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Los Alamos Scientist Picked for Nuclear Energy Post

The White House announced this week that it will nominate Warren (Pete) Miller, a long-time researcher and administrator at Los Alamos National Laboratory, as the Department of Energy's Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy.

Miller, 66, grew up in Chicago, where he attended all-black schools. (One of his classmates in elementary school was Emmett Till, who was murdered as a teenager while visiting relatives in Mississippi in 1955.) He joined ROTC, graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and served in Vietnam. After resigning from the military, he earned a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from Northwestern University, then went to work at Los Alamos. He was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1996.

Miller told ScienceInsider: "I certainly think we do need to get nuclear energy going again." He noted that the government has already offered loan guarantees to companies that are ready to build new nuclear power plants. "We'll just have to see" whether those incentives are sufficient, he said. On the controversial issue of reprocessing nuclear waste, Miller said that more R&D is needed to bring down the cost of the technology and reduce the risk of creating new stocks of bomb-ready nuclear materials.