BURN: Listen

What happened to the oil from the BP spill?

In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico — 11 people were killed, the rig was destroyed, and by the time the wellhead was capped 87 days later, nearly 5 million barrels of crude had poured into the Gulf. One of the big questions people are trying to answer is where all the oil went.

August 19, 2012 more »

Where to put all our nuclear waste?

Visitors at a research area inside the the Gorleben salt dome exploratory mine in Germany.

We have, in this country alone, something like 70,000 tons of high level nuclear waste — 250,000 worldwide, give or take. What we don’t have, here or anywhere else, is a place to put it all. And figuring that out means you have to convince people it’ll be okay to store nuclear waste where they live.

July 17, 2012 more »

The smell of prosperity or illness?

Roxana, Illinois

Oil’s been good to Roxana, Ill.. Once upon a time, three refineries, along with steel mills and manufacturing plants, employed tens of thousands of people. But then the factories and two of the refineries shut down. And in 1986, a pipeline broke and the town has been living with the consequences ever since.

June 29, 2012 more »

This is the oil business

Nothing actually about oil is a sure thing. Least of all: finding it. Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars leasing land and drilling wells based on what’s basically some very educated guesswork. The biggies, BP and Chevron and Exxon, go drilling all over the world. But there are hundreds of smaller companies poking around right here in the United States looking for the next big find.

April 20, 2012 more »

The Hunt for Oil: Risks and Rewards

Host Alex Chadwick tackles one of the most important energy questions facing America: Are we running out of oil? It’s not an easy question to answer and, in an effort to understand what’s at stake, Alex travels to some of the country’s most important petroleum exploration sites.

April 18, 2012 more »

Lessons from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

Fukushima cleanup: man in suit and mask

In March 2010 a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami hit the northeast coast of Japan. That in turn made the Fukushima Daiichi power plant famous as the site of one of the worst nuclear accidents we’ve ever known. We’re airing a series of stories looking back at what happened and trying to figure out what, if anything, has been learned since then.

March 8, 2012 more »

Interview: Witness at Fukushima Daiichi

Fukushima Witness, engineer Carl Pillitteri

When the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and the Daiichi nuclear plant last March, an American technical crew with 40 workers was on site. Among the crew was Carl Pillitteri, a maintenance supervisor who was on the floor of one of the four turbine buildings — enormous structures that house the gigantic turbines that produce energy.

March 7, 2012 more »

Nuclear Regulatory Commission releases audio of Fukushima disaster

Fukushima disaster: road destroyed

At the request of BURN, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today released transcripts and audio recordings made at the NRC Operations Center during last year’s meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. The recordings show the inside workings of the U.S. government’s highest level efforts to understand and deal with the unfolding nuclear crisis.

February 21, 2012 more »

Particles: Nuclear Power After Fukushima

A one-year anniversary special examining the future of nuclear power after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan. Some scientists believe the accident was a significant setback for nuclear in the U.S. But climate concerns are a factor — 70% of carbon-free energy comes from nuclear power, with more than 60 nuclear reactors under construction worldwide.

February 1, 2012 more »

Audio Features: Alex Chadwick Discusses Electric Cars on Marketplace

Testing the voltage of a battery at the Electric Car Conversion Conference in Cape Girardeau, MO.

In September 2011, an international group of car and technology enthusiasts gathered in Cape Girardeau, MO for the first EVCCON — the Electric Vehicle Conversion Convention. They came from China and New Zealand, Amsterdam and Ontario, and from throughout the U.S. to exchange ideas, swap stories, and drive really really fast down a taxiway at the Cape Regional Airport.

December 9, 2011 more »