WHAT'S NEW, Friday, 3 March 1989 Washington, DC
CONGRESS IS URGED TO DEFER NEW WEAPONS REACTOR CONSTRUCTION
a letter signed by a coalition of 12 environmental organizations.
Years of neglect and mismanagement have forced the shut down of
all production reactors. The letter argues that many questions
should be answered before undertaking new reactor construction or
restarting the Savannah River reactors. It urges that the Office
of Technology Assessment and the American Physical Society be
asked to address these questions. The eventual replacement and
cleanup costs have been estimated to be in excess of $100B. The
White House budget request for FY 90 calls for $303M for work on
new production reactors, $100M of which is for construction.
. A NATIONAL SPACE COUNCIL WILL BE ESTABLISHED BY PRESIDENT BUSH
to oversee the implementation of his space policy. In a report
to Congress issued Wednesday, he gave the composition of the 10-member
council. It will be headed by the Vice President and will
include several cabinet officers, the NASA Administrator, the
Director of the CIA, the Director of OMB, the National Security
Advisor and the White House Chief of Staff--but it will not
include the President's Science and Technology Advisor. This
conspicuous omission suggests that the Science Advisor will be as
lightly regarded in this Administration as he was in the last.
3. SALARY IS THE MAIN OBSTACLE IN RECRUITING A SCIENCE ADVISOR,
according to Rep. Ritter (R-PA). This is consistent with rumors
that only corporate executives are on the short lists for both
NASA Administrator and Science Advisor. Clearly, the $71,700
salary would entail much less of a sacrifice for an academic.
4. PRIORITIES FOR THE AMERICAN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EFFORT
discussed this week in two days of hearings before the Science,
Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House. Several
witnesses commented on the disproportionate emphasis on Defense
R&D. Bill Brinkman of Bell Labs remarked that although large R&D
expenditures on defense "may create technology spinoff, it also
creates a culture not oriented toward commercial product
realization. Its net contribution to civilian R&D is small."
George Keyworth of the Hudson Institute commented on the relative
value of the SSC and the Space Station, "one of which represents
a national commitment to excellence and leadership in research,
and the other of which is an investment in neither excellent
science nor excellent technology." Rep. David Price (D-NC)
asked which was which. Keyworth responded that the space station
represents nothing new; "it is the past brought forward."
5. SONY STRIKES WHILE THE IRONY IS HOT! The Pentagon acknowledged
yesterday that Sony of America is competing for a DARPA grant to
develop a commercial HDTV system
(WN 23 Dec 88). The $30M grant
program was meant to revive the moribund American TV industry,
but federal procurement regulations require an open competition.