Aug 16, 2011, 11:39 p.m.
Moth infestation casts pall on Alaska berry crop
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - This year's blueberry season in Alaska's most populous region is a bust, thanks to a plethora of leaf-eating caterpillars, Alaska pest management officials said. A multi-year infestation of geometrid moths appears to be peaking in the south-central region of Alaska, which includes Anchorage, according to a mid-summer advisory issued by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.
Japan's Hokkaido Elec gets approval for restarted reactor
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Hokkaido Electric Power Co won local backing on Wednesday for commercial operation of a nuclear reactor that has been operating in a grey zone, removing uncertainty over its status as Japan weighs the need for a steady supply of electricity against worries over the safety of atomic power. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co, shattering public confidence in nuclear power.
China pushes ConocoPhillips to contain oil spill by end of Aug
BEIJING (Reuters) - China's marine authorities expressed growing frustration at the failure of a unit of ConocoPhillips to contain a two-month oil spill that has spread across the northeast coast and again urged it to halt the leak by the end of August. Officials of the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) met ConocoPhillips officials again on Tuesday and urged the company to seal off oil leaks in northern China's Bohai Bay and clean up polluted areas before an August 31 deadline, the agency said on its website (www.soa.gov.cn).
Japan disaster plant cold shutdown could face delay
TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co said on Wednesday that it may fail in its bid to achieve "cold shutdown" at its tsunami-hit nuclear plant in Fukushima by January, as the world's worst nuclear crisis in 25 years rumbles on. Efforts to decontaminate highly radioactive water at the facility have been delayed by repeated breakdowns of cesium absorption instruments, which have caused water leakage and malfunctioning of pumps, threatening to delay the process of stabilizing the stricken plant.
Mekong dolphins on brink of extinction - WWF
TOKYO (Reuters) - The Irrawaddy dolphin population in the Mekong River numbers roughly 85, with the survival of new calves very low, suggesting they are at high risk of extinction, environmental group WWF said Wednesday. The Irrawaddy dolphins live in a 190 km (118 mile) section of the Mekong between Kratie, Cambodia and the Khone Falls, which are on the border with Laos.
"Lost" penguin heading home in style on NZ research ship
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A young Emperor penguin that captured global attention when it washed up on a New Zealand beach after straying thousands of kilometers from home will be head back to the subantarctic aboard a research vessel and in a specially designed cage. The Wellington Zoo, where the bird -- nicknamed "Happy Feet" by locals -- has been living since June, said on Wednesday the penguin would be on the research vessel Tangaroa when it leaves on August 29 for a fisheries survey.