Over the Seawall (start time: 7:33): One of the key things that makes us human is our ability to problem-solve. But often our engineered fixes backfire and even make the problem we’re trying to solve much worse. How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews journalist Stephen Robert Miller about how this applies to massive seawalls, re-engineered rivers, grandiose canals (such as the Central Arizona Project) and other technological fixes that have unintended consequences. Miller’s debut book, due out next week, is called Over the Seawall: Tsunamis, Cyclones, Drought, and the Delusion of Controlling Nature (Island Press). Check out Stephen’s upcoming book talks: Nov. 2 at CU Boulder’s ATLAS 102, 7:00-8:30 p.m.; and Nov. 28 at Boulder Book Store, 6:30 p.m.
Host/Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Sam Fuqua Executive Producer: Susan Moran Headline contributors: Beth Bennett, Joel Parker, Shelley Schlender
Fukushima’s impacts a year later: In today’s show we offer a full-length feature (start at 4:57) to mark the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant disaster — the worse nuclear meltdown since Chernobyl in 1986. We explore the longer-term impacts on public health, the environment, and the nuclear power industry, both in Japan and in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere. Co-host Susan Moran interviews two nuclear experts: Jeff King, the interim director of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines; and Len Ackland, co-director of the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is also author of “Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West.” (King and Ackland also joined us on March 22, last year.)
Hosts: Breanna Draxler, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender
Fukashima Cleanup (start at 7:23). A daunting and ongoing cleanup task is that of removing radioactively contaminated material from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The plant suffered a meltdown in the wake of a massive earthquake and subsequent tsunami on March 11, 2011. The tsunami swallowed whole towns and killed more than 20,000 people. How On Earth Executive Producer Shelley Schlender interviews Steve Rima, vice president of Radiological Services and Engineering at AMEC, in Grand Junction, Colorado. AMEC is assisting with radiation cleanup in the 500-square-mile Fukushima evacuation area. (Scroll down to previous post to hear extended version of the interview.)
Space Debris (start at 14:10). You thought cleaning your room was a chore. Imagine the problem if your room was the size of, say, the space around Earth where real, full-sized rockets and satellites are in orbit. Who is going to clean all that up? Or is it even a problem? How On Earth cohost Joel Parker interviews Dr. Darren McKnight about this issue of “space junk” or “space debris.” Dr. McKnight is the technical director at Integrity Applications Incorporated. He has served on the National Research Council’s Committee on NASA’s Orbital Debris and Micrometeoroid Program, and is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is coauthor of the book “Artificial Space Debris.”
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Jim Pullen Headline contributor: Breanna Draxler Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender