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Senate Appropriations Committee Report Language Details DOE Funding Bill

Richard M. Jones
Number 79 - July 23, 2010  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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Yesterday the full Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2011 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill. Accompanying S. 3635 is a report providing specific program recommendations. Below are selections from this report language. While the counterpart House subcommittee has approved its FY 2011 funding bill its report will not be released until the measure is considered by the full House Appropriations Committee. Senate Report 111-228, is available at this web site.

Office of Science

FY 2010 appropriation: $4,903.8 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $5,121.4 million
House subcommittee recommendation: $4,900 million, a decline of $4 million or 0.1 percent below this year.
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $5,012.0 million, an increase of $108.2 million or 2.2 percent above this year.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“The Committee understands that changing the Nation's decades-long dependence on imported oil and unfettered emission of carbon dioxide requires fundamental changes in the ways we produce, store, and use energy. To meet these strategic challenges, the United States will have to develop new technologies that require scientific breakthroughs that come only with fundamental understanding of new materials and chemical processes. The Committee believes the funding increase in fiscal year 2011 will support initiatives to advance scientific understanding for new energy technologies.”

Within the Office of Science are the following programs that are detailed in the Senate report. No House report language or funding amounts are yet available:

High Energy Physics:

FY 2010 appropriation: $810.5 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $829.0 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $820.1 million, an increase of $9.6 million or 1.2 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“The Committee is encouraged that the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] started operations again in March 2010 and it reached energy levels of 3.5 trillion electron volts, which is three times higher than any other machine in the world has been able to achieve. However, the Committee is concerned about the LHC's planned shutdown at the end of 2011 to address design problems and the impact the shutdown may have on the U.S. High Energy Physics Program. For example, a decision to operate the Tevatron at the Fermi National Accelerator beyond fiscal year 2011 might reduce funding available for other high-priority projects. The Committee urges the Office of Science to keep the Committee informed about the status of operations at LHC and how the planned shutdown will impact the U.S. program.

In addition,

"The Committee also recognizes the recommendation made in the 2008 report of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel to develop a world-leading program of neutrino science to understand the role neutrinos play in the evolution of the universe. The United States has unique capabilities and infrastructure at Fermilab to advance this area of science. The Committee supports design work for two new potential construction projects – the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment and the Muon to Electron Conversion Experiment. However, the Committee directs the Office of Science to submit a report not later than 180 days after enactment of this act that lays out (1) the expected benefits of intensity frontier science, (2) a strategy for maintaining the U.S. lead, and (3) the funding needs over the next 10 years, including construction activities, of implementing the proposed strategy. The Committee also is concerned about the status of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory [DUSEL] funded by the National Science Foundation [NSF]. The neutrino program relies on the construction of DUSEL and any delays in the DUSEL program would impact advances in this area of science. The Committee urges the Office of Science to coordinate its neutrino program research efforts with NSF to avoid unnecessary delays.”

Nuclear Physics:

FY 2010 appropriation: $535.0 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $562.0 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $554.0 million, an increase of $19.0 million or 3.6 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“A recent National Academy of Sciences report, Advancing Nuclear Medicine through Innovation, recommended increasing the Federal commitment to nuclear medicine research. Nuclear medicine could substantially accelerate, simplify, and reduce the cost of delivering and improving healthcare. However, the Committee is concerned that the Department is not using funds to directly support nuclear medicine research with human application. To this end, within the funds provided, $15,400,000 is for nuclear medicine research with human application. All of the added funds must be awarded competitively in one or more solicitations that include all sources - universities, the private sector, and Government laboratories - on an equal basis. Funding for nuclear medicine application research was previously within the Biological and Environmental Research program.”

Biological and Environmental Research:

FY 2010 appropriation: $604.2 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $626.9 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $614.5 million, an increase of $10.3 million or 1.7 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“Of these funds, $11,000,000 is provided for artificial retina research. An artificial retina has the potential to restore vision to millions of people suffering from eye diseases. In November 2009, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory team developing artificial retinas received a Research and Development 100 Award, known as the ‘Oscars of Invention.’ The Committee encourages the Department to continue this research and meet its goal of producing a prosthesis with more than 1,000 electrodes, which would allow facial recognition, as quickly as possible. The funding request of $15,400,000 for nuclear medicine research efforts has been moved to Nuclear Physics to better address mission requirements.”

Basic Energy Sciences:

FY 2010 appropriation: $1,636.5 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $1,835.0 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $1,739.1 million, an increase of $102.6 million or 6.3 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“Of these funds, $151,600,000 is provided for construction activities as requested in the budget. The remaining $1,587,515,000 is for research. Within available funds, up to $100,000,000 shall be used to support the 46 Energy Frontier Research Centers. The Committee does not support the creation of new Energy Frontier Research Centers at this time. The Department must first demonstrate the benefits and results of this new research and development approach designed to address fundamental scientific energy challenges before the program is expanded further. A significant increase in funding for the core research program in materials and chemical sciences should be sufficient to advance scientific and engineering knowledge in areas of study where the Department feels there are gaps in addressing energy challenges.

“Within the research funds provided, $16,000,000 shall be available for the Fuels from Sunlight energy innovation hub and $22,000,000 for a new Batteries and Energy Storage energy innovation hub.

“The Committee recommends no funding for a research program in gas hydrates. A gas hydrates research program should continue in the Office of Fossil Energy, not the Office of Science. A recently issued, congressionally mandated report by the National Research Council [NRC] concluded that the Office of Fossil Energy's methane hydrate program had been ‘consistent and effective’ in leading a broad-based science and technology development program to investigate naturally occurring gas hydrates. In addition, the NRC found the methane hydrate program had made advances in identification, drilling, and production of methane from hydrate for use as a possible energy source. The Office of Science is not the appropriate office to continue this work. The Committee also provides no funding for modeling of engine design at this time. Within the research funds provided, $35,000,000 is for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research [EPSCoR]. The EPSCoR program is currently funding energy research that will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Advanced Scientific Computing Research:

FY 2010 appropriation: $394.0 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $426.0 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $418.0 million, an increase of $24.0 million or 6.1 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states, in full:

“The Committee recommends $418,000,000 for Advanced Scientific Computing Research.”

Fusion Energy Sciences:

FY 2010 appropriation: $426.0 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $380.0 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $384.0 million, a decrease of $42.0 million or 9.9 percent.

The draft Senate committee report states:

“The Committee is concerned by cost increases and schedule delays related to the ITER project. In the last year, the projected start date for ITER has slipped another 10 months to November 2019, or 3 years later than first projected. These schedule changes put U.S. cost estimates at risk as costs escalate for the total project. The Committee encourages the Office of Science to keep the Committee informed about significant decisions and developments related to the ITER project.

“The Committee is encouraged that the Office of Science tasked the National Academy of Sciences with reviewing options to advance inertial fusion energy. The Committee understands that an independent National Academy of Sciences committee will (1) assess the prospects of generating power using inertial confinement fusion, (2) identify scientific and engineering challenges, the costs for manufacturing targets, and research and development objectives to develop an inertial fusion energy demonstration plant, and (3) advise DOE on a roadmap for developing a demonstration plant. The Committee believes that this is a practical way of identifying the steps that are needed to develop an inertial fusion energy program and plans to work with DOE to assess the budget needs for this alternative approach to fusion energy. Within available funds, the Committee provides $4,000,000 to advance inertial fusion energy, which may include experiments using solid state or krypton fluoride lasers, ion beams, or pulsed power, and to help laboratories and universities participate in the National Academy of Sciences review.

“The Committee is encouraged by DOE's progress in advancing fusion energy sciences. However, the Committee is concerned by the Fusion Advisory Committee finding that the United States risks losing leadership and competitiveness in material science. To successfully harness fusion energy, scientists and engineers must design and build reactor components that can withstand extreme radiation environments and temperature. Since these extreme environments and material needs are common to both magnetic and inertial fusion energy, the Committee encourages DOE to reassess its materials science program and establish a program that would explore science, engineering, and materials issues for both magnetic and inertial fusion energy and build U.S. expertise.”

Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy

FY 2010 appropriation: none
Economic stimulus act funding: $400 million
FY 2011 Administration request: $300 million
House subcommittee recommendation: $220 million
Senate subcommittee recommendation: $200.0 million

The draft Senate committee report states:

“ARPA-E is responsible for funding high-risk research and development projects to meet long-term energy challenges. The primary goal is to invest in energy projects that can overcome technological barriers and eventually reduce energy imports, improve energy efficiency, and reduce energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases. ARPA-E will also help the United States maintain a technological lead in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies. The Committee supports ARPA-E's efforts to fund creative ‘out-of-the-box’ transformational energy research that industry by itself cannot or will not support due to its high risk, but where success would provide significant benefits for the United States. The Committee encourages ARPA-E to work closely with the Office of Science, including scientists and engineers working at Energy Frontier Research Centers and Hubs, to identify promising projects that are potential game changers for energy systems.”

Also of note:

Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability

Nuclear Energy

“Integrated University Program. - The Committee provides $5,000,000 to restore funding to current year levels and sustain the ongoing collaboration between the Office of Nuclear Energy, NNSA's Office of Nuclear Nonproliferation, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to support the training of engineers and scientists in nuclear engineering, as well as nonproliferation, nuclear forensics, and nuclear safeguards missions. This funding is to be used consistent with the authorization provided in section 313 of Public Law 111-8. This funding is not intended to supplant university research funding provided within the nuclear energy research and development activities. Studies by the American Physical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Nuclear Society recommended Federal investment in university research and training in nuclear engineering and forensics.”

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