When icebergs break off into the polar seas, scientists usually have to work backwards to figure out why--they try to piece the clues together to figure out what caused an event that already happened. But in March, NASA scientists were able to follow the wake of the Japan tsunami over 8,000 miles, through the Pacific and Southern Oceans, until it snapped off several icebergs from Antarctica--icebergs that together are about as big as not one but two Manhattans (the island, not the drink).
Let the young rebuild Japan, says Yasuteru Yamada, but let the old clean up the most difficult mess leftover from March’s devastating earthquake and tsunamis. The 72-year-old former engineer is recruiting other retirees to replace the younger workers currently braving radiation exposure at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power complex. It’s not a question of bravery or experience, he says, but one of biological logic.
In testimony today before a Congressional subcommittee, Energy Secretary Steven Chu stood behind the U.S.’s nuclear energy industry, reiterating the administration’s commitment to diversifying the nations energy portfolio. That means a lot of things like wind, solar, and natural gas, Chu said. It also means more nuclear.
Japan’s nuclear disaster continues to unfold this morning, and as workers at the Fukushima Daiichi continue to pump seawater into the crippled reactors there a new threat is emerging: the spent fuel rods in the cooling pools at each reactor. While reactors Nos. 1-3 remain unstable due to core heating, the cooling pool at reactor No. 4 was boiling as of late Tuesday (local time), and the temperatures were rising in the cooling pools at No. 5 and No. 6.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.