FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FYI THIS MONTH: AUGUST 2011

Richard M. Jones
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HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENTS IN WASHINGTON IMPACTING THE PHYSICS COMMUNITY FROM FYI, THE AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF PHYSICS BULLETIN OF SCIENCE POLICY NEWS

Senate Committee Optimistic About Future of Nanotechnology

Senators expressed support for the National Nanotechnology Initiative because of the potential nanotechnology holds to improve human welfare and create new jobs.

Commerce Department Touts Promise of STEM Careers

A recently-issued report found significant benefits to pursing jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.  On average, workers in these fields across all levels of educational attainment earn a higher income and experience lower unemployment when compared to workers in other occupations.

Science Committee Presses NASA Administrator Bolden for Rocket Plan

Members of Congress expressed impatience about a final decision from NASA on the new rocket system that will take astronauts beyond low earth orbit.  NASA Administrator Charles Bolden defended his agency, declaring “We cannot rush a critical decision that will drive NASA’s activities for several decades . . . I want to get it right.”

Meeting of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board

Among those matters discussed at a recent meeting of the Board were the forthcoming Quadrennial Technology Review, ARPA-E, the remediation of radioactive waste, Small Modular Reactors, energy efficiency, natural gas production, upgrading the electrical grid, and improving technology transition.

Commission Seeks Comments on Nuclear Waste Report

The Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future recommends a consent-based approach in the siting of future nuclear waste management facilities, a new organization to manage the nation’s nuclear waste, the development of interim and deep geologic storage facilities, and reform of the financing structure.  It did not make any recommendations regarding Yucca Mountain, spent fuel reprocessing, or the future role of nuclear power.

President Reagan on Basic Research

In a 1988 address, the President warned that “Federal funding for science is in jeopardy because of budget constraints,” saying that basic research “ends up being one of the most practical things government does” because of its impact on technology development.

Outlook on FY 2012 Appropriations Bills

Passage of FY 2012 appropriations bills should be easier this year because of the agreement reached between the Congress and the Administration about the level of discretionary spending in the new fiscal year.

Status of FY 2012 Appropriations Bills

The House Appropriations Committee has completed work on most FY 2012 funding bills; Senate appropriators have not acted on bills of interest to the physics community. 

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095