Allison Macfarlane

Articles by Allison Macfarlane

14 February 2012

Social acceptance and the Blue Ribbon Commission: A positive experience in national nuclear waste discussions

Allison MacfarlaneJohn Kotek

Last month, the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (BRC) released its final report, a culmination of two years' work on the difficult issue of how best to manage the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle in the United States. We both participated in this process, as a commissioner and as staff director, and find it worthwhile to reflect on how the commission's process -- that is to say, involving the community -- shaped our recommendations.

4 July 2011

It's 2050: Do you know where your nuclear waste is?

Allison Macfarlane

Though nuclear power produces electricity with little in the way of carbon dioxide emissions, it, like other energy sources, is not without its own set of waste products. And in the case of nuclear power, most of these wastes are radioactive. Some very low level nuclear wastes can be stored and then disposed of in landfill-type settings.

1 July 2011
The nuclear energy issue
In light of Japan’s nuclear disaster, a major lesson can be learned related to the back end of the fuel cycle: Planning is necessary for the safe and secure management of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.
17 March 2011

An explosive mix: Uncertain geologic knowledge and hazardous technologies

Allison Macfarlane

On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off the east coast of northern Honshu Island in Japan, causing devastating tsunamis and killing thousands. The quake and ensuing tsunami resulted in the catastrophic failure of many of the reactors and associated facilities at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The crisis at the Fukushima plant continues to unfold at this moment.

11 December 2008

The Future of Nuclear Energy: Policy recommendations

Allison MacfarlaneJames AsselstineJohn Ahearne

Global warming necessitates the development of new forms of low-emissions, base-load power generating capacity. To assess the financial, regulatory, and proliferation concerns confronting nuclear energy and to develop strategies for addressing the barriers to the deployment of new reactors, in late September 2008, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists convened nearly 40 scientists, policy makers, industry representatives, and nongovernmental experts from around the world.

1 May 2006
It is still not clear whether the planned is even a viable site. nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain And the waste keeps piling up.
1 May 2001
If all the “excess” plutonium from dismantled weapons were measured in units of 8 kilograms—the amount the International Atomic Energy Agency considers sufficient to make a Nagasaki-type bomb—then there is enough excess weapons plutonium to build about 9,000 bombs, and enough plutonium separated fro
1 May 1999
Why Russia's excess weapons plutonium ought to be immobilized rather than burned.