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Fukushima nuclear reactor radiation at highest level since 2011 meltdown

Fukushima radiation levelRadiation levels inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station are at their highest since the plant suffered a triple meltdown almost six years ago.

The facility’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled by a huge tsunami that struck the north-east coast of Japan in March 2011.

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Army Corps Ordered to Issue Last Dakota Access Pipeline Permit

Dakota pipelineThe Army Corps of Engineers has been instructed to supply the final permit necessary to finish building the controversial and heavily debated Dakota Access pipeline.

Two North Dakota Republican lawmakers who supported the project told The Washington Post that the Corps had been ordered to grant an easement for the pipeline to run under Lake Oahe, a reservoir that is the drinking-water source for the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

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7.7-magnitude earthquake in Chile, tsunami warning lifted

earthquake in ChileA 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit Chile Sunday. There were tsunami warnings, but they have been lifted.

The quake hit 150 miles southwest of Puerto Montt, at a depth of 9 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Chile's national emergency office issued an alert and ordered an evacuation.

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A 148-year-old temperature record broken in Australia

Australia heat recordSydney has just broken a record that has stood since 1868 - the overnight temperature stayed above 27C.

In December 1868, Sydney registered a minimum temperature of 26.3C, a record that had stood ever since.  On Tuesday night, the minimum was 27.1C.  It also makes it the second hottest night on record for any month of the year, a Bureau Of Meteorology spokesperson said.

Sydney is experiencing high temperatures, at day and night, and in December, that is surprisingly uncommon.

Tuesday saw a maximum temperature of 39C and on Wednesday, it was 37.5.

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After 5-year study, scientists say unchecked Arctic melting may bring irreversible change

Arctic ice melting irreversibleQuickly melting ice in the Arctic with no effort to stop it may someday bring a stage where critical ecological change is uncontrollable, a team of international scientists said in a "groundbreaking" new report Friday.

In the Arctic Resilience Report, released Friday, the team of scientists said Arctic ice is melting faster than ever before and it will probably only get worse. In fact, the ecological change currently happening in the Arctic region is unprecedented, they say, and could one day become irreversible.

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World on track to lose two-thirds of wild animals by 2020, major report warns

wild animals on track to be lost by 2020The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

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Fracking Linked to Cancer-Causing Chemicals, Yale Study Finds

Fracking chemicals linked to cancerYet another study has determined that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, might be a major public health threat. In one of the most exhaustive reviews to date, researchers from the Yale School of Public Health have confirmed that many of the chemicals involved and released by the controversial drilling process can be linked to cancer.

"Previous studies have examined the carcinogenicity of more selective lists of chemicals," lead author Nicole Deziel, Ph.D., assistant professor explained to the school. "To our knowledge, our analysis represents the most expansive review of carcinogenicity of hydraulic fracturing-related chemicals in the published literature."

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