© Noriko Hayashi / Panos / Greenpeace
Top news: Japan fires top energy officials in response to the Fukushima disaster; Cairn Energy fails to find oil in the Arctic; Britain announces the closure of Sellafield MOX plant; A fish works to kick its chocolate addiction
#Fukushima: Japan has fired three of its top nuclear officials amid the ongoing scramble to regain control of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima Daiichi power plant. The head of the nuclear safety agency, Nobuaki Terasaka, vice-minister for economy, trade and industry, Kazuo Matsunaga and the head of the agency for natural resources and energy, Tetsuhiro Hosono, were fired for the mishandling of the plant during the disaster. The Japanese government has once again come under heavy criticism in recent days over their lack of transparency and leadership in the ongoing crisis. The New York Times wrote about people taking matters into their own hands and buying their own dosimeters to find radiation; a YouTube video of government officials fleeing a public meeting in Fukushima has also been making the rounds.
#SavetheArctic: Shares in Cairn Energy dropped by 5% yesterday after the company announced they have failed to hit oil in the Arctic 2 years in a row. In the past month, Cairn’s shares have fallen by a total of 13%. While Cairn had previously found oil in some wells around Greenland, they have yet to find a well worth developing. Read more about the details in our blog, “Risky business in the far north”. Hopefully, this news will help to deter the oil industry from viewing our melting ice caps as a money-making scheme.
#Sellafield closes: The Sellafield MOX plant in Britain is finally set to close. The plant, which recycles plutonium into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, only has one customer: the Japanese nuclear industry. With uncertainty surrounding Japan’s energy policy, it was decided that the profitability of the plant was at risk. Many Irish citizens, for whom Sellafield was the big bad boogieman across the sea, welcomed the news. Former Irish Green Party senator, Mark Dearey, reminded people that despite this news, “Sellafield can never close; the waste has to stay there, but plans need to be developed to store it safely and there should be no more processing”.
#Chocoholic fish: The Sea Life London Aquarium has managed to wean a chocoholic fish off of its Kit Kat habit in favour of a healthier diet. The fish, a giant gourami, was donated to the aquarium by private owners. He had been raised entirely on Kit Kats, to the shock of the fish’s handler, Rebecca Carter: "I have never heard of a fish being fed chocolate, let alone being brought up entirely on the stuff". In order to help Gary the Gourami kick his habit, staff at the aquarium stuffed grapes with pieces of Kit Kat. He is now enjoying the benefits of a healthier diet of fruit – the staple of gourami fish. Luckily, Gary doesn’t appear to have suffered any serious side effects from his chocolate childhood, but the aquarium would not recommend feeding fish any kind of confectionary! As it happens, last year we managed to help Nestle – the makers of Kit Kat – kick a far more destructive habit.