Fission to fusion: capital is flowing to the new frontier in nuclear technology

August 1, 2019 by  
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What is private capital doing to move fusion energy from a promising idea to a commercial reality?

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Fission to fusion: capital is flowing to the new frontier in nuclear technology

The U.S. Congress just held its first hearing on ESG issues. What’s next?

August 1, 2019 by  
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Five bills being floated in Washington would require public companies to reveal more about climate policies, political expenditures and human rights.

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The U.S. Congress just held its first hearing on ESG issues. What’s next?

Supreme Court votes to uphold Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

June 19, 2019 by  
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The Supreme Court disappointed the Trump administration and an eager mining corporation by voting to keep the country’s largest uranium deposit underground. On June 17, the court voted six to three to uphold Virginia’s uranium mining ban in a move that re-confirms the sovereignty of states to determine the future of their natural resources and the protection of their environments. The uranium deposit in question is worth an estimated $6 billion and is situated on a private estate in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Uranium is an essential ingredient for nuclear energy and contributes to about 20 percent of the country’s electricity production. Uranium is also an essential ingredient in nuclear weapons; therefore, control over its sources is critically important to the government and military. Related: Demand for sand — the largest mining industry no one talks about Despite pressure from the federal government and legal challenges from Virginia Uranium, Inc., the state of Virginia passed a ban on uranium mining due to environmental and health concerns associated with its extraction. “This is a big win for the health and safety of Virginians and our environment,” Attorney General for Virginia Mark Herring said of the Supreme Court ruling. “We are well within our rights as a state to decide that a risky, potentially dangerous activity like uranium mining is not for us.” Uranium is a radioactive material, and the environmental concerns related to its extraction include contaminated water, soil and disrupted landscapes that cause major erosion and landslides. Virginia Uranium, Inc. argued that the state is confiscating a nationally important resource. The corporation said it is disappointed with the ruling and plans to mount a new challenge after its argument that the federal-level Atomic Energy Act of 1954 governs nuclear energy development and supersedes any state ban proved unsuccessful in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ruling was written by Justice Neil Gorsch, who was appointed by President Trump in 2017. Via Reuters Image via Shutterstock

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Supreme Court votes to uphold Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics

June 19, 2019 by  
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In anticipation of the upcoming Paris 2024 Summer Olympics, French architectural firm Jakob + MacFarlane has set its sights on reinventing a large, post-industrial facility into an innovative beacon for carbon-neutral design. Located directly adjacent to the planned site for the Olympics in Quartier Pleyel, the existing building is a towering relic of Saint-Denis’ industrial past that now lies at the intersection of major metropolitan projects. The zero-carbon, adaptive reuse proposal, dubbed Odyssee Pleyel, is one of the winning proposals in Reinventing Cities , a competition created by C40 Cities that asked architects to sustainably transform vacant and abandoned spaces in cities around the world. Spanning an area of over 15,000 square feet and rising to a height of nearly 79 feet, the Hall de décuvage Pleyel was previously used to remove electric transformer windings. Rather than tear down the building, Jakob + MacFarlane suggests retrofitting the structure into a carbon-neutral landmark for the city, as it is prominently located on the perimeter of the 2024 Olympics site. In addition to renovating the existing structure, the architects suggest adding a modular wood construction structure and renewable energy systems to ensure energy self-sufficiency. Related: Eiffel Tower site to become a pedestrian-friendly garden “Reflecting the historical industrial heritage of Saint-Denis, the Odyssee Pleyel project showcases thought-leadership in the global clean energy transition in a quest to become a carbon-neutral development,” the architects said. “The Odyssee Pleyel bears witness to the human, technological and cultural achievements of this area. The Energy Plug building is an excellent example of reinventing a former industrial site into a reflexive building of the future.” Topped with hybrid photovoltaic and thermal solar cells, the Odyssee Pleyel would also tap into rainwater collection and reuse to minimize resource demands. Excavated soil from the Grand Paris Express — the Pleyel district is to host one of 72 stations for the 2023 transport project — would be reused and integrated into the Odyssee Pleyel construction site. Most importantly, the zero-carbon building would encourage ecological innovation and awareness by hosting workshops, clean energy start-ups and educational programs on topics of sustainability. + Jakob + MacFarlane Images via Jakob + MacFarlane

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Industrial building is reimagined as a zero-carbon paragon for Paris 2024 Olympics

Rag pasta sauce pulled from shelves for possible plastic contamination

June 19, 2019 by  
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This week, “America’s favorite pasta sauce” was pulled from shelves and home kitchens across the country for fear that it contains plastic fragments. Mizkan American, the corporation that owns Ragú, announced a recall over the weekend for its Chunky Tomato Garlic & Onion (45 ounce and 66 ounce jars), Old World Style Traditional (66 ounce jar) and Old World Style Meat (66 ounce jar). Grocery stores and retail outlets have pulled the items from the shelves, and customers are encouraged to check their kitchens and dispose of any of the above-mentioned jars if they were produced between June 4 and June 8. Related: Have your plastic and eat it, too — The average American ingests 50,000 microplastic particles a year “Mizkan America also asks consumers to examine their refrigerator and pantry inventory for the specific jars affected by this recall,” the company said in a press release. “Any recalled sauce should be discarded and not consumed.” Customers can also call the Ragú hotline at 1-800-328-7248 for a replacement. According to Mizkan American, no customers have been hurt, sick or reported any injuries; however, the recall is “out of an abundance of caution.” The company also wrote, “This recall is at the retail level, and all impacted retailer customers have been notified of this voluntary recall prior to this press release.” The Ragú recall comes after a string of similar recalls by major processed food corporations. Last week, Tyson Foods also recalled more than 190,000 pounds of chicken as a precaution for potential plastic contamination. In April, Tyson recalled beef patties for similar issues. Many health inspectors and worried consumers believe that the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are not strict enough on food recalls. In fact, as mentioned in the Ragú press release, the pasta sauce recall is voluntary. In 2015, there were 12 cases of food recalled for foreign particles. In 2018, that number rose to 23 recalls, the majority of which were plastic fragments. Via EcoWatch Image via Mike Mozart

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Rag pasta sauce pulled from shelves for possible plastic contamination

Pacific nuclear site contaminating clams and groundwater, despite U.S. denial

June 4, 2019 by  
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Giant clams and groundwater near a U.S. nuclear waste site in the Marshall Islands have been found to have high levels of radiation. Despite claims that the waste is contained and the ocean contamination is old, local scientists and environmental justice advocates believe the site was not adequately protected and is currently leaking. The Marshall Island’s site was used as a testing location from 1946 to 1958. There, the U.S. military conducted 67 known nuclear weapons tests on coral reefs, a critical ecosystem now known to host up to 25 percent of all marine life. The nuclear tests included the detonation of the “Bravo” hydrogen bomb, which is thought to have been 1,000 times bigger than the bomb dropped in Hiroshima. According to a testimony by the Marshall Islands’ health minister, the bomb covered the islands in white ash, which children played with and even ate, thinking it was snow. Related: Ocean explorer finds plastic waste during world’s deepest dive In 1977, the U.S. military piled contaminated ash and soil into an atoll– a ring shaped reef– and topped it with 18 inches of concrete. Perhaps it was meant to be a temporary fix, as the bottom of the containment was never insulated, but the structure has remained for 42 years. Visible cracks in the concrete leads many researchers to believe that there is likely leakage at the bottom as well. “The bottom of the dome is just what was left behind by the nuclear weapons explosion. It’s permeable soil. There was no effort to line it. And therefore, the seawater is inside the dome,” said Michael Gerrard of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. U.S. Department of Energy scientists claim it is safe to eat small amounts of the giant clams, which are a delicacy in the islands as well as an export to China. However, international scientists widely distrust their claim that since there is no direct proof of leakage, the contamination to the shellfish and lagoon is just from the old testing and not from ongoing spillage. “What they’re saying is, here is the dome. And here, in the lagoon area, there is radiation … But as far as leaking from the dome, we don’t think that’s the case? The doesn’t make any sense,” said Mayor James Matayoshi of Rongelap Atoll. Via Eco Watch Image via UNESCO

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Pacific nuclear site contaminating clams and groundwater, despite U.S. denial

This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

June 4, 2019 by  
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If you’re feeling the need for a little R&R this summer, look no further than this fabulous tiny home resort in upper-state New York. Tucked into the dense woodlands of the Catskills, A Tiny House Resort features nine gorgeous tiny homes , including a renovated Airstream. Not only are the accommodations incredibly charming, but guests can enjoy a heated swimming pool, wellness center, arts and crafts workshops, and even goat yoga. Tucked in the woodlands, with a 1/2 mile of creek frontage and an onsite waterfall. A Tiny House Resort is truly an incredible space. Each of the adorable tiny homes , which range from 100 to 400 square feet, have different layouts, but all include kitchens, full bathrooms and comfortable beds. They also come with open-air decks with barbecue grills to enjoy al fresco dining and socializing. Additionally, there are a few onsite fire pits so that guests can truly immerse themselves in the outdoors, day and night. Related: Disconnect in these A-frame tiny cabins in the Catskills In addition to the tiny home accommodations , guests can enjoy any number of activities. There are plenty of hiking trails nearby, and adventurers can also enjoy free kayaks and rafts to enjoy exploring the adjacent river. For those looking for a little culinary cleanse, the resort even has its own veggie garden and hen house for collecting fresh eggs. For a little luxury, stressed-out city dwellers can relax with an invigorating massage in the open-air wellness center and spa, or a leisurely bath in the hot soaking tub. Budding artists and DIYers will love the arts and crafts center which is located in a renovated Airstream . Finally, for those who’d like to get bendy in nature, there’s also outdoor yoga— including the ever-popular goat yoga. + A Tiny House Resort Via Tiny House Blog Images via A Tiny House Resort

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This incredible tiny house resort in the Catskills is the place to be this summer

New research shows that neglect of nuclear threatens low-carbon transition

May 30, 2019 by  
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Failing to invest in the future of nuclear power will make global transition to green power ‘much harder’, experts warn.

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New research shows that neglect of nuclear threatens low-carbon transition

Bill Gates’ quixotic quest to revive nuclear power

February 7, 2019 by  
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The argument for building nukes, never mind subsidizing them, has lost its power.

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Bill Gates’ quixotic quest to revive nuclear power

Potential energy: 7 hopeful power prognostications for 2019

January 4, 2019 by  
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Corporates cleaning up, cities doubling down — welcome to the future of electricity for the new year.

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Potential energy: 7 hopeful power prognostications for 2019

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