These Alien Skyscrapers Will Rest on the Site of an Old Uranium Plant

The Pritzker Prize-winning starchitect Zaha Hadid just released images of her latest design—three matching towers for Brisbane's waterfront—and they look nothing short of alien. Which feels oddly appropriate, since the skyscrapers are also supposed to sit on potentially radioactive land. » 9/08/14 12:00pm 9/08/14 12:00pm

Radioactive boars from Chernobyl are still wandering around Germany

Nearly 30 years later, radiation from Chernobyl still scars the landscape. Perhaps most remarkably, some of that radiation traveled hundreds of miles downwind, settled into the soil, and moved up through the food chain. So now we have radioactive wild boars, still roaming around Germany causing trouble. » 9/03/14 11:16am 9/03/14 11:16am

Marie Curie's century-old radioactive notebook still requires lead box

Marie Curie made some of the most significant contributions to science in the 20th century. And as most people already know, she did so at a great cost to her own health. What most people probably don't know, however, is that the radiation levels she was exposed to were so powerful that her notebooks must now be kept… » 8/04/14 2:52pm 8/04/14 2:52pm

The Tragic Tale of Atomic Man: Life as a Radioactive Human

For the first time since the accident in 1976, workers at Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington are planning to clean out the room where chemicals exploded in Harold McCluskey's face, showering him with radiation 500 times the occupational limit and embedding radioactive americium in his skull, turning him into… » 7/09/14 2:20pm 7/09/14 2:20pm

How Scientists Will Look Inside Fukushima's Radioactive Cores

The inside of Fukushima's three busted reactor cores are a big mess. It's basically just hundreds of tons of very, very, very radioactive materials like uranium, plutonium, and cesium. Workers want to clean it up, but they have a problem. It's so dangerous, they can't peek inside, much less go inside. » 6/18/14 1:00pm 6/18/14 1:00pm

How Atomic Bombs Help Unmask Counterfeit Wine

As long as rich men are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for old, fermented juice, there will be schemers willing to dupe them out of their money. But if you're dropping a cool half million on four bottles of wine supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson (true story), you want to make sure you have the real thing, right?… » 6/06/14 5:00pm 6/06/14 5:00pm

Flying 3D Printers Could Help Seal Off Nuclear Waste

A quadcopter outfitted with an on-board 3D printer could be used to seal off and transport nuclear waste, or even to build structures in the middle of nowhere, according to its inventor, Mirko Kovac of Imperial College London. "In effect, it's the world's first flying 3D printer," New Scientist writes. "One day such… » 5/07/14 9:50am 5/07/14 9:50am

Take a Drone-Guided Tour of the Abandoned Fukushima Exclusion Zone

Over three years after the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, the town of Tokioma near the Fukushima nuclear power plant remains abandoned. Or, more specifically, the radioactive soil beneath Tokioma remains too dangerous for humans to return home. Drones, on the other hand, have an easier time getting around. » 5/02/14 2:20pm 5/02/14 2:20pm

The Woods Around Chernobyl Aren't Decaying

Like a landscape of the undead, the woods outside Chernobyl are having trouble decomposing. The catastrophic meltdown and ensuing radiation blast of April 1986 has had long-term effects on the very soil and ground cover of the forested region, essentially leaving the dead trees and leaf litter unable to decompose. The… » 3/17/14 12:12pm 3/17/14 12:12pm

Mystery Steam Over Fukushima Could Be Sign of Another Meltdown

The newest update in the highly disconcerting series of devastating failures that is the Fukushima cleanup effort is troubling to say the least. Tepco has confirmed that (unexplained) plumes of steam have been rising from the mangled remains of Reactor Building 3. In other words, there's a chance Fukushima could be in… » 12/31/13 1:00pm 12/31/13 1:00pm

Japan's Billion-Dollar Plan to Store Its Contaminated Fukushima Dirt

As the immediate aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has passed, Japan is faced with another conundrum: Where to store thousands of tons of radioactive soil that have been harvested from around the region. This week, officials unveiled a $970 million plan to build a massive storage facility to house the stuff. » 12/11/13 12:40pm 12/11/13 12:40pm

Six Fukushima Workers Accidentally Doused Themselves in Toxic Water

In case you weren't already concerned enough about the wacky (re: highly dangerous) antics going over at the Fukushima power plant, maybe this will do the trick. Six workers attempting to clean up the increasingly unruly mess have accidentally doused themselves with highly radioactive water. » 10/09/13 2:07pm 10/09/13 2:07pm

Spacey Fukushima Worker Pushes Wrong Button, Almost Causes Meltdown

It's another week and another chance for TEPCO to embarrass itself at the beleaguered Fukushima power plant. Sometime on Monday morning, the cooling pump for the reactors shut down suddenly. It must've been some mechanical failure or some freak accident, right? Nah. Some worker just pushed the off button by mistake,… » 10/07/13 4:22pm 10/07/13 4:22pm

Fukushima's Radioactive Water Problem Just Gets Worse and Worse

The clean up crew at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant just can't catch a break. Just a day after Japan's nuclear watchdog raised the severity of a recent water leakage incident from a one to a three on the international scale, experts are stepping forward to say that the problem is actually much worse. » 8/22/13 1:43pm 8/22/13 1:43pm