Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog from the ANS Meeting

Here at the biggest meeting of the American Nuclear Society in years, PCG VP Laura Hermann and I are mixing and mingling with more than 1,600 nuclear engineers, scientists and energy experts. The mood is upbeat about the future of nuclear electric power.

The plenary session held yesterday morning set the tone of optimism. Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy Pete Miller announced that he expects the federal first loan guarantees for nuclear power plants to be granted by year-end. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Jim Webb (D-VA) unveiled their bill to jumpstart the nuclear energy renaissance. Its provisions include $100 billion for clean energy projects, with $37 billion devoted to nuclear energy as well as money for small and medium-sized reactors, increasing the efficiency and lifetimes of existing nuclear power plants, augmenting the workforce and setting up five mini-Manhattan projects to advance the development of nuclear fuel recycling, clean coal, advanced biofuels, solar power and advanced batteries.

The session attracted more than 20 print and broadcast journalists, and the media scrum after the session was crowded and enthusiastic. It yielded plenty of media coverage. And there’s more to come. Today, I’m moderating a panel of great journalists – The New York Times’ Matt Wald, McClatchy’s Jim Van Nostrand, Energy Daily Executive Editor George Lobsenz and Dow Jones’ Angie Pointer. We’ll attract a big crowd, and ANS members will learn a lot about why journalists cover nuclear energy the way they do. More later this week …

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