ANS Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer Craig Piercy has submitted testimony on the administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2021 Department of Energy budget to the House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Energy and Water Development, urging congressional appropriators to increase funding for nuclear-related programs. The testimony was submitted on March 31.
The key message: “ANS encourages Congress’s continued focus on research, design, and development as well as research infrastructure investments which can help sustain the existing nuclear fleet and domestic fuel cycle operations, and the near-term deployment of new nuclear energy technologies,” Piercy stated. He recommended additional funding for research and development programs in the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, including advanced fuel cycle R&D. “In our view, the administration’s request does not appear to provide enough funding for federally-sponsored nuclear research, development, and educational activities, specifically advanced nuclear demonstration programs, reactor concepts R&D, advanced [small modular reactor] support and the Versatile Test Reactor program, and nuclear energy–enabling technologies,” Piercy added.
Specifics: Piercy’s recommendations to appropriators included:
- Ensure that the DOE keeps its commitment to dedicate funds to the Nuclear Energy University Program, the primary vehicle through which DOE supports nuclear energy–related R&D at U.S. colleges and universities.
- Support the DOE/Nuclear Regulatory Commission Integrated University Program, which provides critical support for university-based programs in nuclear engineering and related disciplines through scholarships, fellowships, and young faculty awards.
- Consider near-term actions for spent fuel storage identified by ANS that would enable future success without favoring or foreclosing any policy options.
- Expand funding for the Low Dose Radiation Research Program in the DOE’s Office of Science to $20 million for FY 2021 to support new technologies and approaches for the study of ionizing radiation and biological mechanisms, the integration of mechanistic biological insights with epidemiological data, and an interdisciplinary understanding and quantification of radiation health effects at low doses.