In this issue:
NUCLEAR RENAISSANCE LEGISLATION
INCLUDES ASME NUCLEAR CERTIFICATION CREDIT
Late last month, Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH) announced the introduction of the “Enabling the Nuclear Renaissance Act” (S.3618), legislation to help further the nuclear renaissance in the United States. The bill addresses a variety of issues facing the nuclear industry, including strong financial incentives to build new nuclear power plants, additional education funding, provisions for accelerating the development of small modular reactor designs, and establishment of a new independent federal corporation to help manage used nuclear fuel.
“Today’s introduction of the Enabling the Nuclear Renaissance Act is a clear path towards keeping America competitive in the global marketplace,” Senator Voinovich said. “In addition to building large new nuclear plants, new small modular reactors represent a strategic opportunity for us to re-establish our global leadership in nuclear power by meeting global demand for cheaper, cleaner power tailored to the needs of consumers. We must reignite the nuclear renaissance, and this bill gives our companies and universities the tools to compete and win.”
Section 207 of the bill, “ASME Nuclear Certification Credit,” would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 relating to business-related credits to:
- (a) In General- For purposes of section 38, the ASME nuclear certification
credit determined under this section for any taxable year is an amount equal
to 15 percent of the qualified nuclear expenditures paid or incurred by
- (b) Qualified Nuclear Expenditures- For purposes of this section, the term `qualified nuclear expenditures' means any expenditure related to—
(1) obtaining a new certification under the American Society of Mechanical
Engineers Nuclear Component Certification program;
(2) recertifying, changing, or otherwise upgrading an existing certification
under the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Nuclear Component Certification
(3) increasing the taxpayer's capacity to construct, fabricate, assemble,
or install components—
(A) for any facility which uses nuclear energy to produce electricity, and
(B) with respect to the construction, fabrication, assembly, or installation of which the taxpayer is certified under such program.”
If the bill is approved, the ASME Nuclear Certification Credit would be available to qualified taxpayers for taxable years beginning after December 31, 2010 through taxable years ending December 31, 2025.
S. 3618 contains other provisions vital to further enabling the nuclear renaissance in the United States, while also improving energy security and reducing future pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by:
- Accelerating the development of small modular reactors by directing the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a 50 percent cost-sharing plan with industry at $100 million per year for 10 years;
- Establishing a National Nuclear Energy Council under DOE to provide an independent forum through which to address national strategy and significant issues facing the nuclear industry; and,
- Financing new nuclear power plants through $54 billion in DOE loan guarantees.
For more information about the bill, please visit: http://voinovich.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=NewsCenter.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=f672e752-bb60-646b-9181-1a5486e41f7d.
To review the text of S. 3618, go to http://www.thomas.gov/ and search by bill number.
Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME.
He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
NIST SEEKS NEW MEMBERS FOR NINE ADVISORY COMMITTEES
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking nominations of qualified individuals for its nine existing Federal Advisory Committees. Nominations for all committees will be accepted on an ongoing basis and will be considered as and when vacancies arise. A July 27th Federal Register notice (Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 143, p. 43933) details each committee, including the number of members serving on the committee, its objectives and duties, the nomination procedure and committee contacts.
New to the list of NIST advisory committees this year is the NIST Smart Grid Advisory Committee. This advisory committee provides guidance to the NIST Director on the overall direction, status and health of the Smart Grid implementation and identifies issues and needs. Input from the committee will be used to help guide Smart Grid Interoperability Panel activities and assist NIST in directing research and standards activities.
The other NIST advisory committees described in the Federal Register notice are: the Board of Overseers of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; the Judges Panel of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award; the Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board; the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Advisory Board; the National Construction Safety Team Advisory Board; the Advisory Committee on Earthquake Hazards Reduction; the Technology Innovation Program Advisory Board; and, the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology.
To view the entire Federal Register notice, please visit: http://frwebgate3.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/PDFgate.cgi?WAISdocID=sVVHM3/2/2/0&WAISaction=retrieve
Robert Rains handles public policy-related NIST issues for ASME. He
can be reached at: email@example.com
COMMERCE DEPARTMENT SEEKS
COMMENTS ON CYBERSECURITY’S IMPACT ON INNOVATION
The U.S. Department of Commerce has published a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) on "Cybersecurity, Innovation, and Internet Policy," which requests comments from all stakeholders, including the commercial, academic and civil society sectors, on measures to improve cyber security while sustaining innovation.
The Internet has become vitally important to U.S. innovation, prosperity, education, civic activity and cultural life, as well as aspects of America's national security. A top priority of the Commerce Department is to ensure that the Internet remains an open and trusted infrastructure, both for commercial entities and individuals.
To support this goal, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke created the department's Internet Policy Task Force in April. Its mission is to identify leading policy challenges and to recommend possible solutions. This NOI is one in a series of inquiries from the Task Force. Other reviews examine information privacy, global free flow of information on the Internet, and online copyright protection issues. After analyzing comments on this notice, the department will issue a report that will contribute to the Administration's domestic and international policies and activities in advancing both cyber security and the Internet economy.
A copy of the NOI is available at: http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/upload/Cybersecurity_NOI_0722101.pdf
Paul Fakes handles public policy-related research and development (R&D)
issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
GAO STUDY FINDS FURTHER ACTIONS
NEEDED TO IMPROVE DOE'S ABILITY TO EVALUATE AND IMPLEMENT ITS LOAN GUARANTEE
Since the Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan guarantee program (LGP) for innovative energy projects was established under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, its scope has expanded both in the types of projects it can support and in the amount of loan guarantee authority available. DOE currently has loan guarantee authority estimated at about $77 billion and is seeking additional authority. As of April 2010, it had issued one loan guarantee for $535 million and made nine conditional commitments. In response to a Congressional mandate to review DOE’s execution of the LGP, a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) study assessed the extent to which DOE has identified what it intends to achieve through the LGP and is positioned to evaluate progress, as well as how DOE has implemented the program for applicants.
The study found that:
- DOE's implementation of the LGP has treated applicants inconsistently, favoring some and disadvantaging others; and,
- DOE lacks systematic mechanisms for LGP applicants to administratively appeal its decisions or to provide feedback to DOE on its process for issuing loan guarantees.
To improve DOE's ability to evaluate and implement the LGP, the study recommends that the Secretary of Energy should direct the program management to:
- Develop relevant performance goals that reflect the full range of policy goals and activities for the program, and to the extent necessary, revise the performance measures to align with these goals;
- Revise the process for issuing loan guarantees to clearly establish what circumstances warrant disparate treatment of applicants so that DOE's implementation of the program treats applicants consistently unless there are clear and compelling grounds for doing otherwise;
- Develop an administrative appeal process for applicants who believe their applications were rejected in error and document the basis for conclusions regarding appeals; and,
- Develop a mechanism to systematically obtain and address feedback from program applicants, and, in so doing, ensure that applicants' anonymity can be maintained, for example, by using an independent service to obtain the feedback.
To review a summary of this study, please visit: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-627.
The entire 36-page study is available at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10627.pdf
Robert Rains handles public policy-related energy issues for ASME.
He can be reached at: email@example.com
U.S. R&D COMPANIES EMPLOYED
27 MILLION WORKERS WORLDWIDE IN 2008
U.S. research and development (R&D) companies, companies located in the United States that performed or funded R&D domestically or in their overseas locations, employed 27.1 million workers worldwide in 2008, according to a new National Science Foundation (NSF) report. The figures are the first employment statistics from the new Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS), developed jointly by NSF and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Employment data from the BRDIS released last month show that R&D employees (those who perform or directly support R&D activities) accounted for 1.9 million jobs or 7.1 percent of jobs at U.S. R&D companies worldwide. The domestic portion of total employment was 18.5 million workers, including 1.5 million R&D employees. Thus, domestic R&D employment accounted for 7.9 percent of companies' total domestic employment and for 77 percent of their worldwide R&D employment.
To review this new NSF InfoBrief entitled, "New Employment Statistics from the 2008 Business R&D and Innovation Survey," please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf10326/
Policymakers and industry officials consider these numbers important because workers engaged in R&D activities directly influence the creation and diffusion of knowledge, and in turn contribute to innovation and economic growth. The proportion of R&D employment relative to total employment, or R&D employment intensity, is one indicator of a company's involvement in R&D activity.
Another InfoBrief on business innovation, "R&D and Innovation in Business: 2008," will present additional, preliminary BRDIS data for 2008. It is being prepared, but not yet scheduled for publication. Detailed tables for 2008 will be available at: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/industry/
Additional information on the aforementioned InfoBriefs is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=117276&org=NSF&from=news
Paul Fakes handles public policy-related research and development (R&D) issues for ASME. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Melissa Carl handles public policy-related science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM) workforce issues for ASME. She can be reached
NASA SEEKS UNDERGRADS TO DEFY GRAVITY
FOR SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is offering undergraduate students an opportunity to test an experiment in weightless science as part of the agency's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program. Proposals are due by October 27th.
The program, managed by the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, provides aspiring explorers a chance to propose, design and fabricate a reduced gravity experiment. Selected teams will get to test and evaluate their experiment aboard a microgravity aircraft. The specially modified jet aircraft flies approximately 30 roller-coaster-like climbs and dips to produce periods of micro and hyper-gravity, ranging from weightlessness to three times the force of Earth's gravity.
"This project gives students a head start in preparing for future ventures by allowing them to do hands-on research and engineering in a truly reduced gravity laboratory," Program Manager Douglas Goforth said.
Interested teams also should submit a letter of intent by September 22nd. This step is optional, but serves as an introductory notice that a team plans to submit a proposal for the competition. All applicants must be U.S. citizens. Full-time students must be at least 18 years old.
NASA will announce the selected participants on December 8th. The actual flights will take place in summer 2011. Selected teams may invite a full-time, accredited journalist to fly with them and document the experiment and gravity-defying experience.
For more information about the Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program or to submit a proposal, please visit: http://microgravityuniversity.jsc.nasa.gov
Melissa Carl handles public policy-related STEM education issues for ASME.
She can be reached at: email@example.com
THE ARTICLES CONTAINED IN CAPITOL UPDATE ARE NOT POSITIONS OF ASME OR ANY OF ITS SUB-ENTITIES, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY NOTED AS SUCH. THIS PUBLICATION IS DESIGNED TO INFORM ASME MEMBERS ABOUT ISSUES OF CONCERN BEING DEBATED AND DISCUSSED IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, IN THE STATES, AND IN THE FEDERAL AGENCIES.
EDITOR: Mary James Legatski, ASME Government Relations, 1828 L Street, NW, Suite 906, Washington, DC 20036-5104.