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News Panel: Spring Wildfires / Fusion Troubles

Watch Complete Episode: May 3, 2013 »

Early spring wildfires are burning, threatening homes and scorching hundreds of acres throughout the state. As snowpack data comes in, California faces one of the driest years on record. With forests and grasslands already tinder dry, firefighters are gearing up for what could be a nasty fire season.

Using the world's largest laser, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been trying to ignite a nuclear fusion reaction in a laboratory essentially mimicking a tiny sun. Called the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the $5 billion project hopes to revolutionize energy by laying the groundwork for a potentially endless supply of clean energy. But after missing several deadlines and a management shake-up, the facility is now adjusting expectations.

Guests:

  • Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News & KQED
  • Amy Standen, KQED Science
 

Also on KQED.org this week ...

Lake Donner
Drought Watch 2015: Record-Low Sierra Snowpack

The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California's water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That shatters last year's low-water mark of 25 percent (tied with 1977).

Yo Yo Ma
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area

KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.

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