Biden administration’s proposed FY 2022 budget supports nuclear

June 3, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

The Biden administration’s fiscal year 2022 budget sent to Congress last week would, according to the Department of Energy, move the United States toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The FY 2022 budget request includes $1.85 billion for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

“President Biden’s budget request puts America in the driver's seat as we transition toward a 100 percent clean energy economy,” said secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm on May 28. “These investments will ensure the U.S. is the global leader in research, development, and deployment of critical energy technologies to combat the climate crisis, create good-paying union jobs, and strengthen our communities in all pockets of America.”

ANS weighs in: Craig Piercy, the American Nuclear Society’s executive director and chief executive officer, stated that ANS welcomes the release of President Biden’s FY 2022 budget request. “As the scientific and professional organization for over 10,000 nuclear engineers and technologists in the U.S., we applaud the administration’s support for federal investments in advanced nuclear energy and tax credit mechanisms for our existing fleet of carbon-free nuclear power plants,” he said on June 3.

Piercy’s full statement is available online.

Nuclear energy and advanced nuclear: Nuclear power provides for one-fifth of U.S. overall electricity and just more than half of the nation’s zero-emission energy, “making it a key part of our clean energy future,” a DOE statement noted. To support existing and advanced nuclear technologies, the FY 2022 budget request includes a record $1.85 billion for the Office of Nuclear Energy, an increase of more than 23 percent from the FY 2021 enacted budget. More than $1 billion of the proposed amount would be dedicated to nuclear energy research, development, and demonstration programs, including $245 million to support the demonstration of two advanced reactor technologies within the next six years. The budget also includes funding to support a consent-based siting process related to consolidated interim storage for the nation’s used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

Additional requests: The FY 2022 budget proposal for research, clean energy, and mission-critical initiatives at the DOE also includes requests such as the following:

  • National laboratories and universities: The request includes $7.4 billion for the Office of Science to support foundational research for next-generation energy technologies, including a nearly 10 percent increase in funding for climate and clean energy–focused research. “These investments coupled with investments in applied energy programs would leverage the tremendous innovation capacity of the national laboratories, universities, and entrepreneurs to transform America’s power, transportation, buildings, and industrial sectors to achieve a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050,” the DOE stated. At the same time, the budget will build on and advance the DOE’s global leadership in critical technology areas such as quantum science, advanced supercomputing, and artificial intelligence. With an ”all R&D community” approach, according to the DOE, a new initiative will drive integrated program development across the department’s science and applied energy offices and ARPA-E to advance carbon-neutral fuels (such as hydrogen) and new grid modernization technologies and to revolutionize carbon management. In addition, the creation of ARPA-Climate is expected to advance climate technology solutions for non-energy emissions mitigation.
  • U.S. nuclear security: The budget’s $19.7 billion request sustains the FY 2021 program funding levels for the National Nuclear Security Administration. The request will support critical infrastructure investments including facilities that will produce plutonium pits for the U.S. nuclear deterrent. In addition, the $7.6 billion request maintains the nation’s investment in cleanup of World War II and Cold War nuclear sites.
  • Innovation and job creation: The request of $4.7 billion for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a 65 percent increase from FY 2021, includes more than $1 billion in new funding to deploy clean energy technologies that can “deliver pollution-free, affordable energy to all Americans while creating jobs and building a more equitable economy,” according to the DOE. This measure includes two new Manufacturing USA institutes associated with building clean energy technology, $300 million for grants to partner with state and local governments to advance clean energy policies, $400 million to create jobs renovating homes to save energy and reduce energy bills for low-income Americans, and $400 million to create union jobs decarbonizing federal buildings. The budget also requests $400 million for a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to keep bringing innovative technologies to market. Of note, the FY 2022 budget would provide $327 million to the Office of Electricity to accelerate the modernization of the nation’s electrical power grid infrastructure through planning and other work to promote transmission deployment, advancing technology, and systems development to integrate clean energy, and a $119 million investment in grid storage technology.
  • Energy security and resiliency: The FY 2022 $201 million budget request would enhance the Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response’s risk management, situational awareness, and emergency response capabilities. It would also advance policies, technologies, and initiatives to increase the visibility of physical and cyber threats in the operational technology environment; enhance the cybersecurity supply chain; and support exercises and partnerships with states and other public and private sector organizations to bolster U.S. energy security and resiliency.

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