Edwin S. Lyman

Articles by Edwin S. Lyman

10 May 2011

Nuclear safety post-Fukushima: A victory for the public's right to know

Edwin S. Lyman

How vulnerable are US nuclear reactors to the kind of disaster that is occurring at Fukushima Daiichi? Considering that one in three Americans lives within 50 miles of a nuclear plant, the public deserves access to all information that can shed light on this question. Yet a straight answer has been difficult to obtain from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the nuclear industry.

23 March 2009

Thirty years after TMI: Five continuing vulnerabilities

Edwin S. Lyman

To its credit, in the 30 years since the accident at Three Mile Island, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has taken many steps to improve the safety and security of U.S. nuclear reactors. But despite these efforts and the fact that a Three Mile Island-scale accident hasn't occurred in the United States since 1979, safety and security vulnerabilities remain at the country's nuclear plants. And what is more relevant than the absence of large-scale accidents is the alarming frequency of serious near misses.

18 December 2008

Making domestically produced medical isotopes a national priority

Edwin S. Lyman

Despite the clinical importance of medical isotopes, used in an estimated 18 million procedures per year in the United States alone, the world's supply is increasingly unreliable due to antiquated reactors. At one point in August, all five of the most important medical isotope-producing reactors, all located outside of the United States, were inoperable. The simultaneous shutdowns resulted in supply interruptions, causing a rationing of medical procedures in some areas. Problems are likely to persist for months because one of the largest reactors requires significant repairs.

1 September 2008
Feature
Nuclear proponents cite new, safer reactor designs to assuage fears about accidents. Yet safety features may lose out to economics, and new plants could be little safer than the current fleet.