As the evening sets in here in London, and dawn approaches in Japan, the situation at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi remains extremely precarious. According to the latest update from the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), all three reactors still have their fuel exposed. Worryingly, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has put out just one release today about the fire in unit four at Daiichi (at least in English releases). TEPCO makes no mention of the troubled reactors, or the radiation situation on site. The Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has also not put out any English releases today. This may indicate that the company and regulators have their hands full. Then again, they may have just given their translators a break.
Funding for research on neglected diseases reached $3.26 billion in 2009. But the author of a new report on the subject is warning that governments appear to have given priority to funding their own researchers over the public-private partnerships which attempt to turn research into useable products.
The BBC has a story pegged to the upcoming 25th anniversary of the meltdown of reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine. The report contains the usual haunting imagery from the accident, but it also details a cash shortfall facing a new shelter being planned to replace the hastily built “sarcophagus” that encases the reactor and the 200 tonnes of radioactive fuel that remains inside its core. The so-called New Safe Confinement (NSC) enclosure, is a massive sliding arch that is supposed to cover the reactor for the next 100 years. Read more
ITER, world’s largest fusion project, is feeling as squeezed as hot plasma in a tokamak. But it isn’t superconducting magnets applying the pressure, it’s the European Parliament, which this week rejected a plan to cover a €1.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) gap in the project’s construction budget.