By Matthew L. Wald, The New York Times

Obama acts to ease way to construct new reactors.

The Obama administration moved vigorously on two fronts Friday to promote nuclear power, proposing a tripling of federal loan guarantees for new projects and appointing a high-level commission to study what to do with nuclear waste.

Administration officials confirmed that their 2011 federal budget request next week would raise potential loan guarantees for the projects to more than $54 billion, from $18.5 billion.

A new Energy Department panel with examine a vastly expanded list of options for nuclear waste, including a new kind of nuclear reactor that would use some of it.

The current loan guarantees were provided in the 2005 energy act bt have not been disbursed because of bureaucratic delays. The Energy Department has sai it would start issuing those soon. Because the loan guarantees are supposed to cover 80 percent of contruction costs, the current amount of $18.5 billion would cover only about three projects.

Opponents have complaine that loan guarantees for projects that cannot attract commercial investment amount to “nuclear socialism.”

Oh, I think Obama should have done that long time ago. Nuclear energy is pretty “GREEN” and has the potential of employing a lot of people acrossing the board – politicians, bureaucrats, professional, craftmen, clerks and laborers. Of course, it is NOT 100% percent safe. But, remember, our lives are not 100% safe either. There are always risks that need to be dealt with. But, risks are everywhere all the time. As an employee of power industry, I would rather visit a Nuclear Power Station than a Fossil one. No one knows exact what are in a fossil power plant. But, almost everyone knows exactly what are in a nuclear station. It has been recorded and watched all the time from various regulatory agencies.

Well, based on the math included, USA now should be able to fund 9 new reactors with government loan guarantees under Obama. It is far off compared to 45 reactors proposed by John McCain. But, anyway, it is a good start. And I think, of course, it is good for me. It is good for improving the employment too. Above all, it is good for America.


Well, it snowed more than I was expecting it to. So we’ve been in the house all day – kind of trapped!

We tried to go do some errands today:


but we turned around and headed back home after driving for a few minutes.

Jeremy baked bread, here’s the starter:


I repaired a massive dragon head for Chinese New Year.


We swept.


Chocolate fondue!

Last week, our previous au pair, Yvonne, came by to visit us. She was in the states for two and a half weeks to visit her pals who are still here. We had a wonderful meat-centric meal since Yvonne is pretty famous for not eating vegetables. She had mailed us a fondue set for Christmas which we were going to use when she was here for dinner, but somehow we didn’t manage to break it out.

So this week, we had chocolate fondue.


Vince checking out the flame:


Edda doesn’t really like chocolate and anyways, she was pretty much asleep when dessert time rolled around.


Exciting day tomorrow!

Well, we are all waiting here with baited breath here for tomorrow to come! Apple’s big announcement AND the State of the Union address all together in one big day; as someone in the house said, I guess tomorrow we’ll save the world AND also have the State of the Union address. ha ha. To top it all off and make it a super duper blockbuster day, I think we all decided that tomorrow’s dinner will include tater tots. Woo hoo – triple play.

Last Saturday night, me and a few friends from work gathered in my pal Darcy’s apartment for a girls board game night. Darcy has a lot of hobbies which include baking, so there were awesome desserts.


She is also a belly dancer who dances with her pet snake:


The highlight of the evening was watching her snake eat four mice – I guess she feeds the snake every month or so and I got an amazing photo of the snake devouring the mouse (which was dead and frozen in the freezer and thawed out so that the snake wouldn’t freeze her insides). But I know there are some mouse lovers (KGM – that would be you) that might not appreciate seeing a snake eat a mouse, so don’t click here unless you want to see a snake eating a pre-dead mouse.

Being one of the gang.

I’ve been trying pretty hard to bring Edda out into the community more. This seems to be my major “Edda” priority this year – to get families in the neighborhood to know Edda and for Edda to get to know them. This has been made a lot easier with Vince, who is a naturally outgoing kid and is not shy about having his sister along for the ride.

Today we went on an outing to the recycling center with the scouts. I know I talk about the scouts a lot, but it has been a good group of parents to get to know. Edda walked around the center aimlessly and with very little eye contact as she is wont to do – a dad patted Edda on her head as she walked by, moms encouraged their kids to say “hi” to Edda, a scout made sure that Edda had her foam earplugs for the “factory” tour. It was all really nice.


And the recycling center is amazing! Magnets to separate the metals, people to separate a lot of the other stuff. It is not an easy job to sort co-mingled recycling. (A lot less smelly than you’d think it’d be).



Doggie park.

On my slow, short jogs around the neighborhoods, I have discovered a doggie gathering that happens between 8:30 and 9 am everyday. I’ve been marveling in my discovery because it’s a little on the hush-hush side and so it’s not advertised and I lived here a whole 1.5 years without finding out about it.

Vince hurt his knee on the way to the park, so he hitched a ride with Edda.


Here’s the doggie gathering. Ruby is one of 4 or 5 ginger colored labs, one of them even has the same color collar, so it can be hard to find her in the crowd (look in the lower left of the picture).


Edda making friends:


Hard to keep a head band on.


There are a few interesting tidbits going on in the Rett Syndrome world, mainly some media stuff and awareness raising…

My friend Ingrid, who runs Girl Power 2 Cure, was recently interviewed by Parents TV for a story about her daughter Sarah who has Rett Syndrome. She did an amazing job and I loved seeing all those baby pictures of Sarah and the video of Sarah walking! We saw Sarah in 2008 and she was relying on a stander/walker and not taking independent steps and since then, she’s learned how to walk, pretty fantastic!

There is also a new movie out, which opens tonight, called Extraordinary Measures – which is about a father of two critically ill kiddos with Pompe disease and how he takes a drug from its infancy and gets enough funding to create a biotech business and actually get it through clinical trials and finally being able to find a treatment for his kids. Because critically ill kids often don’t make such great movie material, I was pleasantly surprised when the NY Times gave it a thumbs up.

It’s based on a book called The Cure, which I did spend a few days last week reading through because I was interested in kind of learning how one develops a treatment for a genetic disease. I was a little disheartened to learn via the book that when the kiddos in the movie were diagnosed, there was already in the scientific pipeline at least a few approaches to treating Pompe in animals that were promising. Even with a lot of the science in place, it still took the father (who is a savvy businessman and decidedly not a scientist) of the kids over 5 years to get his kids treated with the medicine. There were issues with funding, scaling up, passing FDA approval, etc, etc. You know, I’m a scientist at heart, so when I think of finding a cure for Rett Syndrome, I think – well OK as long as it’s done in a lab and it works, it’ll be a year before no one will have Rett Syndrome, but perhaps that is not true.

Anyhow, Extrodinary Measures is running a contest: here. The video that gets the most votes gets $10,000. If you could vote for the Rett Syndrome video, that would be great! You can vote everyday until the 29th. The video is a little hard to find, just go to the bottom of the quilt and search for Rett and it’ll pop up.

Noel and Rena – on the move again.

My parents are leaving tomorrow for another nuclear power gig in California for the next 3-4 months. It was nice to have a chance to hang out together for the past few months – having dinner, watching the kids and seeing movies. (My parents and I watched Avatar together since I knew Jeremy wouldn’t go with me to see it. I should have sided with Jeremy – it was a silly, silly movie.)

(Here’s my dad – I’m sure he’s talking about how the government is too big (except when it comes to funding nuclear power plants 🙂 ).)


(Here’s mom and dad feeding a sleeping Edda at the pinewood derby. Yes, Edda eats and sleeps at the same time).