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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Another Blow for Troubled Reactor
2 September 1997 8:00 pm
In an unexpected setback for U.S. neutron scientists, two New York legislators said today that they will introduce a bill ordering the Department of Energy (DOE) not to restart the troubled High-Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR) at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. DOE officials described the surprise announcement as a major setback to their efforts to repair and eventually upgrade the reactor, which had been leaking tritium.
"The operation of this nuclear reactor poses a threat to the health of Long Islanders and to the safety of our drinking water," said Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) and Representative Michael Forbes (R-NY) in letter to Energy Secretary Federico Peña. Given Brookhaven's environmental record, they said, "there is no reason to believe that the [HFBR] could operate without further jeopardizing the health and safety of Long Islanders."
The reactor, which generates neutron beams for materials science research, was shut for routine maintenance last fall, but the discovery of the tritium leaks angered local groups and prompted DOE to reexamine whether or not it should be reopened. That review is due to be completed in January. Later this week, a DOE advisory committee of researchers is expected to argue that the reactor should not only be reopened, but also upgraded from 30 megawatts to 60 megawatts (Science, 8 August, p. 761). Opposition from the two lawmakers--who represent the lab's state and district--however, will make it more difficult for Peña to embrace such a proposal.
"It's a real setback and very unfortunate," says Martha Krebs, DOE energy research chief. "I wish they could have been more patient." But Krebs insists that political opposition will not alter DOE's timetable for determining the reactor's fate. Closing the facility would draw protests from researchers, and decommissioning it could cost nearly $200 million. But Peña cannot ignore the thinly veiled threat by D'Amato and Forbes "to do all that is within our power to see that the [HFBR] never operates again."