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Washington’s Columbia Generating Station Is a Seismic Timebomb

New studies reveal nuclear plant is near major faults

The landscape of eastern Washington State is deceptively tranquil: a pastiche of vineyards, farms, scrub grass, ridges and windmills. But what appears peaceful and settled in the moment has proven restive and violent over geologic time. Beneath the glacial trough of the…
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by: Gar Smith – May 5, 2014

Another Take on Pandora’s Promise

Pro-nuclear power film obscures as much as it reveals

You’ve got to give the producers of Pandora’s Promise credit for gumption. It takes a lot of chutzpah to release a pro-nuclear polemic in the wake of the triple meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. The film also suffered the ignominy of opening the…
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by: Gar Smith – June 28, 2013

Still Worrying about the Bomb

Not since the Cuban Missile Crisis has the world heard the sort of nuclear bombast that has been flying recently between Washington and Pyongyang. It began on December 12, 2012, when North Korea successfully launched a satellite into orbit. The United States then urged the UN Security Council to clamp new sanctions on the country, arguing that the satellite launch was a “covert ballistic missile test.” The UN sanctions, imposed on January…
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by: Gar Smith – Summer 2013

Fukushima: Living With the Consequences

An excerpt from Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth

This time no one dropped a bomb on us. . . . We set the stage, we committed the crime with our own hands, we are destroying our own lands, and we are destroying our own lives. —Haruki Murakami, Japanese novelist Photo…
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by: Gar Smith – March 11, 2013

Weather Forecast: A Cloudy Future for Nukes

In the 1950s, when the first nuclear reactors were conceived, there were few computers. Engineers created blueprints using lead pencils and slide rules. Back then the atmosphere’s carbon content was a mere 310 parts-per-million and a “storm of the century” came along about once every 100 years, as you would expect. We now inhabit a different planet. With CO2 levels the highest they’ve been in 15 million years, complex computer models warn…
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by: Gar Smith – Spring 2013

Germany Leads the “Energy Turn”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was trained as quantum chemist, and as a doctoral candidate studied subatomic reactions, so it was no surprise that as she started her political career she became an outspoken advocate for nuclear power. In 2010, five years into her term as Germany’s leader, Merkel called for extending the operating lives of Germany’s aging reactors by an average of 15 years. But, like much of the world, her views…
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by: Gar Smith – Winter 2013

Politics and Plutocrats: a Parade of Inequality

America is currently engaged in the most expensive presidential contest in world history. In the United States, money doesn’t just talk – it dictates. How can we hope to make progress on the path to sustainability when the road is blocked by barricades of bullion backed by battalions of billionaires? How do we break through the political gridlock? Dave Brower’s wife, Anne, once put a wise spin on this dilemma. “What we…
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by: Gar Smith – Autumn 2012

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