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Former Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu swears in before testifying Nov. 17, 2011, in Washington before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's investigations panel on the department's handling of federal loans to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

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Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (right) and Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announce construction of a hybrid geothermal/solar power plant in Nevada last summer. (Associated Press)

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20120704-203740-pic-1158242_3_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (right) and Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announce construction of a hybrid geothermal/solar power plant in Nevada last summer. (Associated Press)

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20120704-203740-pic-1158242_2_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (right) and Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announce construction of a hybrid geothermal/solar power plant in Nevada last summer. (Associated Press)

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20120704-203740-pic-1158242_mugshot_four_by_three.jpg

ASSOCIATED PRESS Secretary of Energy Steven Chu ( right) and Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announce construction of a hybrid geothermal/solar power plant in Nevada last summer.

20120704-203740-pic-1158242.jpg

20120704-203740-pic-1158242.jpg

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (right) and Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announce construction of a hybrid geothermal/solar power plant in Nevada last summer. (Associated Press)

CHU-006_11171307.jpg

CHU-006_11171307.jpg

Former Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu swears in before testifying Nov. 17, 2011, in Washington before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's investigations panel on the department's handling of federal loans to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

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CHU-011_11171307.jpg

Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies Nov. 17, 2011, in Washington before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's investigations panel on the department's handling of federal loans to solar panel manufacturer Solyndra. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The Washington Times)

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Energy Secretary Steven Chu testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, before the House Oversight and Investigations subcommittee hearing on the Solyndra solar company loans. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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Austria Nuclear Agenc_Lea.jpg

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu speaks at the general conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

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One critic says Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been strangely absent from the public discourse on nuclear power in the wake of the Japanese nuclear calamity.

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One critic says Energy Secretary Steven Chu has been strangely absent from the public discourse on nuclear power in the wake of the Japanese nuclear calamity.

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar (left) and Energy Secretary Steven Chu look over a map of areas under consideration for wind energy development. Leasing of sites could begin by the end of the year. They made the announcement Monday morning. (Associated Press)

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ASSOCIATED PRESS Energy Secretary Steven Chu (left), Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testify on Capitol Hill in June at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

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** FILE ** President Obama points out Energy Secretary Steven Chu as he delivers remarks on energy jobs during a visit to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 26 headquarters in Lanham, Md.