Toshiba's US nuclear problems could provide cautionary tale for UK

Guardian Environment News - Fri, 2017/04/14 - 12:00am

Experts say construction delays and cost problems at two plants are due to lack of experience and absence of supply chains

The roots of Toshiba’s admission this week that it has serious doubts over its “ability to continue as a going concern” can be found near two small US towns.

It is the four reactors being built for nuclear power stations outside Waynesboro, in Georgia, and Jenkinsville, South Carolina, by the company’s US subsidiary Westinghouse that have left the Japanese corporation facing an annual loss of £7.37bn.

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Categories: Environment

Quarantine alert might have prevented white spot disease outbreak, review finds

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 10:06pm

Federal authorities investigating prawn imports did not tell Biosecurity Queensland about breaches

The white spot virus outbreak that devastated prawn farms in south-east Queensland may have been avoided if federal authorities investigating quarantine failures had warned the state’s biosecurity agency, a review has found.

The damning assessment is contained in the report of a marine biologist, Ben Diggles, who was contracted to investigate the white spot outbreak by the Fisheries Development and Research Centre – a body jointly funded by government and industry.

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Categories: Environment

Tumps of tunnelling moles reveal the past

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 9:30pm

The Trundle, West Sussex Ramparts’ busy archaeologists send forth iron age pottery, shells and bones as they excavate

As we walked the perimeter of the ramparts, we noticed that the cropped turf-covered contours below were heavily tracked with molehills. We came across an area of fresh tumps, the newly excavated soil still damp and dark like coffee grounds.

Related: Moles dig up buried treasure where human trowels are banned

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Categories: Environment

Spiritual festival on India's Yamuna river caused £5m damage

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 8:00pm

Report says it will take 10 years to fix problems caused by the event, which ‘completely destroyed’ the riverbed

A spiritual festival held along an Indian river last year, despite warnings by the country’s environmental watchdog, caused more than £5m of damage that could take 10 years to fix, according to a report.

One of India’s most celebrated gurus, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, headlined the World Culture festival along Delhi’s Yamuna river in March last year, drawing more than 3 million visitors including the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi.

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Categories: Environment

Firefighting foam spilled at Brisbane airport enters river and kills fish

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 6:04pm

Anglers warned to avoid area as authorities and Qantas investigate leak of chemicals classified as an ‘emerging contaminant’

A significant spill of firefighting foam at Brisbane airport has contaminated nearby waterways, killing fish and prompting warnings to recreational anglers.

About 22,000 litres of the foam leaked in a Qantas hangar on Monday, the Queensland government confirmed.

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Scott Pruitt hails era of environmental deregulation in speech at coal mine

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 3:21pm

EPA administrator declared an end to the government’s ‘war’ on coal in a speech to miners – an agenda that has been bitterly opposed by agency staff

Scott Pruitt, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, heralded a new era of environmental deregulation on Thursday, in a speech at a coal mine that was fined last year for contaminating local waterways with toxic materials.

Pruitt said the new “back to basics” agenda for the EPA would focus on devolving oversight of clean air and water to individual states, and bolstering jobs in industries such as coal, oil and gas.

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Categories: Environment

A New Approach To Helping Men Of Color Heal After A Violent Incident

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 2:12pm

To figure out the best ways to help young black and Latino men heal, a nonprofit will train young men in New York City to conduct interviews with other young men of color.

(Image credit: JDawnInk/iStock/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

How Can The Colorado River Continue To Support 36 Million People In 7 States?

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 10:24am

New Yorker staff writer David Owen says that convoluted legal agreements and a patchwork of infrastructure determine how water from the Colorado is allocated. His new book is Where The Water Goes.

Categories: Environment

The week in wildlife – in pictures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 10:14am

Ducks, red deer, cherry blossoms and leopards in the hill forests of Myanmar are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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Categories: Environment

In Coal Country, Environmental Regulations Are Creating Jobs

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 10:10am

Though President Trump speaks about how environmental regulations kill jobs, in some areas, the regulations help create them. In coal country, restoring streams is steady work.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Canaan Valley Institute)

Categories: Environment

Scottish islands hold out for government U-turn on windfarm subsidies

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 9:52am

Hopes that ministers will make special case for Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland after visit by business secretary

Ministers are believed to be on the verge of a U-turn on their manifesto pledge to halt the spread of subsidised onshore windfarms – on remote Scottish islands, at least.

The business secretary, Greg Clark, visited the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles on Monday to discuss the possibility of government support for turbines off the mainland.

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Categories: Environment

Whale’s eye view reveals feeding habits in Antarctica – video

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 7:09am

The World Wildlife Fund released this footage filmed in March 2017 that shows the view from a camera attached to a whale in Antarctica. Scientists used suction cups to attach cameras to humpback and minke whales, revealing new feeding habits and their social lives. The data gathered will be used to protect whales and their ecosystems

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Categories: Environment

Arizona Sky Village's residents have one rule: 'Turn off your goddamned lights'

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 4:00am

Nearly every house in this rural 450-acre development of stargazers is equipped with its own domed observatory, and outdoor lights are strictly forbidden. Does it also hold answers for combatting America’s problem with light pollution?

Take a nighttime drive into Arizona Sky Village, in a remote valley in south-east Arizona, and the only thing you can see clearly are the millions of stars twinkling overhead. Beyond the light show, the sky is a deep inky black, and the ground below is nothing but shadows. Dimmed car headlights might pick up spooked jackrabbits hopping through the desert brush, but the village’s unlit houses are all but invisible in the darkness.

That’s the way the residents of this astronomy-loving community like it. The less light, the better their view of the universe.

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Categories: Environment

Cyclone Cook strikes New Zealand, felling trees and causing power failures

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 3:54am

Warnings remain in place for Bay of Plenty region as cyclone bypasses Auckland but is expected over South Island on Friday

Cyclone Cook has struck New Zealand with power outages, fallen trees and landslides reported around much of the central and eastern North Island, which bore the brunt of the storm.

Cook, which forecasters feared could be the worst storm to strike New Zealand in decades, made landfall just after 6pm local time but by then many coastal villages were abandoned as five-metre swells combined with high tide and smashed against the deserted shoreline.

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Categories: Environment

Harbor Town Raises Money After Government Help Falls Short

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 2:02am

The harbor in Leland, Mich., is so packed with sand and silt that boats can't get in or out. So the town turned to a crowd-funding website to raise money to buy its own dredging equipment.

Categories: Environment

EPA Employees Organize Against Proposed Budget Cuts

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 2:02am

The Environmental Protection Agency is a big target as President Trump aims to cut back the federal budget and workforce. Now some agency employees are organizing to defend the agency's work.

Categories: Environment

How much could commuter cycling increase in your part of England?

Guardian Environment News - Thu, 2017/04/13 - 12:30am

New tool maps the potential increase in bike journeys under different scenarios – from routes avoiding hills to adopting e-bikes – revealing health benefits and informing future investment

Chances are you live in a place where less than one in 20 commuters regularly cycle to work. Sometimes people assume this is because England is too hilly, or that most home-to-work distances are too far to cycle. Hilliness and distance do matter. However, new research has found that this is only part of the story. With the right cycling conditions, cycling levels could be much higher than they are now.

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Categories: Environment

Your dinner's in the washing machine … the designer pioneering a cooking revolution

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/12 - 11:00pm

For steak, click ‘synthetics’. For veg, click ‘cotton’. Meet the Israeli bringing a new dimension to boil in the bag cuisine

A sprinkle of washing powder, a dash of fabric conditioner and a good slug of teriyaki sauce? Next time you load the washing machine, you might be adding some extra ingredients, if Israeli design student Iftach Gazit’s idea catches on. In response to our increasingly energy-conscious, time-poor existence, he has come up with a plan for boil-in-the-bag meals you can throw in with the laundry. Your dinner will come out steamed, pummelled and spun to a T.

His project imagines a range of pre-packed foods, from steak with garlic and herbs to salmon in teriyaki sauce, that come in waterproof Tyvek bags complete with washing temperatures and nutritional information displayed in the style of clothing labels. “I was inspired by the craze of sous vide cooking, where food is vacuum-sealed and immersed in hot water for long periods of time,” says the 31-year-old from Tel Aviv. “But rather than cooking a piece of meat at 58C for two and a half hours, you could just set your washing machine to ‘synthetics’ for a long cycle. For vegetables, you could set it to a short hot ‘cotton’ programme.”

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Categories: Environment

Women's Institute urges supermarkets to do more to cut food waste

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/12 - 10:30pm

First WI report on food waste finds confusion persists over ‘best before’ and ‘sell by’ dates, with supermarkets potentially contributing to the problem

The Women’s Institute is urging supermarkets to do more to help consumers reduce their domestic food waste, after a survey of its own membership revealed widespread confusion about “best before” and “use by” labelling on packaging.

Its new analysis of products on supermarket shelves found that “once-opened” instructions were often contradictory and often failed to make clear whether they were a guide to food safety or quality.

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Categories: Environment

‘I liked elephant heart. It was soft and very tasty’

Guardian Environment News - Wed, 2017/04/12 - 10:00pm

For 40 years I hunted elephants and other big game in the forests of Rwanda. This is how I became an ex-poacher

I was born in Kinigi, in Rwanda’s Musanze district, about 65 years ago, and it is still my home. I come from the Batwa community; we are very short people. There are about 400 of us, which makes us the smallest tribe in Rwanda.

We lived in the forests long before the government took them over, and we were known as their keepers. They meant everything to us. I did not even know what a school was. Like my parents, my brother and my two sisters, all I knew was life in the forest.

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