May 04, 2004

Surfing the Nuclear Web: from Australia to Argonne

Looking for more radiation related sites? There's the informative and descriptively-named Radioactive Waste blog from Australia:
Being an environmental scientist of the disorganised type, and also overwhelmed by the quantity of sites of relevance to my interest in safety of radioactive waste, my hope is that this blog will bring some order to my life (this part at least)! All views & irreverent commentary expressed here are entirely my personal opinion, of course. In Australia, after cleaning up the mess at Maralinga (former UK nuclear weapons test site), we are now in process of building a national radwaste repository.
Jef's Web Files has a section focusing on nuclear safety, with recent posts about the development of detectors that can "smell" nukes, and the U.S. government's recent revival of a lost Cold War art - fallout analysis.

Atom Central is an intriguing portal with sections on the atom bomb, the Trinity site and video releases on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, American bomb tests and more.

Of special interest is the Argonne National Laboratory's engineering research website:
Argonne's rich heritage in the development of nuclear reactors began with CP-1, the world's first nuclear reactor brought to life by Enrico Fermi and his team on December 2, 1942, under the West stands at Stagg Field on the campus of the University of Chicago.

Dr. Walter H. Zinn, one of Fermi's close colleagues working on CP-1, became Argonne National Laboratory's first director in July 1946. In 1948, the United States Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) transferred the major portion of the nation's nuclear reactor development program to Argonne. Under Dr. Zinn's vision and leadership, Argonne established a vigorous and far-reaching program to develop nuclear reactors of virtually all types.
You can see some of Argonne's history in video: Argonne's pioneering nuclear research is prominently featured in the documentary Atoms for Peace (1994, VHS), hosted by Bill Kurtis (whom we met as the host of the program NOVA: Back to Chernobyl). This one-hour feature details the history of the American peacetime nuclear program with its focus on energy production (and the U.S. fast-breeder reactor program, now on indefinite hiatus), as well as its linkage back to the early weapons development initiatives at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, Arco, Idaho (the first town to be powered by nuclear energy) and the now-defunct Hanford site power plant in Washington state. While Atoms for Peace is a bit hard to track down, you'll probably be able to find a copy at larger public libraries with video collections.

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