August 18, 2017
Capitol Update

In this issue:


ENERGY FUTURES INITIATIVE RELEASES REPORT ON THE U.S. NUCLEAR ENERGY ENTERPRISE

The U.S. Nuclear Energy Enterprise: A Key National Security Enabler report was released this week by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI), a new nonprofit with the goal of fostering energy technology innovation, policy reform, and creating new business models for the energy technology community. Led by former Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the organization will provide policymakers options on how to advance a cleaner, safer, more affordable and secure energy future.

The report details the national security and commercial benefits of electricity generation from existing and new nuclear power plants, and calls for a bolstering of the nuclear workforce and supply chain needed for industry to thrive.

In October 2016, then-Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz delivered a presentation where he listed eight areas with important decisions that needed to be made in five years that would play a crucial role in determining the long run trajectory of the American nuclear enterprise. The first two areas were the fate of existing nuclear power plants and a final resolution of cost, schedule and cost recovery performance for the four AP-1000 units under construction in the United States southeast region. Since then, financial difficulties have resulted in the termination of two of the four new nuclear plants announced by Toshiba/Westinghouse.

The report addresses both commercial and national defense issues related to nuclear, which are intimately tied. On page 11 of the report, there is a list of recommendations made to policymakers.

The report is now available at: https://energyfuturesinitiative.org/news/


BIOMEDICAL RESEARCH COMMUNITY URGED TO BUILD RESILIENCE

A new report released in August from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine said that the academic biomedical research community should take action to build resilience to disasters, both natural and man-made disasters, including cyberattacks. Doing so will enhance the safety and well-being of humans and research animals and support scientific progress by fostering partnerships across the emergency management and academic research sectors.

There were 10 recommendations provided that academic research institutions, researchers, and research sponsors should take to bolster the resilience of academic biomedical research.

Recommendation 1: Designate a qualified, senior individual with oversight of disaster resilience efforts for the research enterprise who is integrated with the institutional disaster preparedness to ensure that the research enterprise is represented.

Recommendation 2: Implement comprehensive and integrative disaster resilience planning efforts for the research enterprise aligned with planning at the local, state, and national level with the aim of protecting human life, research animals, property and the environment, thereby maintaining the integrity and continuity of the research.

Recommendation 3: Develop, enhance, and leverage local, state, and national partnerships to establish a mutual understanding of the unique disaster resilience efforts necessary for the research enterprise.

Recommendation 4: Ensure the preservation of research data, samples, and reagents by helping individuals in the research enterprise, who are responsible for responding during a disaster, to understand their roles. Their training should be modeled after education and training programs for first responders.

To see the other recommendations and their detailed suggestions for implementation, please visit: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24827/strengthening-the-disaster-resilience-of-the-academic-biomedical-research-community


STUDY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY LOOKS AT UNDERSTANDING ENERGY EFFICIENCY POTENTIAL

A new Department of Energy study entitled, State Level Electric Energy Efficiency Potential Estimates, found that there are still areasof potential energy efficiency by customer class and by end-use over the next twenty years by using currently available efficiency technologies. Not all states have the same efficiency potential, but the direct impact of incentives as well as potential opportunities to increase energy efficiency through cost reductions may be significant.

The study was commissioned because state-level estimates of energy efficiency (electric) potential, by customer class and by end-use, would provide information needed to develop cost effective and impactful energy efficiency programs. Such programs will reduce customer energy costs, mitigate environmental impacts, and increase customer satisfaction with their energy providers.

Now utility program planners, regulators and efficiency research organizations can review their current energy efficiency program offerings and make adjustments in order to maintain program impacts and cost savings. The report uses technical screening of potential efficiency measures, which provides guidance to states on the technologies and measures that are costs effective and relevant to them specifically.

To review the full report, go to: https://energy.gov/eere/analysis/downloads/state-level-electric-energy-efficiency-potential-estimates-0


NATIONAL SPACE COUNCIL REVIVED

Vice President Mike Pence announced earlier this summer at the Johnson Space Center that the Administration would reestablish the National Space Council (NSC). President Trump signed the order on June 30 to reactivate the third iteration of the NSC. The NSC was last active from 1989 to 1993 during President George H.W. Bush’s administration. It is part of a “coherent and cohesive approach” in space policy and is intended to focus on national priorities, not just about providing guidance to NASA.

The council is meant to establish a centralized authority at the top to guide space policymaking since NASA activities are impacted by several federal agencies, such as the Defense Department, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and is spreading to the Commerce and Transportation departments as commercial activities grow in space activities.

Dr. Scott Pace, director of The George Washington University Space Policy Institute, was recently announced to fill the position of Executive Secretary. He also currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Advisory Committee on Commercial Remote Sensing (ACCRES). He formerly served as the Associate Administrator for Program Analysis and Evaluation at NASA. Prior to NASA, he was the Assistant Director for Space and Aeronautics in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The Executive Secretary and his staff will play an instrumental role in the NSC work, and will obtain input from an advisory group of aerospace individuals. It is expected that the first meeting will take place in the coming weeks.

The Council will reenergize America’s pioneering spirit in space and allow for deep space exploration while providing the capabilities for America to maintain a constant presence in low Earth orbit.

Additional information about the National Space Council can be found at: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-statement-on-national-space-council


OPPORTUNTIES AND CHALLENGES OF IOT EXPLORED AT CONGRESSIONAL HEARING

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection recently held a hearing as part of its Disrupter Series where Chairman Robert Latta (R-OH) and ranking member Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) examined some of the opportunities and challenges of the internet of things (IoT). Witnesses came from the following institutions: Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University; Camgian Microsystems Corporation; Integra Devices; General Motors North America; Louroe Electronics; and Vermont Energy Control Systems, LLC.

Some key points made during the hearing from various witnesses described how they were using the IoT to improve their products and services and that data access and security is important. In the area of industrial IoT applications, which is a new form of intelligent systems, one can see an increase in business productivity and efficiency in areas such as medicine and automobiles. Insights from industrial IoT systems are also driving improved and quicker decisions while also delivering business and economic advantages to organizations worldwide. The future growth of industrial IoT will result in new innovations in advanced sensor and analytical processing. 

Public universities were represented and play a key role in leading the effort towards next generation IoT by conducting research and development in areas such as basic sciences, information sciences, social sciences, and business that leads directly to practical technologies and methodologies that can drive IoT applications, services, and products.

In the area of care for the spinal conditions, the Spine Research Institute is using advanced sensors and modeling enabled by the IoT to better diagnose, treat and prevent spine injuries. Improvements in sensor technology and internet communication have made this possible. New developments in mobile computing and wearable technologies will connect work in the laboratory with clinicians and patients in ways never before possible, while social media and app development make applications accessible to the masses.

The archived hearing and witness testimony is now available at: https://energycommerce.house.gov/hearings-and-votes/hearings/disrupter-series-update-iot-opportunities-and-challenges


NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION REPORTS ON WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING

The National Science Foundation (NSF) released a report detailing how females, minorities, and those with disabilities are involved in science and engineering education. The report was mandated by the Science and Engineering Equal Opportunities Act (Public Law 96-516). Five areas were discussed: enrollment, field of degree, occupation, employment status, and early career doctorate holders.

In this report, women, persons with disabilities, and African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives are underrepresented in science and engineering (S&E). The report described women as being disproportionally a smaller percentage of employed engineers, despite earning nearly half of all S&E bachelor’s degrees since the late 1990s. Meanwhile, African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians or Alaska Natives have increased their share of S&E degrees over time, yet remain underrepresented in the S&E workforce.

To download the full report, please visit: https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/2017/nsf17310/digest/about-this-report/

Visit the ASME Public Policy Education Center at http://ppec.asme.org/ for daily news and policy developments, including the following:

ASME Sponsored Congressional Briefing on the Manufacturing Engineering Education Grant Program Is Available for Viewing
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/asme-sponsored-congressional-briefing-on-the-manufacturing-engineering-education-grant-program-is-available-for-viewing/

Deal Puts Cloud Computing In Boilers and Heaters Across Europe
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/deal-puts-cloud-computing-in-boilers-and-heaters-across-europe/

How FDA Plans to Help Consumers Capitalize on Advances in Science
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/how-fda-plans-to-help-consumers-capitalize-on-advances-in-science/

The Energy 202: Climate Change Report Now In Hands of Trump Administration
http://ppec.asme.org/latest-news/the-energy-202-climate-change-report-now-in-hands-of-trump-administration/

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