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Continuity and Concrete Sea Walls in Japan

March 26, 2015 11:46 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Blogs | Comments

In 2011, an earthquake triggered a massive tsunami that struck northern Japan, leaving thousands dead and causing billions of dollars in damage.  It also resulted in nuclear meltdowns, including the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Plant.  Now, the government is considering something drastic: building a 250 mile chain of cement sea walls more than five stories tall.

Nuclear Plant Rests on Fault, Report Says

March 25, 2015 4:02 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The Nuclear Regulation Authority accepted a report that says a reactor at Japan Atomic Power Co...

Companies Turn to Automation to Prevent Down Time

March 19, 2015 10:25 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

Managing critical equipment and avoiding unplanned down time is key for any organization to...

Freedom Industries Plant Manager Pleads Guilty to Pollution Charge

March 19, 2015 9:53 am | by John Raby, Associated Press | News | Comments

 A former plant manager at Freedom Industries pleaded guilty to a pollution charge Wednesday in...

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Businesses Re-Open as European Economy Recovers Slowly

March 19, 2015 9:24 am | by Barry Hatton, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Valadares factory in Portugal shut down in 2012 amid Europe's financial crisis, its huge debts and outdated business practices dooming it to bankruptcy. Now, on the factory floor, a few dozen former employees are back at their jobs and fighting to rebuild their lives after the business was reopened by private investors.  

Active Volcano Impacts Chile's Tourism Industry

March 19, 2015 9:09 am | by Dave Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

Located in Chile's Lake District in the southeast portion of the Province of Cautín, Pucon and the surrounding area is home to Lake Villarrica and the Villarrica volcano. It's about 11 hours (700 kilometers) by bus traveling south from Santiago, Chile's capital.

Could Change in Climate, Environment Impact the Spread of Infectious Diseases?

March 17, 2015 10:05 am | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

Could a changing climate and changing environments have an impact on the spread of infectious diseases?  At least one Zoologist thinks so.  In an article posted in February on Continuity Insights’ sister publications R&D,  Daniel Brooks of University of Nebraska-Lincoln discussed how the spread of infectious diseases like the West Nile Virus and Ebola could be linked to changing climate.

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Island Nation Vanuatu Hammered by Cyclone

March 16, 2015 4:04 pm | by Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu has lost years of development progress and must "start anew" following a powerful cyclone that destroyed or damaged 90 percent of the buildings in the capital of Port Vila, the country's president said.

Social Security Data Error Raises Red Flags

March 16, 2015 3:36 pm | by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press | News | Comments

Americans are getting older, but not this old: Social Security records show that 6.5 million people in the U.S. have reached the ripe old age of 112.  Social Security does not have death records for millions of these people, with the oldest born in 1869, according to a report by the agency's inspector general.

Train Service Halted after Mud Blocks Tracks

March 16, 2015 2:51 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Heavy rain over the weekend caused mudslides around western Washington, including one that has stopped passenger train service between Seattle and the city of Everett, about 25 miles north.  The National Weather Service says Sunday's rainfall broke records across western Washington.

Duke Energy Faces Massive Fine over Pollution

March 12, 2015 11:27 am | by Mitch Weiss, Associated Press | News | Comments

North Carolina environmental officials said  they are fining Duke Energy $25 million over pollution that has been seeping into groundwater for years from a pair of coal ash pits at a retired power plant.  The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources called it the state's largest penalty for environmental damages.

Canadian Government Proposes New Tank Car Regulations

March 12, 2015 11:14 am | by Rob Gillies and Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Canadian government has proposed tough new standards for rail tank cars used to transport crude oil in response to a string of fiery crashes.  The proposal, posted online  by Transport Canada, would require the cars to have outer "jackets," a layer of thermal protection, and thicker steel walls.

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Cars Catch Fire, Oil Spills into River After Train Derails

March 9, 2015 4:32 pm | by Adam Miller, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

 Another train derailment in northern Ontario has added new fuel to the ongoing debate over whether rail is a safe way of transporting crude oil.  First Nations and environmentalists are among those expressing alarm over the derailment of a CN Rail train that caused several tank cars carrying crude oil to catch fire and spill into a local river system.

Air Traffic Control System at Risk of Being Hacked

March 4, 2015 4:16 pm | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Federal Aviation Administration has taken steps to protect the air traffic control system from cyber-based threats, but "significant security control weaknesses remain, threatening the agency's ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation," said a report by the Government Accountability Office.

'Safer' Train Car Design Could Save Lives

February 26, 2015 9:02 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that testing showed could blunt the tremendous force of a head-on collision.

Political Battle Slowing New York's Subways

February 26, 2015 8:49 am | News | Comments

 It's an ominous refrain, repeated endlessly in the same automated monotone: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are delayed because of train traffic ahead of us."  What commuters don't realize is that those delays are tied to a political fight playing out over the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's five-year capital budget plan, which will fund critical improvements and repairs to the city's sprawling transit system.

Al-Shabab Video Calling for Mall Attacks Raises Major Concerns

February 24, 2015 12:11 pm | by Joe Shust, Editor | Articles | Comments

In a video released Monday by Al-Qaeda backed Somali rebel group Al-Shabab, a member of the organization called on Muslims in the west to carry out attacks on shopping malls.  Although U.S. authorities said they have no credible evidence that any sort of organized attack is in the works, the video named specific targets, including the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.  

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Connecticut Taxpayers May Have to Wait on Refunds While State Weeds Out Fraudulent Returns

February 23, 2015 3:46 pm | by Stephen Singer, Associated Press | News | Comments

 Some Connecticut taxpayers might receive income tax refunds a few weeks later than expected as state revenue officials verify that fraudulent returns are not being submitted.  Federal and state tax officials blame breaches, identity theft, phishing and other forms of cybercrime for attempts to fraudulently claim refunds.

Investigation Into Derailment Begins as Cleanup Continues

February 23, 2015 3:32 pm | by Pat Ramsey, Associated Press | News | Comments

A full-scale federal investigation of an oil train derailment in southern West Virginia has begun as work continues to remove the overturned tank cars from the site, federal officials said.  A fire sparked by the Feb. 16 derailment in Mount Carbon prevented investigators from gaining full access to the crash scene until this weekend.

Reactor to be Inspected After Construction Damage

February 23, 2015 3:12 pm | by Meg Kinnard, Associated Press | News | Comments

A special inspection is underway after damage to a nuclear reactor under construction in South Carolina, federal regulators said.  The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said its representatives are launching a special inspection this week at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.

New Mexico, U.S. Energy Department Continue to Spar Over $54 Million in Fines

February 12, 2015 10:12 am | by Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press | News | Comments

 New Mexico's top environment officials and the U.S. Energy Department are wrangling over more than $54 million in fines levied in the wake of a radiological leak at the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository.  Because negotiations with the federal government are ongoing, officials said the total penalties that could be assessed remains unclear.

Family of Worker Killed in Overpass Collapse Sues Ohio DOT

February 12, 2015 9:40 am | by Dan Sewell, Associated Press | News | Comments

The parents of a worker killed when a highway overpass collapsed have sued Ohio's Department of Transportation, charging negligence and carelessness.  The lawsuit charges that the department was negligent and breached its duty by allowing improper and unsafe conditions at the site for work.

Chemical Plant Explodes Ukraine

February 9, 2015 4:00 pm | by Peter Leonard, Associated Press | News | Comments

A powerful explosion rocked a chemical plant and set it on fire outside the separatist stronghold of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Rebels said the plant was hit by government shelling.  No casualties or damage were immediately reported from the blast, which could be heard in downtown Donetsk. The city lies in the middle of Ukraine's industrial heartland and explosions like this have long been feared.

European Union, Polish Leaders Discuss Energy Plan

February 3, 2015 11:22 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

The European Union energy commissioner and Polish leaders discussed plans for an EU energy union aimed at greater security at a time of troubled ties with major gas supplier Russia.  Poland, dependent on Russia for some 60 percent of its gas, is urging greater EU energy security through steps like joint gas purchases, sharing of resources and lesser dependence on imports.

Judge's Decision in BP Trial Still Months Away

February 3, 2015 11:15 am | by Kevin McGill, Associated Press | News | Comments

The latest phase of a trial to determine how much BP should pay in Clean Water Act penalties for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill — which could reach $13.7 billion — ended Monday, but a decision from the judge is not expected for months. 

Train Derailments Raise New Concerns for Regulators

February 3, 2015 11:06 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Two Metro-North derailments in New York have renewed concerns among federal regulators over the commuter railroad's focus on safety.  No one was injured after trains left the tracks at Grand Central Terminal and White Plains, New York. The Federal Railroad Administration is investigating.

Collapsed Overpass Shuts Down Major Ohio Highway

January 20, 2015 11:40 am | by Dan Sewell, Associated Press | News | Comments

A collapsed overpass covered southbound lanes of Interstate 75 with hundreds of tons of concrete and steel, following a construction accident that killed a worker and injured a truck driver.  The Ohio Department of Transportation said the busy artery through downtown Cincinnati will be closed at least two to three days.

Airlines Will be Required to Collect, Analyze Safety Data

January 9, 2015 9:28 am | by Joan Lowy, Associated Press | News | Comments

New U.S. government rules will require airlines to collect and analyze safety data in an effort to spot troubling trends and help prevent accidents.  The Federal Aviation Administration said the causes of 123 accidents between 2001 and 2010 could have been identified beforehand if airlines had safety management systems in place.

Municipalities Near Nuclear Plant Upset with Sendai Owners

January 6, 2015 8:25 am | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Only about 20 percent of 160 prefectural and municipal governments that host or are located near nuclear plants support how a utility company in southwestern Japan went about getting the go-ahead for restarting its nuclear reactors, a Kyodo News poll showed.

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