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 9, 2008 | 3
The "ultra-secure uranium warehouse of the future" in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is now built, if not quite ready for work. Part of Complex 2030—the Bush Administration's ambitious and little known plan to revamp the nation's aging infrastructure for building nuclear weapons—the warehouse will provide one location for the nation's supply of the highly enriched uranium (HEU) that makes for a powerful nuclear bomb.
Two years of testing remain before the HEU will actually show up, but the $549 million facility will replace "multiple" current storage locations scattered throughout the country. The HEU depot used 92,000 cubic yards of concrete, 5,800 tons of rebar and contains more than 1.5 million feet of wiring—and will ultimately be one of two locations used to store and process "thousands of containers of material," according to the National Nuclear Security Administration, the branch of the U.S. Department of Energy tasked with dealing with the nation's nuclear arsenal.
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The Dow Chemical Company is the leading producer of polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) used in synthetic fluids and lubricants where petroleum,
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