Articles by Dawn Stover

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 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.

12 October 2011

The "scientization" of Yucca Mountain

Dawn Stover

When I first stood atop Nevada's Yucca Mountain more than 16 years ago, the Energy Department was spending about $1 million a day to assess the feasibility of safely storing spent fuel and high-level nuclear waste there. A steel-toothed tunneling machine had already begun chewing its way into the ridge, and some 300 scientists were on-site studying the area's underground trickles, its porous rock, its lumbering desert tortoises, and a few reddish-black cinder cones that dotted the landscape below -- the ominous tombstones of ancient volcanic eruptions.

29 August 2011

\ˈsāf\: America's nuclear power plants?

Dawn Stover

When the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission released its task force's recommendations for enhancing reactor safety in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, an editorial in the Washington Post summarized the findings this way: "America's plants are safe. But they could be safer."

16 June 2011

Rising water, falling journalism

Dawn Stover

Every evening, my father climbs the levee along the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and peers down into the black water that swallows the road. The water is rising, and the Army Corps of Engineers says the levee has never faced such a test. Dad, a retired professor, is packing his books and papers. If the levee doesn't hold, his one-story house could be underwater for months.