Share this

 

Department of Energy

In covering DOE’s science-related activities, FYI focuses on the Office of Science, including its six program offices and 10 national laboratories. FYI also covers the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy and the science-related activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration, including its three national laboratories.

FYI presents its annual list of 10 science policy stories to watch in the year ahead.

The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab has performed a nuclear fusion experiment that released more energy than was applied to it. The accomplishment realizes an idea first posited six decades ago and will have applications in nuclear warhead stewardship, but using the method for practical energy generation remains a distant prospect.

The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab has performed a nuclear fusion experiment that released more energy than was applied to it. The accomplishment realizes an idea first posited six decades ago and will have applications in nuclear warhead stewardship, but using the method for practical energy generation remains a distant prospect.

DOE has finished allocating a one-time $1.55 billion boost to facilities and equipment projects across its Office of Science. Major priorities included shoring up funding for international projects and moving light source upgrades forward, while projects still in their earlier phases tended to receive lesser shares of the total.

A month into fiscal year 2023, federal science agencies are facing a budget situation more complicated than any they have encountered in recent memory. While some programs are busy handling an influx of money from special spending legislation, others face uncertainties surrounding stopgap funding and whether Congress will meet targets set out in the CHIPS and Science Act.

Over the last several years, Congress has passed multi-pronged policy initiatives and provided billions of dollars in funding to spur the deployment of “advanced” nuclear reactors, and a sprawling array of projects are now in progress.

The new CHIPS and Science Act includes a variety of provisions aimed at promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the STEM workforce through grant support and workforce research, and by instituting new requirements for data collection and ethical research conduct.

The new CHIPS and Science Act outlines an ambitious vision for research infrastructure, encompassing large-scale science facility construction projects as well as initiatives in areas such as quantum computing, high-intensity lasers, and research reactors.

Science advocates are pressing Congress to approve the large budget increases recommended by the CHIPS and Science Act.

Following a year of negotiation, a partisan spending bill called the Inflation Reduction Act is expected to be signed into law within days, delivering the largest-ever federal response to climate change as well as $2 billion to bolster science facility projects at DOE national labs.