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Marqusee and Titley: Learning Security Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

Soldiers_assist_residents_displaced_by_Hurricane_Sandy_in_Hoboken,_N.J.There is a lot we can learn from what went right and what went wrong in our preparation and response to Hurricane Sandy. Two former Department of Defense officials, Jeff Marqusee, former executive director of the DOD’s Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and retired Navy Rear Admiral David Titley, director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State, recently penned an op-ed for the Virginian-Pilot highlighting what we can learn from the military. Their points are specifically in regards to Hurricane Sandy, but the lessons they draw demonstrate how the “military planning community” is and will be a vital actor in preparing and responding to climate change-associated risks of all kinds. (more…)

Climate-Resilient Infrastructure: The Next Frontier

Item is held by John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland.CNN, Climate Progress and others have reported this season’s local news hit: the growing trend in water pipelines bursting in cities and towns across America. As one Oklahoma utilities manager reports, the culprit is not difficult to spot:

As days of 100 degree-plus temperatures bake the region, the utility reports 685 water main breaks since July alone. That’s an estimated rate of four times normal…”It’s the heat and the high water usage,” Ragan said. High temperatures can dry soil so that it shrinks away from buried pipes. Increased water usage raises pressure inside the water lines. Both factors add strain to pipeline walls, making older pipes more susceptible to bursting. (more…)

Time Space Blot: Nuclear Waste and Neanderthals

photo by Tracy O. Nuclear power is often offered as a climate friendly energy source, albeit not without some security risks. One of those risks – the half-life of spent nuclear fuel, or the amount of time until the waste is no longer radioactive, is of particular concern.  Spent nuclear fuel includes lots of radioactive elements that take a long, long time to become safe. Here’s a quick look at how long is long:

The half-life of Iodine-129 is 15.7 million years. To put this in context, fifteen million years ago was a full ten million years before the predecessor to humans, Australopithecus afarensis, appears in the archaeological record (read 10 million years before the opening scene of “2001 A Space Odyssey”). (more…)

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