Fukushima disaster: first residents return to town next to nuclear plant

Parts of Okuma are open for business once again, but only a few hundred former residents have moved home A town next to the wrecked deadly earthquake and tsunami triggered a triple meltdown at the nuclear plant in March 2011. Most of Okuma, however, remains off-limits due to high radiation levels. Residents have been permitted to make toxic soil gathered during an unprecedented decontamination drive to reduce radiation to levels that would enable tens of thousands of evacuees to return home. The government has vowed to move the soil out of Fukushima prefecture by 2045, but has yet to find a permanent storage site. Central Okuma in April this year. Parts of the town are open for residents to return. …

Deadly skin-eating fungal disease wipes out 90 amphibian species in 50 years

Study reveals extent of chytrid fungus and how devastating it has been for frog, toad and salamander species worldwide A deadly disease that wiped out global populations of amphibians led to the decline of 500 species in the past 50 years, including 90 extinctions, scientists say. A global research effort, led by the Australian National University, has for the first time quantified the worldwide impact of chytridiomycosis, or chytrid fungus, a fungal disease that eats away at the skin of amphibians. The disease was first discovered in 1998 by researchers at James Cook University in Queensland investigating the cause of mysterious, mass amphibian deaths. Chytridiomycosis is caused by two fungal species, both of which are likely to have originated in …