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

Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

July 24, 2017 by  
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Lyme disease is a growing issue in the United States. Since the 1990’s, the number of cases has more than doubled . Scientists at a laboratory associated with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School are working on an answer, and have made progress on a shot that could protect people against contracting the disease . Lyme disease, which is contracted after infected ticks transmit a bacterium to humans, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is “ the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States .” 14 states, most on the East Coast of the country, have reported 95 percent of confirmed cases. Every year 30,000 cases are reported to the CDC, and that number is only increasing. Related: GUIDE: Effective Non-Toxic Bug Repellents for You and Your Family The shot – which Western Mass News makes clear is not a vaccine – could be groundbreaking. Professor Mark Klempner said the scientists have isolated one antibody that could prevent Lyme disease from being transmitted to humans. The antibody could kill the bacteria in the tick’s gut when it bites so a person won’t get the disease. One injection could last from the spring through the fall. So far, the team has tested the antibody in mice . Klempner told Western Mass News, “We take ticks that carry the bacteria – many of them – six or seven, put them on a small rodent, and then give that mouse a little bit of that antibody. It’s been 100 percent effective in preventing many ticks from transmitting.” The method has been entirely effective in preventing mice from contracting the disease. Klempner said the discovery of the antibody came during research in which he was involved for a vaccine, now discontinued. With the new research, the team thus far has not seen any unfavorable side effects, but needs to do more testing. Undergoing Food and Drug Administration trials could take around two to three years. Via Western Mass News Images via Pixabay and U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

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Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert

July 24, 2017 by  
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Architect Andreas M. Larisch is revamping the homestead movement for those who’d prefer a little luxury with their off-grid dreams. Larisch has created Homestead Modern, a series of upscale rentals in the Mojave Desert. The first home, Homestead Modern No. 1, comes with a one bedroom house, detached casita and our favorite – one very cool refurbished vintage trailer . Installing luxury digs into the ruggedness of the harsh Mojave Desert is no easy task, but with good design, anything is possible. The first in Larisch’s series of rental homes is Homestead Modern No. 1, which is located in the Hollywood-built Pioneertown. Known for its beautiful desert surroundings , the area is a favorite of nature lovers who can now rent the home to experience the amazing desert sunrises and sunsets right out the front door. Related: Experience the good old days of off-grid living at the El Cosmico vintage trailer park The Homestead Modern No. 1 complex includes two glass and steel buildings as well as the beautiful vintage trailer . The main home features a one-bedroom, one-bath house with a kitchen, living room, and dining area. For guests, a separate one-bedroom, one-bath casita is also on site. Clad in a rusted welded metal and concrete, the exterior blends seamlessly into the desert sands. The main home has a large outdoor deck in the back with a bbq grill and an enclosed front patio with a fire pit. Both properties were built with an abundance of glass windows and doors, as well as private outdoor showers, to provide a strong connection between the home and its natural surroundings. Guests can also enjoy the outdoor sauna as well as the galvanized “cowboy” tub located just steps away from the home. However, if it were up to us, we’d bunk in the beautifully refurbished vintage trailer . Equipped with a queen bed and full bath, the 28-foot, 1973 Holiday Rambler is the perfect off-grid st ay for those looking to enjoy some quiet time me time. The property is currently available for rent on at Airbnb  or HomeAway . + Homestead Modern Rentals + Andreas M. Larisch Via Dwell Photography by Lance Gerber

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Cool homestead retreat with vintage trailer brings glamping to Mojave desert

82 bags of radioactive waste from Fukushima washed away in Japan floods

September 14, 2015 by  
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Severe rains stemming from Typhoon Etau have caused widespread flooding in Japan , and reports of the damage continue to mount. Most recently, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has announced that floodwaters have swept away at least 82 bags of contaminated waste from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant . What impact that will have on the ocean and nearby wildlife may never be known. Read the rest of 82 bags of radioactive waste from Fukushima washed away in Japan floods

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82 bags of radioactive waste from Fukushima washed away in Japan floods

California’s Stevens Library is the very first net-zero energy library in the US

September 14, 2015 by  
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Japan restarts first nuclear reactor since 2011 Fukushima disaster

August 11, 2015 by  
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The catastrophe wrecked by the Fukushina Daiichi nuclear power plant in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, forcing 160,000 people from their homes, left many in Japan highly wary of atomic energy. So much so that by 2013 all nuclear reactors in the country had been taken offline . But today, under what Prime Minister Shinzo Abe refers to as the “world’s most stringent regulation standards,” a nuclear reactor in Sendai will be switched on, despite polls showing the majority of Japanese residents oppose the move. Read the rest of Japan restarts first nuclear reactor since 2011 Fukushima disaster

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Scotland to ban genetically modified crops for good

August 11, 2015 by  
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The Scottish government is planning to ban the growing of genetically modified crops in Scotland , using a new EU rule that allows countries to opt-out of GM. The move will widen the political gap between Scotland and the Conservative government in England, who have already indicated that GM crops such as oilseed rape with be grown. “Scotland is known around the world for our beautiful natural environment — and banning growing genetically modified crops will protect and further enhance our clean, green status,” said Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s environment secretary. Read the rest of Scotland to ban genetically modified crops for good

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Fukushima rice passes radiation test for the first time since the disaster

January 6, 2015 by  
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Ever since the Fukushima disaster in 2011, rice in Japan has been tainted by radiation. This year, for the first time, the rice harvest is finally below the radiation standard set by Japan’s government . That’s good news not only for the environment but also for the farmers in Japan, who were some of the hardest hit individuals in the disaster. Read the rest of Fukushima rice passes radiation test for the first time since the disaster Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Daiichi meltdown , Fukishima environmental impact , fukishima meltdown , fukushima daiichi , Fukushima disaster , Fukushima radioactivity , Japan export , Japan fish export , Japan radioactive export , Japan rice export , nuclear power environmental impact , radioactive meltdown , radioactivity fish , radioactivity rice

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Fukushima rice passes radiation test for the first time since the disaster

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