Ice Wall and Other Cleanup

Areas of the Amazon Rainforest are Shifting to Grassland

September 3, 2013 by  
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Image via Shutterstock The Amazon rainforest is one of the largest, most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet. According to new information published in Geophyscial Research Letters , protecting habitats from development is not only important for the overall health of the rainforest, but for its very existence. It was previously thought that the rainforest would shift to grassland once an area of trees declined by 40 or 50 percent of its original size, but the study finds that the transformation can take place with just a 10 percent decrease. Read the rest of Areas of the Amazon Rainforest are Shifting to Grassland Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: amazon rainforest , amazon rainforest destruction , equilibrium shift , evapotranspiration , feedback loop , Geophysical Research Letters , GRASSLAND , precipitation , rainfall patterns , tree to grassland transformation        

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Areas of the Amazon Rainforest are Shifting to Grassland

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