Science and Technology

Callaway nuclear plant reopens after 50 day closure

May 31, 2013
Ameren Missouri

The Callaway Energy Center just outside Fulton is back in service this week after a routine shutdown for refueling and maintenance. The plant was out of commission for 50 days while several new modifications were made in addition to normal inspections and tests.

Barry Cox, the senior director of nuclear operations for the plant, says the improvements mean it will take a few days for the plant to get back to full capacity.

File / KBIA

After several days of heavy rain across the lower Missouri River basin, the amount of water released into the river is being reduced to help minimize flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it began reducing the amount of water flowing into the Missouri River on Sunday because of concerns about flooding downstream. On Sunday, the Corps decreased the amount of water being released from Gavins Point Dam, located on the South Dakota-Nebraska state line, from 24,000 cubic feet per second to 12,000 cubic feet per second.

“… that will help the peak stages on the river in some locations and also shorten the duration of the high flows,” the Corps’ Jody Farhat said.

Archaeologists unearth more clues from ancient Cahokia civilization

May 29, 2013

On a blustery day in April, Italian archaeology student Marco Valeri stepped into an archaeological dig at the Cahokia Mounds

Missouri's lax regulations on meth-lab cleanup

May 29, 2013
Leah Shafer / Flikr


   Missouri’s meth problem is no secret. In 2012, the Show-Me State has the highest number of meth-lab seizure in the country.  But beyond the busts — Missouri has no statewide regulation on what to do with former meth labs. 

On AMC’s ‘Breaking Bad,’ meth cooks prepare a batch in a trailer in the desert or a dirty and  abandoned house. But this image of secrecy and seclusion isn’t always true. Timothy Sigmund is a real estate attorney from Jefferson City. He says many meth labs aren’t where pop culture might suggest they are.

“Apartment buildings, nicer homes,” Sigmund says. “It can be happening in many different places, and it doesn’t matter. It’s not that it’s some run-down shack in the middle of the woods.”


trafftoo / Flickr

A southwest Missouri county health department has posted health advisories for three waterways because of high bacteria levels.

vitualis / Flickr

Jefferson City hospital is planning a $35 million expansion that will increase the space at its main building by about one-third.

Fried Dough / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll take a closer look at smoking bans in Missouri.

Environmental groups are once again urging state officials to require groundwater monitoring at Ameren’s coal-fired power plants in eastern Missouri.

The Sierra Club and Labadie Environmental Organization submitted a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Thursday asking the state not to allow Ameren to build new coal ash landfills before testing groundwater for contamination.

Armchair Aviator / Flickr

A low-flying military jet from a western Missouri Air Force base clipped several power lines, but officials said no injuries were reported.

The A-10 Thunderbolt military jet from Whiteman Air Force base hit several power lines that cross Stockton Lake, near Bona, about 30 miles northwest of Springfield. A-10 Thunderbolts are single-seat, twin-engine attack jets.

Crews have been working to mark the lake to keep boaters away from submerged power lines.

This week on KBIA’s talk show Intersection, host Ryan Famuliner sat down with State Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Rep. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) and Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) to discuss the legislative session that ended on Friday. One of the main things on the show’s agenda was, of course, Medicaid expansion – or lack thereof.

Famuliner asked the panelists why the expansion failed to pass. 

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that only half of Americans identified as having had Hepatitis C ever follow-up with additional screening and treatment. But that’s only part of the problem, according to Bruce Burkett of the Missouri Hepatitis C Alliance. Nearly three in four people who have the disease don’t even know it.

Updated Wednesday, May 22, 5:30 p.m.: The Department of Health & Senior Services is also posting its evaluations of the air monitoring data here. The regulatory standards that DHSS is using to estimate the health risks from landfill fumes are here.

Health care reform put on hold as lawmakers wrap up session

May 16, 2013
Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

Rain is drizzling on the roughly 40 people standing in line outside the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in rural Mountain View, Missouri. Some have been standing for hours. At 5:30 pm, the clinic doors swing open, and the patients flood into a clean, bare bones waiting room.

Missouri Department of Social Services

The director of Missouri’s Medicaid program, Dr. Ian McCaslin, has left.

US Navy/Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Physicians Assistants, or PAs, may soon have more opportunities to practice in Missouri. A bill headed to the Governor’s desk would provide more flexibility in how and where they provide care.Physicians Assistants are trained health workers who practice medicine under the supervision of a doctor. Their training is shorter than that of a doctor, but they do exams, prescribe drugs and diagnose and treat illnesses.

Kellie Kotraba / KBIA News


With the Missouri legislative session ending on Friday and a Republican supermajority that still won't budge, the hope to expand Medicaid in Missouri is pretty much dead for FY 2014.

It's so dead that perhaps the only thing that could bring it back to life is, well, interfaith prayers for a miracle.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced a preliminary agreement on Tuesday with the owner of the Bridgeton Landfill.

Koster filed a lawsuit against Republic Services six weeks ago, alleging violations of state environmental laws. A fire has been smoldering underground at the landfill for two and half years.

Columbia’s Environment and Energy Commission is asking the city to increase the percentage of power generated from renewable sources by two percent every year. The goal is to reach 100 percent by the middle of the century.

In 2012, 7.94 percent of electricity in Columbia was generated from renewable sources. The existing standard requires the use of renewable sources reach 10 percent by 2017, and 15 percent by the end of 2022.

Camels are known for their ability to travel long distances across the desert without water.

But they’re also becoming an increasingly important source of milk for people in drought-prone regions. That includes East African countries like Kenya, where camel numbers have skyrocketed over the past few decades.

But introducing camels — or any species — to a new region, could mean bringing in new diseases.

The St. Louis Zoo has been studying camel diseases in Kenya to help assess their risks.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA



Imagine if you could take a digital model of anything and print out the actual physical object.  Thanks to a new technology called 3D printing, you can. This new technology has countless uses, but here in Columbia, several MU researchers are exploring its potential in the medical field.

Health money
Tax Credits / Flickr

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced another round of funding to help Americans enroll in the Affordable Care Act's new online health insurance marketplace.

About $150 million is now available for community health centers nationwide to hire and train employees who would provide in-person help for the public about their insurance options in the marketplace, which is set to open for enrollment on Oct. 1. 

The Missouri Psychiatric Center is the only inpatient psychiatric facility for youth within ninety miles of Columbia. The center just renovated their space to include more amenities for youth. The new space is brighter with natural light, new visitation and therapy rooms and three additional beds. The older site was darker and less accommodating for patients.  Director of the center, Laine Young-Walker said the beds were badly needed.

jfcherry / Flickr

Many Missourians will likely need help navigating the Affordable Care Act's new health insurance marketplace that's set to go online by Oct. 1, but one analyst says there might not be enough time or federal funding to train those who can help.

Eric Durban / Harvest Public Media

Cell-phone toting farmers caught in dangerous tractor rollovers may soon be able to more easily signal for help thanks to a new smart phone application in development at the University of Missouri.

The app uses GPS sensors to detect rollovers. The program then sends automatic email and phone alerts with the accident coordinates to an emergency contact.

The Vehicle Rollover Prevention Education Training Emergency Reporting System was developed by Bulent Koc, an assistant professor of agricultural systems management.

Laura King

On this week's show, we'll discuss why regret might not always be a bad thing

Step by step: One man walks across Missouri for a cause

May 2, 2013
Meredith Turk / KBIA

One St. Louis man is walking from Kansas City to St. Louis. He’s walking to share his story about a lifetime struggle with mental illness. His walk aims to raise awareness and funds for more mental health support in rural communities. 

grabadonut / Flickr

In separate studies both published on Wednesday, researchers at Washington University helped lead the genomic analysis of two types of cancer.

Jenn Durfey / flickr

The Boone County Sheriff’s Department collected almost 650 pounds of prescription drugs from drop-off locations around Boone County in a drug pick-up event this past weekend … and the sheriff’s department reports there is an increase in people dropping off prescriptions for environmental reasons.

File / KBIA

The federal government is giving the city of Joplin a deal on two fire engines it loaned the city after the 2011 tornado.

Youth advocacy group to host drug take-back event

Apr 26, 2013
The Javorac / Flickr

The Columbia-based Youth Community Coalition is hosting its annual prescription drug take back this Friday and Saturday. The take back is part of a national movement to collect and dispose of expired and unused prescription drugs, in collaboration with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.