Environment

  • Pulverized rocks used to strip CO2 from emissions of steel, coal, cement plants

    Researchers in Quebec are developing a process which would see steel, coal, and cement plants as well as oil and gas facilities remove most of the carbon dioxide (CO2) from their emissions through chemical reactions with various types of crushed rocks in the stacks

  • Critics: post-Fukushima nuclear power may be safer, but it is still not cost effective

    The Southern Company wants to show its customers that it has learned from the Fukushima disaster in Japan and has protected its nuclear reactors to make sure the same thing does not happen in the United .States’ critics of nuclear power are not convinced – and also, they say, alternative energy sources, such as natural gas, are much cheaper to produce

  • Andrew Cuomo heads to Washington to push for disaster aid

    Governor Andrew Cuomo says that New York needs $33 billion to cover storm cleanup and another $9 billion for new programs to protect against future storms; Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey says his state will need $36.8 billion to recover from Sandy; it is not clear how Congress and the administration, locked in a tug of war over differing deficit cut plans, will respond

  • Life of U.K. nuclear power plants extended

    U.K. operator EDF Energy has announced it will extend the expected operating life of two of its nuclear power stations by seven years; Hinkley Point B and Hunterston B power stations are now expected to remain operational until at least 2023, generating enough electricity for around two million homes; the decision follows the five year extensions to Heysham 1 and Hartlepool announced in 2010 and come after extensive reviews of the plants’ safety cases and continuing work with the independent nuclear regulator

  • Responding to future oil spills: lessons learned from Deepwater Horizon

    A special collection of articles about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provides the first comprehensive analysis and synthesis of the science used in the unprecedented response effort by the government, academia, and industry;with the benefit of hindsight and additional analyses, these papers evaluate the accuracy of the information that was used in real-time to inform the response team and the public

  • Below Russian Far East there is a seismic hazards that could threaten Pacific Basin

    For decades, a source of powerful earthquakes and volcanic activity on the Pacific Rim was shrouded in secrecy, as the Soviet government kept outsiders away from what is now referred to as the Russian Far East; research in the last twenty years, however, has shown that the Kamchatka Peninsula and Kuril Islands are a seismic and volcanic hotbed, with a potential to trigger tsunamis that pose a risk to the rest of the Pacific Basin

  • Mixing oil with dispersant increased toxicity to Gulf’s ecosystems

    If the 4.9 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deep Water Horizon spill was an ecological disaster, the two million gallons of dispersant used to clean it up apparently made it even worse – fifty-two-times more toxic

  • Fracking in Michigan

    In hydraulic fracturing, large amounts of water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break apart rock and free trapped natural gas; though the process has been used for decades, recent technical advances have helped unlock vast stores of previously inaccessible natural gas, resulting in a fracking boom; researchers are examining the benefits of fracking for Michigan

  • Post-Sandy insurance rates increase may make coastal living unaffordable

    Residents of New York and New Jersey are still coping with the destruction Hurricane Sandy caused, but home and business owners alike will soon face another burden: rising insurance rates and new building codes and requirements that could threaten many that live and work in the coastal areas of the two states

  • Lloyd’s says countries are under insured against natural disasters

    Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance company, has warned seventeen countries that a $165 billion global insurance deficit leaves them vulnerable to long-term natural disaster costs; Lloyds says the world may not be able to afford another year like 2011, when natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan and the floods in Thailand caused $4.6 trillion dollars of damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses, and which resulted in the largest disaster claims ever

  • The debate over radon as an earthquake predictor continues

    Scientists have been interested in using radon emissions to predict earthquakes since the 1980s, but no solid evidence ever came to support it and the idea was abandoned by most in the field during the 1990s; now, scientists are looking again at radon as an earthquake predictor

  • Hard choices to be made on adapting infrastructure to climate change

    The costs of adapting to climate change, sea-level, and flooding include the upfront expenses of upgrading infrastructure, installing early-warning systems, and effective organizations, as well as the costs of reducing risk, such as not building on flood plains

  • Scientists identify a human-caused climate change signal in the noise

    By comparing simulations from twenty different computer models to satellite observations, Lawrence Livermore climate scientists and colleagues from sixteen other organizations have found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities; “No known mode of natural climate variability can cause sustained, global-scale warming of the troposphere and cooling of the lower stratosphere,” says Livernore atmospheric scientist Benjamin Santer

  • Innovative method to capture CO2

    The carbonate-looping method for capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) could reduce power-plant CO2 emissions by more than 90 percent, while utilizing less energy and incurring less expense than former approaches

  • Detection aircraft surveys 600 miles of PG&E California pipeline for gas leaks

    PG&E’s transmission pipeline is routinely surveyed each year, typically by ground crews; accessing rural areas with difficult terrain, however, can be time consuming, expensive, and unsafe for crews on the ground; aerial surveys often look for dead vegetation as an indicator of gas leaks