Japan Unveils A Pair Of Massive, High-Efficiency, Floating Solar Power Plants

What’s big, “green,” and able to provide clean power for almost a thousand people?

image via youtube screen capture

For those interested in clean renewable energy, we’re living in exciting times. Recent news that we’re adding more green energy capacity every year than that of oil, coal, and gas combined was heralded as “the beginning of the end” for fossil fuels, and every day it seems there are new advances in the field of clean, sustainable power. But, in terms of sheer scale, it’s hard to not be particularly impressed with these massive, solar energy plants unveiled this week in Japan. But it’s not just the staggering size of the solar fields that have observers so excited; It’s the fact that plants this large and this powerful are, in fact, entirely aquatic.

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Two Years After the Tsunami, Fukushima Residents Courageously Seek Justice

The Fukushima nuclear disaster shows how strong and determined people can be when faced with the loss of everything they know and love.

The people I've met in Japan in the two years since the devastating tsunami and Fukushima nuclear disaster have shown me once again how strong and determined people can be when faced with the loss of everything they know and love.

I am talking about the evacuees who have been forced to abandon their homes, jobs, and communities. The disaster forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the area to escape the radiation contamination following the March 2011 earthquake.

As we approach the two year anniversary of the disaster, little has changed.

Radiation levels are still too high for most evacuees to return home and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. The few that have returned do so with the knowledge they are likely facing health risks.

This is the reality of nuclear power: a meltdown may not have an immediate radiation-related death toll, but as time progresses the true costs to physical, mental and societal health start to unfold.

Once tight-knit communities are fragmenting. Terms like 'Fukushima divorce' are creeping into the vocabulary and after two years of living in temporary housing, people are losing hope.

They cannot move on and start building new lives because they are not being properly compensated. How can you afford to begin a new life when you are still paying the mortgage for a house that is contaminated and unsafe to live in?

Hope is disappearing. But the determination to move forward and fight for what is right is growing.

Tired of waiting for the government to provide clear information, proper compensation, clean neighborhoods and safe food, the people of Fukushima are taking matters into their own hands.

They are launching class action suits and seeking damages from TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, they are working together to ensure their foods are safe and they are seeking their own news and advice instead of relying on the government’s lackluster information.

Some people have been especially outspoken about these problems.

One of them, Kenta Sato, started using social media soon after the disaster to pressure the government into releasing accurate information about his village of Litate.

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Japanese Scientists Find Mutant Butterflies Near Fukushima

Japanese scientists have looked at several generations of butterflies near the power plant and found some concerning "abnormalities."

A massive release of radioactive material is never good, but so far it's been hard to evaluate the precise effects of the collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on the surrounding environment. But this new study, published in Scientific Reports, is concerning. Japanese scientists have looked at several generations of pale grass blue butterfly populations in the affected area and have found physical mutations and genetic damage. In short: mutant butterflies.

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One Month After the Earthquake, Japan Hustles to Keep Students on Track

Two-thirds of schools in the ravaged northeastern coastal region are destroyed or damaged, but students will be heading back to class next week.

A little over a month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, it's back to school time in Japan. The island nation's school year began in the first week of April, and officials plan to have students living in some of the most affected coastal areas hitting the books as early as April 20. If it sounds like too much too soon for surviving students who are surely suffering from post-traumatic stress and living in shelters, officials say getting back into a routine will help children regain a sense of normalcy.

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How Radiation is Changing the Foods that You Eat

From red grapefruit to Asian pears, what radiation means to plant scientists and eaters around the world.

In 2006, Western Australia's Department of Agriculture and Food sent 215 kg of seeds—wheat, barley, and other vegetable seeds—on a 15-day spin around the world on board a Chinese Shijian-8 satellite.

Why send seeds into space? So that they come in contact with cosmic radiation, and so that radiation causes mutations and, potentially, new plant varieties.

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Chart: How Eating a Banana Compares With the Radiation Exposure Around Japan's Fukushima Plant

What a banana can—and cannot—tell you about exposure to nuclear radiation.

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