Mossman called to join nuclear panel

January 17, 2008

Kenneth Mossman, an ASU professor of health physics and an international expert in radiation health and safety, has been named to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board Panel (ASLBP) of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The panel is an independent, trial-level adjudicatory body of the NRC.

The panel, acting on behalf of the NRC, conducts hearings and makes decisions with respect to granting, suspending, revoking, or amending licenses authorized by the Atomic Energy Act., The panel hears cases on licensing and enforcement regarding nuclear reactors and civilian use of nuclear materials in the United States. It considers issues concerning the operation of the nation’s more than 100 nuclear power plants and programs related to about 5,000 nuclear materials licenses. Download Full Image

In recent years, the panel’s hearings have shifted to focus on license extensions, site decontamination, enforcement actions, reactor and materials license amendments, and spent fuel storage.

“Nuclear industry activities generate some of the most challenging questions that face the government,” Mossman says. “The questions raised are highly technical, and they pertain to engineering, nuclear materials, the environment, infrastructure, public health and safety, and security.”

Mossman said the panel’s work is in a formal court setting, sifting through legal suits about nuclear reactor operations, the use of nuclear materials or the disposal of nuclear wastes. Drawing on a pool of 20 to 30 judges located across the United States, the ASLBP assembles three judge panels for each case that comes before it. Typically, panels comprise one legal judge and two technical judges.

Panelists are chosen based on the content of cases and the technical issues in question. Each judge has one independent vote, and court decisions can be appealed through the federal circuit court where the suit originated. For example, Arizona would have jurisdiction over a suit concerning the Palo Verde nuclear plant.

The panel is likely to see a significant increase in activity in the next 18 to 24 months, as nuclear utilities submit license applications for new nuclear plants, Mossman says. Another area the panel will deal with is the suitability of Yucca Mountain, Nev., as a site for a high-level waste repository. Yucca Mountain is the U.S. government’s proposed site for the long-term storage of the U.S. nuclear reactor wastes. It is proposed to be the site where nuclear wastes from all over the United States will be stored for periods up to thousands of years, raising many scientific, engineering and social concerns.

“There are groups that are very concerned about Yucca Mountain,” Mossman says. “They are concerned about the geology of the site and about the storage of wastes at this site for very long periods of time. There also are concerns about the safe transportation of wastes to Yucca Mountain. This panel will help sort through these issues and see which concerns have legal merit.”

Mossman has published widely in topics such as biological effects of low- and high-dose X-ray, gamma and neutron radiation; radiation exposure during pregnancy; the health effects of radon; and radiation protection and public policy. His research includes nuclear regulatory science and policy and managing small risks, as well as risk perception and risk communication.

Director, Media Relations and Strategic Communications


#19 women's tennis to open home duel slate this weekend versus UC Davis and NAU

January 18, 2008

This Week The Arizona State Sun Devils will open their 2008 spring duel campaign this weekend as they host the UC Davis Aggies and the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. The Devils face-off against the Aggies on Saturday, January 19 at 11 a.m. and follow up with a match-up with in-state rivals, NAU on Monday, January 21, also at 11 a.m. Both matches will be played in Tempe at ASU's Whiteman Tennis Center.

Last weekend saw the Sun Devils head to Las Vegas for one final tournament before duel season as they competed in the Freeman Memorial Tournament hosted by UNLV. Going head-to-head with tough competition from UCLA, Stanford, Florida, Oregon, UNLV and Georgia Tech, the Sun Devils held their own with Freshman, Kelcy">">K... McKenna stepping up big again as she won the singles consolation bracket with a 6-1, 6-0 defeat of Ashley Joelson of UCLA in the finals. Download Full Image

Series History Against the Aggies, the Sun Devils have met on the court three times, winning all three. The first two with 7-0 wins in 2005 and 2006 and a 5-2 win last season on January 20, 2007 in Tempe. Versus the Lumberjacks, the Sun Devils currently hold a 9-0 record over NAU. ASU has never allowed NAU a point in duel play, outscoring the Lumberjacks 67-0. Their last meeting was February 26, 2007 at ASU's Whiteman Tennis Center with a final score of 7-0.

Up Next The Sun Devils remain home next weekend as they take on their first ranked opponent of the season when the #24 Texas Longhorns come to Tempe to face the Sun Devils on Saturday, Jan. 26 at noon at ASU's Whiteman Tennis Center.

Legends of the Fall The Sun Devils had a very strong showing during their 2007 fall season, especially with such a young team making their collegiate debuts. They handled well as freshman, Kelcy">">K... McKenna was even able to jump into the rankings after going 11-3 through the fall to grab a #93 ranking before even playing in a duel match!

Sister Act The Abdalas have taken their talent to a new level this year as they have stepped on the court to become a fierce force in doubles. They advanced to the Wilson/ITA Southern California Regional Championships in October on to fall just short to the fifth-ranked UCLA duo of Amanda Fink and Gabriela Niculescu.

To Be the Best... As always, the Sun Devils will play one of the toughest schedules in the country, combining a strong non-conference slate with the always powerful Pac-10 Conference schedule.

Where they Stack up In the ITA's first poll of 2008, the Sun Devils were ranked No. 19 as a team. Last year, the Sun Devils finished ranked No. 18 in the country after posting an 13-10 overall record and advancing to the NCAA tournament. It marks the 36th straight poll that the Devils have been in the top 30.

At The Helm Coach Sheila"> McInerney enters her 24th season at the helm of the Sun Devil program, the fourth longest tenure of any head coach at ASU, after leading last year's team to its 20th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament, a school record. In her 23 seasons, McInerney has led her team to 22 berths in the tournament. Prior to the last three year's tournament rounds, McInerney had led eight straight teams to the Sweet 16. She holds a career record of 346-221 and has posted three 20-win seasons in her career. ASU has finished in the top-10 of the nation an astounding 13 times under McInerney's tutelage.