Talk:Allison Macfarlane

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Correction on cite related to Harry Reid[edit]

Macfarlane did not serve on Reid's staff; the Washington Post article cited states the current Chairman, Gregory Jaczko, was on Reid's staff. The item has been updated with a cite reflecting her membership on the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. NRC OPA (talk) 00:42, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Improper spelling of last name[edit]

The article head improperly uppercases the 'f' in Macfarlane, but I'm not familiar enough with Wiki editing to change it. Would another editor please make that change? Thank you. NRC OPA (talk) 00:47, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Change made... thank you... Johnfos (talk) 01:40, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. NRC OPA (talk) 13:33, 13 June 2012 (UTC)


Married to Hugh Gusterson?[edit]

Several sources indicate she is married to Hugh Gusterson. This has been removed several times now, including with misleading edit summaries. What gives? Candleabracadabra (talk) 15:24, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

My apologies: I've never tried to edit a wikipedia entry before. I thought I'd saved my explanation for the edit, but apparently the save failed. I am indeed married to Allison, but we would like this deleted out of respect for our privacy. (Our home phone is listed under my name, not hers, and inclusion of this information enables journalists to call our home, as a few have been doing.) 69.140.157.137 (talk) 15:33, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Isn't it appropriate that a biographical encyclopedia article make note of a person's spouse, especially when the spouse is 1) notable and 2) notable in regard to subject matter relevant to the biography in question (ie. Nuclear Power? Your phone number isn't listed in on Wikipedia as far as I can tell, so I don't see how making this article complete and accurate is the problem. Am I being unsympathetic? Is there something I am missing? You want the article on your wife who is chair of the government's nuclear agency to exclude your name, even though you are a notable professor who writes frequently on Nuclear related topics, because you've chosen to have you phone number listed and journalists can look you up?
As long as you're here, I'm curious about your opinion on storing nuclear waste at the plant sites v. one centrailized location like Yucca mountain. Wasn't a lot of the damage at Fukushima from waste being stored on site instead of secured offsite at a more secure location? Candleabracadabra (talk) 00:03, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

My work is on nuclear weapons (over which NRC has no jurisdiction), not nuclear energy. And more recently on counterinsurgency. I know nothing about nuclear waste storage issues, so will stay out of that one. The NRC tried to argue that my wife's official NRC bio should make no mention of the fact that she has a husband and children, so I guess opinions differ on what should go into a bio. My phone number is listed mainly so parents of our children's friends in the neighborhood can find us if they need to. Recently, alas, some journalists have been aggressive about calling at home. They know they won't get a comment; it's a kind of harassment. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DCcantabrian (talkcontribs) 01:46, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Your article I linked to above The Lessons of Fukushima is quite clearly about nuclear energy. Candleabracadabra (talk) 14:34, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Request for Edit by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission[edit]


My name is Brett Klukan. I am an employee with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It has come to our attention that certain language in Allison Macfarlane's article may be misleading. Specifically, we are concerned about the following sentence:

Macfarlane has written extensively in opposition to storing spent nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain, favoring storing waste at reactors in dry casks.

The provided reference for this sentence, a Washington Post article dated May 24, 2012, provides, in fact, the following:

Macfarlane has said that there are real geological as well as political obstacles to the Yucca Mountain site. Like Energy Secretary Steven Chu, she has said that dry casks at reactor sites can provide needed storage for a long time but that the search for a new repository should begin.

As it would be more in keeping with the actual language of the reference, we ask that the Wikipedia editorial community consider amending that the abovementioned sentence in Ms. Macfarlane's Wikipedia article to reflect the fact that while she supports dry cask storage, as an interim storage solution, she believes that the search for a new geologic repository should begin (as she, in general, supports the idea of a geologic repository).


Additional support for this proposed change in language can be found at the following source: http://www.technologyreview.com/qa/414029/life-after-yucca-mountain/.


I would be happy to discuss this request or answer any questions related to it. Thank you for your consideration.


Bklukan1 (talk) 18:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Bklukan1 ... 'Employee' = 'Lawyer for the Office of the General Counsel for the NRC'. http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1304/ML13044A231.pdf — Preceding unsigned comment added by VmZH88AZQnCjhT40 (talkcontribs) 15:19, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
So you suggest noting something along the lines of "MacFarlane supports allocating billions of dollars to research an alternative geological storage option over coming decades"? I believe that's the thrust of what is in the source you cite? Candleabracadabra (talk) 22:46, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
The NRC reiterates its belief that the sentence is incorrect in that it does not accurately capture the referenced information in the cited article. As such, we respectfully request that a Wikipedia editor modify the sentence to remedy this inaccuracy. With that said, here are some additional links regarding the Chairman’s thoughts with respect to the issue of nuclear waste storage:
http://www.technologyreview.com/qa/414029/life-after-yucca-mountain/
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6047/1225.full.pdf?sid=bb82fa45-e235-48dd-867f-19b30f2349ba
http://bos.sagepub.com/content/67/4/30.full
http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID=da19acbe-802a-23ad-4357-2f58816a73f0&Witness_ID=3bc60339-7405-456c-bd18-c3acdc88bd45
Alternatively, the NRC would be satisfied if a Wikipedia editor chose to simply eliminate the inconsistent portion of the sentence.
Thank you for your consideration.
Bklukan1 (talk) 04:18, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I oppose changing what's in the article as it's supported by the original source and the additional one you provided, where her being an outspoken critic of storage at Yucca Mountain is in fact noted. I'm not sure what you object to and you haven't responded to my suggestion about adding something about allocating tens of billions of dollars to research geological alternatives in coming decades. That is I believe almost word for word what she says in the interview you provided a link to. That addition would serve to clarify that in the future she supports a geological solution. Is there something I am missing? Candleabracadabra (talk) 14:33, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. I cannot see any source anywhere which supports the notion that she favours "storing waste at reactors in dry casks" indefinitely, which is the impression that anyone is likely to get from the form of wording in the article at present. At www.epw.senate.gov/public/109th/MacFarlane_Testimony.pdf she says "Let me begin by emphasizing that in my expert opinion, the best solution to the problem of high-level nuclear waste remains a geologic repository". In the same source, she goes on to quite emphatically distinguish between "an interim, temporary solution" and long-term "geologic disposal", and she says that she "would argue for continued work on geologic repository disposal of high-level nuclear waste". Anybody reading the present article would get the clear impression that she holds a view contrary to that, so the article must be changed. I shall make an adjustment in wording to better reflect what the sources record her as saying. I have read the interview several times, and I cannot see anything that "almost word for word" says "allocating tens of billions of dollars", nor even anywhere where she mentions any number of dollars. In fact, the only thing on the page that even remotely resembles that is a blog post by someone opposing her, so to suggest that it is what she said is a total misrepresentation. JamesBWatson (talk) 09:37, 8 May 2013 (UTC)
"It took 22 years and $8 billion to get nowhere on Yucca. Politics aside, how long will it take, and how much will it cost, to get U.S. storage sites opened?
AM: We didn’t get nowhere. We learned quite a bit. We should set aside something on the order of a few decades to get this right. It will cost billions, but that’s part of the price of nuclear power."
Using misleading weasel language like "interim" when you are talking about decades is not in the interest of our readers. Let's try to be accurate. Candleabracadabra (talk) 14:47, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Excuse me if I am being a bit bold, but I've hidden the comment on the article page. Based on the conversation here, it appears that the phrasing of the sentence is contested and may appear to be a "snarky" attack on her position to some. While the sentence is important to the article, it's also important that it's presented in a neutral tone. I suggest that we use the talk page to construct a phrasing that we can agree upon. If I may provide a suggestion, how about:

"Macfarlane has opposed storing spent nuclear fuel in Yucca Mountain. Currently she supports storing waste at reactors in dry casks at power plants and allocating funds to finding a suitable geologic repository for storage in the future."

Another contributor has suggested:

"She favors storing waste at reactors in dry casks at power plants in the short term while finding a suitable geologic repository for the long term."

I'd appreciate input from other contributors and welcome your suggestions. Mike VTalk 04:17, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

How is leaving out the time frame and costs an improvement? It seems like you want to weasel word the content based on the desires of her PR peopole. Macfarlane's PR people requested we note her position and that's what we've done based on the source they provided. I oppose using "short term" when what's being talked about is a period of decades. That's misleading to our readers and unencyclopedic. What's there is accurate and based on the sources. If there's better wording that maintains encyclopedic accuracy I am all for it. I wrestled with how best to word it and tried to be consistent with what she expressed as her position. If there's a better way have at it, but excluding critical details isn't an improvement.
I also wonder whether the unsourced last sentence of the article should continue to be included? Candleabracadabra (talk) 22:24, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
I have read the source material and the discussion more thoroughly now. I see this content area as continuing to be problematic.
  • This source is primary and unreliable. Giving it a read-through, I have doubts that it accurately reflects the testimony given, because it is written in a style that is rarely spoken. Many documents like this are edited afterwards.
  • "repeatedly expressed" - if this is not stated in a single source, it's Original Synthesis
  • "strong opposition" is not problematic, but we should explain why she opposes it. As it reads now, it just makes her views sound stupid, like she opposes it for no reason and supports spending billions of dollars aimlessly
  • "Macfarlane has also stated that improving the NRC's engagement with the public is a high priority for her.[6]" <-- this sentence is just fluff.
  • "and for billions of dollars to be spent" should explain on what, how and why
CorporateM (Talk) 02:34, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
I support Mike's version, but would suggest some tweaks (see below). CorporateM (Talk) 03:43, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
According to The New York Times, Macfarlane is "a long time critic" of storing spent nuclear fuel in a volcanic structure near Las Vegas called Yucca Mountain.[1] She says the seismic and volcanic activity as well as oxidizing in the environment would make the nuclear waste unstable. MacFarlane supports storing waste at reactors in dry casks at power plants and allocating funds to finding a suitable geologic repository for storage in the future.
That looks pretty good except for the "volcanic structure" wording which seems to push a particular perspective (I have no opposition to quoting her or noting that she has concerns over volcanic activity if that's the case), and I reiterate my request for precision as opposed to "in the future". If we're talking about decades and that's the wording she uses why are we obfuscating? Otherwise your text looks okay to me. Candleabracadabra (talk) 06:08, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
 Done I felt the "decades" bit was more of an offhand comment than a formalized prediction, but I went ahead and put it in. The New York Times did call it a volcanic structure, but I notice Wikipedia just calls it a mountain, which is just as good. I added the material and closed the request edit, but anyone is welcome to continue editing/discussing. CorporateM (Talk) 14:23, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
Looks good to me. I made a few adjustments and clarifications intended to further flesh out her views. I think this expanded description of her take on the issues is much improved over what was there before. Thanks for your efforts. Candleabracadabra (talk) 15:07, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Request for Edit by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission[edit]


My name is Brett Klukan. I’m an attorney in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Office of the General Counsel. On behalf of the NRC, I’d like to request Dr. Macfarlane’s article be updated to reflect that she was sworn in for a five-year term as chairman of the NRC on July 1, 2013.[2] Also, if someone was willing to fill out the bio somewhat, the following sources could be useful:

  1. Allison Macfarlane (May - June 2012). "Trouble at the Back End". American Scientist. Retrieved 2013-05-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Allison Macfarlane (July/August 2011). "It’s 2050: Do you know where your nuclear waste is?". Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. doi:10.1177/0096340211413357. Retrieved 2013-05-23.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Allison Macfarlane (October 2003). "Underlying Yucca Mountain: The Interplay of Geology and Policy in Nuclear Waste Disposal" (PDF). Social Studies of Science. pp. 783–807. doi:10.1177/0096340211413357. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 

I would be happy to discuss this request or answer any questions related to it. Thank you for your consideration.

Bklukan1 (talk) 18:32, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Can you propose a specific edit? We may not implement it exactly as suggested, but it is easier to look at as a completed work than just a list of references. That being said, if a subject-matter expert with a regular interest in the page takes an interest in authoring the material based on the sources, that is always preferred (but rare). Alternatively it is also always worthwhile to share sources on Talk generally without a Request Edit template. CorporateM (Talk) 17:14, 30 July 2013 (UTC)
It looks like the page has been updated to include this info and I've managed to work the official bio into a reference. I'm marking this as a partially completed request.--User:Salix alba (talk): 11:15, 18 September 2013 (UTC)