ScienceWonk Blog

Why Russia Resists a UN Resolution on Syria

The mainstream media has largely failed to mention one of the main reasons Russia has been resisting a UN Security Council Resolution which would allow the use of force if the US believes that Syria has failed to meet its obligations. Back in March 2011, Russia allowed UNSC Resolution 1973 which authorized “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan […] The post Why Russia Resists a UN Resolution on Syria appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The dose makes the poison

One of the most potent arguments against all things nuclear is the idea that even a vanishingly small amount of radiation exposure has the chance to cause cancer. Even if that risk is incredibly low there’s still a risk, and if a huge number of people are exposed to even a small risk then there […] The post The dose makes the poison appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Where does the plutonium come from?

Last week I wrote about how the shortage of Pu-238 might impact the exploration of the outer Solar System, but I didn’t much get into where the plutonium comes from. After all, while there are trace amounts of natural plutonium, there certainly isn’t nearly enough to fuel a space probe. So this week it seemed […] The post Where does the plutonium come from? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Houston – we need some plutonium

The outer Solar System is a dark and lonely place – solar energy drops off with the inverse square of distance to the Sun so a spaceship in orbit around Jupiter (5.5 times as far from the Sun as the Earth) receives only about 3% as much solar energy as one orbiting Earth. Solar panels […] The post Houston – we need some plutonium appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns

Yucca Mountain raises a lot of controversy – let’s face it; if it didn’t then a 4-part series of blog postings would hardly be necessary. Part of the reason for the controversy is that there are a number of worries about the impact of spent fuel disposal on the environment and on the health of […] The post Yucca Mountain: Questions and Concerns appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain – Packaging and Storing Radioactive Waste

So – thus far we’ve gone over a little of the history of the Yucca Mountain project and how both geology and hydrogeology can affect waste disposal. What I thought could be interesting today would be to talk a little about how the spent reactor fuel is packaged – both for transport and for disposal […] The post Yucca Mountain – Packaging and Storing Radioactive Waste appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain – hydrogeology

Although I’m a radiation safety professional I studied geology as an undergrad and for my MS (my doctorate is in Environmental Science). This included several classes in hydrogeology – these were some interesting classes, and I added to the experience by doing some work as a field hydrogeologist for a project at a Department of […] The post Yucca Mountain – hydrogeology appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Avoiding Needless Wars, Part 8: Syria

There are strong indications that President Obama will take military action against Syria,  even though several key questions have not been answered. First, what good will an American attack do? Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey recently told Congress, “Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing […] The post Avoiding Needless Wars, Part 8: Syria appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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The rocks of Yucca Mountain

As I noted in last week’s posting, nuclear reactors produce high-level radioactive waste during their normal operation. This waste is not voluminous, but it can be dangerous and it needs to be sequestered in an out-of-the-way location for several millennia – in the 70 years since the first nuclear reactor was built there have been […] The post The rocks of Yucca Mountain appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Yucca Mountain

In the mid-1990s I was on a technical advisory committee to the organization that was working to find a location for a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility that was to service several states in the Midwest. Even with stringent siting criteria there were a number of locations that would have been acceptable; what stopped the […] The post Yucca Mountain appears on ScienceWonk, FAS's blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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