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Germany’s Greens back Merkel’s 2022 nuclear deadline

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BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s Green party on Saturday decided to accept a government decision to close all nuclear reactors by 2022 instead of pushing for an earlier deadline.

Ahead of the extraordinary meeting in Berlin, the party leadership called on members to support the government, although some of the 819 delegates are calling for Germany to abandon nuclear energy as early as 2017.

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“Giving up nuclear energy is a victory for the Greens,” said the party’s co-leader, Claudia Roth.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet signed this month on a package of bills, prompted by Japan’s Fukushima disaster, that foresee Europe’s biggest economy being nuclear-free by 2022, and at a faster pace than envisaged.

Germany’s nine reactors currently on line are due to be turned off between 2015 and 2022.

The seven oldest reactors were switched off after Japan’s massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing reactors to overheat and radiation to leak.

Some EU nations have since reproached Berlin for not consulting its European partners before announcing the decision.

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The German move could have particular consequences for France which imports electricity from its neighbour.


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Boaters with Trump flag accused of ‘endangering’ SpaceX astronauts after splashdown

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Supporters of President Donald Trump on Sunday were accused of jeopardizing astronauts' return to Earth.

After SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule became the first American spacecraft to splashdown in 45 years, a boat flying the Trump flag was spotted within feet of the astronauts.

The boaters were quickly called out on social media for "interfering" with the mission.

Watch the video and read some of the responses below.

Boat with Trump flag drives past #CrewDragon #SpaceXDragon pic.twitter.com/7slm0Vm4Dl

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Hurricane might delay SpaceX-NASA return trip from ISS

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The first US astronauts to reach the International Space Station on an American spacecraft in nearly a decade might not come home this weekend as scheduled because of Hurricane Isaias, NASA said Friday.

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley blasted off from Cape Canaveral on May 30 on board a SpaceX Crew Dragon, and are supposed to splash down off the coast of Florida on Sunday afternoon.

For now, undocking remains scheduled for approximately 7:34 pm (2334 GMT) Saturday, and splashdown at 2:42 pm (1842 GMT) on Sunday.

But NASA said it was keeping a watchful eye on Hurricane Isaias -- a category one storm that battered the Bahamas Friday and was churning toward Florida -- and would make a final call about six hours prior to undocking.

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Power from an artificial sun: Fusion reactor project aims to provide clean energy

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The assembly of the ITER fusion reactor began in the south of France this week in what has been called the biggest science project in human history. It is hoped the reactor will be able to produce clean energy using the same process that fuels the sun.

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an international project that hopes to create clean energy from hydrogen fusion, the same process that occurs naturally in the heart of the sun.

Fusion will be obtained through a mixture of two hydrogen isotopes, heated to a temperature of around 150 million degrees.

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