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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.

21 Nov 2017

Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policy for the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The final version incorporated or adapted many of the R&D-related proposals from the original House and Senate versions of the bill.

17 Nov 2017

The House Science Committee has approved a package of bills that establish target funding profiles for eight Department of Energy research facility construction projects. The committee also approved four STEM education and research bills, one of which would require federal science agencies to annually report to the National Science Foundation information on the demographics of all R&D grant applicants.

16 Nov 2017

Republican committee leaders expressed hope that geoengineering technologies could someday address climate change. Democratic members were more cautious, supporting research but emphasizing it should not be viewed as a substitute for emissions reductions or other approaches for combating climate change.

16 Nov 2017

The House Science Committee held a hearing earlier this month at which witnesses testified to the value of the Department of Energy’s recently terminated research program on low dose radiation. Despite bipartisan congressional support for the research, DOE has been reluctant to continue work in the area.

2 Nov 2017

At an Oct. 24 hearing, House Science Committee members and witnesses voiced concern that the U.S. could fall behind countries that are rapidly ramping up investments in quantum R&D, with some calling for a national initiative to bolster current efforts.

11 Oct 2017

At a hearing last week, members of the House Science Committee heard testimony about the status of domestic plutonium-238 supplies, an essential fuel for many robotic science missions. A Government Accountability Office report released at the same time recommends that the Department of Energy improve its long-term planning for producing Pu-238 and associated power systems.

5 Oct 2017

A National Academies study committee is currently conducting a decadal survey for materials research at the request of the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The committee is seeking broad input from materials science and engineering stakeholders as it prepares a final report for completion in early 2018.

26 Sep 2017

Last week, representatives of the U.S. and U.K. governments signed the first-ever umbrella agreement on science and technology between the two nations. The first major project supported under the agreement is the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility / Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment project at Fermilab.

22 Sep 2017

The Senate passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 18, sending the bill to conference committee. House and Senate conferees now must come to an agreement on a vast library of provisions, including many concerning R&D policy.

19 Sep 2017

On Sept. 12, President Trump nominated Walter Copan to be director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. FYI spoke with Copan, a scientist who has dedicated much of his career to facilitating technology transfer between the public and private sectors, about why he is interested in the role and his initial vision for the agency.

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