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Friday, February 8, 2013

Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary:

February 6, 2013
Exclusive - Obama considering MIT physicist Moniz for energy secretary: sources say

President Barack Obama is considering naming nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz, one of his science and energy advisers, as the next energy secretary, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Moniz, who was undersecretary at the Energy Department during the Clinton administration, is a familiar figure on Capitol Hill, where he has often talked to lawmakers about how abundant supplies of U.S. natural gas will gradually replace coal as a source of electricity.

Moniz is director of MIT's Energy Initiative, a research group that gets funding from industry heavyweights including BP, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco for academic work on projects aimed at reducing climate-changing greenhouse gases.

He did not respond to an e-mail request for comment on Wednesday evening.

Obama gave a speech at MIT early in his first term where he praised the Energy Initiative's research and spoke about the urgent need to address climate change - a cause he has pledged to elevate again as a top priority for his second term.

Obama is in the process of reshaping his energy and environmental policy team.

Earlier on Wednesday he nominated Sally Jewell, chief executive of outdoor retailer REI, to be interior secretary, overseeing the national parks and vast U.S. energy reserves.

He is also expected to name a new leader of the Environmental Protection Agency. Sources told Reuters Gina McCarthy, a top official in charge of air quality at the EPA, is the leading candidate for the job.

Moniz is a member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group that gives Obama recommendations on the role of science and innovation in the economy.

Moniz would replace Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist who announced last week he plans to step down.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Chu has been a huge disappointment as the top executive of DOE. He barely hid his disdain for the nuclear weapons side of his Department, even though it makes up a huge part of DOE. Moniz has got to be better than Chu.

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone else can recall more details, but wasn't Moniz one of a group a few years ago that was arguing that nuclear weapons design should be taught at colleges?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Moniz served as Under Secretary of the Department of Energy from 1997 until January 2001 and, from 1995 to 1997, as Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. At DOE, he had oversight of the science and energy programs, led a comprehensive review of nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship, and served as the Secretary’s special negotiator for Russian nuclear materials disposition programs.

Anonymous said...

Smart guy, but damn the guy needs a haircut.

Anonymous said...

"Smart guy, but damn the guy needs a haircut."

Ah, style over substance. That is the NNSA mantra.

Anonymous said...

"Ah, style over substance. That is the NNSA mantra.

February 9, 2013 at 12:15 PM"

It is neither style nor substance that matter. What matters is perception, if he can give the right perception of the labs that matters. Substance is no longer a useful concept and you better understand that it is perception and only perception that matters now.

Anonymous said...

Well he's definitely pro nuclear power. Here's a short interview I found on MIT's Nuclear Science & Engineering Department website

Dr. Ernie Moniz discusses the Nuclear Option

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged parts of Japan and severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have sparked fears of radiation exposure and a potential meltdown. Here in the United States those realities have renewed the debate over the future of American nuclear power plants – and have thrust nuclear energy development into the limelight as both America's answer to its growing electricity needs as well as one of its greatest security threats. In this show excerpt, Dan Rather returns to MIT for a follow up discussion with Dr. Ernie Moniz, Director of the MIT Energy Initiative, on the future of nuclear.

Anonymous said...

Well he's definitely pro nuclear power.

February 9, 2013 at 4:33 PM

Hopefully he has the "balls" to resolve the Yucca Mountain issue that Chu ignored for 4-years.

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