Friday, 10 January 1992 Washington, DC
1. MIYAZAWA PUTS OFF DECISION ON SUPERCOLLIDER FOR ANOTHER
In spite of reports a couple of weeks ago that the Japanese Prime
Minister was committed to the SSC
(WN 27 Dec 91), it appears that the only agreement reached
during the visit of President Bush was to create a joint study
group to examine the project for another year. DOE hailed the
decision as a "breakthrough in making this a truly international
project." A call to the office of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who
had announced two weeks ago that Japan would contribute, produced
the response that things were going just as Barton predicted.
"Miyazawa would not have agreed to the study if he did not intend
to contribute," we were told, "we still expect a contribution of
$0.5-1.5B when the study is complete." Rep. Barton and three
other members of the House SS&T Committee, including Chairman
Brown (D-CA), will visit Japan next week to discuss support for
mega-projects. Japanese officials must spend a lot of their time
at the airport greeting SSC delegations.
2. MIR COSMONAUTS REST A LITTLE EASIER FOLLOWING MINSK
Watching the disintegration of the nation that
represents your lifeline from a space station 300 miles up must
be stressful, but nine republics of the Commonwealth of
Independent States agreed on New Year's eve to continue the
Soviet space program. Launch facilities for Mir resupply
missions and landing sites for crew returns are all in
Kazakhstan, which signed the agreement, but the boosters are
manufactured in Ukraine, which did not. The two cosmonauts on
Mir had issued a dramatic appeal for support just a few days
earlier. Maintaining Mir is not very expensive; because of the
exchange rate, it is even claimed that the $14M dollars paid by
Japanese news agencies to take a journalist on board is enough to
keep Mir going for a year. Nevertheless, one of the cosmonauts
who was expecting to return to earth was recently told he will
have to wait another six months. The meeting in Minsk of leaders
of the new Commonwealth dealt primarily with military issues,
such as whose finger is on the nuclear button.
3. DOE DENIES TRITIUM CONTAMINATED WATER EXCEEDED EPA
in the Savannah River spill, but it did acknowledge
that "inadequate steps had been taken to minimize the releases."
EPA standards are given in terms of a total annual exposure,
which was not exceeded since the exposure lasted only a few days.
The real question is whether the tritium facility is needed now
that we are planning to dispose of half of our nuclear warheads.
Well, why not? The Administration has decided that since we no
longer need the B-2 Stealth Bomber we will only build half as
4. DID A LIVERMORE COLD FUSION ACCIDENT "DESTROY" A LAB?
A glass electrolysis cell did not explode at Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory, as WHAT'S NEW stated last week, it
"burst," we are told by the LLNL Public Affairs Office. The
shards were stopped harmlessly by the water bath in which it was