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House Appropriations Bill for Office of Science

Richard M. Jones
Number 76 - July 10, 2008  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill on June 25. Traditionally, the final copy of the committee's report would have been made available within a few days. For unknown reasons, the committee's report has not yet been officially published.

The following are selections from an unnumbered, undated, report that was made available on the day that the full committee approved by voice vote its version of its yet unnumbered draft bill. The below language should be very close to that approved by the committee, although readers should note that these selection were not taken from the "official" version of the report. When that report is made available, a link will be provided to it.

Note that the "current budget" figures include the both the original appropriations bill (enacted last December) as well as the recently-enacted supplemental appropriations bill.

OVERALL OFFICE OF SCIENCE:

The current budget is $4,035.6 million
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $4,722.0 million
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $4,861.7 million, an increase of 20.5 percent or $826.1 million.

The committee's draft report states:

"The Committee is generally pleased with the Department's budget request for the Office of Science in fiscal year 2009. The requested 17.5 percent increase is the major incremental increase planned within the overall 10-year doubling of funding for these activities in DOE authorized by the America COMPETES Act (Public Law 110--69). A critical element of this increase is the support it would provide for 2,600 more research personnel, including graduate students. This addresses a major concern for the future of the United States economy, namely the availability of highly educated scientists and engineers to support the technical innovations that drive economic growth.

"The fiscal year 2009 request would fully fund operating time at most existing DOE user facilities and equal or increased operating time at several others. The request supports investments in major new research facilities such as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, the Linac Coherent Light Source, the 12 GeV upgrade to the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, and the National Synchrotron Light Source II. U.S. scientific and technical leadership is also supported through the availability of advanced scientific computing facilities.

"The Committee has some concerns regarding management practices at the Office of Science which must be resolved in order to ensure that the proposed increase is spent wisely. While the Office has recently shown its capacity to manage projects effectively, building the Spallation Neutron Source generally on budget, and on schedule, the Committee was disappointed to learn of the substantial cost overruns and schedule slippage that eventually forced the recent termination of the construction of the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX), after an investment of over $100,000,000. The Committee commends the efforts by the Department to re-assess the scientific merit and technical viability of the project once they became aware of the cost and schedule issues, and supports the decision by the Department to terminate the project. However, the Committee is concerned by the lack of oversight that allowed the project to proceed as far as it did without the kind of detailed, independent technical design and costing validation that has recently been undertaken, an issue that seems to arise over and over again across the Department. It is essential that adequate support is provided up front to establish the reliability of new technologies that will be used, and that complete end-to-end system engineering and design is performed before proceeding to construction. Further, the Committee has been made aware of a recent report issued by the Department's Inspector General which has documented significant lapses of oversight in conference management at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), such as the use of registration fees from non-Department sources to pay for alcohol, entertainment and gifts, and the lack of adequate reporting of conference information. The Department is instructed to follow the recommendations of the report and ensure that the more than $38,000,000 spent across the Department on conferences is spent wisely. Finally, a key element of the Department's isotope production capability as well as the Manuel Lujan, Jr. Neutron Scattering Center are located at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). Unfortunately, a provision in the NNSA Act (Public Law 106-65) would preclude the employees and contractors of LANSCE from being subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Director of Science, even when LANSCE is conducting work tasked by and funded by the Office of Science. The Committee includes bill language eliminating this restriction, but only with respect to LANSCE research and operations for the isotope production mission transferred to the Office of Science.

"The Committee is pleased with the efforts made by the Department to improve energy research and development integration across the Office of Science and with the applied energy programs. These efforts include cooperation in planning, through a series of twenty workshops undertaken by the Office of Science in order to identify critical science barriers to progress in several key energy technologies, as well as in budgeting, via the inclusion of integrated budgets across the department for six key areas of importance to several of the Department's missions: Advanced Mathematics for Optimization of Complex Systems, Control Theory, and Risk Assessment; Electrical Energy Storage; Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage; Characterization of Radioactive Waste; Predicting High Level Waste System Performance over Extreme Time Horizons; and High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas. The request also contains funding for the first steps in the execution of these plans, including a proposal for $100,000,000 for approximately two dozen Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) focused on addressing critical research needs identified by the recent workshops. The Committee is concerned, however, that the integration efforts have been either top-down, being undertaken at the level of Under Secretaries, or unique events such as workshop series and EFRCs. The Department should take the next step in this process and institutionalize mechanisms for coordination to ensure that these efforts are no longer the exception but the rule, and integrate such coordination with the Department's processes for planning, budgeting, and execution. With these additional steps, the Committee believes that the Department will make substantial progress in bridging the divide between basic science and applied technology, one of the main motivations underlying proposals for the creation of a new Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)."

HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS:

The current budget is $721.3 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $805.0 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $805.0 million, an increase of 11.6 percent or $83.7 million.

The draft committee report states:

"Funding is provided for the NOVA activity as well as for International Linear Collider (ILC) R&D and Superconducting Radiofrequency R&D activities. The Committee commends the Department for its efforts to engage the high energy physics scientific community to provide a bold vision for the future of the Nation's efforts in this area that is both realistic and scientifically compelling, particularly given the difficult budget constraints faced by the field in fiscal year 2008. Given the hefty estimated price tag and elongated timeframe presently envisioned for the ILC, the Committee believes that a balanced effort that addresses opportunities at the energy, luminosity, and cosmic frontiers by leveraging existing physical capital and facilities to the maximum extent possible and by engaging in international scientific cooperation is critical for the future of this field. To this end, the Committee directs the Department to work with the National Science Foundation,(NSF) to pursue opportunities to couple facilities at Fermilab with facilities and experiments at the proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) which may substantially enhance the scientific reach of both projects.

"Over the past few years, the Committee has consistently supported the DOE/NASA Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM), a space probe which may provide a better understanding of the nature of the 'dark energy' that constitutes the majority of the universe. This approach has been strengthened by the recommendation of the National Research Council in September of 2007 that JDEM be the first of the Beyond Einstein space missions to proceed. The Committee is pleased with the efforts made by the Office of Science to work with NASA to establish a path forward for this mission which leverages the strengths of both agencies to unlock the secrets of dark energy, and encourages the organizations to formalize the agreement with a Memorandum of Understanding as soon as possible."

NUCLEAR PHYSICS:

The current budget is $434.2 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $510.1 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $517.1 million, an increase of 19.1 percent or $82.9 million.

The draft committee report stated:

"The requested funding will support operations of the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The requested funding will continue construction of the Electron Beam Ion Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory (project 07-SC-02). An additional $7,000,000 above the budget request is provided to initiate and accelerate construction of the 12 GeV upgrade to the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (project 06¬SC-Ol). The Committee encourages the Department to complete PED for this upgrade and move expeditiously into the construction phase; any remaining PED funds should be applied to construction activities. The funding provided includes $6,603,000 for nuclear physics activities relevant to the Characterization of Radioactive Waste, one of six integrated research and development areas highlighted in the request.

"The request also includes funding for the isotope production program, which has been transferred to the Nuclear Physics account from the Nuclear Energy program. The Committee is encouraged to note that the request includes $3,090,000 for research isotope development and production, an area identified by the National Academies as vital for the future of this program, and one of the motivations for the transfer of this program."

FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES:

The current budget is $302.1 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $493.1 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $499.1 million, an increase of 65.2 percent or $197.0 million.

The draft committee report stated:

"The Committee provides $214,500,000 for the U.S. contribution to ITER, as requested. The Committee recommendation includes $24,636,000 for fusion energy sciences activities relevant to High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas, one of six integrated research and development areas highlighted in the request. The Committee supports the decision by the Department to terminate the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) and provides $9,000,000 to ensure orderly closeout of the project. The additional $6,000,000 above the request, as well as the funding which had been requested for NCSX and is not required for closeout, are to be utilized by the Department to help revitalize the domestic fusion energy sciences program. Given the tremendous potential of fusion energy to provide a long-term solution to our energy needs, this Committee believes it is essential that the U.S. continue to playa leadership role in this area. To this end, the Department is directed to provide the Committee with a report no later than March 1, 2009 which describes a bold, credible plan for a world-leading U.S. fusion program as this area becomes an increasingly international endeavor."

BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES:

The current budget is $1,283.4 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $1,568.2 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $1,599.7 million, an increase of 24.7 percent or $316.3 million.

The draft committee report stated:

"Research:

"The Committee recommendation includes $1,142,579,000 for materials sciences and engineering, and $297,113,000 for chemical sciences, geosciences, and energy bio-sciences. The Committee recommendation funds operations of the five Nanoscale Science Research Centers, operations of the Advanced Light Source, the Advanced Photon Source, the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory, the Manuel Lujan, Jr. Neutron Scattering Center, the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) linac at SLAC, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) at their full optimal numbers of hours, as well as additional instrumentation for the SNS and LCLS. An additional $17,000,000 is provided to accelerate the completion of the LCLS Ultrafast Science Instruments project and for LCLS operations to enable substantially more science to be done in the early stages of the operation of LCLS while it is the only x-ray free electron laser in the world. The recommendation includes $8,240,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the same as the budget request.

"This funding includes $100,000,000 for the Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) activities focused on addressing critical energy research needs identified by a series of ten Basic Research Needs workshops over the last several years. This Committee has long advocated the greater utilization of open competition for research funding that features head-to-head competition between national labs and universities to ensure that the best proposals will be funded regardless of the affiliation of the researchers involved, and supports the Department's decision to broadly compete the EFRCs in this manner. The Committee encourages the Department to update and expand upon its Basic Research Needs workshop series in order to ensure that any new science opportunities and challenges relevant to DOE's mission needs can be identified and addressed as they arise. Funding is provided in the Basic Energy Sciences for four integrated research and development areas: $33,938,000 for Electrical Energy Storage, $10,915,000 for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage, $8,492,000 for Characterization of Radioactive Waste, and $8,492,000 for Predicting High Level Waste System Performance over Extreme Time Horizons."

"Construction:

"The Committee recommendation includes $159,968,000 for Basic Energy Sciences construction projects, an increase of $14,500,000 over the budget request and $66,703,000 above the fiscal year 2008 enacted level. The Committee recommendation provides the requested funding of $11,500,000 for construction of the Advanced Light Source User Support Building (08-8C-01) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; $3,728,000 for renovation of the Photon Ultrafast Laser Science and Engineering Building Renovation (08-8C-11) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center; $107,773,000, $14,500,000 above the budget request, for continued project engineering and design as well as to initiate construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II (07-SC¬06) at Brookhaven National Laboratory; and $36,967,000 to continue construction of the Linac Coherent Light Source (05-R-320) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center."

BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH:

The current budget is $544.4 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $568.5 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $578.5 million, an increase of 6.3 percent or $34.1 million.

The draft committee report stated:

"This area of the Office of Science encompasses two distinct research efforts whose funding is provided in separate subaccounts: using biology to address energy production and environmental remediation and a combination of climate and ecosystem modeling, field research, and radiation monitoring as part of the Climate Change Research Program. The Committee recommends that these programs be managed as independent subaccounts and component activities of the Office of Science. The control level is at the Biological Research and Climate Change Research levels.

"Biological Research:

"The Committee recommendation for Biological Research is $418,613,000, an increase of $5,000,000 over the budget request, and $11,083,000 above the fiscal year 2008 enacted level. The increase of $5,000,000 above the budget request is provided for the Life Sciences component of Biological Research and is to be used to restore support for research efforts in radiochemistry and instrumentation that seek to capitalize on the Department's unique capabilities cutting across several scientific disciplines to stimulate advances in biological imaging. The funding provided also includes the requested $1,500,000 for biological research activities relevant to the Characterization of Radioactive Waste and $12,627,000 for biological research activities relevant to Carbon Capture and Storage, two of the six integrated research and development areas highlighted in the request.

"Climate Change Research:

"The Committee recommendation for Climate Change Research is $159,927,000, an increase of $5,000,000 above the budget request and $23,060,000 above the fiscal year 2008 enacted level. The Committee is pleased that the Department, following Congressional direction, has finally begun to make climate change more of a priority with a request for a substantial increase in funding for climate modeling activities, an area in which the Department s considerable computational resources give it the potential to play a leading role. However, given the increasing likelihood that international action may be required to address global climate change, the Committee believes that it is critical that the Department also develop better tools for understanding, in an integrated fashion, the broader economic, environmental, and societa1.implications of climate change. An additional $2,500,000 is provided to enhance integrated assessment activities, which utilize the results of climate models to assess mitigation and adaptation policies and technologies and their broader implications. Finally, as models are only as good as the science that supports them, a further increase of $2,500,000 is provided to enhance climate forcing research activities, which address important scientific questions relevant to improving climate modeling such as the impact of aerosols and clouds on local and global temperatures.

"Capabilities in climate change research are spread across multiple agencies: long-term, ground-based monitoring of the environment is generally the province of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), while the long-term ecological research sites are supported through the National Science Foundation (NSF). Climate modeling at DOE benefits from the Department's preeminence in scientific computing, but climate modeling is also done by groups sponsored by NSF, NOAA, and NASA. As the Department increases its efforts in climate modeling, the Committee would like to see the Department take the initiative in coordinating these activities with the efforts supported by those agencies.

"The funding provided also includes $4,747,000 for climate change research activities relevant to Carbon Capture and Storage, one of six integrated research and development areas highlighted in the request."

ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH:

The current budget is $351.2 million.
The Administration's FY 2009 request was $368.8 million.
The House Appropriations Committee recommended $378.8 million, an increase of 7.9 percent or $27.6 million.

The draft committee report stated:

"The increase includes $5,000,000 above the budget request to expand its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) activities, which leverage the Department's leadership computational facilities and expertise by pairing them with scientists and engineers in other fields from universities, national laboratories, and industry to address critical scientific and technological questions. A further $5,000,000 is provided to enhance advanced scientific computing research activities relevant to two of the six integrated research and development areas identified in the request. Including these additional funds, $5,000,000 is provided for Advanced Mathematics for Optimization of Complex Systems, Control Theory, and Risk Assessment, and $2,969,000 is provided for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage. These increases reflect the Committee's view of the importance of scientific computation not only in revolutionizing the way science is done, but also for applying these techniques to a wide range of modeling efforts relevant to the broader missions of the department."

ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY - ENERGY:

"The Committee recommendation includes $15,000,000 in order to establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy within the Department to overcome the long-term and high-risk technological barriers in the development of energy technologies, as authorized by section 5012 of the America COMPETES Act (Public Law 110-69)."

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095