Despite extraordinary dependence on foreign oil, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 2009 budget does little to find alternatives. Instead, the Bush Administration’s single largest funding priority for the Energy department is to maintain a large, oversized nuclear arsenal and to build new weapons. The imperative to maintain DOE’s large and antiquated nuclear infrastructure is a major impediment to achieving a balanced and sound national energy policy.

Robert Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department's secretary and deputy assistant secretary for national security and the environment from 1993 to 1999.