Georgia gold Supporters of nuclear power say the...

Newswatch . . . ON SCIENCE

May 19, 1992

Georgia gold Supporters of nuclear power say the industry's future may be at stake as Congress approaches a key vote this week on a broad-ranging energy bill.

The House is considering whether nuclear power plant licensing should be made easier. And, as it did earlier this year in the Senate, the licensing provision is setting off the loudest fireworks.

For years the nuclear industry, which hasn't ordered a new reactor since the 1970s, has pleaded with the government to smooth the path to plant licensing. The industry gained a friendly ear in the Bush administration, which has lobbied hard on Capitol Hill for licensing changes.

NTC When it passed its energy bill earlier this year, the Senate agreed to streamline the process and require utilities to obtain just one license that would cover both plant construction and operation.

Separate measures -- one mirroring the Senate bill and another flatly rejecting the "one-step" licensing approach -- are expected to be considered when the energy package reaches the House floor, possibly as early as Thursday.

Liftoff rescheduled

The scheduled launch of the first research rocket to blast off from Puerto Rico in 25 years was canceled due to cloudy skies.

The rocket launching from a site outside San Juan was suspended shortly before 6 p.m. yesterday and rescheduled for today between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., said project manager Jay Brown.

The $11.2 million Project Coqui, named after an ubiquitous Puerto Rican tree frog, is to send eight rockets 140 miles above the Earth's surface to learn more about the ionosphere, the outer layer of the atmosphere.

New job for Baltimore

After a brief but tumultuous stint as president of Rockefeller University in Manhattan, a post that he resigned last November when outrage over his role in a fraudulent scientific paper grew too fractious to bear, Dr. David Baltimore is returning to the place of his greatest professional triumphs, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Baltimore, a Nobel laureate who is considered one of the nation's most outstanding biologists, will remain as a research biologist at Rockefeller until the spring of 1994, when he will join the MIT faculty as a professor, the Cambridge institute announced yesterday.

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