Command and Control is a new book by Eric Schlosser about nuclear weapons mishaps, with a focus on the Damascus Accident. You can read an excerpt at Mother Jones, an op-ed adapted from the text at Politico, or a different op-ed at The Guardian. The book has been positively reviewed by The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Schlosser has been interviewed by Steve Roberts on The Diane Rehm Show, Amy Goodman, Michael Mechanic at Mother Jones, and Ryan Devereaux at Rolling Stone.
" The House In The Middle" A 1954 Civil Defense film shows how you can protect your home against atomic firestorms via good housekeeping (13 min, YouTube)
On the one year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, the Economist magazine now considers Nuclear energy to be "the dream that failed", in an issue with articles covering the history, safety issues, handling of nuclear waste, and costs (with emphasis on China) of nuclear power. [more inside]
In an effort to preserve the rich story behind this landmark film, CONELRAD has spent the last two years thoroughly researching DUCK AND COVER's production history as well as its initial public reception in 1952. Interviews were conducted with living participants involved in the making of the film as well as surviving family members of those key players who had passed away. In the course of our research, CONELRAD also uncovered a wealth of archival material that leaves no doubt that a tremendous amount of thought went into the making of this nine minute motion picture that has been the subject of so much dismissive ridicule over the years. (More CONELRAD goodness previously)
A Review of Criticality Accidents (3.7 MB pdf) Do you like reading comp.risks, or CVR transcripts from famous plane crashes? Then you may enjoy this technical analysis of 60 accidents where improper handling of fissile materials led to unexpected critical mass. [more inside]
A timetable of UK trains carrying nuclear waste. (PDF file). The related Greenpeace UK article. UK nuclear waste train route graphic. Mirror tabloid hack plants fake bomb on nuclear waste train. "The gate was open, there were no security guards. I walked up to the train and planted my bomb". The Guardian's take on the story.
Pro-forma nuclear safety is harder than ever to sell. There's ass-kissing to the sci-fi community (.pdf, download it), the instructional video (warning, boring .wmv, > 12 mins long). But... The design lifetimes of Yucca Mountain and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant won't protect future generations from groundwater absorbing transuranic waste (Pu239 and like toxins, deadly when ingested for 240,000 years). Do you have this stuff in your back yard today, and how will it get there safely? On top of that, the capacity problem, which looks intractable as long as we keep relicensing plants. If I didn't know better, I assume the only way the government could succeed in getting this done would be to hoodwink us.
Live near one of these 10 nuclear power plants? They either have cracks in their control rod nozzles or are particularly "vulnerable" to cracking. An inspection at Ohio's Davis-Besse plant led to the completely unexpected discovery of "the most extensive corrosion ever found on top of an American nuclear plant reactor". Radioactive boric acid leaked out of the cracks and came within a half-inch of burning a hole through the steel containment dome. NRC officials say this kind of corrosion "was never considered a credible type of concern," but nuclear safety groups have been warning for years that NRC inaction on this issue was endangering the public. (more links inside)
Of the three ways in which the A-Bomb can hurt you, RADIATION IS THE LEAST HARMFUL. An earlier post reminded me of this pamphlet from the Massachusetts Civil Defense Agency. Not as much fun as Duck & Cover, to be sure, but terribly earnest. Remember: Stay down for at least one minute.