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Nuclear Energy & Weapons

Given the central role that physical scientists have traditionally played in the history of nuclear energy and weapons, FYI covers major developments in nuclear energy and weapons policy, particularly as they relate to ongoing science policy matters.

9 Dec 2016

Both the House and Senate have passed the fiscal year 2017 “National Defense Authorization Act." The NDAA is a bill, passed annually, that authorizes and sets policy for defense programs at the Defense and Energy Departments, including defense R&D.

29 Nov 2016

At a Senate hearing, appropriations subcommittee leaders disagreed on the advisability of the federal government embarking on an effort to spur the development and deployment of new types of nuclear reactors.

17 Nov 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to reverse Obama’s climate change actions and rescind the Iran nuclear agreement, but his positions on research funding are unknown.

27 Sep 2016

Last Friday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling on nations to maintain their moratoria on nuclear weapons testing pending ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Leading up to the resolution, current and former policymakers reflected on the 20-year-old treaty’s prospects, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who referred to ratification of the treaty as “unfinished business,” and former senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who argued that the U.S. should never ratify the treaty.

22 Sep 2016

At a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the “future of nuclear power,” senators expressed a mixture of concern and hope about the future vitality of the U.S. nuclear industry and nuclear innovation enterprise.

13 Sep 2016

A congressionally mandated report released yesterday by the National Academies warns that severe shortages of molybdenum-99 and its radioactive decay product technetium-99m, an isotope used in medical imaging procedures, are possible after a key Canadian supplier ceases production in October 2016.

9 Sep 2016

The Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing this week on aging facilities and deferred maintenance within the National Nuclear Security Administration.

8 Sep 2016

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing yesterday to discuss the Obama Administration’s pursuit of a United Nations Security Council resolution that would reaffirm the commitments of signatories to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

25 Aug 2016

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.

25 Jul 2016

Committee members and witnesses reflected on the feasibility of consent-based approaches to siting nuclear waste facilities and on whether scientific safety reviews and expanded nuclear R&D in Nevada could prove instrumental in securing public support for Yucca Mountain serving as a nuclear waste repository.

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