Continued solid coverage of energy issues in the latest issue of Popular Mechanics, which explores the viability of hydrogen as an energy source. A fair-minded story, acknowledging the potential skeptics, where appropriate, of hydrogen’s immediate prospects:

WHEN ASSESSING THE State of the Union in 2003, President Bush declared it was time to take a crucial step toward protecting our environment. He announced a $1.2 billion initiative to begin developing a national hydrogen infrastructure: a coast-to-coast network of facilities that would produce and distribute the hydrogen for powering hundreds of millions of fuel cell vehicles. Backed by a national commitment, he said, “our scientists and engineers will overcome obstacles to taking these cars from laboratory to showroom, so that the first car driven by a child born today could be powered by hydrogen, and pollution-free.” With two years to go on the first, $720 million phase of the plan, PM asks that perennial question of every automotive journey: Are we almost there?

And the inevitable answer from the front seat: No. Promises of a thriving hydrogen economy — one that supports not only cars and trucks, but cellphones, computers, homes and whole neighborhoods — date back long before this presidency, and the road to fulfilling them stretches far beyond its horizon.

Elsewhere on the energy front, nuclear power gets good reviews in Australia.

JOHN Howard’s hand-picked nuclear energy taskforce will find that a nuclear industry could be commercially viable within 15 years, giving the green light to the Prime Minister to radically shake up Australia’s energy market.

Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski’s review will also find the cost of nuclear power should come down dramatically as more global powers invest in the technology and the cost of fossil fuels go up.

Indeed, Ziggy!

No, not the Spiders from Mars. Who, we believe, used nuclear energy.

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