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Posts Tagged "nuclear energy"

Cross-Check

Maybe nuclear power isn’t so bad after all

Even before the colossal oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico highlighted the downsides of fossil fuels (as if we needed reminding), nuclear energy was looking better to me. In a previous post, I bashed Barack Obama for trying to revive nuclear power. Nuclear energy materials, equipment and expertise can be diverted toward building nuclear [...]

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Guest Blog

The worst nuclear plant accident in history: Live from Chernobyl

Choi in control room for reactor No. 4 at Chernobyl

CHERNOBYL, Ukraine—The face mask and three radiation monitors I’m wearing here are grim reminders that I’m at the site of the worst nuclear accident in history. On April 26, 1986, 1:23:44 A.M. local time, explosions destroyed reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, releasing approximately 400 times more radioactive fallout than the atomic [...]

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Guest Blog

Failure of imagination can be deadly: Fukushima is a warning

The extent of the damage at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear facility is still unknown, but comparisons to Chernobyl were inevitable as soon as fuel rods became exposed and an explosion rocked the site. But is the analogy accurate? Chernobyl, the worst nuclear disaster thus far in the history of the industry, was the result of a [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Why the world needs more Leo Szilards

Leo Szilard (1898-1962) Image: Wikipedia Commons

The body of men and women who built the atomic bomb was vast, diverse, talented and multitudinous. Every conceivable kind of professional – from theoretical physics to plumber – worked on the Manhattan Project for three years over an enterprise that spread across the country and equaled the US automobile industry in its marshaling of [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

The future of nuclear energy: Let a thousand flowers bloom

The interior of a TRIGA nuclear reactor at Oregon State University (Image: Oregon State University)

In the summer of 1956, a handful of men gathered in a former little red schoolhouse in San Diego. These men were among the most imaginative scientists and engineers of their generation. There was their leader, Frederic de Hoffmann who had worked on the Manhattan Project and was now the president of the company General [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Renewables: Fewer subsidies and more R&D please

There is still a substantial gap to be filled when it comes to funding renewable energy (Image: IEA)

There’s a good article in Slate which lays out a case for shuttling some of the funds spent on subsidies for renewable energy into R&D instead. The article’s main point is that the use of solar and wind power is crawling up at a snail’s pace while there is little indication that the price of [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Who’s afraid of nuclear waste?: WIPPing transuranics into shape

Screen Shot 2013-08-27 at 3.10.00 PM

About 50 miles from the Texas border in southeastern New Mexico sits the town of Carlsbad, home of the renowned Carlsbad Caverns. Its lesser-known claim to fame which actually might have a disproportionately long-lasting impact on the future of energy and the human species is as a site for the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Deconstructing John Miller’s arguments against nuclear energy in the New York Times

Nuclear power plants (Image: Fast Company)

John Miller, a social psychologist and journalist who once served as an officer on a nuclear submarine has a piece on Andrew Revkin’s New York Times blog Dot Earth in which he purportedly dismisses several claims about nuclear energy and provides evidence to the contrary; these include general claims as well as those made more [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Nuclear vs renewables: A tale of disparities.

Nuclear power plants (Image: Fast Company)

The Times’s Eduardo Porter has a short piece on nuclear power vs renewables where he makes a plea for supporting the development of new nuclear technologies with improved safety and efficiency. He is also not impressed with the history, cost and future potential of renewables. One of the simple facts that people who support renewables [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Richard Rhodes on the need for nuclear power

Richard Rhodes – who has spent his entire career looking at the lives and work of men and women who wrested energy from the atom – has a cogent rumination on the need for nuclear power, stimulated in part by Robert Stone’s noteworthy new documentary Pandora’s Promise which I previously reviewed here. His thoughts have [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Promise or problem? A debate on nuclear power

Yesterday’s post about nuclear power sparked a minor but enlightening exchange on Twitter whose culmination is a thoughtful perspective by Nicholas Evans (Twitter handle @neva9257), a research associate at Charles Sturt University in Canberra. Earlier I had posted Nicholas’s response in this space but he indicated that he was more comfortable posting it on his [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Hope springs eternal: “Pandora’s Promise” and the truth about nuclear energy

It’s the year 1945. Germany and Japan have been defeated, a terrible war has drawn to a close and the world seems to be at peace again. People are looking for something – anything – that will give them hope. On the morning of August 6, 1945, a stunning announcement is broadcast over the radio [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

Nuclear energy for future citizens

Over the last two days I had a pleasant exchange with a 7th grader from California who wanted to know more about nuclear energy for a school project. He asked me about a dozen questions on nuclear power and I answered them. It was instructive to realize how I needed to formulate my own words [...]

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