As Japan’s nuclear disaster stretched into its second week, traces of radiation from the stricken power plants showed up in several U.S. states, and as far away as Iceland.
With the reactors and uranium fuel rods still proving difficult to bring under control, the disaster could be the “death knell” for nuclear power, some analysts said. Countries around the world — from China to Germany — are taking a closer look at their nuclear plants and plans, while the U.S. intends to complete an initial review of its reactors within three months. Some are still arguing publicly for more nuclear, such as European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard and veteran environmental journalist George Monbiot, who wrote the disaster changed his mind and made him pro-nuclear.
Despite the radiation now spread across Japan, New Scientist points out fossil fuels are far deadlier than nuclear power — mainly because of air pollution.
On Thin Ice
As the planet has continued heating up, the Arctic ice cap has been shrinking — but not in any straightforward, linear fashion. Scientists have been keeping a close eye on two key features: how big the Arctic sea ice cover is at its minimum in the summer and at its maximum in the winter. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has released its latest numbers on the Arctic sea ice, finding it’s tied with 2005 for the lowest on record. As the Arctic thaws, the U.S. Navy should prepare for a military struggle near the North Pole, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences warned.
In the absence of national regulations for greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., states are taking regulation matters into their own hands. Louisiana recently became the first to issue greenhouse gas permits.
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