Draft appropriations bill hikes nuclear energy funding

July 7, 2020, 8:35AMNuclear News

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released a draft of the fiscal year 2021 Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies appropriations bill, calling for higher levels of funding for nuclear energy. The legislation would fund activities at the Departments of Energy and Interior, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and a number of related agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.


What they’re saying: “Ensuring a vibrant economic recovery from the pandemic and economic recession is my highest priority,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Ohio), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies, which is scheduled to begin markup on the bill this afternoon. The bill makes critical investments in “funding innovation at the Department of Energy and the jobs that follow, and in combating climate change by moving clean energy technologies to the marketplace,” she said.

DOE numbers: For FY 2021, the draft bill proposes $49.6 billion for Energy and Water Development programs, a boost of $1.26 billion, or 3 percent, over the FY 2020 enacted level. The DOE’s share of the total is $41 billion, an uptick of $2.3 billion from the 2020 level and $5.1 billion above President Trump’s budget request.

DOE specifics of particular interest to the nuclear community include:

$1.4 billion for Nuclear Energy, $256 million above the administration’s request. This funding, according to an Appropriations Committee press release, “invests in research, development, and demonstration activities that develop the next generation of clean and safe reactors, further improve the safety and economic viability of our current reactor fleet, and contribute to the nation’s long-term leadership in the global nuclear power industry.”

$18 billion for the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, an increase of $1.3 billion from the 2020 level. This funding includes $13.7 billion for Weapons Activities, $1.2 billion more than the 2020 level; $2.24 billion for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, $75 million more than the 2020 level and $209 million more than the request; and $1.7 billion for Naval Reactors, $35.6 million more than the 2020 level.

$27.5 million for nuclear waste disposal, i.e., interim storage of nuclear waste and oversight of the Nuclear Waste Fund.

$7.46 billion for Environmental Management, an increase of $1.4 billion from the request. This funding is for nuclear cleanup work at 16 sites across the nation and includes $315 million for Non-Defense Environmental Cleanup,an increase of $39 million from the request; $821.6 million for Uranium Enrichment Decontamination and Decommissioning, an increase of $15 million from the request; and $6.3 billion for Defense Environmental Cleanup, an increase of $66 million from the 2020 level and $1.3 billion more than the request.

$435 million for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), an increase of $10 million from the 2020 level and a rejection of the president’s proposal to eliminate the program.

$7.05 billion for Science, an increase of $50 million from the 2020 level and $1.2 billion more than the request.

$195 million for Electricity, a $5 million increase from the 2020 level. This funding will advance technologies to increase the resiliency and efficiency of the nation’s electricity delivery system.

In addition: To support the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the draft measure also provides $23.5 billion in emergency funding for the DOE to modernize energy infrastructure. This total includes:

$1.25 billion for Nuclear Energy, to build advanced nuclear reactor demonstrations and improve infrastructure at national laboratories.

$3.13 billion for Environmental Management, to accelerate nuclear cleanup work at 16 sites across the country.

$3.35 billion for Electricity, to enhance the resilience, reliability, and security of electric grid infrastructure.

$250 million for ARPA-E, to demonstrate transformational energy technologies.

$6.25 billion for Science, to accelerate ongoing construction projects across the country at national laboratories, scientific user facilities, and universities.

NRC number: $123 million, which equals the administration’s proposed budget for the agency in FY 2021.

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