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Tuesday, Sep 16th

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British engineers produce amazing 'petrol from air' technology

Petrol from airA small company in the north of England has developed the “air capture” technology to create synthetic petrol using only air and electricity. Experts tonight hailed the astonishing breakthrough as a potential “game-changer” in the battle against climate change and a saviour for the world’s energy crisis.

The technology, presented to a London engineering conference this week, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The “petrol from air” technology involves taking sodium hydroxide and mixing it with carbon dioxide before "electrolysing" the sodium carbonate that it produces to form pure carbon dioxide.

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'Hundreds of problems' at EU nuclear plants

European nuclear plant problemsHundreds of problems have been found at European nuclear plants that would cost 25bn euros (£20bn) to fix, says a leaked draft report.
The report, commissioned after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, aimed to see how Europe's nuclear power stations would cope during extreme emergencies.

The final report is to be published on Thursday. The draft says nearly all the EU's 143 nuclear plants need improving. Anti-nuclear groups say the report's warnings do not go far enough.

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A Win for Wall St.: Rule Restraining Speculation Rejected by U.S. Judge

Oil speculationThe U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission rule restraining speculation was rejected by a federal judge, handing a victory to two Wall Street groups that challenged the constraints.

U.S. District Judge Robert Wilkins in Washington today ruled that the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act is unclear as to whether the agency was ordered by Congress to cap the number of contracts a trader can have in oil, natural gas and other commodities without first assessing whether the rule was necessary and appropriate.

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23 Nuclear Plants in Tsunami Risk Zones, Study Finds

In March 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami set off a partial meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant on Japan's coast. A recent study led by European researchers found Fukushima is not alone, as 22 other plants around the world may be similarly susceptible to destructive tsunami waves, with most of them in east and southeast regions of Asia.

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Reports: Japan plans for nuclear phaseout by 2030s

FukushimaJapan is planning a move to shutter all nuclear plants by the 2030s, Japanese media reported Thursday, a major policy shift for a resource-poor nation that once depended on atomic power for a third of its energy.

The nuclear phaseout, reported by both the Kyodo News agency and broadcaster NHK based on a draft of the policy, comes amid fierce political debate about this country’s 50 operable reactors, which are both prone to disaster and vital to the economy.

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BP sued over massive release of pollutants in Texas

BP suedWith the world focused on a BP rig explosion in the spring of 2010 that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a massive release of pollutants from the company’s Texas City refinery went largely unnoticed.

The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deep­water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico came two weeks after the BP refinery began releasing pollutants into the air through a 300-foot flare that is designed to burn them away. BP reported at least 538,000 pounds of gases, including 17,371 pounds of cancer-causing benzene, spewed from the flare over 40 days.

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Nearly 90 percent of US gas service lines aren't fitted with the valves that could save lives

Gas valves missing in most gas linesThe bulldozer was clearing land outside a day care center in Hapeville, Ga., when it broke open a buried 1-inch pipeline. The escaping gas ignited into a fireball that killed nine people, including seven children settling down for their afternoon naps.

That was 1968. Since then, there have been at least 270 similar accidents across the country that could have been prevented or made less dangerous by a valve that cuts off leaking gas and costs as little as $10-$15 for homes and small businesses and $200-$300 for larger buildings, an Associated Press investigation found.

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