Seventy Years of Nuclear Fission: Short on Confidence; Long on Waste

By: Tuesday January 29, 2013 12:55 pm

On December 2, 1942, a small group of physicists under the direction of Enrico Fermi gathered on an old squash court beneath Alonzo Stagg Stadium on the Campus of the University of Chicago to make and witness history. Uranium pellets and graphite blocks had been stacked around cadmium-coated rods as part of an experiment crucial to the Manhattan Project–the program tasked with building an atom bomb for the allied forces in WWII.


For Nuclear Power This Summer, It’s Too Darn Hot

By: Wednesday August 1, 2012 3:50 pm

Nuclear power was already understood to be dirty, dangerous and absurdly expensive, even without the pressures of climate change. Far from being the answer to growing greenhouse gas emissions, the lifecycle of nuclear power–from mining and milling to transport and disposal–has turned out to be a significant contributor to the problem. And now, the global weirding brought on by that problem has made nuclear even more precarious–more perilous and more pricy–and so an even more pernicious bet.

Nuclear “Renaissance” Meets Economic Reality, But Who Gets the Bill?

By: Friday February 24, 2012 3:15 pm

The real profits in the nuclear racket come from the ability to collect on services not rendered and a product not delivered, or at least not delivered regularly. Because the system backstops the financing of nuclear facilities while also allowing plant operators to pass both real and anticipated costs onto ratepayers, many American taxpayers are poised to pay twice for nuclear power plants that don’t produce power.

It Started with an Earthquake, Remember?

By: Saturday March 26, 2011 9:00 am

Much of the coverage of the disaster in Japan (including ours at FDL) has been focused on the nuclear reactors in Fukushima. As troubling as those reactors are, however, they are only part of the story. While the Fukushima Fifty and their colleagues work on the reactors, thousands upon thousands of other relief workers are laboring elsewhere — and they’ve got a LOT to do.

Japan Nuclear Reactor Disaster Update: Frantic Efforts to Cool Reactors and Fuel Pools

By: Wednesday March 16, 2011 8:22 am

Frantic efforts continue to get cooling water into all six units at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Generation Station. At units 1-3, they are attempting to inject sea water into or around the reactor vessel. Authorities say the core in Units 1 and 2 were fully uncovered in the last 48 hours and may still be partially uncovered, suggesting that fuel and cladding melting may be continuing.

Why Fukushima’s “Spent” Fuel Rods Will Continue to Catch Fire

By: Tuesday March 15, 2011 7:13 pm

Yesterday the spent fuel rod pool at Fukushima Daiichi reactor 4 caught fire. About that time instruments at the plant showed an exponential increase in radiation levels. After the fire was quenched, radiation levels fell. In the hour before I sat down to write this, there was an explosion at the same spent fuel rod pool. As I write, another fire is burning there. NHK reports the radiation level – 300 to 400 milliSieverts – is so high that firefighters cannot approach the area.

Japan Nuclear Watch, Wed. am JST: New Fire and Explosion at Unit 4 Fuel Pond

By: Tuesday March 15, 2011 3:32 pm

Early Wednesday morning, March 16, in Japan.

Japanese authorities are reporting a new fire and explosion coming from the area of the spent fuel pond of Unit 4 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

That’s the same site at which fires were reported on Tuesday and an explosion that released very high levels of radiation. Wednesday’s blast and fire also resulted in increased radiation readings at the site, and, according to one other report, at least two workers are missing.

Japan Nuclear Watch: Ministry Presser on Unit 2 Explosion and Unit 4 Fire

By: Monday March 14, 2011 7:51 pm

Breaking: There has been another explosion at Unit 4. More as we get details.

A Japanese senior official gave a press conference at 11:00 a.m. (Tokyo) Tuesday and officials answered questions about the situation at the Fukushima Nuclear Station.

Japan Nuclear Watch: Third Explosion, Possible Cracked Containment at Unit 2

By: Monday March 14, 2011 5:55 pm

Japanese authorities now report that about 6:14 a.m. (Tokyo) Tuesday, March 15, there was an explosion at the Daiichi Unit 2 of the Fukushima Nuclear Station. This explosion was heard, not seen from the outside. The explosion reportedly did not blow off the roof/walls, as the explosions did at Units 1 and 3.

Japan Nuclear Watch: Monday Morning Update

By: Monday March 14, 2011 6:05 am

Japanese responders continue to battle rising heat and pressure and falling water levels in the damaged reactors, Units 1 and 3, at Fukushima I (Daiichi) Nuclear Power Station.

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