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FYI Number 16: February 12, 2002

FY 2003 Budget Request for DOE's Office of Science

Total funding for the Department of Energy would increase by 2.7 percent, to $21.9 billion, under President Bush's FY 2003 budget request. The war on terrorism receives major emphasis in this budget request; of DOE's major missions, the largest increase would go for Nuclear Security.

Funding for DOE's Office of Science (SC) would remain essentially flat, with a 0.1 percent increase to $3.3 billion. According to DOE budget documents, "Setting aside funds for the Spallation Neutron Source [SNS] and projects that required one-time funding in FY 2002, science funding increases by about 5 percent." Most of the Office of Science programs tracked by FYI would receive increases, although not all would keep pace with inflation: Nuclear Physics would grow by 6.5 percent, Fusion Energy Sciences by 4.0 percent, Basic Energy Sciences by 2.0 percent, and High Energy Physics by 1.7 percent. Biological and Environmental Research would fall by 11.6 percent, mainly due to the elimination of prior congressional earmarks. Science Laboratories Infrastructure would see a 15.1 percent increase, to $42.7 million.

Explanations for the budgets of selected Office of Science programs, taken from several DOE budget documents, are quoted below:

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS REQUEST: Up 1.7 % to $725.0 million

DOE's "Budget Highlights" state, "High Energy Physics gives priority to two 'windows of opportunity.' First is the search for the elusive Higgs Boson, the expected source of mass. This will be the primary emphasis at Fermilab for the next several years. The other priority is research on charge-parity (CP) violation at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, which may explain the preponderance of matter over antimatter in the universe. The other major FY 2003 activity involves the December 1997 agreement between DOE and NSF with the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) concerning U.S. contributions to construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). DOE will continue LHC project funding through FY 2005 and will then become an active participant in its research program. The program will also continue construction of the Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI) project."

Additional budget materials add that HEP "has a unique opportunity during the next five years to make a key discovery that will help scientists worldwide understand the origin of mass in the universe, one of the great unsolved questions in physics. Until the Large Hadron Collider in Europe becomes operational sometime after 2005, the HEP program is the only one in the world with facilities capable of detecting the elusive Higgs Boson.... Additionally, one of the persistent mysteries of modern physics is the general absence of observed anti-matter in the universe - a puzzle that HEP could resolve within the next five years by explaining the role of Charge-Parity (CP) violation."

NUCLEAR PHYSICS REQUEST: Up 6.5 % to $382.4 million

"The Nuclear Physics program is working to synthesize for the first time in a laboratory the extreme state of matter that existed microseconds after the Big Bang: a Quark-Gluon Plasma. This scientific achievement will reveal the nature and behavior of the most fundamental building blocks of matter. Now that SC's Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) facility is fully operational, intensive study is underway that could lead to the human-made creation and discovery of an extreme form of matter (Quark-Gluon Plasma) that existed just after the Big Bang at the start of the universe."

"Nuclear Physics will focus its additional FY 2003 resources on expanding facility operating times. For the three largest facilities, Bates will increase operations from 21 weeks in FY 2002 to 27 in FY 2003. Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility increases from 26 to 28 weeks of operation. The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider increases from 11 weeks to 22 weeks."

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 4.0 % to $257.3 million

"Fusion offers the potential for abundant, safe, environmentally attractive, affordable energy. Research in the science and the technology of fusion has progressed to the point that the next major step in the program is the exploration of the physics of a self-sustained fusion reaction, or a burning plasma physics experiment. SC will conduct research that supports such an experiment. In addition, SC will explore innovative approaches to confining, heating, and fueling plasmas."

"Fusion Energy Sciences [FES] completed decontamination and decommissioning activities for the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor in FY 2002, freeing up funding to initiate design and fabrication of the National Compact Stellerator Experiment at Princeton. FES will also be providing enhanced operating times for all of its major facilities."

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 2.0 % to $1,019.6 million

"The U.S. will be restored to a position of leadership in neutron scattering research after the [Spallation Neutron Source] becomes operational in FY 2006."

"[F]unding for the Spallation Neutron Source begins to taper down in FY 2003. This and a small program funding increase make funds available for other priorities, including nanoscale science which is rapidly gaining importance in BES, Plant Engineering and Design and construction of Nanoscale Science Research Centers, enhanced operation of its scientific user facilities, design of the next-generation Linac Coherent Light Source, and improved instrumentation for the neutron and x-ray scattering facilities."

BIOLOGICAL & ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH: Down 11.6 % to $504.2 million

"Biological and Environmental Research completed $69.8 million of earmarked projects in FY 2002; these funds are redistributed among all Science programs in FY 2003. Genomes to Life increases by $15.2 million for additional research on microbes for energy and environmental applications. The high-visibility and inter- agency Human Genome Project and Climate Change Research programs are each funded at slightly elevated levels in FY 2003. The 'Mouse House' construction project was completed in FY 2002. The request includes $2.9 million for the Administration's new Climate Change Research Initiative."

Audrey T. Leath
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
(301) 209-3094

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