The nomination of Steven Chu as Energy Secretary became official today. It has been rumored, written about, etc. for weeks. There are several items worth noting.
To begin with, every scientist I know, including one who works in DOE, are elated with Chu's nomination. It will be the first time that a scientist heads the department of government that has the most to do with science. It seems to many to be a final vindication for all that they suffered as they endured the Republican War on Science, as author Chris Mooney called it. Chu was one of the very active Nobel Laureate who supported and worked for a Science Debated 2008 as part of the presidential nomination process. It did not happen, though it should have. Mooney comments at DeSmogBlog.
There is another group of global warming activists, like Joseph Romm of Climate Progress, who are also laudatory, given the fact that Chu has always been very active in research for sollutions to global warming and energy. He gives us 5 reasons he thinks Chu is a great pick.
Yet I find the most vocal members of the EcoAction Committee of the Green Party to be adamantly against Chu for his being actively pro Nuke. Very few are looking at this objectively. Perhaps this post by Mark Flanagan is one. We have to consider that the previous name for the Department of Energy was the Atomic Energy Commission. So, it is worth watching.
It is my opinion that the story has yet to be written about Steven Chu. It would be nice to see a scientist work from the facts of the physical world rather than the political calculus of what is possible as they consider what needs to be done.
I look for Chu to do more work on nuclear storage. That is necessary in any case, especially if we move to decommission weapons. I would be very surprised to see even one new nuclear reactor break ground while he is Secretary. Then I have been wrong many, many times.