Biden administration releases FY25 budget request—What’s in it for nuclear?

March 12, 2024, 3:59PMNuclear News

The White House asked for nearly $1.6 billion in funding for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy in the fiscal year 2025 budget proposal, released earlier this week. The requested funding is about 10 percent lower than the FY 2024 budget appropriation but still requires congressional review and approval.

The requested funding includes $694.2 million in research and development activities to advance reactor and fuel technologies, address gaps in the domestic nuclear fuel supply chain, and leverage artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning tools to optimize the current U.S. nuclear fleet.

Quotable: “The FY 2025 budget provides the [DOE] with critical resources to transform the president’s historic clean energy investments into reality—as we continue to lay the building blocks for an inclusive clean energy economy that lifts up all communities across the country, while tackling the climate crisis head-on,” secretary of energy Jennifer Granholm said in a news release.

A closer look: Highlights in this year’s nuclear energy budget request include the following:

  • A 10 percent bump in university and competitive research programs, amounting to $143 million to support emerging technologies developed these subprograms:
    • The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT), Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), and Nuclear Energy University Programs (NEUP). The funding increase for these programs in FY 2025 would support additional research and development awards, including an innovation publication competition.
  • $188 million for securing a near-term supply of high-assay low-enriched uranium for DOE-supported research and demonstration projects. The U.S. is working to shore up domestic HALEU supply to eliminate its dependence on Russia.
  • The International Nuclear Energy Cooperation program funding more than doubled what was allocated in recent year’s budgets. The INEC office plans to expand training activities in Europe and southeast Asia, continue supporting nuclear safety in Armenia and Ukraine, and increase engagement with foreign states and the U.S. nuclear industry to support critical and time-sensitive civil nuclear energy priorities.

Not included: The FY 2025 budget has zeroed out funding for NuScale’s Carbon Free Power Project, though the company received upwards of $164 million in previous budgets. The goal was to construct a small modular reactor plant at federally owned Idaho National Laboratory, but the project terminated this past November, citing unfavorable economic conditions.

Learn more: Dig into additional details about Biden’s budget proposal by reviewing the DOE budget in brief or exploring its budget justification report.

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