Climate Change and Environment
|Earth Science and Applications from Space: Urgent Needs and Opportunities to Serve the Nation
The Earth is a dynamic planet whose changes and variations affect our communications, energy, health, food, housing, and transportation infrastructure. Understanding these changes requires a range of observations acquired from a variety of land-, sea-, air-, and space-based platforms. To assist NASA, NOAA, and the USGS develop these tools, the NRC was asked by these agencies to carry out a decadal strategy survey of Earth science and applications from space. In particular, the study is to develop the key scientific questions on which to focus Earth and environmental observations in the period 2005-2015, and a prioritized list of space programs, missions, and supporting activities to address these questions. This interim report outlines a key element of the study the rationale for tying Earth observations to societal need and identifies urgent near-term actions needed to achieve this goal. A final report, due in late 2006, will provide the list of recommended space missions, programs, and supporting.
|Impact of Revised Airborne Exposure Limits on Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Program Activities
The U.S. Army's Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel program is responsible for dismantling former chemical agent production facilities and destroying recovered chemical materiel. In response to congressional requirements, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in 2003, recommended new airborne exposure limits (AELs) to protect workforce and public health during operations to destroy this materiel. To assist in meeting these recommended limits, the U.S. Army asked the NRC for a review of its implementation plans for destruction of production facilities at the Newport Chemical Depot and the operation of two types of mobile destruction systems. This report presents the results of that review. It provides recommendations on analytical methods, on airborne containment monitoring, on operational procedures, on the applicability of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and on involvement of workers and the public in implementation of the new AELs.
|Interim Design Assessment for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant
In 1996, Congress enacted directing the Department of Defense to assess and demonstrate technology alternatives to incineration for destruction of the chemical weapons stored at Pueblo Chemical and Blue Grass Army Depots. Since then, the National Research Council (NRC) has been carrying out evaluations of candidate technologies including reviews of engineering design studies and demonstration testing. Most recently, the NRC was asked by the Army to evaluate designs for pilot plants at Pueblo and Blue Grass. These pilot plants would use chemical neutralization for destroying the chemical agent and the energetics in the munitions stockpiles of these two depots. This report provides the interim assessment of the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) to permit adjustment of any significant problems as soon as possible. The report presents an analysis of the issues about the current PCAPP design and a series of findings and recommendations about ways to reduce concerns with involve the public more heavily in the process.
|Extending the Effective Lifetimes of Earth Observing Research Missions
While NASA Earth Science missions are planned on the basis of a specified lifetime, often they are able to function beyond the end of that period. Until recently NASA had no formal mechanism for determining whether those missions should be extended or whether the resources necessary for the extension should be applied to new missions. In August 2004, when NASA merged Earth and space sciences, the agency began using the Science Review process to make those extension determinations. NASA had asked the NRC to assess extension review processes, and after the merger, this study focused on the Science Review process. This report presents an assessment of that process and provides recommendations for adapting it to Earth Science missions.
|Monitoring at Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities
Under the direction of the U.S. Army s Chemical Materials Agency (CMA) and mandated by Congress, the nation is destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. Over the past several years, the Army has requested several studies from the NRC to assist with the stockpile destruction. This study was requested to advise the CMA about the status of analytical instrumentation technology and systems suitable for monitoring airborne chemical warfare agents at chemical weapons disposal and storage facilities. The report presents an assessment of current monitoring systems used for airborne agent detection at CMA facilities and of the applicability and availability of innovative new technologies. It also provides a review of how new regulatory requirements would affect the CMA s current agent monitoring procedures, and whether new measurement technologies are available and could be effectively incorporated into the CMA s overall chemical agent monitoring strategies.