Department of Energy

Holgate To White House Wmd Team
August 05, 2009

The Obama National Security Council has a new director for WMD terrorism and threat reduction in Laura Holgate, a vice president at the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a private nonprofit outfit, chaired by former Senator Sam Nunn and funded by the likes of Ted Turner and Warren Buffett, that has done yeoman's work in helping the federal government address the WMD threat.

Power Struggle
June 17, 2009

Do we need a technological breakthrough to avert the climate crisis?

Is The Energy Department In Over Its Head?
February 16, 2009

As we noted last week, the stimulus bill Obama plans to sign into law on Tuesday has all sorts of green provisions in it. The Energy Department's going to be doling out billions of dollars in new grants for efficiency, home weatherization, battery research, and so forth. Goodies for all! But this raises a delicate question: Can the DOE even handle all this extra responsibility? After all, the point of a stimulus package is that the money flies out the door fast. Grants handed out, loan guarantees issued, contracts approved—bam, bam, bam. Fast.

Man-Made Disaster
December 24, 2008

Michael Chertoff needs an office. When I interviewed the secretary of Homeland Security this summer, we met in a pair of temporary locations between which he shuttles--first in the decaying Nebraska Avenue Complex of the naval station at Ward Circle (a center for signal analysis during World War II) and later in an unmarked and unfurnished office in the nondescript headquarters of U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Ronald Reagan building, near the White House.

Hey, Maybe Wind's No Joke After All
May 13, 2008

Okay, by popular request (well... maybe just one request), here's that new Department of Energy report arguing that wind could supply 20 percent of the nation's electricity needs by 2030. It sure sounds fanciful, seeing as how wind currently provides just 1 percent of America's electricity, but the DOE thinks it can be done. And doing so would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions in the U.S. electric sector by 25 percent. Now, the big surprise here is that a wind boom of this magnitude wouldn't require any new technological breakthroughs.

Would A Nuclear Attack Kill You?
April 17, 2008

(Department of Energy)  According to the Post, Tuesday's Senate hearing on the ever-increasing risk of nuclear terrorist attack was quite the spectacle: At the committee's request, Dallas prepared a report on the effects of a small nuclear device exploding near the White House. ... The 10-kiloton blast would release fatal doses of radiation in the immediate area and destroy almost all buildings within a half-mile radius, he said. The intense heat would burn people for many blocks and spark fires.

Crude Joke
February 12, 2007

IF THERE WAS one thing George W. Bush and his clique were supposed to know, it was oil. That, at least, was the widespread consensus back in 2000, when Bush first sought the White House, and it was easy to understand why. Bush’s grandfather was an oilman. His father was an oilman. He himself had worked in oil. His vice presidential nominee, Dick Cheney, was the former CEO of energy giant Halliburton. His campaign’s chairman, Donald Evans, was CEO of the oil company Tom Brown.

March 06, 2006

POWER OUTAGE IT'S "ENERGY WEEK" AT THE WHITE House. That means President Bush is traveling the country to talk up his new alternative energy initiatives. His Energy Week speeches emphasize the cutting-edge--even startling--nature of his plans to revolutionize power and fuel supplies in the United States, and his rhetoric combines the futuristic with the family-oriented: "Think about how your children or your grandchildren may be able to spend a President's Day in the future," he rhapsodized at Johnson Controls, a Milwaukee auto-parts supplier.

Without Agency
May 03, 2004

LAST MAY, CONGRESS brushed up on its physics and debated whether to proceed with research on the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP), a nuclear bomb intended to penetrate the earth before detonating, thus enhancing the military's ability to destroy buried bunkers. The administration was pushing hard for the weapon, which it claimed could destroy rogue-state weapons of mass destruction hidden underground, and it enjoyed strong support from congressional Republicans.

The Operator
September 22, 2003

On May 28, George Tenet delivered for the Bush administration. Nearly two months had passed since the fall of Baghdad. U.S. forces had turned up no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq, raising the specter of gross misjudgment on the part of the U.S. intelligence community and allegations of presidential dishonesty. But, that day, the CIA announced that two trailers found in northern Iraq the previous month were actually mobile biological-agent production facilities.