David Wright

About the author: Dr. Wright received his PhD in physics from Cornell University in 1983, and worked for five years as a research physicist. He was an SSRC-MacArthur Foundation Fellow in International Peace and Security in the Center for Science and International Affairs in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, and a Senior Analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Physics Society (APS) and a recipient of APS Joseph A. Burton Forum Award in 2001. He has been at UCS since 1992. Areas of expertise: Space weapons and security, ballistic missile proliferation, ballistic missile defense, U.S. nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons policy

The NRC and the Value of Life—Revisited

In February 2011, my colleague Ed Lyman wrote a blog post and a letter to the New York Times pointing out that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) assigns a MUCH lower value to human life when assessing the costs of accidents than other government agencies. This issue has been raised again in a recent Bloomberg article. Read More

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How High Did China’s May 2013 Launch Go?

On May 13, 2013, China launched a rocket on a suborbital trajectory to high altitude. China announced that the launch was part of a project to study space weather and that the probe carried out an experiment at high altitude. A report in China News (translation) stated that the launch reached an altitude of about 10,000 km. Read More

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Nuclear Goldilocks: Combatting the Cumulative Effects of Non-Regulation

The U.S. nuclear power industry has been raising concerns about what is being called “the cumulative effects of regulation.” The industry sees NRC regulatory demands as an ever growing burden that it doesn’t believe adds significantly to public safety. Read More

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“Fukushima: The Story of Nuclear Disaster” Book Released

Yesterday we officially released our book Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster, published by New Press and co-authored by Dave Lochbaum and Ed Lyman, and journalist Susan Q. Stranahan. Susan for many years was a journalist with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and was the lead reporter of the Inquirer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Read More

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Lyman Presentation to the NRC on Nuclear Waste

Ed will be part of a panel at an NRC hearing on spent fuel safety, starting at 9 a.m. on January 6. Read More

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Lochbaum Presentation to NRC Panel on Flooding

On January 6, the NRC is holding a hearing on the threat flooding and other extreme events pose to nuclear plants. Flooding at Fukushima, Ft. Calhoun and at a number of Northeast plants during Hurricane Sandy has prompted the NRC to take a closer look at plant flood protections. Read More

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Continuing Concrete Problems at Seabrook

The concrete in buildings at the Seabrook nuclear plant is being attacked by a chemical reaction that causes the concrete to swell and crack. If the condition is severe enough, it can weaken the concrete enough to cause structural problems. This condition, called alkali silica reaction (ASR), has been discovered at 131 locations in multiple structures at Seabrook. Read More

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Crowded Spent Fuel Pools

Spent fuel pools pose a much bigger threat to public safety than they should because of the large amount of radioactive material they contain, which could be released to the environment in a severe accident.

While concerns tend to focus on the nuclear fuel contained in reactor cores, cooling pools in the U.S. typically contain much more fuel than the core. Currently, U.S. pools overall contain over 5 times more radioactive fuel than is in all the reactor cores, and some individual reactor pools contain more than 8 times as much fuel as the reactor core. Yet the pools don’t have the same level of protection or safety systems as the reactor cores.  Read More

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Radiation from Accelerating the Transfer of Spent Fuel from Pools to Casks

Contrary to claims by some in the nuclear industry, accelerating the transfer of spent fuel from cooling pools to dry casks would not pose a significant risk to workers from increased radiation exposure, and does not outweigh the benefits of such transfers. Read More

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Ed Lyman Discusses Nuclear Waste on “Living on Earth”

Ed Lyman talked with Living on Earth’s Steve Curwood last week about waste from US nuclear power plants and the ongoing problems with disposing of it.


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