Monday, July 21, 2008

EnergySolutions + U of U = BFF!

[Nukes and U] This just landed in my e-mail box: The University of Utah announced today a $1.5 million gift from the EnergySolutions Foundation to establish a Presidential Endowed Chair in Nuclear Engineering in its College of Engineering.

The gift will also help underwrite expanded curriculum and a new minor in nuclear engineering at the U.

Well, great. It's tough to turn down that kind of money--even from creepy and mendacious EnergySolutions CEO Steve Creamer. But perhaps, just maybe, some of that endowment money for the training of budding nuke engineers could go toward finding a way to safely dispose of nuclear waste. Because so far, no country in the world or any city in America has come up with a solution to that messy little problem. Oh, except for dumping it at Yucca Mountain, Nev. In our own little western back yard.

Meanwhile, in the middle of our growing energy crisis, it's full-speed ahead for nuclear power, because say its advocates, its clean and plentiful.

U. President Michael K. Young apparently has no qualms about nuclear energy or its costs, choosing to all but hand over the keys to the university to Energy Solutions: “We are committed to improving the available supply of clean, efficient and environmentally responsible energy, "said Young in today's announcement. “The EnergySolutions Foundation Presidential Endowed Chair will enable us to bring to bear the University’s resources and talents in helping to solve the nation’s energy challenges and increase the supply of professionals for all nuclear industries.”

According to the U.'s news release:

The goal of the U’s program expansion is to help address the critical shortfall in qualified professionals for nuclear industries including, power generation, extraction and storage of nuclear materials, health care and related industries. The U.S. currently uses more than 780 billion kilowatt hours per year of electricity generated by nuclear power plants--about one fifth of the total amount (4 trillion kilowatt hours) consumed in the U.S.

And again, just sayin'--does anyone want to talk about practical and safe disposal of nuclear waste? Or will the U. treat that topic as everyone else does--as an unpleasant and nagging afterthought we'd just as soon pass on to our great-grandkids.

(Holly Mullen)

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