- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Hill Blocks DOE Plan to Create "Bell Lab-lets"
13 July 2009 11:10 am
Late last week, Congress summarily slapped down the Department of Energy's biggest new research initiative: A plan for eight new research "hubs" aimed at solving the nation's energy problems. DOE had requested a total of $280 million for these interdisciplinary centers in fiscal year 2010. But appropriations committees in both the House of Representatives and the Senate made deep cuts in that request.
The House committee approved only $34 million for the plan this year, the amount requested for just one hub. Appropriators in the Senate, meanwhile, endorsed plans for a center dedicated to the modeling and simulation of nuclear reactors, and gave qualified support to two more: A hub to make fuels directly from sunlight and another on energy-efficient buildings. But funding for those centers would come from a complicated budgetary swap, using stimulus funds instead of the 2010 budget to pay for a construction project at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado.
The congressional actions are a stinging setback for Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who championed the new research centers. Chu saw the hubs as miniature Bell Labs in which top scientists from many different disciplines could work together to overcome specific energy-related challenges. Plans for most of them are now on hold at least for another year.