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Senate FY 2014 Department of Energy Funding Bill: Office of Science

Richard M. Jones
Number 111 - July 2, 2013  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed work on their versions of the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  The House Appropriations Committee approved its version of this legislation on June 26; the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its bill on June 27.

There are substantial differences in policy and in funding levels in the two versions of this bill.   The total amount of money available to House and Senate appropriators to fund all FY 2014 discretionary programs varied by $91 billion.  Senate appropriators crafting their version of this bill had $4.4 billion more at their disposal than their House counterparts.

Selections from pages 92-96 of Senate Report 113-47 accompanying S. 1245 follow.  Note that the FY 2013 budget figures do not include a mandatory reduction of approximately 5 percent for sequestration.  Funding tables are found on pages 120-121.

The next step for each bill is approval by the full House, and full Senate, after which a conference will be held to resolve differences between the two bills.

Office of Science:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $4,876.0 million
The FY 2014 request is $5,152.8 million, an increase of $276.8 million or 5.7 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $4,653.0 million, a decrease of $223.0 million or 4.6 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $5,152.8 million, an increase of $276.8 million or 5.7 percent

The Senate report states:

“The Committee continues to support the three highest priorities for the Office of Science: (1) the discovery and design of new materials for the generation, storage, and use of energy, (2) better understanding of microorganisms and plants for improved biofuels production, and (3) the development and deployment of more powerful computing capabilities to take advantage of modeling and simulation to advance energy technologies and maintain U.S. economic competitiveness.”

Within the Office of Science are the following programs:

Advanced Scientific Computing:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $440.8 million
The FY 2014 request is $465.6 million, an increase of $24.8 million or 5.6 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $432.4 million, a decrease of $8.4 million or 1.9 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $493.8 million, an increase of $53.0 million or 12.0 percent

The Senate report states:

“The Committee believes its recommendation would allow the Department to develop and maintain world-class computing and network facilities for science and deliver the necessary research in applied mathematics, computer science, and advanced networking to support the Department’s missions.

“Within these funds, the Committee recommends $81,000,000, an increase of $12,500,000 above the request, for the exascale initiative to spur U.S. innovation and increase the country’s ability to address critical national challenges. The Committee supports the Department’s plan to deploy the first exascale system by 2022 that is energy efficient with a peak power not to exceed 20 megawatts based on marketable technology and have real-world, mission-critical applications ready to use on exascale platforms with computationally efficient and reliable system software.

“Since few companies have the resources or expertise to develop and maintain their own modeling, simulation, and analytics software, the Committee is concerned that it is becoming increasingly difficult for small, medium, and even large businesses to take advantage of powerful, new computing capabilities. The Committee directs the Office of Science to submit a plan to this Committee by May 1, 2014 that would (1) simplify access to computing resources at the labs, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses, (2) establish a few primary points-of-contact to help industry learn about advanced computing capabilities and resources available within the Department and national laboratories, and (3) engage relevant and qualified independent software vendors to partner with the laboratories to help bridge the gap between the research capabilities at the labs and the commercial needs of companies by adapting and customizing lab-developed software for use by industry.

“The Committee also recommends $93,000,000 for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, $67,000,000 for the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and $65,605,000 for the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

“The Committee recommends $6,000,000 for the Computational Science Graduate Fellowship program to maintain a healthy pipeline of computational scientists equipped and trained to address the Department’s mission needs, including advances in exascale computing.”

Basic Energy Sciences:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $1,689.5 million
The FY 2014 request is $1,862.4 million, an increase of $172.9 million or 10.2 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $1,583.1 million, a decrease of $106.4 million or 6.3 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $1,805.2 million, an increase of $115.7 million or 6.9 percent

The Senate report states:

“The Committee recommends $1,805,162,000, a decrease of $57,249,000 below the request, for Basic Energy Sciences. Of these funds, the Committee recommends up to $100,000,000 for Energy Frontier Research Centers and $24,237,000 each for the Fuels from Sunlight and Batteries and Energy Storage Hubs.

“Within these funds, the Committee also recommends $20,000,000 for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research [EPSCoR] program, which was created by Congress over concerns about the uneven distribution of Federal research and development grants. The Committee encourages the Department to continue funding to support research and development needs of graduate and post-graduate science programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Biological and Environmental Research:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $610.2 million
The FY 2014 request is $625.4 million, an increase of $15.2 million or 2.5 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $494.1 million, a decrease of $116.1 million or 19.0 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $625.4 million, an increase of $15.2 million or 2.5 percent

The report states:

“The Committee recommends $625,347,000 as requested for Biological and Environmental Research. Within these funds, the Committee recommends $321,066,000 for biological systems science and $304,281,000 for climate and environmental sciences.

“Within the funds for biological systems science, the Committee recommends $5,000,000 for nuclear medicine research for human application. Within the funds provided for climate and environmental sciences, the Committee recommends $46,700,000 as requested for the operation of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The Committee also recommends $74,000,000 for climate and Earth systems modeling of which $500,000 is to be used to engage universities more directly in climate analysis.

“The Committee is aware that the program is engaged in a collaborative process focused on adaptation to climate change. Specifically, the program has engaged other Federal agencies, climate modelers, and end users in an evaluation of how best to advance model development in service of adaptation given a rapidly evolving climate. The Committee encourages a continuation of this effort and would urge that it focus on recommendations to ‘downscale’ global models to a level of resolution which facilitates informed decision making at the local, state and regional level. Given the significant computing power needs and massive volumes of statistical data associated with this effort the Committee would note the critical role that the national laboratories can play through their science expertise and computing resources. The Committee would urge further involvement by the national laboratories in development of climate models which can facilitate development of high resolution, regionally focused climate projections.”

Fusion Energy Sciences:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $401.1 million
The FY 2014 request is $458.3 million, an increase of $57.2 million or 14.3 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $506.1 million, an increase of $105.0 million or 26.2 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $458.3 million, an increase of $57.2 million or 14.3 percent

The Senate report states:

“The Committee recommends $458,324,000 as requested for Fusion Energy Sciences. Within these funds, the Committee recommends no less than $75,000,000 for the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory to maintain core expertise in plasma theory and simulation, general plasma science, and tokamak research. The Committee also recommends no less than $77,000,000 for the DIII–D fusion reactor, which includes $10,264,000 for upgrades to the reactor, $16,000,000 to support critical scientific staff, and $904,000 to support university students and post-docs. The Committee provides no funding for the Alcator C–Mod fusion reactor at MIT. The Committee commends the Office of Science for making a difficult choice to shut down the facility to fund higher priority activities within the fusion energy sciences program.

“The Committee also recommends $14,773,000 for High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas, which includes $6,575,000 as requested for experiments on the Matter in Extreme Conditions instrument at the Linac Coherent Light Source at SLAC and $8,198,000 for academic grants to study the behavior of matter and radiation at extreme temperatures and pressures to match funding available at NNSA for this joint program. The Committee also recommends $2,500,000 for heavy ion fusion science research at the Neutralized Drift Compression Experiment-II at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to take advantage of an $11,000,000 Recovery Act upgrade to the facility.

“The Committee also recommends $12,000,000 for the Fusion Simulation program to provide experimentally validated predictive simulation capabilities that are critical for ITER and other current and planned toroidal fusion devices. The Committee is concerned that the fusion energy program is not taking full advantage of high performance computing to address scientific and technical challenges on the path to fusion energy. Given current and future budget constraints, the Committee views this initiative as critical to maintain U.S. world leadership in fusion energy sciences in a cost-effective manner. The Committee directs the Office of Science to develop a plan on the use of these simulation capabilities based on the results of a 2-year planning effort recently funded by the Department.

“The Committee is concerned by the lack of a strategic vision, which includes research and future facility needs, to advance the domestic fusion energy sciences program. The Committee directs the Secretary to submit a 10-year plan, not later than 12 months after enactment of this act, on the Department’s proposed research and development activities in magnetic fusion. The report shall (1) identify specific areas of fusion energy research and enabling technology development in which the United States can and should establish or solidify a lead in the global fusion energy development effort and (2) identify priorities for facility construction and facility decommissioning.

“The Committee recommends $183,502,000 for the U.S. contribution to ITER. No funding shall be made available for the U.S. contribution until the Secretary submits to this Committee a baseline cost, schedule, and scope estimate consistent with project management principles in DOE Order 413.3B of the U.S. contribution needed for completing all construction activities.

“The Committee is concerned by the rising costs of the ITER project and the impact to the domestic program. The cost range for the U.S. contribution for construction activities was between $1,450,000,000 and $2,200,000,000. The most recent estimate is $2,400,000,000 and this estimate only fulfills U.S. obligations for first plasma, rather than all construction activities. The Committee is further concerned that the latest cost estimate does not properly account for the technical risk of building the most complicated engineering facility in the world. The most recent cost range was developed when the design for ITER was less than 40 percent complete.

“The Committee also directs the Office of Science to include a project data sheet with details of all project costs until the completion of the project for ITER in the fiscal year 2015 budget submission. The Committee understands that the Department provides funding for ITER as a Major Item of Equipment rather than a line item construction project, which would be consistent with DOE Order 413.3B. However, the Committee feels that a multi-billion dollar project, especially of this scale and complexity, should be treated as a construction project and follow DOE Order 413.3B guidance.”

High Energy Physics:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $789.6 million
The FY 2014 request is $776.5 million, a decrease of $13.1 million or 1.7 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $772.5 million, a decrease of $17.1 million or 2.2 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $805.6 million, an increase of $16.0 million or 2.0 percent

The report states:

“Within these funds, the Committee recommends $35,000,000 as requested for construction of the Muon to Electron Conversion Experiment.  The Committee also recommends $30,000,000 for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment, which includes $10,000,000 for research and development and $20,000,000 for project engineering and design.  Research in neutrinos represents the next frontier of particle physics and this experiment remains a top priority for the U.S. and international physics communities. The Committee restores funding for this project to mature the design, develop better cost estimates, and encourage international collaborators to make financial contributions. Within the funds for High Energy Physics, the Committee recommends $15,000,000 to support minimal, sustaining operations at the Homestake Mine in South Dakota.

“Within the funds for High Energy Physics, the Committee also recommends $20,000,000 for Accelerator Stewardship. The Committee recognizes the critical role accelerator technology can play in addressing many of the economic and societal issues confronting the country. The Committee supports the Office of Science’s efforts to make unique test facilities available to U.S. industry to accelerate applications of accelerator technology. Testing accelerator technology, such as at beam facilities, is the only, unambiguous way to demonstrate the operational efficacy of a new technology and represents the final step in validating a design concept.”

Nuclear Physics:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $548.5 million
The FY 2014 request is $569.9 million, an increase of $21.4 million or 3.9 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $551.9 million, an increase of $3.4 million or 0.6 percent
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation is $569.9 million, an increase of $21.4 million or 3.9 percent

The Senate report states:

“Within these funds, the Committee recommends $25,500,000 in construction funds for the upgrade to the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, which the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee reaffirmed was the highest priority for the nations’ nuclear physics program. The Committee also recommends $55,000,000 for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, $17,255,000 for operations of the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System, and $165,200,000 for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider for 22 weeks of operations.”

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