Before it happened, it was hard to imagine that a combined megaquake and tsunami in Japan could cascade to a nuclear disaster. Yet that’s exactly what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi (Number 1) nuclear power plant, 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, last month. This incident has put Japan’s nuclear policy in the spotlight, but its implications go far beyond a single country.
A report from the GEOTRACES cruise across the Atlantic
For decades, scientists have been trying to piece together the enormously complicated puzzle that is the ocean. They have collected many different kinds of information, from trace elements like iron to tritium isotopes, from many different parts of the ocean. Bringing together these disparate pieces to form a more complete picture is crucial to understanding how human activities, the marine food web, the global carbon cycle and the circulation of seawater are all interconnected.
"This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” declared President Barack Obama in the 2011 State of the Union address, challenging the nation to pursue a future of cleaner energy.
As we did a generation ago, we now face significant challenges — challenges that need to be met sooner rather than later to protect and grow our economy, build energy autonomy and preserve our resources for future generations. These challenges center on two resources: energy and water.
EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is in Vienna, Austria, at the European Geophysical Union meeting this week. One session in particular caught her attention this week — how geoscientists are creating new maps and tracking mechanisms to help law enforcement officials. For more from the meeting, see her first and second dispatches.
The Fukushima Daiichi power plant located in the port town of Okuma in the Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan, has six boiling-water-type nuclear reactors supplied by General Electric (units 1, 2 and 3), Toshiba (units 3 and 5) and Hitachi (unit 4) for