Radiation map, Fukushima Daiichi, April 23. (TEPCO)
Piles of highly radioactive debris are spread across the grounds of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDI), in an area larger than New York City’s Central Park, according to a map of the site revealed at a press conference. (For a larger image of the map, go here.)
The map shows some 150 highly radioactive “hot spots” for workers to avoid, says Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) which owns and operates the plant devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Radiation levels from debris range up to 900 millisieverts an hour near reactor number 3.
A dose of 1,000 millisieverts would cause radiation sickness with symptoms including nausea, vomiting and bleeding. Exposure to as little as 100 millisieverts in a year measurably increases a person’s risk of developing cancer, according to the World Nuclear Association, an industry trade group. The likelihood of developing cancer rises with the level of radiation.
Solar project build on a former landfill, Ft. Carson, CO.
Siting issues are some of the largest impediments to expanding the role of solar power in our energy mix. Environmentalists argue that there’s enough already-disturbed lands to build on without damaging or destroying intact ecosystems.
Data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bolster the green position. According to the EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land program, there are nearly 15 million acres of contaminated land across the U.S. This total includes brownfields, abandoned mines, Superfund sites and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act areas. A significant portion of this total is suitable for utility-scale solar projects or wind farms.
In the video below, the EPA’s Lura Matthews talks about the potential for developing renewable energy sources on these lands.