Tales from the Trail

Washington Extra – Going nuclear?

 

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission commissioner Kristine Svinicki (L) is seen here with Chairman Gregory Jaczko (C) and fellow commissioner George Apostolakis (R) listening to testimony at a meeting at the NRC's headquarters in Rockville, Maryland in this March 21, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama to renominate Republican to nuclear panel – President Obama will renominate Republican Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, defying opposition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a White House official told Reuters. Republicans want Svinicki, whose term as a commissioner expires in June, to stay on the panel and believe the process is being held up because she, along with three other commission members, accused the current NRC chairman, a Democrat, of bullying women. For more of this story by Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton, read here.

U.S. House passes Republican business tax cut – The Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a tax break for small businesses, giving voters a stark alternative to President Obama’s politically popular “Buffett Rule” surtax on the wealthy. In an escalating election-year war of words over taxes, the Republican measure, like the Buffett Rule, is not expected to become law. It is opposed by Democrats, who control the Senate, where the bill was expected to die. For more of this story by Kim Dixon, read here.

Lagarde sees deal in making on IMF funding – IMF chief Christine Lagarde said she expects to win a big boost in funding to help the lender contain damage from the euro-zone debt crisis now that Europe has taken significant steps on its own. For more of this story by Lesley Wroughton and Stella Dawson, read here.

US jobless data suggests slowdown in job creation – The number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits for the first time fell only slightly last week, suggesting that job growth in April will not improve much after March’s disappointing performance. Economists viewed the string of weak reports as payback after an abnormally warm winter boosted activity and did not believe that the economy would suffer a repeat of 2011, when growth slowed down sharply in the first half of the year. For more of this story by Lucia Mutikani, read here.

Chavez’s space plans have Foggy Bottom in stitches

Russian PM Vladimir Putin flew all the way to Venezuela for a quick 12-hour visit to boost oil and military ties with President Hugo Chavez, the loudest basher of U.S. “imperialism” in Washington’s backyard. 

VENEZUELA-RUSSIA/TIESBesides guns, tanks, jet fighters and missiles, Chavez wants a Russian hand in developing nuclear energy to cope with chronic electricity shortages in his oil-producing country, and technology to start a space industry.

“We are not going to build the atomic bomb, but we will develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes,” said the former paratrooper who has been in power for 11 years.

Obama sounds the alarm for clean energy

OBAMA/President Barack Obama sounded the alarm on Tuesday as he made his push for more nuclear power in the U.S. energy mix — literally.

He toured an electrical workers union training center in Maryland before announcing the multibillion-dollar plan. During the tour, he talked to workers being trained in computer-assisted design, examined power management technology and fire alarm systems.

“You can pull one if you want,” Rhett Roe, a union member who has been teaching since 1985, told the smiling president as they stood before a wall filled with bright red alarm boxes.