Thursday, August 16, 2012

Yucca Mountain Reading

Today on the New York Times' Green Blog, Matthew Wald has a short piece on Allison Macfarlane, the newly-appointed chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The post includes a few quotes from Ms. Macfarlane, each of which highlights the rather challenging positions in which the NRC currently finds itself.

Readers interested in getting a sense of the new chairwoman's background--and, perhaps, some clues about how she'll handle her new role--would do well to check out Uncertainty Underground: Yucca Mountain and the Nation's High-Level Nuclear Waste (The MIT Press, 2006).  Ms. Macfarlane co-edited the book, contributed two chapters, and co-authored the introduction.  The compilation is thorough, thoughtful, and, considering the density of the subject matter, surprisingly readable.  It's indispensable for anyone interested in going beyond the political rhetoric and press accounts and developing a real understanding of the scientific, engineering, and policy challenges raised by nuclear waste disposal.  And it's encouraging, I think, that someone with such in-depth knowledge of those challenges is the new chairwoman of the NRC.

-Dave Owen

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