In brief: World cooled slightly last year
Washington – The world last year wasn’t quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures.
The average global temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, making 2011 the 11th hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. That’s 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, officials said. In fact, it was hotter than every year last century except 1998.
One reason 2011 was milder than recent years was the La Niña cooling of the central Pacific Ocean. La Niñas occur every few years and generally cause global temperatures to drop, but this was the warmest La Niña year on record.
N-plant can stay open, judge rules
Montpelier, Vt. – Vermont’s only nuclear plant can remain open beyond its originally scheduled shutdown date this year, despite the state’s efforts to close the 40-year-old reactor, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Garvan Murtha in Brattleboro is a win for the Vermont Yankee plant’s owner, New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., which had argued during a three-day trial in September that the state’s efforts to close the plant were pre-empted by federal law.
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a 20-year extension on Vermont Yankee’s license in March 2011.
Entergy argued that the state was moving to close Vermont Yankee out of concerns over plant safety, an issue that the state agreed is solely the NRC’s jurisdiction.