environment correspondent
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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.

Mar 13, 2011

Japan nuclear health risks low, won’t blow abroad

OSLO (Reuters) – Health risks from Japan’s quake-hit nuclear power reactors seem fairly low and winds are likely to carry any contamination out to the Pacific without threatening other nations, experts say.

Tokyo battled to avert a meltdown at three stricken reactors at the Fukushima plant in the worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, triggered by Friday’s tsunami. Radiation levels were also up at the Onagawa atomic plant.

Mar 10, 2011

Bee deaths may signal wider pollination threat: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – Mass deaths of bee colonies in many parts of the world may be part of a wider, hidden threat to wild insect pollinators vital to human food supplies, a U.N. study indicated on Thursday.

Declines in flowering plants, a spread of parasites, use of pesticides or air pollution were among more than a dozen factors behind recent collapses of bee colonies mainly in North America and Europe, the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP) said.

Mar 8, 2011

Carbon capture projects up in 2010, despite costs

OSLO, March 8 (Reuters) – The number of projects for
capturing greenhouse gases from power plants and factories edged
up in 2010 despite soaring costs and slow progress in U.N.-led
efforts to slow climate change, a study showed on Tuesday.

The focus of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects also
shifted more to the United States from Europe even though U.S.
President Barack Obama has failed to persuade the Senate to
legislate caps on U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it said.

Mar 8, 2011

Eco-farming can double food output by poor: U.N.

OSLO (Reuters) – Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday.

Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh’s use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050.

Mar 6, 2011

Lead and asbestos in homes need tighter control

OSLO (Reuters) – The health risks from toxins such as lead in old paint or asbestos in walls are too often overlooked when homes are upgraded, according to a study on Sunday calling on governments to set tougher pollution rules.

The report, by Canadian experts, said that retrofits of old buildings, such as insulation meant to save energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions, often released poisons that can be especially damaging to children.