Think for a second how much energy is literally washed down the drain when you take a shower. Not the water itself — just the energy that’s lost when you heat up said water, pump it through a series of pipes to your showerhead, and then let all that warm goodness run straight down your body and into a hole in the floor. By some estimates, 80 to 90 percent of the energy it takes to heat that water ends up going straight to the sewer. Considering the fact that the energy required to heat water is one of the biggest energy expenditures at home (right behind heating/cooling/ventilation), that’s a monumental waste of juice. But not to worry; there’s a new device on the market that could help to recapture some of that wasted energy.

It’s called EcoDrain, and while it’s definitely not a new concept, it’s a fresh new take on an old idea, and finally makes waste heat recovery a viable possibility for regular homeowners.

There are many designs for efficient stoves, and gasification is only one way to boost the efficiency of a cooking fire. The wood gas stove in this article is an elegantly simple gasifier design called a TLUD stove (for top-lit updraft), also known as an inverted downdraft stove. If you don’t care how it looks, you can build it with a can opener, a punch, and a big rock. This design, which I’ve adapted from one I first saw on Instructables, is built around a 1-quart paint can. It easily boils enough water for a small pot of tea or a bowl of noodles, using nothing more than a fist-sized charge of scrap wood.

TEPCO has become a symbol of everything that is wrong with the nation of Japan: cronyism, collusion, gentrification, corruption, weak regulation, and entropy. Despite being in the spotlight for the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, TEPCO continues to engage in questionable labor practices, and has escaped bankruptcy in closed-door meetings with politicians, and through denying culpability has shifted part of the reparations burden onto taxpayers – deeds which testify to the extent to which TEPCO still has plenty of political power, if not as much nuclear power.

Using nuclear power in place of fossil-fuel energy sources, such as coal, has prevented some 1.8 million air pollution-related deaths globally and could save millions of more lives in coming decades, concludes a study. The researchers also find that nuclear energy prevents emissions of huge quantities of greenhouse gases. These estimates help make the case that policymakers should continue to rely on and expand nuclear power in place of fossil fuels to mitigate climate change, the authors say (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es3051197).

Hypothetically, switching off the lights for an hour would cut CO2 emissions from power plants around the world. But, even if everyone in the entire world cut all residential lighting, and this translated entirely into CO2 reduction, it would be the equivalent of China pausing its CO2 emissions for less than four minutes. In fact, Earth Hour will cause emissions to increase.

Japan may face a total nuclear shutdown in the summer for the second time since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster as the country's two operating reactors close for maintenance and tough new safety checks keep the rest of the fleet offline.

That could force Japan to import even more fossil fuels for power generation, adding to an onerous energy bill that helped push the country into a record trade deficit in 2012.

The temperature in the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 spent fuel pool never exceeded 90 degrees C and the level in the pool never fell below the top of the used fuel that was stored there. The Chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the people who supported his testimony to Congress on the afternoon of March 16, 2011 were dead wrong.


Those are the conclusions that should have been announced upon completion of a paper titled _Study of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 4 Spent-Fuel Pool_.

Be that as it may. As a layperson, I might question the wisdom in storing tons and tons of radioactive and heat-generating spent fuel for extended periods of time in an on-premise pool. But what do I know?

Once the nuke story got running, it was unstoppable. Instead of filming endless actual suffering, photographers in Japan staked out hospitals hoping to find radiation victims to fan their virtual fire of doom. After weeks of waiting they finally got a couple of burned feet and the vision flashed around the world at light speed. Amputation footage from the real disaster would have crawled.

Over the past year, about 600,000 Japanese will have had a new cancer diagnosis caused by the normal range of lifestyle choices, environmental hazards and genetic factors. Boring.

How many people have died from the radiation released by the failures of the Fukushima Daichi reactor? Zero. “It’s a disaster”, says ACF. No it isn’t.

A group of baby-boomer residents from a spa resort section of the city of Fukushima is aiming to restore the area's popularity — which is suffering amid the prefecture's nuclear crisis — by introducing a geothermal power-generation system that uses water from the hot springs.


The new system, which can utilize excess spa water, is considered to be more environmentally friendly than existing geothermal power generation systems that require large-scale plants to generate electricity from high-temperature gases deep in the ground.

A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the containment chamber of Fukushima Daiichi plant's number 2 reactor for the second time since the tsunami swept into the complex more than a year ago.

The data collected on Tuesday showed the damage from the disaster is so severe that the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant. The process is expected to last decades.

The other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape. The number 2 reactor is the only one officials have been able to closely examine so far.

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