environment correspondent
Alister's Feed
Mar 21, 2011

Experts cautious on signs of Japan nuclear progress

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) – Japan’s reconnection of power to its earthquake-damaged reactors is a major step in managing its nuclear crisis, experts said on Monday, but smoke from two reactors and worries about food safety showed the crisis was far from over.

“There is more than a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel,” said Robin Grimes, head of the center for nuclear engineering at Imperial College, London.

Mar 20, 2011

“Hydro-diplomacy” needed to avert Arab water wars

OSLO (Reuters) – The United Nations should promote “hydro-diplomacy” to defuse any tensions over water in regions like the Middle East and North Africa where scarce supplies have the potential to spark future conflicts, experts said on Sunday.

They said the U.N. Security Council should work out ways to bolster cooperation over water in shared lakes or rivers, from the Mekong to the Nile, that are likely to come under pressure from a rising world population and climate change.

Mar 18, 2011

Harmless Japan radiation may reach Europe soon-expert

OSLO, March 18 (Reuters) – Harmless traces of Japan’s
nuclear accident may reach Europe in a week’s time, part of a
normally ignored background of radiation whose effects include a
premium for pre-1945 steel such as in old shipwrecks.
Fallout from the 1945 U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and
Nagasaki and nuclear tests, along with accidents such as at
Chernobyl in 1986, have spread a pervasive background of
radiation around the globe.

“We expect that maybe in seven days from now we could detect
some atoms, with very, very exact instruments here in Sweden,”
Klas Idehaag, reactor inspector at the Swedish Radiation Safety
Authority, said on Friday.

Mar 17, 2011

Analysis – Fuel rods big risk in Japan plant; power a test

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) – Spent fuel rods and fuel ponds pose the main radiation risk at Japan’s stricken nuclear plant, European experts said Thursday.

Japanese military helicopters were dumping water on the Fukushima nuclear plant Thursday. Authorities said the pressure vessels at the core of the plant were stable for now, throwing the focus on the ponds that store spent uranium.

Mar 17, 2011

Fuel rods big risk in Japan plant; power a test

LONDON/OSLO (Reuters) – Spent fuel rods and fuel ponds pose the main radiation risk at Japan’s stricken nuclear plant, European experts said on Thursday.

Japanese military helicopters were dumping water on the Fukushima nuclear plant on Thursday. Authorities said the pressure vessels at the core of the plant were stable for now, throwing the focus on the ponds that store spent uranium.

Mar 16, 2011

Analysis – Worst case nuclear cloud seen limited to Japan

OSLO (Reuters) – In the worst case, any radioactive cloud from Japan’s damaged nuclear plant is likely to be limited to the densely populated nation — unlike the wider fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, experts say.

The 1986 blast in then-Soviet Ukraine, when the reactor exploded, contaminated large parts of Europe in the world’s worst nuclear disaster. At the Fukushima plant, the explosive potential within the six reactors is easing with time.

Mar 16, 2011

Worst case nuclear cloud seen limited to Japan

OSLO, March 16 (Reuters) – In the worst case, any
radioactive cloud from Japan’s damaged nuclear plant is likely
to be limited to the densely populated nation — unlike the
wider fallout from the Chernobyl disaster, experts say.

The 1986 blast in then-Soviet Ukraine, when the reactor
exploded, contaminated large parts of Europe in the world’s
worst nuclear disaster. At the Fukushima plant, the explosive
potential within the six reactors is easing with time.

Mar 15, 2011

Japan wind change to blow radiation over Pacific

OSLO, March 15 (Reuters) – Winds are set to blow low-level
radiation from Japan’s quake-crippled nuclear power plant out
over the Pacific Ocean in coming hours, easing health worries
after drifting towards Tokyo early on Tuesday, experts said.

After the more serious 1986 Chernobyl disaster in the Soviet
Union, radiation blew around the northern hemisphere in about
three weeks. One U.N. study said Chernobyl may eventually cause
up to 9,000 deaths, mainly from extra cancers near the plant.

Mar 15, 2011

Analysis: Japan accident shows dilemma over atom plant sites

OSLO (Reuters) – Japan’s nuclear accident exposes the dilemma of whether to build power plants on tsunami-prone coasts or inland sites where water supplies are unreliable, a problem likely to be aggravated by climate change, experts say.

Many of the world’s 442 nuclear power reactors are by the sea, rather than by lakes or rivers, to ensure vast water supplies for cooling fuel rods in emergencies like that at the Fukushima plant on Japan’s east coast.

Mar 14, 2011

Japan accident shows dilemma over atom plant sites

OSLO, March 14 (Reuters) – Japan’s nuclear accident exposes
the dilemma of whether to build power plants on tsunami-prone
coasts or inland sites where water supplies are unreliable, a
problem likely to be aggravated by climate change, experts say.

Many of the world’s 442 nuclear power reactors are by the
sea, rather than by lakes or rivers, to ensure vast water
supplies for cooling fuel rods in emergencies like that at the
Fukushima plant on Japan’s east coast.