The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is poised to move from preliminary studies of licensing requirements for advanced nuclear reactors to the development of an actual licensing program. A number of bills currently making their way through Congress provide funding and authorization for such a program, but a final legislative framework has not yet emerged.
At the August National Science Board meeting, the National Science Foundation presented an analysis of its extensive use of rotating scientific personnel and suggested that the foundation might seek new hiring authorities from Congress in order to reduce its reliance on rotators for executive-level positions.
The National Academies has released its midterm assessment of the 2010 decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics. A key theme is that increasingly expensive top-priority projects are responsible for outstanding breakthroughs, but are also putting pressure on high-priority medium-scale projects.
At the August National Science Board meeting, leadership of the board and the National Science Foundation outlined plans for both organizations to become more proactive in their engagement with stakeholders and presented further details on the “big ideas” for future investment the foundation unveiled at the last board meeting.