Though the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant appears to be stabilizing, the United States is stepping up inspections of the country’s 104 nuclear reactors. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission today announced that inspectors will soon visit all US reactors to ensure they can withstand the kind of “severe accident” that led to Japan’s emergency. That emergency has caused many Americans to wonder about the future of nuclear power. Is it safe and dependable? Yes, says Tony Pietrangelo, chief nuclear officer and senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute (the organization of the nuclear energy and technologies industry). Here’s why:
With 64 of the 68 teams in the field eliminated, the NCAA Tournament lived up to its reputation in the first two weekends of play, complete with shocking upsets, heart-pounding finishes, controversies, and a school from Richmond called Virginia Commonwealth. Here’s our top list of wild and crazy finishes from the second third rounds, the Sweet 16, and the Elite Eight.
Fourteen safety-related events at nuclear power plants required follow-up inspections from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the NRC reported in 2010. These "near-miss" events "raised the risk of damage to the reactor core – and thus to the safety of workers and the public," concluded a new report, "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010," by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Here are five of these 14 "near miss" examples:
Graduate schools of business saw some reshuffling of rankings this year as US News & World Report downgraded perennial No. 1 Harvard and crowned a new undisputed champion. The business schools, part of US News's broader survey of all graduate schools, were ranked using nine measures. In one category, however, the Top 5 business schools were very evenly matched. Tuition ranged narrowly from $48,550 to $53,118 a year. Here's a look at the Top 5:
Could something as simple as e-mail really solve America’s current economic woes? Consider its drag on productivity: With more than 294 billion e-mails sent worldwide every day, office workers spend a quarter of their working hours on e-mail-related tasks. You can make a powerful improvement in your output – and boost American productivity in the process – by making a few adjustments to your in-box routine. Here are three ways to eliminate your e-mail overload:
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in Japan underscores – yet again – the need to abandon nuclear power as a panacea for energy independence. Experts may never determine what caused all of the emergency cooling safety systems at Daiichi to fail completely. But they have learned that they are nearly powerless to bring the smoldering units under control. In the meantime, significant amounts of radioactive gas have vented, and partial meltdowns of at least two reactors have occurred. Indeed, nuclear power will never live up to industry promises. As a whole it is ultimately unsafe, an accident waiting to happen, and far more expensive than proponents admit. Colby College professor Paul Josephson gives seven reasons why we should abandon nuclear power and instead turn to solar, wind, and other forms of energy production that won’t experience such catastrophic accidents.
One of the most enjoyable things about the NCAA tournament – for basketball fanatics and casual observers alike – is the Cinderella story. On Thursday, Morehead State chalked up the first upset of the tournament by vanquishing No. 4 Louisville. There’s just something appealing about watching the triumph of the little guy - the team no one ever paid any attention to, never gave a chance. Or maybe it's watching the titan, the sure-thing, the team that everyone knows will win, well, not win. Here is our Top 10, plus one.
What should you read on St. Patrick's Day? If you're hoping to celebrate Ireland with a book in hand, the hardest part will be figuring out which one, as the Emerald Isle has long been a wildly prolific source of inspiration to writers. And so to my earlier list of 10 best books about Ireland (which I still stand by), I can easily add five more.
The circle of seismic activity in the Pacific Ocean, known as the "ring of fire," stretches from Australia to Russia around to Alaska and America's West Coast and down to Chile in South America. It's an area responsible for 90 percent of the world's earthquakes and 75 percent of its volcanoes. So which of the more than 26 nations in the ring has nuclear power? Only three: Japan, of course (more than 50 plants); the United States (eight reactors at four plants); and Mexico (two reactors at one plant). Here's a look at the five non-Japanese plants in the world's most active earthquake zone:
The Pacific Rim, the body of land surrounding the Pacific Ocean from the west coasts of North and South America to the east coasts of China and Japan, is one of the most volatile regions in the world for earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. Since 1975, several stunning earthquakes around the Pacific Rim have resulted in tremendous devastation and loss of life – some smaller, but some much greater, than the unfolding crisis in Japan from the March 11 temblor. Source: US Geological Survey historical data
Japan has received offers of assistance from 14 international organizations and 102 countries (including a number of unexpected aid donors such as embattled Afghanistan and poverty-stricken Cambodia), according to the latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Japan has accepted help, mostly in the form of search and rescue teams, from 15 countries. Here is an overview of some of the help pouring into Japan as it struggles to dig out from Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Each year when March 15 rolls around, many of us grope mentally backward to 9th-grade English class and do our best to remember who exactly who it was that warned Julius Caesar to "Beware the ides of March" and why. But in the years since Shakespeare first coined the phrase in 1599 the fatal date has become well ensconced in literature. To bring yourself up to speed on "ides" literature, here's a beginner's list.
Japan’s nuclear disaster is not as bad as Chernobyl, but it’s the worst since. The recent 8.9-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that followed have severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It has suffered two explosions, with warnings of a third possible, and fuel rods are exposed. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated from the area. This crisis raises important questions about the future of nuclear power and our failures not just to prepare for natural disasters but also possible failures in nuclear security. Harvard Kennedy School's Matthew Bunn gives us six key points to consider, originally published on the Power & Policy blog.
The mix of natural and man-made disasters unfolding in Japan is almost incomprehensible. But it’s just at such moments that we most want to understand what can happen in our world. This history is still in the making, but my regular reading list is taking a break while I search out material on disasters past and future. What are you reading in the wake of the tragic events of the past few days? Here are a few potential places to start:
The NFL isn't known for striking. In fact, it hasn’t had a major interruption in play since 1987, which may be the reason for its continued popularity, says New York University professor of sports management Robert Boland. As the NFL faces its first labor dispute in decades, here is a look back at the five worst shutdowns in US sports history.
Japan’s earthquake and tsunami has pushed 11 of its 52 nuclear reactors offline. If they don’t power up soon, Japan will be hard-pressed to provide power to its people, since the reactors provide 30 percent of its electricity. As dependent as Japan is on nuclear power, 12 nations are even more reliant it, according to the World Nuclear Association. Using 2007 data, here are the Top 10 most nuclear-dependent nations:
Carlos Slim retained the top spot on the Forbes rich list for the second year in a row. The Mexican telecoms tycoon represents a growing trend of billionaires bubbling up from emerging markets worldwide. Over the past year, China doubled its number of billionaires, according to Forbes, and Moscow now has more billionaires than any other city. Of the 11 richest men in the world, the following five come from emerging economies in Latin America and Asia:
Egypt's revolution put the issue of how to protect its beleaguered Coptic Christian population on the back burner. But a fatal clash Tuesday between Muslims and Copts in Cairo has turned attention once again to religious tensions, which gained the spotlight after the bombing of a Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Eve. In an overwhelmingly Muslim country, where does this religious minority fit in. And who are the Copts?