So, this report just in, and, from the latest at http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com
"Interesting to note up top, though, is that Steven Chu is a signatory on the DOE Labs' report "A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy," released this past August. You can read that here (as a pdf). Chu, a Nobel prize winner in physics, is director of the Berkeley Lab. You can learn more about him here."
A positive, potentially, maybe, pro-nuclear person on the Cabinet? Ooohhh....the story is "Steven Chu for Energy Czar".
Every knows that Obama has been torn by both his anti-nuclear liberal constituency on the one hand and the fact that half his home state runs on fission. What to do? What to do?
Well, if it's any sign, Mr. Chu is not hostile to nuclear energy (a good thing) even though his POV tends to be pro- "Alternative". But his mildly "pro-nuclear" as well...he is, after all, a S C I E N T I S T!!! This doesn't mean anything but we should examine what he literally put his signiture on here:
Really, first thing that comes up in this paper he co-authored is his signature. Here is the pertinent section, in full:
A Sustainable Energy Future: The Essential Role of Nuclear Energy
The Directors of the Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories strongly believe that nuclear energy must play a significant and growing role in our nation’s — and the world’s — energy portfolio. This conclusion is based on an analysis of national and international energy needs in the context of broader global energy, environmental, and security issues. This paper provides details regarding our position in relation to nuclear energy. It is intended to be used as a basis for further discussion with stakeholders to help in developing specific near-term actions as well as a coherent long-term strategy incorporating the items listed below:
• Make maximum use of the current ‘fleet’ of operating light-water reactors, including plant life extensions, extended fuel burnup, and power uprates.
• Establish a national priority to immediately deploy advanced light-water reactors to meet our nation’s increasing energy demand, while limiting greenhouse gas emissions and continuing to provide critical support to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
• Employ an integrated approach to manage used nuclear fuel and high-level waste, including interim storage, licensing of the Yucca Mountain Repository as a long-term resource, and exploration of optimal future waste management options.
• Implement an aggressive research and development (R&D) program on advanced reactors, reprocessing, waste management, and fuel fabrication concepts to enable timely identification of the technological options for a sustainable closed fuel cycle.
• Pursue partnering with other countries and implementation of an international regime that discourages the spread of enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and promotes the assurance of worldwide fuel supply and effective waste management.
• Strengthen international safeguards through aggressive R&D, thereby revitalizing U.S.
I think this bodes well as the very minimum we need to phase out coal, even if this is not the explicit goal of the paper. It's a good start, and, if publicized (as it will if the nomination goes through) it raises the level of the discussion.
Yours for atomic energy, publicly owned, with human needs before profit! (of course that is NOT what we are going to get, regardless).