Tag Archives: nuclear power plant

Wolves in Chernobyl could spread to other areas, help support other populations

Long free of humans, the site of a nuclear disaster may play an important role in wildlife conservation in the region.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ) is a 1,660 square mile area surrounding the remains of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, which exploded on April 25, 1986, and released large amounts of radiation into the area. Living in the zone remains prohibited 32 years later, and the resulting lack of human presence has led some to call the zone a de-facto nature reserve. (more…)

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No Ocean-Borne Radiation from Fukushima Detected on West Coast Shoreline, According to Analysis of 1st Samples from ‘Kelp Watch 2014’

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Scientists working together on Kelp Watch 2014 announced today that the West Coast shoreline shows no signs of ocean-borne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, following their analysis of the first collection of kelp samples along the western U.S. coastline.

Kelp Watch 2014 is a project that uses coastal kelp beds as detectors of radioactive seawater arriving from Fukushima via the North Pacific Current. It is a collaborative effort led by Steven Manley, marine biology professor at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and a nuclear engineering professor at the University of California, Berkeley. (more…)

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How Radioactive is Our Ocean?

Citizen science campaign aims to collect ocean samples and fund radiation analysis

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) marine chemist Ken Buesseler began sampling and analyzing seawater surrounding the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant three months after the 2011 disaster. Today, he launched a crowd sourcing campaign and citizen science website to collect and analyze seawater along the West Coast of North America as the radioactive plume travels 5,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

“Whether you agree with predictions that levels of radiation along the Pacific Coast of North America will be too low to be of human health concern or to impact fisheries and marine life, we can all agree that radiation should be monitored, and we are asking for your help to make that happen,” says Ken Buesseler, WHOI senior scientist and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (CMER). (more…)

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Fishing for Answers off Fukushima

Japan fisheries data provides a look at how the ocean is faring 18 months after the worst accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history

Japan’s triple disaster,” as it has become known, began on March 11, 2011, and remains unprecedented in its scope and complexity. To understand the lingering effects and potential public health implications of that chain of events, scientists are turning to a diverse and widespread sentinel in the world’s ocean: fish.

Events on March 11 began with a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the fourth largest ever recorded. The earthquake in turn spawned a massive 40-foot tsunami that inundated the northeast Japanese coast and resulted in an estimated 20,000 missing or dead. Finally, the wave caused catastrophic damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, resulting in the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history, 80 percent of which ended up in the Northwest Pacific Ocean. (more…)

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Making Mirrors for the Sun

With $1.5 million from the Department of Energy, UA researchers are continuing to improve groundbreaking technology to produce solar electricity at a price competitive with non-renewable energy sources.

Just behind the University of Arizona’s Bear Down Gymnasium, a house-sized frame of crisscrossing steel tubes is mounted onto a swiveling post in the concrete bottom of an empty swimming pool.

The tracker, as the structure is called, supports two curved, highly reflective glass mirrors, each measuring 10 feet by 10 feet. The tracker is “on sun,” converting the hot Arizona summer sun into electrical power. (more…)

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Digital Defenses

Cybersecurity expert Hathaway discusses risks of modern digital world

The near future of digital technology could allow citizens to turn on their toaster ovens via the Internet from just about anywhere, but these developments could pose serious threats to individuals’ safety, according to a cybersecurity expert.

Melissa Hathaway, a former senior director for cyberspace in the National Security Council, highlighted examples of the threats the Internet has created for both national and personal security during a University of Delaware Global Agenda speaker series presentation on Wednesday night, April 11, in Mitchell Hall. (more…)

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Sampling the Pacific for Signs of Fukushima

An international research team is reporting the results of a research cruise they organized to study the amount, spread, and impacts of radiation released into the ocean from the tsunami-crippled reactors in Fukushima, Japan. The group of 17 researchers and technicians from eight institutions spent 15 days at sea in June 2011 studying ocean currents, and sampling water and marine organisms up to the edge of the exclusion zone around the reactors.

Led by Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist and marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the team found that the concentration of several key radioactive substances, or radionuclides, were elevated but varied widely across the study area, reflecting the complex nature of the marine environment. In addition, although levels of radioactivity in marine life sampled during the cruise were well below levels of concern for humans and the organisms themselves, the researchers leave open the question of whether radioactive materials are accumulating on the seafloor sediments and, if so, whether these might pose a long-term threat to the marine ecosystem. The results appear in the April 2 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). (more…)

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