Will the President address science policy, education and biosecurity in his State of The Union?

FAS hopes the President will take the opportunity to send the right message to the American public and ditch political rhetoric in his State of the Union.

FAS is deeply concerned that the nation is headed in the wrong direction on critical science issues that affect our health, national security, environment and economic future. The President has an opportunity to change that starting with his State of the Union address on January 31st. Specifically, we would like the President to take scientific research funding, science education funding, and biosecurity more seriously then he has in the past.

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Plutonium getting a mention in State of the Union Address?

A couple of articles in the energy trade press [link] have said that President Bush may announce a major new energy initiative in the State of the Union Address. This is a program that has been in planning for over a year. Originally it was called the Global Nuclear Energy Initiative, or GNEI, pronounced “genie,” but apparently the Administration decided that acronym was a bit too cute, with too many “getting out of the bottle” snipes. More recent articles in the Washington Post [link] and Wall Street Journal report that the program has been renamed the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) and is not quite ready for prime time so will probably not appear in the Address but will be unveiled in a couple of months. [link] If it does get a mention, I will return to this on Wednesday.

By all accounts, the centerpiece of GNEP will be plutonium reprocessing and recycling. This is one of those ideas that is great in theory but doesn’t work in practice. The plan is to reduce nuclear waste by repeatedly recycling it through a new (in the US at least) type of power reactor, a fast neutron reactor. [more] Continue reading

Technology Security

Hello, I’m Anne Fitzpatrick. I work on international collaborations in computing, American and Russian nuclear weapons, and science and technology policy and culture. I also moonlight in the area of contemporary history of science and technology. In this blog I will be discussing: scientific computing technology and general information technology (IT) on the domestic and global fronts; the United States’ nuclear weapons complex, its national laboratories, and their Russian counterparts; and the science and technology scene in the former Soviet Union. I will write about major current events in my specialty areas, and to keep things lively, occasionally blog on surprise topics that do not fall exactly into any of these categories. Blog on!

Nuclear Information Project

I am Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at FAS. I will be blogging facts, analysis, and declassified documents about new nuclear weapon systems, changes in existing nuclear forces, and developments in the policy and doctrine that guide the use of nuclear weapons.

You may have noticed that the Cold War is over and the total nuclear weapons stockpiles are decreasing. But, surprise, all the nuclear weapons states continue to modernize their forces as if the weapons are going to be around for a very long time in significant numbers. And the nuclear planners have turned out to be very innovative when it comes to creating new missions for the remaining weapons.

I also co-author the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and the World Nuclear Forces overview in the SIPRI Yearbook.