FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

FY 2009 Senate DOE Office of Science Appropriations Bill

Richard M. Jones
Number 78 - July 17, 2008  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The Senate Appropriations Committee has completed work on its version of the FY 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. S. 3258 provides $33.8 billion for civilian programs and nuclear weapons programs in the Department of Energy and funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. It was passed unanimously by the committee.

The following are selections from Senate Report 110-416 accompanying the bill; the entire text may be read at here.

The House Appropriations Committee has written, but not filed, its version of the FY 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. See FYI #76 for excerpts of the comparable House committee report language.

Note that the "current budget" figures include funding provided by 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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $4,640.5 million, an increase of 15.0 percent or $604.9 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

The new funding "represents the single largest increase for any program in the bill. From within available funds, the Office of Science is directed to retain the Nation's existing capability to produce a wide range of isotopes including californium-252. Consistent with the cost-sharing requirements of Public Law 101-101 [FY 1990 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill], the Department is directed to develop a cost recovery strategy to ensure the long-term viability of this program."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $805.0 million, an increase of 11.6 percent or $83.7 million.

The Senate committee report states:

"The Committee has long been a strong supporter of the Department's space-based Joint Dark Energy Mission [JDEM] and is pleased that the recent National Academy of Sciences' Beyond Einstein Program Assessment Committee [BEPAC] judged this mission to be the top priority. The Committee concurs with the view of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel that the cost cap recently announced may limit the scientific capabilities assumed by the BEPAC review, and that an increase in the budget beyond the current funding scenarios would be justified. The Committee recommends the full budget request of $10,030,000 for conceptual designs for Joint Dark Energy Mission. The Committee recommends full funding of the Non Accelerator Physics, University Research programs and includes $3,200,000 for EXO 200, neurtrinoless double beta decay experiments, an increase of $1,000,000 to complete construction in 2009."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $510.1 million, an increase of 17.5 percent or $75.9 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

"Within the available funds, the Committee recommends $24,900,000 for the Isotope Production and Applications program. The Committee has been frustrated with the lack of cooperation among the various Federal agencies, which has resulted in no Federal request to sustain this important responsibility in previous years. The Committee recommends $5,000,000 within the available funds for the Research Isotope Development and Production Subprogram to develop and implement a research and production strategy consistent with the National Academy of Science study entitled 'State of the Science of Nuclear Medicine'. In developing this capability, the Department is encouraged to work with researchers and commercial customers to develop a predictable and reliable supply of isotopes.

"The Committee directs the Office of Science to complete a study on the feasibility of expanding the capability of the University of Missouri Research Reactor to supply up to half the United States demand for feedstock medical imaging compounds in the form of molybdenum-99 and technetium-99. The Committee also requests that the Department outline options for preserving U.S. production of californium-252."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $493.1 million, an increase of 63.2 percent or $191.0 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

"The Committee understands the Department's difficult decision to close the National Compact Stellarator Experiment [NCSX] project. The fiscal year 2009 budget request included $20,342,000 for the NCSX. The Department is directed to reallocate these funds as proposed by the Department to the Committee under Scenario II. The Committee understands this means approximately $9,000,000 will be used for orderly closeout of NCSX, $9,250,000 will be used to restore run times for three facilities and support major upgrade work at NSTX, and $2,000,000 will be used to enhance non-NCSX stellarator research. Recent advances in pulse power have renewed interest in nuclear energy systems that utilize both fusion and fission. The Committee directs the Department to work with laboratories and industry to develop a systems concept that identifies the challenges, opportunities and future research path of such a fusion-fission hybrid system."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $1,415.4 million, an increase of 10.3 percent or $132.0 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

"Of these funds $145,468,000 is provided for construction activities as requested in the budget. The remaining $1,269,910,000 is for research. Within the research funds provided $17,000,000 is for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research [EPSCoR]. Of the decrease, $59,495,000 of basic solar research is moved to the EERE solar energy research and development program."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $368.8 million, an increase of 5.0 percent or $17.6 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

"The Committee is concerned that the Department has limited cooperation between the NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration] and DOE laboratories in supporting the advanced computing architecture and algorithm development. The Committee expects the Office of Science to continue to support joint research through the Institute for Advanced Architecture and Advanced Algorithms."

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 Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $598.5 million, an increase of percent or $54.1 million.

The Senate committee report stated:

"Biological Research- The Committee recommends $423,613,000, an increase of $10,000,000 to support additional investment in nuclear medicine. The Committee supports the budget request of $48,500,000 for the operation and maintenance of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory.

"Radiochemistry and Instrumentation- A recent report the National Academy of Sciences, Advancing Nuclear Medicine through Innovation, recommended the enhancement of the Federal commitment to nuclear medicine research. The Committee is concerned that the Department may be looking to move this research in other directions and emphasizes its commitment to nuclear medicine medical application research at the Department of Energy. Within the funds provided, $23,121,000 is for Radiochemistry and Instrumentation. Of the $23,121,000, $17,500,000 is for nuclear medicine medical application research. The Committee emphasizes its commitment to nuclear medicine medical application research at the Department of Energy. All of the added funds must be awarded competitively in one or more solicitation that includes all sources – universities, the private sector, and Government laboratories.

"The Committees support full funding for Testing and Low Dose Research. The Committees also notes that diagnostics are currently in development between the University of New Mexico [UNM] and Los Alamos National Laboratory utilizing the unique capabilities of Las Alamos National Laboratory at the IPF and LANSCE and the radiopharmaceutical expertise of UNM at the Center for Isotopes in Medicine.

"Climate Change Research- The Committee recommends $174,927,000, an increase of $20,000,000 to support improved climate modeling and monitoring within the DOE-NNSA laboratories.

"Climate Change Modeling- The nexus of climate and energy presents enormous challenges to our national security and to our economy. It is imperative that the United States continues to provide strong science leadership that guides policy choices and technology investments. The Committee believes the DOE-NNSA Labs are best equipped to develop and deploy a national system for science-based stewardship that combines advanced modeling, multi-scale monitoring, and impact analysis tools. These labs, with their experience in nuclear weapons nonproliferation and their unique capabilities across a wide range of technical resources are best able to develop and implement this comprehensive climate research strategy. The challenge of certifying the nuclear weapons stockpile in an era of test-ban treaties has produced one of the world's greatest computational resources through the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship program. These computational capabilities have also been applied to the development of sophisticated global climate models that can assess climate changes far into the future. However, these models are still too coarse to resolve the details of climate change at the scale of watersheds or State boundaries, where many public policy decisions are made. In addition, the models do not capture realistically all of the complex physical processes and feedbacks between the atmosphere, ocean, and land where natural and man-made carbon fluxes are exchanged. The Committee recommends an additional $10,000,000 to support development of modeling strategies to support a comprehensive modeling program and to focus on scaling global models to regional scale to improve the predictive value of these models. Similarly, more formal information science methods must be applied to move from the current state, where predictions of climate models developed by different groups are averaged over a range of emissions scenarios, to a state where uncertainties are systematically reduced for the most important variables through deliberate validation and verification using experiments to measure sensitivities and feedbacks. These techniques have been implemented in the nuclear stockpile stewardship program to provide much stronger confidence in predictions for complex systems.

"The DOE-NNSA Labs can also apply their expertise in developing sensors and measurement systems to provide a comprehensive assessment of global carbon fluxes. Improved measurements must feed into models to depict the complex carbon exchanges that occur between the atmosphere, oceans, terrestrial ecosystem, and human activities at a variety of spatial and temporal scales. A global system will require remote sensing and in situ monitoring of atmospheric greenhouse gases and other chemical indicators to allow attribution of sources and sinks. Remote sensing includes satellite sensors that can observe modest changes in greenhouse gases against a high background signal. Methods to observe plume gas signatures associated with carbon fluxes will be necessary to provide source attribution information. The Committee recommends an additional $5,000,000 to support research and development of ground and space based monitoring.

"In order to make informed policy decision regarding our energy and water need in the future, the Committee encouraged the Department to apply Laboratory expertise in consequence analysis modeling using complex infrastructure data to assess long-term energy impacts through linkages of climate change with infrastructure. The impacts of energy choices are linked to global markets, and to our financial, energy, electrical, and transportation infrastructure. We must understand the sensitivity of this complex system to different policy options for climate change, including linkages that may lead to costly unintended consequences. The Committee recommends an additional $5,000,000 to develop decision analysis tools that can describe this system at an appropriate level of complexity and integration are required to give rapid insights at regional, national, and global scales on long-term consequences of investments at the intersection of energy technology and climate policy. Because of the inherent sensitivity of the data and potential vulnerabilities, this area requires capabilities at the national security science laboratories."

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