Eben Harrell

Articles from Contributor

Ecocentric Ecocentric

Fukushima: The Salt Problem

It’s worth remembering, as the battle to prevent a massive radioactive release at the Fukushima power plant approaches the end of its second week, what a best-case scenario might now look like. In the best-case, emergency crews will restore cooling to the reactor cores and spent fuel pools and thus prevent the further release of …

Ecocentric Ecocentric

Thoughts on Fukushima and Hiroshima

John Hersey’s “Hiroshima,” probably the definitive account of the atomic bombing of Japan and its aftermath, caused a sensation when it was published in the New Yorker (and later as a book) in 1946. What shocked most readers was not only the destructive potential of the bomb–the eradication of entire cities by airborne ordnance was …

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Nuclear Safety: U.S. ‘Near-Misses’ in 2010

There is a very important report out today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) on the performance of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)—the government agency that enforces safety regulations for U.S. nuclear reactors in the hope of preventing a catastrophe such as is occurring in Fukushima. The report looks at 14 …

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A New Threat in Japan: Radioactive Spent Fuel

As workers at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant scrambled to prevent a meltdown of cores of several reactors on Tuesday, a new problem emerged: the failure of cooling systems for several pools containing spent fuel rods. Late Tuesday, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said that the water meant to cool spent fuel in three reactors was becoming …

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Fukushima: Chernobyl Redux?

Shan Nair is a British nuclear safety expert who was part of a panel that advised the European Commission on its response to the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. For almost twenty years, he worked within the UK nuclear industry for Britain’s national energy supply company analyzing both waste arising from spent nuclear fuel and also the …

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Fukushima: The End of the Nuclear Renaissance?

Today I was scheduled to attend a press briefing in London with Sir David King, the former Chief Scientific Adviser to the British government. Sir David was due to address the future of nuclear power in the U.K.. This morning, I received a hurried voicemail from Sir David’s press spokesman: thanks to the events in Japan, the meeting had …

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Japan Nuclear Emergency: How Much Radiation is Safe?

Government officials have confirmed that radiation has leaked from the Fukushima power plant site in Northern Japan, where workers are scrambling to prevent a meltdown at two damaged reactors. The surrounding area has been evacuated. It’s difficult to ascertain how much radiation has already leaked from the plant–or what the …

Ecocentric Ecocentric

Japan Quake Causes Nuclear Emergency

(Update as of 1336 EST)

A reactor cooling system malfunctioned at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on Friday, prompting the country to declare a nuclear emergency in the aftermath of the large earthquake.

However, there was no information about a leak or contamination at any of Japan’s eleven reactors, according to Prime …

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