What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

United States Hit With a Triple Nuclear Threat - How Dangerous is it? (Part 1/2)

July 1, 2011, 1:00 AM
Triple_3_nuclear_threat_us_michio_kaku_scitech_scitechfb_google_mkaku

Right now, we are in an unprecedented situation where three of our nuclear sites are simultaneously in danger of floods and fire. So far, there is no immediate concern for panic, but precautions have to be taken. In Nebraska, nuclear workers are knee deep in water due to flooding by the Missouri river. The "tipping point" is when flood waters hit 1,014 feet above sea level. (Currently, flood waters are at 1007 feet above sea level). The NRC and the utility both admit that, if the flood waters pass 1014 feet, then the situation will spin out of control! Even if flood waters rise a few more feet, there could be some equipment failures which can ultimately lead to a plethora of other issues.

Fortunately, the situation seems stable at the present time, but the emergency will last for weeks and there are some eerie parallels to Fukushima. The Cooper Station plant is nearly a carbon copy of the Mark I GE boiling water reactor found at Fukushima. Also, there is nuclear waste at both sites. The Ft. Calhoun reactor has about 600,000 to 800,000 pounds of high level nuclear waste. So the Ft. Calhoun reactor situation is like Fukushima in slow motion, i.e. there is still time to take emergency measures because the crisis is spread out over weeks. But time will tell how high flood waters will rise.

By contrast, the Los Alamos fire is an immediate problem, with forest fires raging at its doorstep. Most of the very dangerous and sensitive materials have been secured and locked down. For example, there are at least 6 metric tons worth of plutonium used in the weapons program stored there. Of immediate concern is Area G, containing up to 30,000 fifty five gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated nuclear waste. These drums are not secured, but are simply stored above ground in an ordinary building and the fire is about 3 miles from these drums.

The danger is that the winds, traveling at 60 miles per hour, engulf the site. (Although there are canyons separating the site from the fire, strong winds can easily carry embers across these barriers). A fire might over pressurize the drums, causing them to burst, and release plutonium dioxide (one of the most toxic chemicals known to science) into the air. Even a microgram (smaller than a dust particle) in your lungs, can cause lung cancer.

In 2009, the Department of Energy issued a report, stating that fire fighters are not well trained to handle the sophisticated equipment and radioactive waste stored at Los Alamos in case of an emergency.

to be continued... 

(part 1 of 2)

 

United States Hit With a Tr...

Newsletter: Share: