The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), administered by the U.S. secretary of energy, is responsible for energy policy and nuclear safety. Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the U.S. Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production. DOE initiatives focus on energy security, nuclear security, scientific discovery, and environmental responsibility. Many federal agencies that handled energy policy between World War II and the energy crisis of the 1970s were placed under the auspices of DOE in 1977. With energy-related issues involving everything from nuclear power to energy production alternatives and from global warming to vehicle fuel efficiency gaining attention in the news, journalists and other science communicators will need to understand DOE's current role.

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