Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The State of the Union Address

laika2 Did President Barack Obama mention nuclear energy during last night's State of the Union Address? Why yes, yes he did.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology - an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Here’s the first mention of nuclear energy.

Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America's electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all - and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.

And a little more.

At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.

Not bad. You might be disappointed that there was not a paragraph devoted to nuclear energy, but that's okay. Nuclear energy is right where it should be - among its cousins in the energy sphere.

We’ve got the energy portion of the speech up on our YouTube channel here.

Laika, the first living creature sent into space. Unfortunately, the Soviets made the mistake of personalizing Laika for the purpose of raising interest in Sputnik, but never intended to bring her back, setting off considerable consternation. As seems all too typical of those days, the Soviets were not truthful about how long Laika lived and she probably died about seven hours into the flight. The lesson was learned, though, and the Soviets never sent another dog up without plans to bring it back to Earth. You can read more here.

4 comments:

Marcel F. Williams said...

The goal should actually be a-- Federal mandate-- that by 2020 50% of all electricity produced by a utility in the US should be produced from carbon-neutral resources or technology (nuclear, renewable, etc.) with the penalty of a heavy carbon tax if a utility fails to meet that criteria. By 2030, the mandate should be 90%.

Federal and State governments need to stop dreaming and start mandating our gradual transition from a fossil fuel economy to a carbon neutral economy.

Rick Maltese said...

Steven Chu followed up the next day by saying that the techniques we're looking at on the short term could be 2% more energy from the same amount of fuel. How about 2000% more? Well that's what some LFTR fans believe is reachable by 2020. You know that expression one hand doesn't know what the other is doing? Why can't Chu be more directly involved in the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of Nuclear Energy and the Subcommittee on reprocessing?

DocForesight said...

@Marcel - Perhaps we need to separate electricity generation from transportation fuels so we can focus on what is realistic.

And with the UN IPCC falling apart on AGW, is a "carbon neutral economy" really a worthwhile goal? And at what cost?

Steve said...

It's not so much that Chu can't be involved with the Blue Ribbon Commission. I honestly think he doesn't want to be involved! Until Reid and Obama got their hands on him, Chu was all in favor of Yucca Mountain. Now that the hornet's nest has been stirred up, he appears to be more than comfortable to continue to kick the nuclear waste storage decision down the road -- especially since he hasn't been able to provide any scientific evidence as to why he suddenly changed horses in midstream.