DOE Hands Out $$$ for Nuclear Research

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Whether you consider nuclear power a truly clean technology, or a source of radioactive waste and security threats, the technology is still getting investment because of its lack of emissions. This morning the U.S. Department of Energy says it will give $100,000 to 38 universities ($3.8 million total) to help upgrade labs, and reactor facilities, hire new faculty and develop ‘nuclear-related curricula.’

The funds come from President Bush’s Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and is part of $15.2 million that the DOE awarded to universities’ nuclear power programs in fiscal year 2007. Check out the long list of universities.

Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder take a stand against nuclear as clean tech in their book The Clean Tech Revolution:

“There is a long list of reasons why we do not consider nuclear power clean with current technology — The Clean Tech Revolution”

Those include the challenge of disposing of radioactive waste, the security threats of nuclear power stations, the carbon-intensive energy used in their construction, and the large amount of water used to cool them. The book also says that the number one reason against nuclear is that it is not cost-effective.

The press release from the DOE takes a sunnier tone:

“Increasing research expertise . . . at America’s universities will position our scientists and engineers to support the expansion of clean and economical nuclear power in the United States,” Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon.

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James Aach

As someone who works in the electric energy sector, one of my major concerns is that pundits, the press, the politicians and the public seem to be far removed from how much electricity we produce and use, and what goes into producing it. It is very, very hard to make the huge amounts of power our civilization seems to expect. Nature’s checkbook is hard to balanace – which is why nuclear is still being discussed. You get a lot of power from it, which factories, skyscrapers and shopping malls seem to like.

When making decisions about our energy future, I think we need to start by first understanding our energy present. So I’ve written an introduction to my own field of expertise – nuclear energy. To avoid reader boredom it’s in the form of a thriller novel, and it’s available at no cost to readers at . Reader reviews at the homepage have been very positive. “Rad Decision” is also available in paperback at online retailers. It covers both the good and the bad – there is plenty of both. The real world of nuclear power is much different than what either it’s media proponents or opponents portray.

“I’d like to see Rad Decision widely read.” – Stewart Brand, founder of The Whole Earth Catalog and noted futurist.

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