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Fukushima ocean radiation panel to be live-streamed

Experts to discuss concerns about radioactive dispersion; viewers can ask questions via Twitter during May 9 session

FRISCO — More than two years have passed since a 9.0 earthquake and a 50-foot tsunami catastrophically damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Japan’s northeast coast, but questions still linger about the long-term impacts of radioactive pollution in the ocean.

The quake and tsunami killed about 20,000 people, and some coastal Japanese fisheries are still closed due to concern about the radiation. Next week, an international panel of scientists will discuss the accident and potential impacts to the environment and human health in a web-streamed session at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The panel will be held on May 9, 2013, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. EDT and simulcast on the Web (http://www.whoi.edu/fukushima). Online viewers are encouraged to participate and send questions for the panel discussion via Twitter. The event hashtag is #WHOIfukushima. Questions during the discussion can also be sent via email to cmer@whoi.edu. Continue reading

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Germany’s shift away from nuclear energy yielding measurable environmental and economic benefits

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant surrounded by the flooding Missouri River. Photo courtesy U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Experts say policy shift has decoupled energy and economic growth

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Germany was moving away from reliance on nuclear power long before the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. The country has a history of civil confrontations over nuclear reactors and processing facilities. So the decision by the German government to phase out nuclear power didn’t come as a shock to anyone.

What is more surprising is that the shift in policy has fundamentally altered the traditional equation of energy and economic growth.

“It has actually decoupled energy from economic growth, with the country’s energy supply and carbon-dioxide emissions dropping from 1990 to 2011, even as its gross domestic product rose by 36 percent, according to Lutz Mez, co-founder of Freie Universitӓt Berlin’s Environmental Policy Research Center. Continue reading

Experts say no radiation risk from tsunami debris

Some debris could reach North American shores this winter

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With ocean-borne wreckage from the 2011 Fukushima tsunami headed for the shores of North America, researchers and public safety officials are trying to determine whether there are any health risks associated with the debris.

At this point, there is no danger of any radiation exposure, according to Nuclear radiation health experts from Oregon State University, who have been studying the contamination and dispersal of radioactive waste from the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plan. Continue reading

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