Idaho Congressman says Energy Department funding bill restores Obama Administration cuts, allows progress to continue on nuclear energy research and development
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today praised the work of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development in crafting a bill that reverses Obama Administration cuts to nuclear energy programs and continues progress toward the development of new nuclear technologies, including those under development at Idaho National Laboratory. Simpson is a senior member of the Subcommittee, serving as one of its members for over nine years.
“I am very pleased that the Subcommittee and the House of Representatives have once again demonstrated their support for the development of nuclear energy and provided the resources necessary to continue our nation’s progress on new and promising nuclear technologies,” said Congressman Simpson. “Idaho National Laboratory plays a vital national and international role in leading the development of new nuclear technologies, and this bill will help maintain and expand that role in the future. The House had to make some very difficult choices about where to focus limited taxpayer resources, and I am very grateful for the confidence my colleagues have shown for nuclear energy in this bill.”
The fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill includes $765 million for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, level funding with FY2012 and $89.9 million above the Obama Administration’s FY2013 request when adjusted for INL’s Safeguards and Security funding. Nuclear energy research and development programs that receive funding within the $765 million allocation include:
- The Idaho Facilities Management account, which covers infrastructure maintenance and improvement at Idaho National Laboratory, received $162 million which is $10 million above the President’s request;
- The Next Generation Nuclear Plant program, a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor designed to allow nuclear power to provide process heat for industrial applications, received $50 million which is $30 million above the President’s request;
- The Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program, including the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility at the INL, received $75 million which is $9.7 million above the President’s request;
- Reactor Concepts Research, Development and Demonstration received $126 million which is $53 million above the President’s request. This category includes $28.7 million for Small Modular Reactor Advanced Concepts Research and Development and $25 million for the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Program, which promotes the continued safe operation of America’s existing nuclear reactors;
- Integrated University Programs received $5 million.
In addition, the bill contains $93.35 million for Idaho National Laboratory’s Safeguards and Security function which was moved out of the Office of Nuclear Energy account and into the Other Defense Activities account.
Beyond funding for the Office of Nuclear Energy, the bill includes $399.6 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with Idaho National Laboratory. The funding level of $399.6 million is level with the President’s request and $14.9 million above the FY2012 funding level of $384.7 million.
Overall, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill provides $32.1 billion dollars for the functions of the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and a number of independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Bonneville Power Administration. This level of funding represents a reduction of $965 million below the President’s request.
“I am pleased this bill lays out a clear, consistent and logical approach to improving our nation’s energy independence by understanding the role all energy technologies play in our energy mix and by appreciating the role nuclear energy plays in particular,” said Simpson. “This funding restores cuts to important reactor programs and ensures INL remains at the forefront of nuclear energy research and development both nationally and internationally.”
The bill was approved today by the House of Representatives with a final vote of 255-165 and now awaits negotiations with the Senate once its bill is finalized.