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Fukushima operator may have to dump contaminated water into Pacific

Fukushima waterA senior adviser to the operator of the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has told the firm that it may have no choice but to eventually dump hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.

Speaking to reporters who were on a rare visit to the plant on the eve of the third anniversary of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Dale Klein said Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] had yet to reassure the public over the handling of water leaks that continue to frustrate efforts to clean up the site.

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Next fracking controversy: In the Midwest, a storm brews over 'frac sand'

frack sandSand has become a valuable – and deeply divisive – commodity in the upper Midwest. Hydraulic fracturing, a method of extraction also known as fracking that has boosted oil and natural gas production across the United States, requires sand, and there's plenty of it here.

And so in dozens of small towns and rural townships in Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and especially Wisconsin, the demand for frac sand, as it's called, has brought a surge of new mining activity. Scores of companies have poured in, eager to take advantage of the thick sandstone that underlies the bluffs and ridges of the region's picturesque river country.

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Fukushima's children at centre of debate over rates of thyroid cancer

Fukushia childrenWhen doctors found several tiny nodules on his 12-year-old daughter's thyroid gland, Toshiyuki Kamei refused to let parental fear get the better of him. The symptoms are not uncommon, and the probability that they will develop into something more serious is low.

Yet Kamei can be forgiven for occasional moments of doubt: his daughter, Ayako, is one of almost 400,000 children who were living in Fukushima on 11 March 2011 – the start of the world's worst nuclear accident for a quarter of a century.

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Four New Man-Made Gases Found That Harm Ozone Layer

ozone layerScientists have detected four new man-made gases that damage the Earth's protective ozone layer, despite bans on almost all production of similar gases under a 1987 treaty, a study showed on Sunday.

The experts were trying to pinpoint industrial sources of tiny traces of the new gases, perhaps used in making pesticides or refrigerants, that were found in Greenland's ice and in air samples in Tasmania, Australia.

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Climate change could see 'significant' rise in malaria deaths, study finds

Clkimate change and malariaFuture global warming could lead to a significant increase in malaria cases in densely populated regions of Africa and South America unless disease monitoring and control efforts are increased, researchers said Thursday.

In a study of the mosquito-borne disease that infects around 220 million people a year, researchers from Britain and the United States found what they describe as the first hard evidence that malaria creeps to higher elevations during warmer years and back down to lower altitudes when temperatures cool.

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Rail carries Canadian crude while Keystone pipeline decision simmers

rail carries Canadian crudeWhile supporters and opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline have been busy debating the controversial proposal, the oil that it’s intended to move has found another carrier _ one that didn’t require the president’s stamp of approval or several years and billions of dollars to construct.

Keystone’s friends and foes alike may have underestimated the North American rail system’s ability to handle the thick, gritty oil from western Canada known as tar sands. And while rail was originally a stopgap solution to the lack of a pipeline, oil producers have discovered its advantages.

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Report: Aging nuclear power plants in Europe pose increased risk

aging nuclear plants in EuropeA new report says Europe’s fleet of nuclear power plants pose an increasing risk to millions of Europeans as the facilities age, and as governments decide to extend the operation of plants beyond their originally intended lifetimes.

The nearly 150-page report, commissioned by Greenpeace, synthesizes the research of eight European nuclear energy experts. It concludes that because of Europe’s heavy dependence on nuclear energy, governments are likely to extend plant operations 20 years or more past their designed limits, and recommends that European Union policies be changed to incentivize repairs and discourage the construction of new plants.

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