The Senate Appropriations Committee has sent its FY 2006 Energy and
Water Development Appropriations bill to the floor. Senate Report 109-084
accompanying H.R. 2419 includes a strong statement regarding the government
funding of the physical sciences, and provides the committee's recommendations
for various physics-related programs.
The Senate bill's recommendation for the Office of Science is $36.6
million higher than the House bill (note that Senator Pete Domenici's
(R-NM) subcommittee had a higher budget allocation than the House subcommittee.)
Here are the numbers (which include all budget items such as "Safe
Guards and Security" in the Office of Science budget):
The current budget is $3,599.9 million.
The Bush Administration requested a cut of 3.8% in the FY 2006 budget
to $3,462.7 million.
The House bill would increase the budget by 1.8% or $66.2 million to
The Senate bill would increase the budget by 2.9% or $102.8 million
to $3,702.7 million.
Excerpts from the committee report follow (earmarks and program descriptions
have been omitted in the interest of space); the full report may be
accessed at http://thomas.loc.gov/
under "Committee Information." Readers should compare
the below Senate language for specific programs with that contained
in the House report; see http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/072.html.
Information on the Bush Administration's request can be found at http://www.aip.org/fyi/2005/016.html.
GOVERNMENT FUNDING OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES:
"Investment in the physical sciences and engineering
plays a critical role in enabling U.S. technological innovation and
global economic leadership. It is essential to the development and
utilization of our energy resources, as well as innovations in the
areas of defense, the environment, communications and information
technologies, health care and much more. Over the past 50 years, half
of U.S. economic growth has come from prior investment in science
and technological innovation. Life expectancy has grown from 55 years
in 1900 to nearly 80 years today.
"The United States has been the undisputed world leader
in the physical sciences for the past six decades, an investment strategy
that has led to huge gains in our national security, economic prosperity
and overall quality of life for all U.S. citizens. Federal support
for fundamental research in physics, chemistry, materials sciences,
and other scientific disciplines crucial to U.S. industry has been
a major contributor to this national success story.
"But the foundations for the future of the physical
sciences are eroding. The Department of Energy's Office of Science,
which is the leading source of Federal investment for R&D facilities
and fundamental research in the physical sciences, is at a crossroads.
At a time when our international competitors are significantly scaling
up their investments in the physical sciences (the European Union
will soon double its overall funding for R&D), funding for the
Office of Science and other U.S. agencies has been flat or even declining.
This comes at a time when U.S. industry is scaling back its investments
in long-term research in the physical sciences in an effort to remain
competitive in the short term.
"This trend is not uniform or irreversible. Significant
investments in key areas of science, most of which are supported by
DOE's Office of Science, will keep our Nation at the forefront of
future research into the physical sciences. The future health of our
national system of physical sciences R&D can be restored by focused
investments in three areas: major scientific user facilities that
support the physical sciences; the university scientists who conduct
world class research and train our next generation of scientific talent;
and DOE's national laboratories, which are the Nation's crucible for
multidisciplinary work in challenging aspects of the physical sciences
that cannot be performed elsewhere.
"The Office of Science has done commendable work planning
for the future of the physical sciences in the United States. A 20-year
investment plan for the new research facilities that our Nation needs
is being implemented but existing capabilities cannot be sacrificed
to purchase new facilities. The Committee urges that the Office of
Science research programs work closely with their university counterparts
to make joint investments that ensure the vitality of physical science
"The Government must tap into the enormous capabilities
of the Office of Science and regain world leadership in the physical
sciences. DOE user facilities should be operating at their designed
capacity, providing key discovery opportunities for thousands of new
researchers every year. University research programs in nanoscience,
catalysis, mathematics and physics should be expanded to ensure training
of the next generation of outstanding scientists needed to solve important
national problems. Multidisciplinary research at the national laboratories
should be encouraged to meet national challenges in defense, energy
production and the environment. Taken as a whole, these investments
will ensure U.S. leadership in the physical sciences and the vitality
of the U.S. economy.
"The Office of Science operates many of the Nation's
most advanced large-scale user facilities of importance to all areas
of science. These state-of-the-art facilities are shared with the
science community world-wide and contain technologies and instrumentation
that are available nowhere else. These facilities serve tens of thousands
of users in laboratories, universities, industry, and other Federal
agencies, and represent large Federal capital investments. Over the
last several years many of these facilities have operated below optimal
levels. In order to rectify this situation, the Committee has provided
funding to restore operations of the SC user facilities to optimal
levels by providing an additional $100,000,000 for facility operations
allocated as follows: $20,000,000 in Basic Energy Sciences; $3,000,000
in High Energy Physics; $49,000,000 in Nuclear physics; and $28,000,000
in Fusion Energy Sciences."
HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS:
The Senate bill would cut funding for the High Energy Physics
Program by 2.6% or $18.8 million, from $735.7 million to $716.9 million.
The House bill would provide $735.9 million. The Bush Administration
requested $713.9 million. The report states:
"The Committee recommendation includes $716,933,000
for high energy physics, an increase of $3,000,000 [over the request],
to provide operational funding to ensure full utilization of facilities.
. . . "
"The Committee recognizes the critical importance of
the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission [JDEM] in answering fundamental
questions about the nature and substance of the universe. Consequently,
the Committee encourages the Department to move JDEM forward aggressively
to ensure the timely accomplishment of this important work."
Senate appropriators recommend an increase of 3.7% or $14.9 million
in the Nuclear Physics Program budget, from $404.8 million to $419.7
million. The House bill would provide $408.3 million. The Administration
request was $370.7 million. The report states:
"The Committee recommends $419,741,000 for nuclear physics,
an increase of $49,000,000 to ensure full utilization of experimental
facilities. . . . "
"Rare Isotope Accelerator- The Committee requests the
Department to submit a report within 120 days after the enactment
of this Act, with information critical to moving forward with the
site selection of the Rare Isotope Accelerator. The report shall include,
but not be limited to, (1) the status and progress of the conceptual
research and development supporting the development of RIA over the
past 6 years; (2) the priority research areas the Department will
complete prior to site selection for RIA; (3) the process by which
the Department selects recipients for its research and development
funding; (4) how the results of current and future research and development
may affect the design of RIA or the path forward; (5) what technical
hurdles remain before RIA site selection can resume; and (6) what
funding will be required to clear those hurdles and what is the expected
length of time for completion of these activities.
"Finally, the Committee requests the Department clarify
its plans to move forward with RIA, provide an estimate of when the
draft request for proposals will be reissued, and assess whether in
a constrained budget environment the Department has any concern that
RIA, as it is currently envisioned, will not be built. If the Department
anticipates that future budgets will not allow for RIA, the Committee
requests the report provide alternatives and explain how the Nation
would meet our need for the fundamental physics knowledge and training
of scientists applicable to national security and homeland security
that RIA would provide."
BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES:
Senate appropriators recommend an increase of 12.4% or $136.4 million
in the Basic Energy Science Program budget, from $1,104.6 million to
$1,241.0 million. The House bill would provide $1,173.2 million. The
Administration request was $1,146.0 million. The report states:
"Within available funds, the Committee recommendation
includes $7,280,000 for the Department's Experimental Program to Stimulate
Competitive Research. The Committee provides $5,000,000 to purchase
additional fuel for the High Flux Isotope Reactor.
"The Committee recommendation includes $1,062,944,000,
the amount of the request, for materials sciences, engineering research,
chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy biosciences. The Committee
recommendation includes $4,500,000 for Altair Nanotech for nanotechnology,
nanosensors, and nanomaterials research, development, and deployment.
"Energy-Water Supply Technologies- The Committee recommendation
includes an additional $25,000,000, within the chemical sciences,
geosciences, and energy biosciences account, to support a research
and demonstration program to study energy-related issues associated
with water resources and issues associated with sustainable water
supplies for energy production. . . . "
"Spallation Neutron Source- The Committee recommendation
includes the budget request of $41,744,000 to continue construction
at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Spallation Neutron Source
[SNS] to meet the Nation's neutron scattering needs.
"Nanoscale Science Research Centers- The Committee recommendation
supports the high priority given to nanoscale research and has included
the budget request for the nanoscale science research centers at Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Argonne
National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the joint
effort between Sandia National Laboratories and Los Alamos National
"National Nanotechnology Enterprise Development Center-
The Committee directs $30,000,000 for the establishment of the National
Nanotechnology Enterprise Development Center [NNEDC], to be co-located
with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies [CINT], a joint facility
of Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The Committee intends that the NNEDC will assist in the technological
maturation of nanotechnologies developed at the National Nanoscience
Initiative facilities. The mission of the NNEDC will be to identify
nanotechnologies developed at the national laboratories and partnered
universities that are promising candidates for commercialization and
to assist in their transition to the marketplace. The Center will
be directed by employees of Sandia National Laboratory and Los Alamos
National Laboratory and will emphasize opportunities for industry
partnership with the CINT."
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES:
Senate appropriators recommend an increase of 6.1% or $16.7 million
in the Fusion Energy Science Program budget, from $273.9 million to
$290.6 million. The House bill would provide $296.2 million. The Administration
request was $290.6 million. The report states:
"The Committee provides $290,550,000, the same as the
budget request. The Committee has provided $28,000,000 in additional
funding to ensure the full operations on the DIII-D, Alcator C-Mod,
and NSTX fusion research facilities. The current budget reduces operations
from 48 weeks to just 17 weeks, which the Committee believes is an
irresponsible use of the taxpayer investment in these facilities.
The Committee has reduced funding for the International Thermonuclear
Experimental Reactor [ITER] by $28,000,000, equal to the amount domestic
research has been increased. The Committee is disappointed that a
decision has not been made in selecting a site for the location of
this international burning plasma user facility. Without a final decision
on a location or allocation, the Committee is skeptical the Department
will be able to expend the full budget request for this project in
fiscal year 2006. If a site is selected, the Committee will work with
the Department to provide an allocation that is consistent with the
expected needs for this project. Within available funds, the Committee
includes $1,000,000 for non-defense research activities at the Atlas
Pulse Power facility."
BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH:
Senate appropriators recommend a cut of 13.4% or $78.2 million in the
Biological and Environmental Research Program budget, from $581.9 million
to $503.7 million. The House bill would provide $525.7 million. The
Administration request was $455.7 million ($79.6 million in earmarks
were not included.) The report contains considerable language regarding
research on climatic change, the Genomes to Life program and a lengthy
list of earmarks. Other sections of the report language states:
"Molecular Medicine. The Committee continues to support
research that brings together PET imaging, systems biology and nanotechnology
to develop new molecular imaging probes. These probes should provide
a biological diagnosis of disease that is informative of the molecular
basis of disease and specific for guiding the development of new molecular
"The Committee is concerned about the consequences [of]
mitigation activities and public health impact associated with the
threat of any radiological event and strongly encourages the Department
to develop therapeutical radiological countermeasures to protect against
exposure to the effects of ionizing radiation. The Committee is aware
of the potential of inositol signaling molecules as a therapy for
exposure to ionizing radiation and encourages the Department to support
research of this emerging technology. The Committee recommends $7,000,000
for UCLA Institute for Molecular Medicine to protect the public health
against radiation exposure."
ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING:
Senate appropriators recommend a cut of 10.9% or $25.4 million in the
Advanced Scientific Computing Program budget, from $232.5 million to
$207.1 million. The House bill would provide $246.1 million. The Administration
request was $207.1 million. The report states:
"The National Leadership Computing Facility at Oak Ridge
National Laboratory will provide the scientific community with the
computing capability needed to solve problems out of reach of currently
available systems and lead to significant advancements in areas such
as biology, fusion, and climate change. Unfortunately, the budget
request for this effort would halt the next phase of machine acquisitions
and provides inadequate funding to operate the system that will be
installed during fiscal year 2005.
"The Committee strongly supports the National Leadership
Computing Facility and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's leadership
in this important area. Full operation of the National Leadership
Computing Facility at ORNL is necessary to keep domestic researchers
and industries competitive with their global counterparts. The Committee
will work to ensure that sufficient funding is provided to meet the
next phase of machine acquisitions and encourages the Department to
focus its efforts on enhancing and expanding activities at the National
Leadership Computing Facility."
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics