Earmark for Nuclear Studies Slipped into Approp Bill by Chet Edwards (US House Dist 17) Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Earmark for Nuclear Studies Slipped into Approp Bill by Chet Edwards (US House Dist 17)

20 December 2007 at 8:45:13 AM

Texas A&M sure does benefit by having Chet Edwards as our congressman because hecontinually bypasses the research grant process that to slip money in for projects. One of the latest ones I just read of is for Texas A&M to get a nuclear training program that isn't as purportedly said, merely for training on Homeland Security issues but to train people on how to CREATE more nuclear power plants.

"This bill will ensure that Texas A&M and its system will continue to play a nationally important role in protecting our nation," Edwards said.

With the bill, the District 17 congressman has secured $2 million for A&M's nuclear training program that he believes will help Homeland Security in combating nuclear terrorism. 

How come it didn't come through a DOE research grant, whether other schools could, for example, also apply for research money and some process done to determine which school was most worthy?

Edwards says, "Aggie nuclear engineers will be working with the Bush School to develop the next generation of nuclear policy makers."

When I look at the Department of Nuclear Engineering, it appears to me more that the *nuclear policy* they are going to learning about involves pushing nuclear reactors all over this country (and probably others).

The Department of Nuclear Engineering welcomes the current renewed interest in nuclear power. It is well positioned to take an active role in providing graduates to serve this interest and to address the factors that will determine nuclear power’s future. 

Each of the new nuclear power reactors announced by utilities this year are advanced designs with safety and economic improvements over the current fleet of operating nuclear power plants. DOE is, however, leading an international program involving 10 countries to design the next generation of nuclear power reactors — Generation IV. These new reactor designs include improved economics, safety, proliferation resistance and security. The nuclear engineering department is participating actively in this program through several DOE research contracts.

And earmarks

Now, here's the Homeland Security part of this- technical ways to verify what is happening with nuclear materials.

Nonproliferation technologies that NSSPI researchers are working on include

  • procedures and detection capabilities to safeguard nuclear reactor fuel;
  • methods and technology to determine the source of nuclear or radiological material used in a terrorist attack (such as the reactor that produced the spent fuel used in a dirty bomb); and
  • more sensitive and accurate interrogation devices to detect radioactive materials at ports of entry.
  • The institute’s partners — the University of California, Berkeley; the University of New Mexico; and the Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories — bring a variety of research and policy-development strengths.

Gee. Maybe one of the first countries they ought to look into is the United States. From Wikipedia.

United States-NATO nuclear weapons sharing
Main article: Nuclear sharing
At the time the treaty was being negotiated, NATO had in place secret nuclear weapons sharing agreements whereby the United States provided nuclear weapons to be deployed by, and stored in, other NATO states. Some argue this is an act of proliferation violating Articles I and II of the treaty. A counter-argument is that the U.S. controlled the weapons in storage within the NATO states, and that no transfer of the weapons or control over them was intended "unless and until a decision were made to go to war, at which the treaty would no longer be controlling", so there is no breach of the NPT. These agreements were disclosed to a few of the states, including the Soviet Union, negotiating the treaty, but most of the states that signed the NPT in 1968 would not have known about these agreements and interpretations at that time [9].

Incidentally, India, who the US sells nuclear materials to, is NOT a signatory to the treaty... NOR IS ISRAEL.  But Iran is.

As of 2005, it is estimated that the United States still provides about 180 tactical B61 nuclear bombs for use by Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey under these NATO agreements [10]. Many states, and the Non-Aligned Movement, now argue this violates Articles I and II of the treaty, and are applying diplomatic pressure to terminate these agreements. They point out that the pilots and other staff of the "non-nuclear" NATO states practice handling and delivering the U.S. nuclear bombs, and non-U.S. warplanes have been adapted to deliver U.S. nuclear bombs which must have involved the transfer of some technical nuclear weapons information. NATO believes its "nuclear forces continue to play an essential role in war prevention, but their role is now more fundamentally political" [11].

As the article above from A&M shows, also, the US is not a signatory to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

I don't quibble over the United States spending money on making US more secure-but I think getting money through earmarks instead of a formal DOE research process isn't appropriate.

And, have to say, that, via South Texas Chisme, the Corpus Christi newspaper calls it for people learning how to BUILD nuclear power plants... not look into nuclear terrorism.

Texas A&M is launching an institute that will train students for careers related to nuclear power.

The Nuclear Power Institute will help train staff needed to operate new reactors and generating plants. It will also revamp curriculum for junior high, high school and college students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field, according to officials with Texas A&M Engineering.

The institute was established in a joint effort by the Dwight Look College of Engineering and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). The Look College is one of the largest engineering colleges in the nation, with nearly 9,000 students and 12 departments.

And from a grant from Texas Workforce Commission.(that agency deals with unemployment benefits, etc.)

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