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As this issue of P&S was being prepared for publication, world attention was riveted on the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami and the ongoing efforts to control the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility. Members of the Forum on Physics and Society extend their most heartfelt concern to our Japanese colleagues and their families.
The Japanese situation will no doubt lead to extensive debate on the role of nuclear power and to reviews of backup protocols for both existing and future plants. Our first feature article for this edition, by longtime contributor Dave Hafemeister, illustrates some back-of-the-envelope calculations of thermal rise times in reactor cores following lossof- containment and loss-of-power accidents. By unplanned coincidence, our other two feature articles concern very different types of nuclear installations. In late 2010, there was considerable media buzz surrounding the visit of former Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Sig Hecker’s visit to Yongbyon, North Korea, and his analysis of nuclear reactor development taking place there. We are pleased to be able to run an article by Dr. Hecker which presents considerably more technical detail than was contained in many media reports. Finally, Wally Manheimer offers an approach to reorienting current fusion-energy research to producing hybrid fusionfission reactors.
News of the Forum includes a call for nominations for individuals to APS Fellowship through the Forum (deadline June 1) and a summary of Forum-sponsored sessions to be held at the APS April Meeting in Anaheim. Reviewers take a look at books on detecting pseudoscience, non-science and abuse of science for political ends, and climate change and energy in the twenty-first century.