TOPIC: U.S. Geological Survey

NRC says Diablo Canyon is safe — case closed?

Is Diablo Canyon destined for disaster? Well, according to a story by Suzanne Rust of California Watch published by the San Francisco Chronicle, that all depends on which government agency you believe.

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (and the utility that owns the plant, Pacific Gas & Electric Co.), the plant is safe. Totally safe. So safe, the NRC insists, that further studies are unwarranted. (more…)

Earthquake preparation means big efforts before the Big One in California

A sobering report by The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the 4.5 million employees of 430,000 Southern California businesses could wind up enduring lengthy periods of unemployment and other disruptions should the so-called ‘big one’ sever the regions freeways, cut rail lines and damage port facilities in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
As one of the nation’s few remaining manufacturing hubs, major damage in Southern California would have ripple effects across the nation, worsened by the popularity amongst other manufacturers and retailers of just-in-time delivery. (more…)

On West Coast, states of denial from nuclear threat in Japan

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is assuring anxious Americans on the West Coast that any radiation released during emergencies at several Japanese reactors will dissipate over the Pacific, according to a story by David Freeman of CBS News.

Honey, have you seen my lead boxers?

The story, accompanied by dire warnings and gruesome graphics, however, appears more designed to inflame than reassure. It cites an expert from Physicians for Social Responsibility warning that the reactors could release more radiation than 1,000 Hiroshima sized bombs. (more…)

Water shortages: Act before the river runs dry

America’s western states are fast running out of water and the trend is being exacerbated by global warming, according to two new scientific studies, reports Felicity Barringer of The New York Times.

Researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute determined that water usage in five arid western states — Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah — will exceed sustainable levels by 1.8 billion acre feet over the next century; the institute also calculates what it would cost to replace that water. Add in the presumed effects of global warming, and the problem is up to half a billion acre feet worse. (more…)

Hope for water progress in California may be evaporating

Talks aimed at forging a compromise in California’s intractable water wars — in process for more than a decade — hit a potentially serious snag as the nation’s largest irrigation district announced it would no longer contribute to the cost of studies. (more…)

Where money flows like water

Kern Water Bank

Outside of the arid west, it’s a little difficult to grasp. But where rain is a merely a seasonal phenomenon, water is very much a commodity.

As Mark Grossi writes in the Sacramento Bee, there’s enough skullduggery and swindling going on with California’s water to provide a storyline for a Chinatown sequel.

According to two lawsuits filed by environmentalists, a backroom deal orchestrated the transfer of the state-owned Kern Water Bank to an agency controlled by private interests. (more…)


Staying on the Interior Dept./bear beat, The Washington Post’s Joel Achenbach has a wonderful profile of Kathleen Kendall, a geologist who coordinates the Northern Divide Grizzly Project for the U.S. Geological Survey, a division of the Interior Department. (more…)