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Clouds over Australia. NASA

Geologists: Holocene Epoch Ended, 'Anthropocene' Started in 1950s

By Andrea Germanos

A group of scientists said that the scope of human impact on planet Earth is so great that the "Anthropocene" warrants a formal place in the Geological Time Scale.

"Our findings suggest that the Anthropocene should follow on from the Holocene Epoch that has seen 11.7 thousand years of relative environmental stability, since the retreat of the last Ice Age, as we enter a more unstable and rapidly evolving phase of our planet's history," said professor Jan Zalasiewicz from the University of Leicester's School of Geography, Geology, and the Environment, in a statement released Monday.

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DOE Proposes Outrageous, Massive Coal and Nuclear Bailout

By Miles Farmer

Department of Energy (DOE) Sec. Rick Perry just proposed a massive bailout for coal and nuclear power plants. The radical and unprecedented move is couched under a false premise that power plants with fuel located on site are needed to guarantee the reliability of the electricity system. The proposal relies on a mischaracterization of DOE's own recent study of electricity markets and reliability (discussed here), which if anything demonstrated that this kind of proposed action is not justified.

If adopted, the proposal would essentially ensure that coal and nuclear plants in regions encompassing most of the country continue to run even where they are too expensive to compete in the energy market. It would saddle utility customers with higher costs, while posing obstacles to the electricity system integration of cleaner and less risky energy sources such as solar and wind.

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Welcome to DC's #DirtyEnergyWeek

By Andy Rowell

The ultimate corporate greenwashing experience starts in Washington, DC Monday, when some of America's dirtiest polluters participate in what is being billed the "National Clean Energy Week." In the current political "post-factual" era, it would be easy to be fooled.

The promotional material sounds great. What is there not to like?

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Nuclear weapon test Bravo on Bikini Atoll. Wikimedia Commons

Can the World Come to Its Senses on Nuclear Weapons?

By Bunny McDiarmid

Looking back, one of the key moments that was to define both my professional and personal path was the moment I stepped onto the small atoll of Rongelap, in the Pacific Ocean.

It was May 17, 1985 and I was 24 years old.

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Electricity From Renewables and Nuclear Power in Statistical Dead Heat

The latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information's (EIA) Electric Power Monthly (with data through June 30) reveals that renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar—inc. small-scale PV and wind) remain in a statistical dead heat with nuclear power vis-à-vis their respective shares of the nation's electrical generation, with each providing roughly 20 percent of the total.

During the six-month period (January — June), renewables surpassed nuclear power in three of those months (March, April and May) while nuclear power took the lead in the other three. In total, according to EIA's data, utility-scale renewables plus small-scale solar PV provided 20.05 percent of U.S. net electrical generation compared to 20.07 percent for nuclear power. However, renewables may actually hold a small lead because while EIA estimates the contribution from distributed PV, it does not include electrical generation by distributed wind, micro-hydro or small-scale biomass.

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JSquish / Wikimedia Commons

DOE Grid Study Boosts Coal, Downplays Renewables

Natural gas and market forces are the largest influence on the retirement of coal-fired power plants, a long-awaited Department of Energy study concluded.

The study, released late Wednesday night, proposes slashing certain regulations, including reducing permitting requirements at coal-fired power plants, to make it easier for nuclear and coal plants to keep operating.

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John Oliver Explains America's Terrifying Nuclear Waste Problem

"One out of three Americans lives within 50 miles of high-level nuclear waste, some of which, like Plutonium, is lethally dangerous and will be around for an incredible longtime," John Oliver explained last night on Last Week Tonight.

According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, there is more than 71,000 tons of nuclear waste stranded at 104 reactors. "It was a problem we should have solved in the 1980s," Oliver said, "much like a Rubik's Cube."

Despite years of using nuclear energy, the country still doesn't have a permanent facility for its storage, the comedian said. Oliver proposed what the U.S. really needs is some kind of "nuclear toilet."

Watch above.

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A decommissioned small reactor at the State University of New York, Buffalo. Darmon via Wikimedia Commons

New Generation Nuclear Reactors Unlikely to Deliver on Design

By Paul Brown

New generation nuclear reactors, promised for the last 18 years by the U.S. Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) as a way to provide cheap and plentiful supplies of electricity, are unlikely to be fulfilled any time in the next 30 years.

That is the conclusion of university researchers who have used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the program's budget history to find out what designs the government has spent $2 billion of public money on supporting.

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A cloud rises over Nagasaki, Japan, in the moments after the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945. Wikimedia Commons

72 Years After Bombing of Nagasaki ... 15,000 Nuclear Weapons Still Exist in the World Today

By Susan Southard

Wednesday is the 72nd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. At 11:02 a.m. Aug. 9, 1945, a five-ton plutonium bomb exploded a third of a mile above the city. Its blast winds tore through the city at two and a half times the speed of a Category 5 hurricane.

Two-year-old Masao Tomonaga was asleep in his home while his mother worked in another room. Within seconds of the blast, their house imploded on top of them. Remarkably, both survived. At 1.7 miles from the bomb's hypocenter, they were out of reach of its most intense infrared heat rays, which instantly carbonized human and animal flesh and vaporized the internal organs of those directly beneath the bomb.

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