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Dawn Stover

Dawn Stover

Contributing Editor, Energy, Environment, and Climate

Articles by Dawn Stover

22 August 2012

Treading water

Dawn Stover

In 1954, Lewis Strauss, then chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, gave a speech in which he famously predicted that "our children will enjoy in their homes electrical energy too cheap to meter." Whether he was talking about fission reactors or a secret fusion project is unclear, but he was wrong in either case. What did turn out to be too cheap to meter, however, was water.

25 July 2012

Informed consent: Getting from NIMBY to yes

Dawn Stover

"Not in my backyard." I don't know whether anyone has actually uttered those words at a hearing or town-hall meeting, but I've heard plenty of energy developers and permit processors speak dismissively of local opponents as NIMBYs. Somehow the pejorative sticks: If you're concerned about noise, stink, ugliness, dirty air and water, diminished property values, endangered wildlife, climate change, or threats to public health and safety, you're a self-interested elitist and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

20 June 2012

Climate MADness

Dawn Stover

In The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss, the Yooks and the Zooks go to war over whether bread should be eaten with the buttered side up or down. The battle escalates from slingshots to guns to goo-spewing war machines, and eventually both the Yooks and the Zooks acquire a tiny but extremely destructive bomb called the Bitsy Big-Boy Boomeroo. Neither side has any defense against the bomb, and both sides are left wondering who will drop it first.

24 May 2012

Radiation: It's just what the doctor ordered

Dawn Stover

He's an expert on nuclear security. His wife edits articles for the Bulletin. She was home with their two-month-old baby when the doorbell rang, the dog went nuts, and the baby -- too young to roll over on his own, and protected by a pillow on the couch -- somehow ended up wailing on the floor, with the crosshatched pattern of a rattan rug imprinted on his little head. (The incident remains under investigation, but circumstantial evidence points to psycho-dog.)

26 April 2012

"The new retirement" for nuclear power plants

Dawn Stover

America's senior citizens once dreamed of moving to a beach house in Florida or touring the nation's parks in a motor home when they turned 65. But the global financial crisis has taken a heavy toll on retirement plans. During the past four years, many seniors have watched helplessly as their homes plummeted in value and their 401(k) savings plans became 201(k)s.

8 March 2012

3/11 and 9/11: Codes for tragedy

Dawn Stover

For most Americans, 3/11 has no particular significance. (Hint: it's not that rock band from Omaha.) Some Europeans associate it with the Madrid train bombings of March 11, 2004. But, in Japan, 3/11 is universally recognized as shorthand for the events of March 11, 2011, when a huge offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that devastated the country's northeastern coast and swamped emergency cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

15 February 2012

In hot water: The "other" global warming

Dawn Stover

On January 20, a state engineer with the Utah Division of Water Rights approved two applications that would allow Blue Castle Holdings to take a total of 53,600 acre-feet of water from the Green River annually for a proposed nuclear power plant. That's more than 17 billion gallons a year, enough for a city of 100,000 households.

25 January 2012

Energy.gov: Where information goes to die

Dawn Stover

We live in an Information Age. Never before have we had so much data at our fingertips, thanks to digitization and the Internet. But information is only useful if it is accessible, searchable, and intelligible.

20 December 2011

Climate change in 2050: Where's the beef?

Dawn Stover

"What will a day in the life of a Californian be like in 40 years? If the state cuts greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 -- a target mandated by a state executive order -- a person could wake up in a net-zero energy home, commute to work in a battery-powered car, work in an office with smart windows and solar panels, then return home and plug in her car to a carbon-free grid."

22 November 2011

The myth of renewable energy

Dawn Stover

"Clean." "Green." What do those words mean? When President Obama talks about "clean energy," some people think of "clean coal" and low-carbon nuclear power, while others envision shiny solar panels and wind turbines. And when politicians tout "green jobs," they might just as easily be talking about employment at General Motors as at Greenpeace. "Clean" and "green" are wide open to interpretation and misappropriation; that's why they're so often mentioned in quotation marks.

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