I work in nuclear power and I am obviously a pro-nuclear kind of person, but I am a political anomaly in my company because I am a Democrat. My plant is in Matagorda County, Texas, which is the double whammy because not only are Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn my Senators, but the plant is the congressional district of Ron Paul.
I work in training, so it is beneficial for me to get all of the industry newsletters. One letter I get is from NEI or the Nuclear Energy Institute. There was an article recently about a Senate hearing concerning Energy research and development. As I was reading this article, one part really struck me, and I thought I would share it with you. The conversation in the Senate was between the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, and the Senators in the committee and the subject quickly turned to a discussion about the viability of Yucca Mountain. The primary questioner from the panel was none other than John McCain. Here is an excerpt from the article that contains the part that made me laugh out loud.
Chu affirmed that he and President Obama do not support continued funding of the used fuel repository at Yucca Mountain, preferring in the short term the current practice of storing used fuel at nuclear energy plants. In the long term, the administration supports research into used fuel reprocessing, he said.
However, Chu said that European and Japanese reprocessing methods carry a proliferation risk and, further, it might take as many as 20 years to develop a method to mitigate this concern. McCain said he "couldn’t disagree more" with Chu’s assessment, calling current recycling technologies safe and usable.
This sounds funny to me. Let’s compare.
Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy-
Education and Experience - He received his bachelor’s degree in 1970 from the University of Rochester, and his doctorate degree from University of California, Berkeley in 1976, during which he was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. He remained at Berkeley as a postdoctoral researcher for two years before joining Bell Labs, where he and his several co-workers carried out his Nobel Prize-winning laser cooling work. He left Bell Labs and became a professor of physics at Stanford University in 1987, serving as the chair of its Physics Department from 1990 to 1993 and from 1999 to 2001. In 2004, Chu was appointed as the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, during which time he also accepted a position as a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley.
John McCain – Senator from Arizona
McCain entered the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. McCain came into conflict with higher-ranking personnel, he did not always obey the rules, and that contributed to a low class rank (894 of 899). He did well in academic subjects that interested him, such as literature and history, but studied only enough to pass subjects he struggled with, such as mathematics. McCain graduated in 1958.
So, McCain has the nerve to tell Secretary Chu that the assessment made by a Nobel Prize winning physicist is not valid because John McCain says so? This is the incompetence that is plaguing our country and this is why I have so much hope for the Obama Administration. Integrity, intelligence, logic, and competence is the order of the day. It is time for dinosaurs like McCain to pack up their bluster and step aside. Revenge of the Nerds is a reality.