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|DRI’s Community Environmental Monitoring Program Holds Annual Workshop in Ely|
Climate change and nuclear power will be focuses of July 27-30 forum
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 17, 2009
RENO — Climate change and the role nuclear power may play in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions will be focuses of the Community Environmental Monitoring Program (CEMP) annual workshop and training in Ely, Nevada, July 27-30. Faculty from DRI and elsewhere will discuss the science behind climate change, and other researchers will detail the future role that nuclear power may play in helping to decrease the level of CO2 emissions produced by the energy industry. Presentations include discussions of the effects of human activities on climate in the Great Basin and the Arctic, and how prehistoric populations adapted to past climate change in the Great Basin. Causes for the differences between scientific and public perception of these issues will also be discussed.
Other topics include discussions of the potential health effects of radioactivity, a new method for increasing the effectiveness of radiotherapy in cancer treatment, research indicating a lack of scientific evidence for increased cancer rates in populations living downwind of the Nevada Test Site, and a report on the surprising discovery of a species of bacteria that lives off the energy from radioactive decay present in subsurface atomic bomb cavities at the Nevada Test Site.
This is a sample of some of the presentations. A complete agenda is available online at http://cemp.dri.edu/.
The CEMP consists of a network of 29 radiation and weather monitoring stations located at communities and ranches surrounding the Nevada Test Site. The CEMP has been in operation since 1981, and was initiated to address public concerns about radioactivity produced as a result of past and (at the time) ongoing activities at the Nevada Test Site. Each year the program organizes a workshop for participating stakeholders, who learn about ongoing and planned activities at the Nevada Test Site, update their skills training and attend presentations on various related environmental topics. Agendas for future workshops are developed largely based on requests and suggestions made by the public stakeholders.
“Funded by the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and administered by DRI, the program's mission is to provide public stakeholders with a hands-on role in the monitoring process, and to make the monitoring data as transparent and accessible to the public,” said Ted Hartwell, Project Director for the CEMP.
The CEMP is a collaborative program that involves faculty and staff from all three of DRI's research divisions as well as two public stakeholders from each participating community, many of whom are science teachers who then involve their students in various aspects of the monitoring data.
John Lisle, one of the community monitors has been with program since its inception. Lisle is a retired high-school science teacher in Beatty, Nevada. “Many of us who started with the program were science teachers who wanted to be a part of something interesting and worthwhile that would provide us experiences that we could carry into the classroom,” Lisle said.
Lisle’s most memorable example was the Chernobyl nuclear reactor incident in 1986. “We sampled every day for about two months. I would talk to my students about the findings and we would discuss the impacts of the event here in Nevada.”
The network stations, located in Nevada, Utah, and California are comprised of instruments that collect a variety of environmental radiological and meteorological data. The CEMP is a joint effort between the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office (NNSA/NSO), and DRI.
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