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House Passes FY2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill

Simpson says legislation supports nuclear energy

Washington, July 11, 2013
Tags: Energy , Water
Simpson says legislation supports nuclear energy

July 11, 2013

House Passes FY2014 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill
Simpson says legislation supports nuclear energy

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson joined colleagues and supported the FY2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bill late last night. The bill reverses some of the Obama Administration’s cuts to nuclear energy 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 ten years.

“The House passed a thoughtful bill addressing our country’s energy needs while making difficult choices with taxpayer resources,” said Simpson. “I am grateful that Congress continues to support nuclear energy and the mission of Idaho National Laboratory.”

There were numerous amendments offered to the bill including Amendment #1 by Representative James Moran (D-VA). This amendment would have altered the language in the bill that protects the authority of states by preventing the Army Corps of Engineers from expanding its regulation to include intrastate bodies of water under the Clean Water Act for any reason other than drinking water uses. Simpson spoke on the House Floor against the amendment and encouraged colleagues to vote against it, and the amendment was defeated with a final vote of 177-236.

“I’m pleased this amendment failed.  Deciding how water is used should be the responsibility of state and local officials who are familiar with the people and local issues,” said Simpson. “If all intrastate waters are regulated by the federal government, the language could be broadly interpreted to include everything within a state, including groundwater.”

The fiscal year 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill included $656.4 million for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and $94 million for Idaho National Laboratory Safeguards and Security.  The combined total of these numbers, $750.4 million, represents an almost $15 million increase over the President’s FY2014 recommendation of $735.5 million and a $38.5 million reduction from the FY2013 funding level. Nuclear energy research and development programs that receive funding within the $750.4 million allotment include:

The Idaho Facilities Management account, which covers infrastructure maintenance and improvement at Idaho National Laboratory, is funded at $181.6 million – a $28.5 million increase over FY2013 funding levels;

·         The Advanced Reactor Concepts program, which includes funding for fuel qualification associated with the Next Generation Nuclear Plant, is funded at $45 million;

·         The Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program, including the Advanced Test Reactor National Scientific User Facility at the INL, is funded at $66.7 million;

·         Reactor Concepts Research, Development; and Demonstration is funded at $86.5 million;

·         Fuel Cycle Research and Development is funded at $91.1 million;

·         University Research Programs are funded at $5.5 million;

·         Small Modular Reactor Licensing Support Programs are funded at $110 million;

·         The Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, which promotes the continued safe operation of America’s existing nuclear reactors, is funded at $21.5 million.

The bill also provided $368 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 $368 million is an increase of $3 million above the President’s request and allows the significant cleanup activities currently underway to continue.

Overall, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill provides $30.4 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 $2.9 billion below the FY2013 amount and $4.1 billion below the President’s request.

“There is no denying the fact that declining budgets and sequestration have had an impact on almost every program and institution in this bill, including Idaho National Laboratory,” said Simpson. “However, I am pleased to see the direct impact on nuclear energy has been minimized and that progress on nuclear energy research and development will continue under this bill.”

The bill passed the House with a final vote of 227-198 and will now be considered by the Senate.