Jun 3, 2009 | 5
Perhaps more damning than unflattering personal photos, the government mistakenly posted a large document detailing public and private nuclear research sites and programs on the U.S. Government Printing Office Web site, reports the Associated Press. Government sources say that the information doesn't pose a national security risk.
The 266-page report included information labeled as "highly confidential safeguards sensitive," but, National Nuclear Security Administration spokesperson Damien LaVera said in a statement, "no information of direct national security significance would be compromised." The document had been revised by President Obama for Congress to review, and The New York Times reports, neither the Government Printing Office or the House Committee on Foreign Affairs (to whom publication was attributed on the report's cover) have been able to explain the error.
Mar 27, 2009 | 9
It will be exactly 30 years tomorrow since the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident occurred on a three-mile (five kilometer) slip of land in the Susquehanna River in the shadow of Harrisburg, Pa. Until that day, few people had ever heard of Three Mile Island—now there are few who haven't.
Once a majestic symbol of nuclear power, the plant would become synonymous with its dangers after one of its two reactors—the newer one, known as Unit 2—nearly melted down on March 28, 1979, just months after it was fired up.
The plant was shuttered, and Pennsylvania Gov. Richard Thornburgh recommended that pregnant women and preschoolers within five miles (eight kilometers) of the plant evacuate; some nearby hospitals and nursing homes were also evacuated. Today steam billows from the chunky, twin cooling towers of TMI's only functioning unit; the crippled reactor, now a skeleton, never reopened.
Feb 18, 2009
Is Pres. Obama getting closer to filling a key health post? The role of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chief is down to two candidates, the Washington Post says in an unsourced report: Baltimore Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein and former New York City Health Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. Sharfstein's name has been floated repeatedly since Obama was elected, and Hamburg's surfaced early this month.
Feb 12, 2009 | 16
The world needs a "revolution" in science and technology to solve global warming, says Energy Secretary Steven Chu.
Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, made the remarks in today's New York Times. The article was short on specifics, but Chu, former director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said Nobel-level breakthroughs were needed in electric batteries, solar power and crops that could be turned into fuel. "Science and technology can generate much better choices,” Chu, a long-time proponent of alternative energy development, told the newspaper. “It has, consistently, over hundreds and hundreds of years.”
Feb 3, 2009 | 2
Iran says it launched a satellite last night as part of what officials there described as the country’s bid to develop a space program.
The satellite, named Omid, or “hope,” was “successfully sent into orbit” with a Safir 2 (or "ambassador") rocket, according to IRNA, Iran’s official news agency. The “data-processing” satellite project began nearly four years ago “as the first practical step toward acquiring national space technology,” says another IRNA report, noting that “its main objective is to prepare the grounds for promoting [a] national space industry in Iran.”
Jan 9, 2009 | 10
One of the great things about working at the longest-continually published magazine in the U.S.—born in 1845—is thumbing through the archives. Our environment reporter, David Biello, was thumbing through some bound volumes earlier this week, and he came across a gem from our February 1947 issue.
The piece, which has no byline, is quite timely, despite being more than 60 years old. It hits two of today's growing crises square on—energy and the economy—by suggesting a replacement for silver and gold monetary standards:
That's right. Less than two years after the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, someone thought it would be a good idea to back currency with a radioactive substance. So instead of gold, Fort Knox would be filled with uranium. Or, today, maybe Yucca Mountain, the proposed nuclear waste storage facility in Nevada, could do double duty as a currency standard warehouse. (Worth noting: The "ultrasecure uranium warehouse of the future" is in Oak Ridge, Tenn., just a few hundred miles from Fort Knox in Kentucky.)
Sep 30, 2008 | 2
If you thought the Cold War was over—that long nuclear standoff that shaped the last five decades of the 20th century—think again. Following his American counterpart, and perhaps prompted by new tensions over the war in Georgia and the agreement between the U.S. and Poland to deploy a missile defense system there, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has announced plans to upgrade that country's "nuclear deterrent" by 2020.
It's part of a full upgrade for the Russian armed forces: more nuclear-powered subs, better bombs as well as their own "air and space defense network". "Star wars" has at last come to a galaxy not so far away.
The move prompted U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to boast that the U.S. possesses an "extremely capable, robust, broad and indeed varied nuclear deterrent," according to an interview with Reuters. That no doubt includes not only the hit-or-miss missile defense effort but also plans to build new nuclear weapons and the industrial complex that develops and fabricates them.
Aug 25, 2008 | 3
By picking Joe Biden as a running mate, Barack Obama may have reassured the electorate about his lack of experience and foreign policy bona fides, according to some pundits. But the coal-state senator may have also taken a step toward shoring up his enviro cred.
The Delaware senator is as serious as a heart attack about energy policy—a point The Wall Street Journal's Jeffrey Ball made this weekend.
Biden has been harping on the need for a new energy initiatives for years. When he sat on a Real Time with Bill Maher panel in the spring of 2006, he called 9/11 a "squandered opportunity" for enacting new socialized energy programs. The American public at that point, he claims, was uniquely united in acting for the greater public good.
Jul 17, 2008 | 29
Former vice president Al Gore today challenged the U.S. to go from getting more than half its electrical power from greenhouse gas-spewing coal-fired power plants to getting all of it from 100 percent carbon neutral sources in a decade. In other words: eliminate fossil fuels for electricity, until the greenhouse gases can be captured and buried, in favor of nuclear, solar, wind and geothermal.
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