Wednesday, November 26, 2014  Current Operating Status
 

Publications

 

2014

 

In addition to the NRC studies listed the Transportation Research Board also publishes a number of technical reports and papers through its various Programs and Journals. You can access those reports and papers about energy at the following site: http://www.trb.org/Energy/TRBPublications.aspx.

 

2014-future-advanced-nuclear-tech

The Future of Advanced Nuclear Technologies: Interdisciplinary Research Team Summaries (Keck Futures Initiative)

 

The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI) Conference in 2013 focused on the Future of Advanced Nuclear Technologies to generate new ideas about how to move nuclear technology forward while making the world safer and more secure. Beyond the public's apprehension concerning the safety of nuclear power, which calls out for better communications strategies, several challenges lie ahead for the nuclear enterprise in the United States. The workforce in nuclear technology is aging, there is an overreliance on large, high-risk reactor designs, and the supply of radioisotopes for nuclear medicine remains unstable--all problems crying out for solutions.

 

The Future of Advanced Nuclear Technologies summarizes the 14 Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) teams' collaborations on creative solutions to challenges designed to propel the policy, engineering, and social aspects of the nuclear enterprise forward.
 

2014-risk-governance-shale-gas

Risks and Risk Governance in Shale Gas Development: Summary of Two Workshops (DBASSE)


Natural gas in deep shale formations, which can be developed by hydraulic fracturing and associated technologies (often collectively referred to as "fracking") is dramatically increasing production of natural gas in the United States, where significant gas deposits exist in formations that underlie many states. Major deposits of shale gas exist in many other countries as well. Proponents of shale gas development point to several kinds of benefits, for instance, to local economies and to national "energy independence". Shale gas development has also brought increasing expression of concerns about risks, including to human health, environmental quality, non-energy economic activities in shale regions, and community cohesion. Some of these potential risks are beginning to receive careful evaluation; others are not. Although the risks have not yet been fully characterized or all of them carefully analyzed, governments at all levels are making policy decisions, some of them hard to reverse, about shale gas development and/or how to manage the risks.

 

Risks and Risk Governance in Shale Gas Development is the summary of two workshops convened in May and August 2013 by the National Research Council's Board on Environmental Change and Society to consider and assess claims about the levels and types of risk posed by shale gas development and about the adequacy of existing governance procedures. Participants from engineering, natural, and social scientific communities examined the range of risks and of social and decision-making issues in risk characterization and governance related to gas shale development. Central themes included risk governance in the context of (a) risks that emerge as shale gas development expands, and (b) incomplete or declining regulatory capacity in an era of budgetary stringency. This report summarizes the presentations on risk issues raised in the first workshop, the risk management and governance concepts presented at the second workshop, and the discussions at both workshops.
 

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Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety of U.S. Nuclear Plants (DELS)

 

The March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami sparked a humanitarian disaster in northeastern Japan. They were responsible for more than 15,900 deaths and 2,600 missing persons as well as physical infrastructure damages exceeding $200 billion. The earthquake and tsunami also initiated a severe nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Three of the six reactors at the plant sustained severe core damage and released hydrogen and radioactive materials. Explosion of the released hydrogen damaged three reactor buildings and impeded onsite emergency response efforts. The accident prompted widespread evacuations of local populations, large economic losses, and the eventual shutdown of all nuclear power plants in Japan.

 

Lessons Learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident for Improving Safety and Security of U.S. Nuclear Plants is a study of the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This report examines the causes of the crisis, the performance of safety systems at the plant, and the responses of its operators following the earthquake and tsunami. The report then considers the lessons that can be learned and their implications for U.S. safety and storage of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, commercial nuclear reactor safety and security regulations, and design improvements. Lessons Learned makes recommendations to improve plant systems, resources, and operator training to enable effective ad hoc responses to severe accidents. This report's recommendations to incorporate modern risk concepts into safety regulations and improve the nuclear safety culture will help the industry prepare for events that could challenge the design of plant structures and lead to a loss of critical safety functions.

 

In providing a broad-scope, high-level examination of the accident, Lessons Learned is meant to complement earlier evaluations by industry and regulators. This in-depth review will be an essential resource for the nuclear power industry, policy makers, and anyone interested in the state of U.S. preparedness and response in the face of crisis situations.
 

2014-arctic-oil-spills

Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment (DELS, TRB)

 

U.S. Arctic waters north of the Bering Strait and west of the Canadian border encompass a vast area that is usually ice covered for much of the year, but is increasingly experiencing longer periods and larger areas of open water due to climate change. Sparsely inhabited with a wide variety of ecosystems found nowhere else, this region is vulnerable to damage from human activities. As oil and gas, shipping, and tourism activities increase, the possibilities of an oil spill also increase. How can we best prepare to respond to such an event in this challenging environment?

 

Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment reviews the current state of the science regarding oil spill response and environmental assessment in the Arctic region north of the Bering Strait, with emphasis on the potential impacts in U.S. waters. This report describes the unique ecosystems and environment of the Arctic and makes recommendations to provide an effective response effort in these challenging conditions. According to Responding to Oil Spills in the U.S. Arctic Marine Environment, a full range of proven oil spill response technologies is needed in order to minimize the impacts on people and sensitive ecosystems. This report identifies key oil spill research priorities, critical data and monitoring needs, mitigation strategies, and important operational and logistical issues.

 

The Arctic acts as an integrating, regulating, and mediating component of the physical, atmospheric and cryospheric systems that govern life on Earth. Not only does the Arctic serve as regulator of many of the Earth's large-scale systems and processes, but it is also an area where choices made have substantial impact on life and choices everywhere on planet Earth. This report's recommendations will assist environmentalists, industry, state and local policymakers, and anyone interested in the future of this special region to preserve and protect it from damaging oil spills.
 

2014-reducing-fuel-consumption

Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two: First Report (DEPS)

 

Medium- and heavy-duty trucks, motor coaches, and transit buses - collectively, "medium- and heavy-duty vehicles", or MHDVs - are used in every sector of the economy. The fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of MHDVs have become a focus of legislative and regulatory action in the past few years. Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two is a follow-on to the National Research Council's 2010 report, Technologies and Approaches to Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium-and Heavy-Duty Vehicles. That report provided a series of findings and recommendations on the development of regulations for reducing fuel consumption of MHDVs.

 

This report comprises the first periodic, five-year follow-on to the 2010 report. Reducing the Fuel Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, Phase Two reviews NHTSA fuel consumption regulations and considers the technological, market and regulatory factors that may be of relevance to a revised and updated regulatory regime taking effect for model years 2019-2022. The report analyzes and provides options for improvements to the certification and compliance procedures for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles; reviews an updated analysis of the makeup and characterization of the medium- and heavy-duty truck fleet; examines the barriers to and the potential applications of natural gas in class 2b through class 8 vehicles; and addresses uncertainties and performs sensitivity analyses for the fuel consumption and cost/benefit estimates.

 

Report in Brief
 

 

 

 
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