In Africa, nearly every aspect of human development (health, agricultural, educational, or industrial) depends upon reliable access to modern energy sources. Therefore, it’s worth investigating whether nuclear power can safely alleviate energy shortages and optimize an energy mix consistent with the national interests of African countries.
Month: November 2007
Like its recent documentary White Light/Black Rain, HBO's latest original movie, Pu-239, provides a thought-provoking examination of the nuclear age.
Over the next 50 years, progress to meaningfully address the risk of significant climate change will require an estimated 80-percent or more reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. Global emissions now include more than 7 billion tons of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere annually, three-quarters of which come from fossil fuel combustion (with the remainder largely from land conversion and forest burning), and their rate of accumulation is increasing.
Proliferation watchers have kept track of A. Q. Khan’s activities for about 30 years. In 1979, the Washington Post named him as the Pakistani engineer who had left his position at the uranium enrichment centrifuge facility at Almelo, Netherlands, four years earlier with “lists of subcontractors and probably blueprints for the plant.” Khan then returned to Pakistan, where he soon became director of the country’s secret uranium enrichment project at Kahuta, near Islamabad, and a key player in its nuclear weapons program.
Congress is once again working overtime to complete the federal budget. National security is at the forefront of the debate, as Congress has finally passed (and the president has signed) its $459.3 billion defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008. (The bill also contains another $11.6 billion in emergency spending for the new mine-resistant, ambush-protected armored personnel carrier intended for the army and marines in Iraq.)
On February 13, 2007, North Korea and its five negotiating adversaries (the United States, South Korea, China, Japan, and Russia) agreed to reaffirm their 2005 commitments to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula but in a carefully sequenced manner. First Pyongyang was to freeze its plutonium production, then declare and disable its nuclear-weapons related capacities, and finally dismantle or remove those capacities irreversibly.
Understanding evolution is critical to confronting the twenty-first century’s microbiological challenges. We need to educate the next generation of scientists to give them the tools to develop novel treatments against antibiotic resistant bacteria, emerging viruses, and other deadly microbes. They need to understand how these microbes develop and change, which requires an understanding of evolution.
At first glance, the U.S. military’s response to the incident at Minot Air Base involving the transportation of six nuclear warheads across the United States was reasonably thorough and harsh–three colonel-rank commanders were relieved of their positions, the bomber wing at Minot was decertified from its wartime missions, and a number of air force personnel lost their certifications. More action will probably come in the next few months.
Nearly 40 years ago, the President’s Science Advisory Committee outlined ways to improve the country’s air traffic control system–recommendations that are still salient today.