Tag Archives: model

World’s First Commercial Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Coming to TN

Near the banks of the Clinch River in eastern Tennessee, a team of engineers this month will take the initial steps in plans for the world’s first commercial small modular nuclear reactors, reports National Geographic.
Once before, there was an effort to hatch a nuclear power breakthrough along the Clinch River, which happens to meander through the U.S. government’s largest science and technology campus, Oak Ridge, on its path from the Appalachian Mountains to the Tennessee River.
In the 1970s, the U.S. government and private industry partners sought to build the nation’s first commercial-scale “fast breeder” reactor here, an effort abandoned amid concerns about costs and safety.
Today, nuclear energy’s future still hinges on the same two issues, and advocates argue that SMRs provide the best hope of delivering new nuclear plants that are both affordable and protective of people and the environment. And even amid Washington, D.C.’s budget angst, there was bipartisan support for a new five-year $452 million U.S. government program to spur the technology.
The first project to gain backing in the program is here on the Clinch River at the abandoned fast breeder reactor site, where the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the United States, has partnered with engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox to build two prototype SMRs by 2022.
SMRs are “a very promising direction that we need to pursue,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at his confirmation hearing in April. “I would say it’s where the most innovation is going on in nuclear energy.”

(Hat tip: Steve Tapp, whose nifty blog is HERE)

Bill Haslam: ‘The Most Important Republican Governor You Never Heard of’

Pollitico hails Gov. Bill Haslam as a model for Republican governors in a profile piece. Here’s an excerpt:
But while attracting scant national attention and eschewing the camera-friendly approach of most up-and-coming Republican governors, Bill Haslam has amassed one of the most extensive conservative governing records in the country.
He is, in short, the most important Republican governor you’ve never heard of. And as the National Governors Association gathers in Washington this week for its winter meeting, the national GOP may have something to learn from Tennessee.
Since his election in 2010, Haslam has overhauled the Tennessee civil service, stripped back teacher tenure, cut taxes, enacted tort reform and expanded charter schools. Add up the various items on his agenda, and it looks a lot like a version of the pro-growth platform Washington Republicans have been grasping for.
Haslam has done all that during his first term without triggering the kind of large-scale backlash that other aggressive Republican governors have encountered. There aren’t tens of thousands of protesters, or even one irate MSNBC host, camped outside Haslam’s window.
The 54-year-old Haslam, who recorded a 68 percent approval rating last month, disavows any interest in national office. Yet to friends and allies, Haslam’s experience in Tennessee is at the very least a model for national Republicans groping around for ideas that appeal to the middle class
.

Note: For a somewhat different perspective, see Jeff Woods’ commentary on the ‘insanly fawning profile.”

UT Has New ‘Model’ for Raising Revenue from Students

The University of Tennessee board of trustees tentatively approved plan Wednesday that would charge future full-time students for an additional three hours each semester at the Knoxville campus, reports the News Sentinel.
The new charges will begin with freshmen next year.
Following an hourlong discussion, the plan to charge full-time students for 15 credit hours unanimously passed out of committee and will go before the full board of trustees, including Gov. Bill Haslam, today.
“There’s got to be a financial incentive, and there’s got to be courses available, and there’s got to be the expectation to graduate in four years,” Chancellor Jimmy Cheek said during the committee meeting, held on the agriculture campus. “We cannot become a top-25 public research university if we do not graduate classes. Quite frankly, we’ve got to have a game-changer, and we think this is a game-changer.”
Current students, who will not be affected by the proposal, pay by the credit hour until they hit 12 hours, the threshold for full-time status. The proposed new model would mean future students who take 12 or more credit hours would be required to pay for 15 credit hours.
Cheek touted the new model as a means of raising revenue, making tuition increases more predictable, encouraging students to graduate in four years, lowering student debt and allowing the university to serve more students without upping enrollment.

Kelsey Would Follow Federal Model for Judges

News release from Senate Republican Caucus:
(NASHVILLE, TN), October 18, 2011 — State Senator Brian Kelsey
(R-Germantown) today introduced Senate Joint Resolution 475, a
constitutional amendment to appoint state appellate judges in a manner
similar to the federal model. Under the resolution, the governor would
appoint judges to the Supreme Court and state appellate courts, subject
to confirmation by the Senate. These judges will serve eight year
terms.
The constitutional resolution is the third in a series of announcements
by Kelsey in his “12 for ’12” initiative for the next legislative
session, which is set to reconvene January 10, 2012.
Many expect judicial selection to be one of the hot-button issues of the
2012 legislative session. The newly created Judicial Nominating
Commission is set to begin expiration June 30, 2012 unless the General
Assembly decides to renew the commission prior to that date.

Continue reading