Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rand Paul Would Annihilate US Science

Rand Paul (R-KY) has a (somewhat) detailed plan to cut the federal budget by $500B, which is still only 1/3rd of the budget deficit. It would absolutely annihilate spending on science and research:

  • National Science Foundation: -62%
  • NASA: -25%
  • EPA: -29%
  • DOE: -100% (some functions transfer to Defense Department)
  • NIH: -37%
  • Agriculture: -30%
  • NOAA: -36%
About the NSF, he says, "Research in science is best conducted by private industry for economic purposes." Which is such a short-sighted point of view it's difficult to even know what to say. 

His budget would essential dismantle US science just when it's needed the most to build knowledge, solve problems, and (hence) create not just jobs, but entire industries.


charlesH said...

Meanwhile the Chinese push ahead with LFTR, the green nuclear.

President Obama in his recent SOTU address said that "this is our generation's sputnik moment" referring to the need to use science and technology to develop cheaper clean energy (among other things). It seems the Chinese were listening because last week they announced a focussed effort to achieve technological leadership in thorium molten salt reactors.

Press report.

(partial google translation)
"Yesterday, as the Chinese Academy of Sciences started the first one of the strategic leader in science and technology projects, "the future of advanced nuclear fission energy - nuclear energy, thorium-based molten salt reactor system" project was officially launched. The scientific goal is to use 20 years or so, developed a new generation of nuclear energy systems, all the technical level reached in the trial and have all intellectual property rights."

What is a "thorium-based molten salt reactor system"? Please see this link to a previous WUWT post on this technology.

Will the US accept the challenge or allow the Chinese to dominate advanced nuclear technology too? Using a technology invented in the US 40 years ago no less!

charlesH said...

Here is a link to a Wired article that does a pretty good job of putting Chinese LFTR issue in context.

"China Takes Lead in Race for Clean Nuclear Power"