UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Department of Energy FY1999 Research and Development Budget: Description and Analysis

98-256 STM  Department of Energy FY1999 Budget
                 LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
NUMBER:     98-256 STM
TITLE:      Department of Energy FY1999 Research and
            Development Budget: Description and Analysis
AUTHOR:     Richard E. Rowberg
DIVISION:   Science, Technology, and Medicine Division
DATE:       Updated June 18, 1998
            Department of Energy FY1999 Research and 
            Development Budget: Description and Analysis
   Congressional Action Overview
R&D Programs   Descriptions and Budgets
   Energy Resources R&D
      Energy Conservation
      Fossil Energy R&D and Clean Coal Technology
      Nuclear Energy R&D
      Solar and Renewable Energy R&D
      Fusion Energy Science
      High Energy Physics
      Nuclear Physics
      Basic Energy Sciences
      Biological and Environmental Research
   National Security and Environmental Management
      Stockpile Stewardship
      Nonproliferation and Verification R&D
      Naval Reactor R&D
      Environmental Quality R&D
Budget Issues
      Climate Change Technology Initiative
      Nuclear Energy
      Fusion Energy Science and the International Thermonuclear
          Experimental Reactor (ITER)
      Basic Energy Sciences and the Spallation Neutron Source
      Stockpile Stewardship
      Fossil Energy
Concluding Comments
 Department of Energy FY1999 Research and Development
          Budget: Description and Analysis 
   The Department of Energy (DOE) was created in 1977 as part of
the nation's attempt to deal with the oil price shocks of the 1970s. 
The Department was formed from a number of agencies with energy-
related missions.  These agencies included the Energy Research and
Development Administration (ERDA, which itself descended from the
former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)), the Federal Power Commission
(now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), the Federal Energy
Administration, and several programs in the Department of Interior. 
Because of the nuclear weapons and naval reactor programs absorbed
from the AEC, the new DOE gained a sizable defense component.  The
DOE also became home for 22 field laboratories including the nine
multipurpose national labs formed under the AEC.  
   The DOE covers a wide range of activities.  It is responsible
for the nation's nuclear weapons capability.  It has the five
federal power marketing administrations, some energy regulatory and
information functions, civilian nuclear waste responsibilities, and
the strategic and naval petroleum reserves.  Over the last decade,
DOE has developed a major environmental component to clean up its
weapons production and related facilities.  Finally, DOE has a large
research and development (R&D) component in both civilian and
defense areas.  
   This report focuses on the R&D programs.  It divides the
programs into four categories: energy resources R&D, science,
national security R&D, and environmental quality R&D.  Those
categories, which approximate the way DOE has divided up its
programs, are set up to keep similar research activities together.
(See Endnote 1.)  R&D funding is concentrated in the first three. 
Table 1 shows the FY1998 appropriations, the FY1999 budget request,
and the FY1999 Energy and Water Development Appropriations
recommendations for the House and Senate for R&D for the four
categories.  All amounts in this and subsequent tables are for
budget authority and are in current dollars. (See Endnote 2.)
          |      Please order document       |
          |      For complete material.      |
   For all R&D programs for FY1999, DOE has requested an 11.3%
increase over the FY1998 appropriation. (See Endnote 3.)   For
civilian R&D, the request is $4,493.4 million compared to $3,918.1
million for FY1998, a 13.4% increase.  For the defense R&D programs,
DOE has requested $3,283.4 million compared to $3,022.7 million for
FY1998, an increase of 8.6%.  The total DOE budget request for
FY1999 is $18,034.6 million compared to $16,560.6 million
appropriated for FY1998, an increase 8.9%.  For FY1999, R&D would
constitute 43% of all DOE funding.
   The increase requested for DOE R&D funding is one of the
largest, in percentage terms, for any of the federal R&D funding
agencies.   It is also considerably greater than increases requested
by DOE in the last few years.  An important reason for the increase
appears to be a report by the President's Committee of Advisors on
Science and Technology (PCAST) that recommended substantial
increases in energy resources R&D funding to meet the challenges of
growing oil import dependence, increasing greenhouse gas emissions,
and maintaining affordable, reliable energy supplies. (See Endnote
4.)  The report noted that current energy resources R&D funding was
particularly inadequate for providing the energy technologies needed
to meet, cost-effectively, the potential global warming dangers of
increased emissions of carbon dioxide. (See Endnote 5.)  In addition
to recommending increased R&D funding, the study recommended better
coordination between the basic research activities of the Basic
Energy Sciences program and the applied energy R&D programs, and
more effective efforts to make energy resources R&D results
commercially available.  Finally the study urged that energy
resources R&D be given greater "prominence" within the Department of
Energy. (See Endnote 6.)  
   In its budget justification for FY1999, DOE cited the PCAST
report's recommendations in arguing for a substantial increase in
funds for the programs within Energy Resources R&D.  DOE also noted
that a significant portion of that request was part of the Climate
Change Technology Initiative (CCTI) which is aimed at developing
technologies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use. 
At the same time, DOE argued that such reduction was only one of the
potential benefits from increased energy resources R&D as stated in
the PCAST study.
   For the Science programs, DOE justified its request increase on
the importance of science for economic growth, particularly as the
global economy becomes more and more competitive.  Finally, for the
National Security R&D programs, DOE cited the Comprehensive Test 
Ban Treaty as providing additional incentive to develop the capabilities
to maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear
weapon stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing.
   This report will describe the programs within each category
including their research objectives and the activities where
significant budget changes are being requested for FY1999.  It then
describes the request and congressional appropriation and
authorization action to date.  There follows a discussion of several
issues about the FY1999 request that are arising during
congressional consideration of the budget.
Congressional Action Overview
      The Senate Appropriations Committee recommendation of
$6,549.2 million for programs within the Energy and Water
Development Appropriations Bill (S.  2138, S.Rept. 105-206) for
FY1999 is 2.6% below the request but 7% above the FY1998 level.  For
the House Appropriations Committee, the comparable recommendation is
3.2% below the request but 6.4% above the FY1998 level (H.R. 4060,
H.Rept. 105-581).  Both committees provide nearly all of the
requested increase from FY1998 for the Science programs.  They each
noted its strong support for basic research in making these
recommendations.  Most of the increase requested for the National
Security program requests were also met, although the committees
each expressed concern about the Stockpile Stewardship program as
described below.  Further, the House recommendation includes a
significant level of prior year unspent funds for the weapons
   In the FY1999 defense authorization bills passed by the House
(H.R. 3616; H.Rept. 105-532) and being considered by the Senate (S. 
2057/S. 2060; S.Rept. 105-189), the DOE national security programs
would be authorized at amounts close to those recommended by the
appropriations committees.  Concern was also expressed about the
Stockpile Stewardship program in both bills as described below.  The
House-passed bill would also require DOE to fund a significant
portion of its weapons activities with prior year unspent funds.
        R&D Programs   Descriptions and Budgets
Energy Resources R&D   
   Energy Resources R&D includes the Conservation, Fossil Energy,
Clean Coal Technology, Nuclear Energy, Solar and Renewable Energy,
and Fusion Energy Sciences programs.  The budget information of
these five programs is given in Table 2 (next page).  These programs
are the principal DOE R&D efforts devoted to the development of new
energy supply and demand technologies. 
   Energy Conservation.  The Energy Conservation (EC) R&D program
is divided into three sectors   buildings, industry and
transportation. (See Endnote 7.)  The principal focus of energy
conservation research is to develop technologies that reduce the
energy requirements of equipment and facilities within those sectors
while maintaining or improving services, and enhancing environmental
quality.  The buildings sector focuses on the building as an
integrated system, exploring ways to make the building envelope,
equipment, and appliances more efficient.  The transportation sector
directs its R&D at improving efficiency of the current generation of
engines, developing new engine technology, and alternative
transportation fuels.  This sector also takes the lead in the
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV) initiative. (See
Endnote 8.)  This initiative is a joint effort between the federal
government and the nation's three largest automakers to develop an
automobile for the next century that will be substantially more
efficient without sacrificing features or invoking a price penalty. 
The industry sector funds R&D on improvements in basic manufacturing
processes whose goal is increased productivity and energy
efficiency.  It also focuses on technology to reduce or re-cycle
process waste streams, and on advanced, on-site energy generating
technology. Finally, this program has responsibility for application
of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to public
sector facilities. 
          |    Please order document         |
          |    For complete material.        |
   For FY1999, DOE has asked for a 35.2% increase for this program,
the largest for any program within the agency.  Each of the three
sectors would receive sizable increases: industry, 22.3%,
transportation, 27.3%, and buildings, 55.2%.  For FY1999, the
Conservation program forms a major component of the Climate Change
Technology Initiative (CCTI).  An important focus of the R&D is to
be carbon emission reduction through development of technologies
that would operate at higher energy efficiencies and/or use
alternative fuels.  Areas that would receive significant increases
for FY1999 include advanced combustion turbines for industry,
commercial and residential building systems, equipment, and
materials, automobile and heavy vehicle engine technology (PNGV
project), and manufacturing processes in selected industries.  The
program has set out quantitative goals for efficiency improvements,
energy cost savings, and emissions reductions for the year 2010.
   Fossil Energy R&D and Clean Coal Technology.  Fossil Energy R&D
is divided into three subprograms: coal, gas, and petroleum.  Coal
research focuses on advanced power generation technologies, advanced
emission clean-up technologies, and economic, alternative
transportation fuels.  Natural gas R&D focuses on development of
currently uneconomic conventional and unconventional gas resources,
and advanced power generation technologies.  Petroleum R&D focuses
on enhanced oil production and reservoir life extension.  In
addition, the program carries out R&D on environmental problems
associated with all phases of oil and natural gas production.  Coal
R&D also includes the Clean Coal Technology (CCT) program, a
separate series of demonstration projects in pursuit of cleaner and
more efficient use of coal, which receive at least 50% of their
support from the private sector.  All federal funds for CCT were
appropriated in previous years.  
   For FY1999, Fossil Energy has requested an increase of 5.8%
above the FY1998 appropriation.  The largest increase would occur
for coal R&D, about 21%.  Petroleum R&D would grow by 3% while
natural gas R&D would decline by 1%.  For coal R&D, the increases
would be concentrated in advanced power generation development,
including support for demonstration projects being carried out by
the CCT program.  Advanced coal research would also receive a
substantial increase for a variety of work on fuel conversion and
emissions control.  Part of the increase would fund research
initiatives aimed at the Vision 21 concept.  That concept, which
emerged from the PCAST study, envisions energy complexes based on
coal that would produce electricity, clean transportation fuels,
steam, and chemicals with virtually no pollutant emissions and
possibly no net carbon emissions.  To that end, the coal R&D effort
will include research on carbon sequestration processes.  Components
of the natural gas and petroleum R&D effort would be funded at close
to FY1998 levels. The CCT program is requesting that $40 million of
previously appropriated funds be deferred until FY2000 or beyond. 
Completion of several projects is expected by the end of FY1999 with
no new project starts scheduled.
   Nuclear Energy R&D.  This program supports a diverse array of
projects in nuclear energy.  Included are R&D on advanced
radioisotope power production, electrometallurgical treatment of
spent fuel (formerly in the National Security category as Nuclear
Technology R&D), and university reactor fuel assistance. In
addition, the program carries out R&D on and technical support for
radioisotope production for a variety of commercial and medical
uses.  The program also supports a number of DOE reactor facilities. 
In addition, the program manages the DOE uranium programs, although
that activity is not R&D and is not included in table 2. (See
Endnote 9.)
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 22.3% increase for nuclear
energy R&D, as defined by CRS, over the FY1998 appropriation.  The
increase is concentrated in three areas: the assumption of the
nuclear technology program, maintaining the Fast Flux Test Reactor
(FFTF) in hot-standby mode, and a nuclear energy research
initiative.  The FFTF work is part of the DOE effort to develop a
source of tritium for the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. (See
Endnote 10.)  The initiative is designed to start a research program
to address a broad array of issues critical to the future of nuclear
power.  DOE proposes to establish an advisory committee to guide 
the implementation of that research program.  A similar activity, 
called the Nuclear Energy Security initiative, was introduced last 
year but did not receive funding because of concerns that it 
appeared to assume private sector responsibilities.  DOE believes 
that it has addressed those concerns with this year's version.
   The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee recommended $225.3
million for nuclear energy R&D, a reduction of 13.1% from the
request but and increase of 6.3% over the FY1998 amount.  Nearly all
of the reduction from the request is in the facility management
portion of the program.  The committee expressed strong support of
the nuclear technology R&D activities and the nuclear energy
research initiatives, for which it recommended funding the full
request.  The committee noted that nuclear energy is the best
available base-load energy supply option for reducing greenhouse gas
concentrations to justify that support.  Finally, funding is being
recommended for maintenance of the FFTF in a hot-standby mode 
until a long-term source for tritium production can be developed.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $205.5 million
for nuclear energy R&D, 20.7% below the request and 3.0% below
FY1998.  While expressing its support for the nuclear energy
research initiative, the committee recommended $5 million for the
first year of the program, a reduction of $19 million from the
request.  In addition, the committee did not provide funds for the
nuclear energy plant optimization initiative.  It also included $20
million for nuclear energy R&D   basically electrometallurgical
technology   under termination costs, and provided $31.5 million for
maintenance of the FFTF.  The committee shifted those funds from the
nuclear energy account to the non-defense environmental management
   Solar and Renewable Energy R&D.  The Solar and Renewable Energy
R&D program focuses on a wide range of energy supply technologies.
(See Endnote 11.)  Major efforts are directed toward photovoltaic
(PV) technology, solar thermal central power plants, and fuel
production from biomass.  The PV activity is aimed at reducing
production costs and improving conversion efficiency.  The program
also is funding R&D on solar heating and cooling for buildings,
improving the cost performance of wind machines, exploitation of
geothermal resources, and the development of hydrogen as an energy
carrier.  The program includes research on potential electric energy
storage technologies and application of high temperature
superconductivity.  R&D on technologies for integrating renewable
energy systems into the electric utility grid is also a key
responsibility of this program.  An important function of this
program is to help the private sector develop promising new
renewable energy technologies for the commercial market. 
   In addition to R&D funded directly by this program, DOE's Basic
Energy Sciences program also funds renewable energy research.  This
is basic research focused on photovoltaic energy, biomass energy,
and hydrogen.  The budget request for these areas is included with
the Basic Energy Sciences program request.
   For FY1999, DOE has asked for a 28.9% increase over the FY1998
appropriation for the Solar and Renewable Energy program. 
Subprograms that would receive the largest increases are
photovoltaic energy, biomass/biofuels, wind energy systems, and
hydrogen.  For biomass, most of the increase would go toward
biofuels energy systems development and ethanol production.  For PV
energy, the increases would go toward PV energy systems development
and collector research.  For wind energy, the bulk of the increase
would go toward turbine research, pilot and demonstration plants,
and field tests.  In most cases, the increases are aimed at
expanding efforts to push technologies toward commercial readiness.
   Within the Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program, DOE has
requested $47.9 million for basic research primarily related to
solar and renewable energy technologies.  These funds support
research in the BES materials and chemical sciences subprograms, 
and in the energy biosciences subprograms. 
   For FY1999, the Senate Appropriations Committee recommended
funding of $297.6 million for the elements of the program within the
Energy Supply portion of the DOE budget request (Energy Resource 
R&D in Table 2), and $47.9 million for those elements funded by the
Basic Energy Sciences program.  The former is 23.6% below the
request and 1.5% below the FY1998 appropriation, while the latter
meets the request and is 8.1% above the FY1998 amount.  The
committee expressed concern about DOE's choice of projects supported
in the CCTI.  It argued that DOE should emphasize basic research
that had the promise of providing substantial reductions in
greenhouse gas concentrations in the longer term, and reduce support
of research leading toward incremental improvements in commercial or
near-commercial technologies.   The committee argued that with some
exceptions, the latter type of research was best left to the private
   As a consequence of those concerns, the committee's
recommendations shifted support toward more basic research with 
the potential for large reductions in greenhouse gas concentration.  In
addition to funding the full request for the renewable energy
research falling within Basic Energy Science, the recommendation
also provided an additional $5 million above the request for
hydrogen research.  The committee reduced funding of photovoltaic
energy systems by $9.4 million and geothermal technology development
by $11.5 million from FY1998, and kept funding for biomass/biofuels
energy systems and wind energy systems at nearly the same level as
FY1998.  The committee also expressed concern about the effect of
electricity deregulation on the reliability of the electric
transmission system, and provided $5 million for a national
laboratory-utility industry partnership for relevant research.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $303.5 million
for solar and renewable energy R&D included in the Energy Supply
portion of the DOE budget request (Energy Resources in Table 2), and
$47.9 million for such research funded by the Basic Energy Sciences
program.  The former is 22.0% below the request and 0.5% above
FY1998, while the latter meets the request and is 8.1% above the
FY1998 level.  As a general comment, the committee repeated its 
concern that DOE was putting too much of its effort into trying to
commercialize solar and renewable technology that is not yet ready,
and not enough into more basic or long-term research that could
result in significant technological advances.  It also questioned
the premise that more funding was needed for the CCTI and noted that
the choice of projects included in that initiative seemed somewhat
   For specific subprograms, the committee provided essentially
level funding for photovoltaic energy systems and wind energy
systems, and a substantial increase    $13.85 million   for
biomass/biofuels energy systems compared to the FY1998 levels.  In
addition, the committee recommended a slight decrease from FY1998
for hydrogen research.  The committee also urged DOE to coordinate
research on electric transmission system reliability related to
electric utility deregulation.
   Fusion Energy Science.  The Fusion Energy Science (FES) program
concentrates on basic research in plasma and fusion science and
technology to expand the knowledge base needed to develop fusion-
based power reactors and to enhance the application of plasma
science in industry. (See Endnote 12.)  The program supports
research on two major tokamak facilities and a number of alternative
concepts.   The FES program also participates in the International
Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, the major
international effort to control the fusion reaction for electric
power production.   For the past 6 years, the project has
concentrated on developing an engineering design for ITER.  This
design activity ends in 1998. It was originally hoped that a
decision to proceed with construction would be made at that point. 
Now, however, that decision has been put off for at least 3 years.
   For FY1999, DOE's request for Fusion Energy Sciences is about
1.6% below the FY1998 appropriation.  Within that request, however,
are some significant changes.  With the end of the ITER design
activity, DOE has asked that most of the funds that had been going
to the ITER project   for FY1998 about $52.5 million    be shifted
to domestic research needs.  A total of $39 million would be
shifted.  DOE is still requesting $12 million for the ITER project,
which would be in a transition phase awaiting a new construction
decision point.  Another major change in the FES budget would be an
increase of about $7 million for operation of the National Spherical
Tokamak Experiment, which is expected to begin operations in FY1999. 
This experiment is part of the FES alternative concept effort. 
Funding for the two major tokamak facilities would increase slightly
from FY1998.  Funds for these two tokamaks would make up 
about 37% of the entire FES budget request.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $232 million 
for the program for FY1999, an increase of 1.7% over the request and
equal to the FY1998 amount.  The committee noted the efforts
underway by the U.S. fusion community to determine how the program
should proceed in light of the end of the ITER project as it now
stands.  While agreeing that such steps are necessary, the committee
urged DOE to undertake an extensive review of all of the fusion
options it currently funds   laser fusion, heavy-ion fusion, pulsed-
power fusion, and magnetic fusion   before it makes any commitment
to a future magnetic fusion project.  Noting that such a review
would be difficult because of the different near-term goals and
management centers of the various options, the committee
nevertheless argued that it was necessary before any decisions about
the next steps in fusion energy development are made.  The committee
asked DOE to consider specifically, non-magnetic options.  At a
minimum, the committee stated, roadmaps that justify the continued 
development of the different options should be created.  
   The committee also placed the Fusion Energy Science program
account under the DOE science programs.  For the FY1998
appropriations, the Congress had placed the program in Energy Supply
R&D (Energy Resources in table 2) as part of an effort to
consolidate the DOE science account.  Many in the fusion research
community, however, felt that the program was still primarily a
basic research program, especially after its reorganization in 1995-
6, and should be placed with the other basic research activities
funded by DOE.  The Senate Appropriations Committee has apparently
agreed with this argument.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $232 million for
FY1999, an increase of 1.7% over the request and equal to the FY1998
amount.  It expressed its support of DOE's efforts to emphasize
alternative concepts and increase university research.  It also
directed DOE to carry out a comprehensive review of all fusion
concepts funded by the Department and develop a program plan that
includes all such work including inertial confinement fusion
research supported by DOE defense programs.  The committee also
reminded DOE that Congress has clearly stated that the United States
has no obligation for participation in the ITER project beyond 1998. 
The committee further expressed concern about the possibility that
DOE would enter into an agreement to proceed with a lower cost
version of ITER, and objected to the proposed extension of the ITER
engineering design activity.  Accordingly, the committee did not
provide any new additional funds for ITER or any ITER-related
activity, and told DOE to use prior year funds for any closeout
   The DOE science programs are a broad array of basic research
activities whose stated mission is the development of the scientific
basis for advanced energy technologies and the understanding of
environmental effects of energy production.  Table 3 (next page)
shows funding information for these programs.  In fact, these
programs serve a much broader mission.  Some support the most
fundamental science funded by the federal government with
applications, at best, decades away.  Others perform research on
scientific areas with potential applications well beyond energy.  In
addition, these programs are the principal source of support for the
non-defense R&D carried out at DOE's nine multi-purpose national
labs.  Administratively, these programs fall within the Office of
Energy Research.
          |     Please order document        |
          |     For complete material.       |
   High Energy Physics.  The High Energy Physics (HEP) program
supports experimental and theoretical studies of the fundamental
structure of matter and energy.  It operates several large
accelerators, including the tevatron at Fermilab and the linear
accelerator at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC).  It
also supports theoretical and experimental research at a number of
universities in the nation.  A major initiative of the HEP program
is participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) project at the
Center for European Nuclear Research (CERN) in Europe.  The LHC is
an expansion of the particle accelerator at CERN, which would
provide a substantial increase in its capability, making it the
largest high-energy accelerator in the world.  An agreement between
DOE and CERN was reached last year on U.S. participation in the
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 1.6% increase for the HEP
program over FY1998.  Increases are being sought for operation of
the Fermilab facility and contribution to the LHC project.  It is
expected that the main injector project at Fermilab will be complete
by FY1999 as will the B-factory at SLAC.   Much of the increase for
Fermilab is to go to the neutrinos at the mains injector project now
under construction, which is expected to be completed in FY2002. The
increase requested for the LHC is $30 million over FY1998 to a total
of $65 million for FY1999.    DOE has also requested $329 million in
advanced appropriation to provide the funds needed to complete DOE
contribution to the project.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended full funding of
the DOE High Energy Physics program request for FY1999.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $696.5 million
for FY1999, and increase of 0.8% above the request and 2.4% above
the FY1998 level.  The increase over the request is for facility
operations and the R&D program.  The committee noted its strong
support of the fundamental research carried out by the High Energy
Physics program.  The committee also expressed its strong support of
the U.S. participation in the Large Hadron Collider project and
provided the full request for FY1999, although it did not provide
any of the advance appropriation requested by DOE. In granting the
request, the committee stated that U.S. scientists should have the
opportunity to participate in the world's largest accelerator, and
that it would make sure that U.S. investment in the project was
protected.  It also hoped that this project would serve as a model
or future international science projects.
   Nuclear Physics.  The Nuclear Physics program (NP) supports
research into the structure of the nucleus of the atom and the
forces holding the nucleus together.  It supports theoretical and
experimental research at universities and the national laboratories. 
Large research facilities within this program include the Thomas
Jefferson National Accelerator Laboratory in Newport News, VA, now
in operation, and the relativistic heavy ion collider (RHIC) at
Brookhaven National Lab, currently under construction.
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 3.6% increase for the NP program
over FY1998.  An increase of about $47 million was requested for the
startup of operations at the RHIC, which will be completed in
FY1999.  Part of that increase would be offset by a decrease in RHIC
construction costs.  Other activities requested funding close to the
FY1998 level.  
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended full funding of
the DOE High Energy Physics program request for FY1999.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $335.1 million
for FY1999, a 0.7% increase over the request and a 4.7% increase
over FY1998.  The committee also noted its strong support of the
fundamental research carried out by the Nuclear Physics program.
   Basic Energy Sciences.  The Basic Energy Sciences (BES) program
is the most diverse research program within DOE.  Its stated goals
are to carry out scientific research related to energy technology
development, and to maintain and develop major research facilities
for national use.  The research in BES consists of a wide range of
basic research activities in materials, chemistry, engineering,
earth sciences, and energy biosciences.  In addition to energy
technologies, BES research has potential applications in a wide
variety of industrial areas.  The major user facilities  
synchrotron radiation and neutron sources    operated by BES at the
DOE labs are used extensively by industry, universities, and
government on a cost shared basis.  Support of these user facilities
constitutes nearly half of the DOE BES budget.
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 25.1% increase for the BES
program over FY1998.  Most of that increase is for the spallation
neutron source (SNS), for which DOE has requested $157 million for
FY1999 compared to $27 million appropriated for FY1998.  The SNS is
to be a major user facility producing neutrons to probe all types of
molecular structures such as DNA and advanced materials.  It is to
be built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory at a cost of $1.3 billion. 
Completion is expected in FY2005.  Increases were also requested to
continue the DOE program to upgrade all its major user facilities. 
Including the SNS, about $445.5 million of the BES budget request is
to go to these facilities.  Within the BES budget request is $47.9
million for basic research related to the solar and renewable energy
program as mentioned above.  Finally, $6 million of the request is
directed at research in materials, chemistry, and carbon
sequestration fundamentals as part of the CCTI.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended the full DOE
Basic Energy Sciences program request for FY1999 including the full
amount for the SNS.  The committee noted the unique nature of the
DOE user facilities among all federal R&D agencies and expressed its
wish for DOE's continued success in that area.  The committee also
pledged to do all that it could to see that "optimal" funding was
provided so the SNS could be completed on schedule.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $779.1 million
for FY1999, 6.8% below the request and 16.6% above the FY1998 level. 
The committee expressed its continuing support of the research
support in the BES program including the "world-class" research user
facilities.  The committee also noted the need for the SNS, but, due
to severe budget constraints, was only able to provide $100 million
for the facility for FY1999, 36.1% below the request.  All of the
shortfall between the request and recommendation for BES is in the
SNS project.
   The House Appropriations Committee took another action that
affects both this program and the Biological and Environmental
Sciences program.  The committee stated its belief that the DOE CCTI
program was not based on sound scientific judgement, but was rather
driven too much by policy.  It cited several studies used by DOE
that the committee said were inadequate and appeared to be designed
to support policy decisions already made.  As a consequence, the
committee reduced the $27 million request for CCTI funds within BES
and BER by 50% to $13.5 million.  The $13.5 million reduction would
come out of the two programs.
   Computational and Technology Research.  The Computational and
Technology Research (CTR) program supports basic research in
mathematics and computer science, and advanced energy projects.  
The program funds research on advanced computer applications and
provides access to high performance computers for researchers in the
DOE laboratories.  This program also is responsible for the DOE
portion of the Next Generation Internet (NGI)  initiative. (See
Endnote 13.)  Finally, DOE civilian technology transfer activities
are contained in this program.  
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 6.4% increase for the CTR
program over FY1998.  The increase is for the NGI request, which
amounts to $22 million for FY1999.  Congress did not fund the FY1998
request for NGI from DOE.  The CTR program will also emphasize the
development of computer networks among the DOE laboratories in order
to facilitate collaborative research.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $150 million for
the CTR program for FY1999, 6.6% below the request and 0.6% below
FY1998.  It noted that budget pressures precluded it from
recommending the entire request.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $138.6 million
for FY1999, 13.7% below the request and 8.2% below FY1998.  The
committee did not provide any funds for the Next Generation Internet
initiative.  It argued that DOE's justification for starting a new
program in this area was inadequate given the large investment made
by the private sector in the Internet and related technologies.  The
committee noted that DOE's wish to upgrade laboratory and university
hardware was already being supported by the CTR program and a new
effort was unnecessary.
   Biological and Environmental Research.  The Biological and
Environmental Research (BER) program is focused on basic research in
the biomedical and environmental sciences for the purposes of
understanding potential long-term health and environmental effects
of energy production and use.  Included within BER are research on
global climate change, radionuclide medicine and DOE's portion of
the human genome project.  This program also helps operate the
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) for
bioremediation research. 
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 3.5% decrease in the BER budget
compared to FY1998.  A decrease is made possible by the absence of
any request for FY1999 funds for two congressionally mandated
projects funded at $31 million in FY1998.  Increased funding of $11
million was requested for work coming under the CCTI.  That work
would focus on fundamentals of carbon dioxide production, and
biological processes for enhancing carbon dioxide sequestration and
production of clean fuels such as hydrogen.  Other areas would be
funded at close to FY1998 levels.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $407.6 million
for FY1999, a 3.8% increase above the request and a 0.2% increase
over the FY1998 amount.  The committee directed DOE to start a
program in low dose effects, and provided $20 million to do so.  The
committee instructed DOE to prepare a plan and 5-year budget for
this effort, and submit them to the House and Senate Appropriations
Committee 120 days after the FY1999 appropriations are enacted.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $405.9 million
for FY1998, 3.4% above the request and nearly the same as FY1998. 
The committee included funds to increase biomedical research related
to pharmaceutical development.  The committee also funded the full
request for the National Institute for Global Environmental Change
   Other.  Other activities are comprised of support and auxiliary
programs including  laboratory facility and equipment support,
program direction, energy research analysis, and university and
science education.  The program direction budget contains funds for
all of the programs within the science category.
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 26.2% increase for the other
activities over FY1998.  The source of the increase is the re-
introduction of a separate budget line for university and science
education (USE).  This effort, which supports university and
secondary school faculty and student research at the DOE national
labs, had been funded directly from the program budgets, at the
direction of Congress, for the past two years.  Prior to that there
was a separate account.  In addition to research fellowship funds,
DOE requested within the USE activity, funds for educational
technology to enhance Internet-based education and to assist
predominately minority educational institutions increase production
of scientists and engineers. 
   The Senate Appropriations Committee did not provide any funds
for the USE initiative.  While recognizing the important
contribution that DOE can make to the nation's science and
engineering education, it stated that budget constraints did not
permit funding this request.  The committee, however, urged DOE to
continue supporting education activities out of its program funds. 
Finally, the committee recommended funding for Science program
direction at last years level, $2 million below the FY1999 request.
   The House Appropriations Committee did not provide any funds for
the USE initiative.  It noted that a significant fraction of the
program research funds approved by the Congress in FY1998 are being
spent at the nation's universities, which is in keeping with the
committee's desire that DOE strongly support higher education.  The
committee urged DOE to continue such funding with emphasis on
university programs supporting graduate and post-graduate studies. 
The committee also added $3.24 million to the Science program
direction request for FY1999 to support various 
specified fellowship and education programs that were initiated by
the Secretary of Energy in the past.  The committee wished to give
these programs identified funding and directed DOE to refrain from
funding other such initiatives without congressional approval.
National Security and Environmental Management
   Although separate sectors within the DOE budget, these two
activities are closely related since the prime focus of
environmental management is cleanup of the DOE weapons facilities.
(See Endnote 14.)   The major activity is weapons R&D, which
supports the nation's efforts to manage the nuclear weapons
stockpile in the absence of testing. Other research is funded to
support nuclear weapon nonproliferation, to improve naval ship
propulsion reactors, to develop new science and technology for
environmental restoration, and to support DOE's environmental,
health and safety activities.  Table 4 (next page) shows R&D budget
data for these programs.
          |      Please order document       |
          |      For complete material.      |
   Stockpile Stewardship.  The goal of the Stockpile Stewardship
program is to provide the scientific understanding, experimental
facilities, and computational capability to maintain the safety,
reliability and performance of the existing nuclear weapons
stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing. (See Endnote 15.)  As
the stockpile ages, it will undergo changes that may require
component replacement.  To assure that those changes do not
compromise the deterrent capability of the stockpile, DOE is
developing a massive computer capability to simulate the explosion
of those weapons.  The scientific facilities are designed to provide
the understanding of weapon physics to develop and validate the
simulation models.  In addition, an important responsibility of the
program is to ensure that the nation has the scientific and
technical personnel necessary to maintain the stockpile.
   A major item within the stockpile stewardship program is the
National Ignition Facility (NIF), which is now under construction.
(See Endnote 16.)  The NIF is to be a large, laser fusion facility
that is expected to simulate portions of the ignition process of
thermonuclear weapons on a very small scale.  Other major activities
in the program are construction of the dual axis radiographic
hydrodynamic test facility to test for the safety of nuclear
weapons, and the accelerated strategic computing initiative (ASCI)
to develop the supercomputer technology needed for weapon
simulations.  The Defense Program's technology transfer activities
are also in this program.
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a 17.8% increase for the program
compared to FY1998.  The biggest contributor is an additional $106.5
million for the ASCI project.  For FY1999, that project intends to
enhance efforts to develop three-dimensional simulation codes and
increase computational capability to three trillion operations per
second (3 Tf).  (Effective simulation is expected to require 100
Tf.)  An increase of $86.4 million was requested for the NIF
bringing the FY1999 total to $284.2 million for the project.  FY1999
is expected to be the peak year for NIF construction costs.  The
transfer of waste management activities to the Stockpile Stewardship
program from the DOE Office of Environmental Management is projected
to require an additional $61.9 million for the program.  
   On May 11, 1998, the Senate Armed Services Committee reported
out the FY1999 defense authorization bill, which recommends an
authorization of $2,123.4 million for Stockpile Stewardship for
FY1999.  This amount is $65 million below the request.  The
reduction is directed by the committee for the ASCI program.  The
committee argues that DOE is moving too rapidly on this program and
cites the large percentage of underutilized supercomputer capacity
within the DOE defense programs.  Further, the committee noted that
much of the experimental data for the simulation codes to be run on
ASCI computers has not been collected yet because most of the
experimental devices are still under construction.  The committee
also recommended continuation of the prohibition of DOE performing
cooperative stockpile stewardship R&D with foreign countries, and
directed DOE to continue R&D in robotics and intelligent machines.
   On May 21, 1998, the House passed the FY1999 defense
authorization bill, which recommends an authorization of $2,138.4
billion for Stockpile Stewardship for FY1999, a reduction of $50
million from the request.  Like the Senate bill, the reduction would
all be in the ASCI program.  The House expressed concern about the
high risk nature of the ASCI effort, and notes contractor delays in
meeting the next program target.  The House also noted that the
necessary software for the computer is developing at a slower rate. 
Perhaps more importantly for the Stockpile Stewardship program, the
House directed that DOE reduce its carryover balance   the funds
left unspent at the end of the fiscal year   to 12%.  To do this,
DOE would have to reduce its current balance in its defense programs
by $340.9 million, to be used for FY1999 in lieu of new
appropriations.  If, as DOE argues, those funds are needed for
obligations already made, making such a reduction would be
equivalent to a reduction in the FY1999 funding level of $340.9
million.  The House-passed bill did not state how much of those
funds would come out of the stockpile stewardship part of the
defense programs.  
   The House-passed bill also requires DOE to submit a report
providing the technical performance criteria for the Stockpile
Stewardship Program facilities now under development, that are
necessary to assure a high confidence level in the safety and
reliability of the stockpile.  The House feels that DOE has not
sufficiently defined such criteria.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $2.163 billion
for the Stockpile Stewardship program for FY1999, 1.1% below the
request but 15.9% above the FY1998 amount.  In the report
accompanying the recommended appropriation, the committee 
expressed "serious" concern about the sufficiency of budget 
projections for the program to "sustain" the stockpile stewardship 
initiatives and provide adequate confidence in stockpile's safety 
and reliability.  The committee also noted situations of management 
laxity that had resulted in excessive cost growth of some projects 
within the program.  The committee directed DOE to ensure proper 
management attention to the program particularly in view of severe 
budget restrictions.  As for the core stockpile stewardship program, 
the committee also expressed its concern about the sufficiency of the
FY1999 and future budget projections.  It also stated its skepticism
about the adequacy of current engineering and surveillance
approaches to maintain the stockpile in the absence of testing. 
   The recommendation for FY1999 is $25 million below the request. 
The committee directed that this reduction be taken in the ASCI
program.  It expressed concern that the ASCI effort is growing
faster than justified and continued growth at that rate might
adversely affect other parts of the Stockpile Stewardship program in
view of the constrained budget environment.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $2.123 billion
for FY1999, 3.0% below the request but 13.7% above the FY1998 level. 
In making its recommendations, the committee expressed concern about
management inefficiencies in the Stockpile Stewardship program.  It
cited examples of activities that were funded that it considered
somewhat outside the mission of the program.  It also noted examples
of cost and schedule creep that resulted in significant expansion of
program costs.  The committee argued that DOE should undertake a
thorough assessment of the activities included within the program to
determine which are essential and should institute procedures to
ensure greater cost control.  Without such actions, the committee
noted that future funding increases for the program might be hard to
come by.
   The recommendation assigned $30 million of the reduction from
the request to general cost efficiencies it considered achievable. 
Another $25.3 million were to come from the deferral of the start of
construction projects.  The committee directed DOE to determine
causes for past project management failures before embarking on a
set of new projects.  The committee expressed support of the ASCI
program and funded the full request.  It added $10 million to the
inertial confinement fusion program for additional research on high
average power lasers.
   In its recommendation for all DOE weapons activities   Stockpile
Stewardship and Stockpile Management   the committee directed DOE
to use $305.4 million of unspent funding balances carried over from
prior years.  This action follows direction of the FY1999 defense
authorization bill passed by the House.  The committee did not
instruct DOE how to allocate those funds between the two programs.
   Nonproliferation and Verification R&D.  Nonproliferation and
verification R&D focuses on methods for detection of the production
and testing of nuclear weapons, and for dismantlement of nuclear
warheads.  Remote sensing and regional monitoring are the principal
areas of investigation.  This research supports arms control treaty
monitoring, provides technology for collection of intelligence of
potential proliferation, and develops technologies for detecting
diversion of weapons of mass destruction.  
   For FY1999, DOE has requested the same funding level for this
program as the FY1998 appropriation.  The program proposes to 
expand its emphasis on chemical and biological weapons in FY1999 
and is asking for an additional $3.95 million for that purpose.  
Most of the other activities would remain at FY1998 levels.
   In the FY1999 defense authorization bill reported by the Senate
Armed Services Committee, $210 million, the amount requested, is
authorized and the committee reaffirmed its endorsement of DOE's
efforts in forensic analysis.  The committee also expressed its
support of DOE's activities in detection of and response to
biological and chemical warfare and terrorism.  The House-passed
bill also recommends an authorization of $210 million for FY1999.
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended funding the
requested amount for FY1999.  The committee notes that this funding
will provide DOE with a substantial increase in funds for efforts
directed at weapons of mass destruction including biological and
chemical weapons.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended funding the full
request for FY1999.  The committee expressed concern, however, about
the apparent unfocused nature of the program.  It noted that there
was not overall program plan or "technology roadmap" that provided
guidance about how the individual projects fit within an overall
mission.  The committee suggested an external peer review of the
program could give it more credibility and focus.
   Naval Reactor R&D.  Naval reactor R&D is directed at the
development and test of advanced reactor systems and components for
submarines, and support of the ship reactors currently in service. 
The program examines ways to bring new technology into existing
reactor systems, tests components and materials in existing systems,
and develops new reactors that are less costly and more reliable. 
The program has responsibility for all 115 operating reactors in the
   For FY1999, DOE has requested a slight decrease of about 0.8%
for this program compared to FY1998.  The program will focus on
maintaining reactor service life, and on reactor safety and
reliability.  It will also continue the inactivation process for six
test reactors, and development and testing of the New Attack
Submarine plant.
The Senate Armed Services Committee recommended a $16 million
increase in the authorization for this program for FY1999 to a total
spending level of $681.5 million.  The increase is for DOE's efforts
to decommission and decontaminate prototype reactor facilities that
are no longer needed.  The bill passed by the House authorizes an
increase of $16 million for FY1999.  The increase is to go expedite
shutdown and remediation of prototype reactors in New York and
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended funding for
FY1999 at the DOE requested level.  The committee noted its support
of DOE's efforts to optimize activities to shutdown prototype
reactors although it is not able to provide additional funds.  The
committee, however, urged DOE to examine its need for more 
resources in this area and make such requests as appropriate in the 
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $681.5 million
for FY1999, 2.4% above the request and 1.6% above FY1998.  The
additional $16 million is being provided to continue inactivation of
test reactors and make sure that environmental cleanup efforts are
not delayed.
   Environmental Quality R&D.  Environmental quality R&D consists
of technology development and environmental science within
Environmental Management (both defense and non-defense waste), 
andenvironment, safety, and health (ESH) for civilian energy R&D
activities.  The first activity is charged with expanding the
scientific understanding of the character and risks associated with
the defense and non-defense wastes created at weapons manufacturing
sites, and developing new technologies for carrying out restoration
and management in a safer, less costly manner.  The second program,
ESH, supports health studies, technical assistance, compliance with
the National Environmental Policy Act, and administrative support to
the several DOE civilian R&D programs. 
   For FY1999, DOE consolidated its science and technology
activities under Environmental Management into two Science and
Technology programs; one for defense wastes and one for non-defense
wastes.  For the former, DOE has requested $193 million and for the
latter it requested $26.5 million.  The total, $219.5 million, is
about 20.2% below the FY1998 appropriation.  The reduction is in
response to congressional direction to DOE to shift emphasis to
transfer of new technologies into the waste management program away
from developing new technologies.  The Congress argued that DOE was
putting too much effort into the latter and not enough in getting
the new technologies into the field.  R&D will continue in all of
the subprogram areas, but at reduced levels.  The goal of the non-
defense science and technology program is to make sure that the
entire DOE complex has access to new technologies and science about
environmental restoration.  
   For the ESH program, DOE has requested a 15.2% increase over
FY1998.  The reason for the increase is a shift of personnel from
defense environmental health activities to the EHS program.  When
adjusting for that shift, the budget request for FY1999 is down
about 5.6% from the comparable FY1998 appropriation. 
   Senate Armed Services Committee action on the FY1999 defense
authorization bill would provide $250 million for technology
development within the defense environmental management program, an
increase of $57 million.  The committee agreed with DOE about the
need to accelerate the introduction of new technology in the cleanup
process if it was to meet the new goals for that activity.  The
committee did not specify where the added funds should go, but asked
DOE to report back to the committee on their allocation.  The House-
passed bill is authorizing an additional $77.8 million to $270.8
million.  Those additional funds are to help develop new
technologies for waste cleanup.  The House expressed its belief that
such technologies are necessary to expedite cleanup and reduce
   The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended the full request
of $76 million for the ESH program.  It directed that $20 million of
the total, however, be obtained from  DOE defense program funds. 
The committee recommended $225 million for environmental restoration
science and technology, both civilian and defense.  It directs that
the funds requested under the civilian cleanup efforts be included
in the defense cleanup funding.  The recommendation is 2.5% above
the request for the combined civilian and defense science and
technology program.  The committee urged DOE to develop ways to
reduce disincentives for new technologies that have high potential
for reducing clean-up costs but that have a high risk.
   The House Appropriations Committee recommended $46 million for
civilian ESH activities for FY1999.  It split the program direction
portion of that program, however, and placed $20 million under DOE
other defense programs.  Therefore, total funding for ESH, as
defined by the request, is recommended to be $66 million for FY1999,
13.2% below the request and the same as the FY1998 level.  The net
reduction from the request made by the committee of $10 million is
directed at funding for contract support.  The committee repeated
its concern that DOE relies  too much on outside contract support
for these activities that should be performed by regular DOE
   For environmental restoration science and technology, the
Committee recommended $270 million for FY1999.  The recommendation
includes funding for both the civilian and defense requests. 
Therefore, it is 23% above the combined request and 1.8% below the
FY1998 level.  Of the $51 million increase above the request, the
committee directed that $30 million should be used to accelerate the
new technologies for cleanup missions, and $10 million should be
used to start a new round of research grants for the science portion
of the program.  The committee noted the good reviews that program
had received.  The remaining portion of the increase is directed to
be used for a variety of activities including an additional $3
million for risk policy work.
                     Budget Issues
   Several issues are raised by the FY1999 budget request and
initial congressional action.  This section presents a discussion of
seven issues that appear to be receiving  significant attention
during the consideration of the DOE budget.
   Climate Change Technology Initiative.  Studies sponsored by DOE
over the past year along with the PCAST study argued that new energy
supply and demand technology in selected areas could  lead to
significant reductions in carbon emissions at little or no net cost. 
With the agreement reached by the Administration at Kyoto to reduce
carbon emissions in the 2008-2012 period to 1990 levels, it has
chosen, in part, to implement these findings by asking for
significant increases in certain energy R&D accounts, primarily
energy conservation and solar and renewable energy.  
   For the two programs combined, DOE is asking for a 32.7%
increase over the FY1998 appropriation.  This increase is comparable
to the percentage increases requested by DOE for each of the past 3
fiscal years.  In each case, Congress approved an increase over the
year before but considerably below that requested by DOE.  Also, the
nature of the requested increase is similar this year to those in
the past 3 years.  Activities designed to accelerate the readiness
of technologies for commercial acceptance   demonstration and pilot
projects, and systems development   are to receive the largest
   These activities, however, have usually been those least favored
by Congress.  It has argued that support of projects like those is
the responsibility of the private sector and not the federal
government.  Accordingly, for DOE to provide funding in those cases
is placing the government in the position of picking winners and
losers without the discipline of the market.  DOE counters that the
private sector has not been funding this so-called pre-competitive
research, and without DOE help, few if any of these technologies
would receive the boost they need to become competitive.
   Action by the Senate and House Appropriations Committees
suggests that at least some Members are concerned that the requested
increases represent an implicit commitment to the Kyoto accords
before the Senate has formally considered the treaty.  Concern has
been expressed that the justification for increases is not based on
sound analysis but is more policy driven.  At a minimum, attempts to
justify the large increases by the CCTI do not seem to have changed
the views of many that DOE should reduce its efforts to assist
commercial development of new technologies.  Renewable energy R&D,
however, is still supported by many Members.  As a consequence,
there may be action on both the House and Senate floor during
consideration of these bills to add funding for renewable energy
   Nuclear Energy.  DOE is once again requesting funds to launch
a research initiative to help maintain the nuclear power option in
the United States.  For FY1998, DOE requested about $39 million to
carry out research in a variety of areas  about the operation of the
nation's existing nuclear power plants.  That request, called the
nuclear energy security initiative, also contained proposals to fund
research on various spent fuel issues.   For FY1999, DOE is
requesting $24 million to begin a research program, called the
nuclear energy research initiative (NERI), designed to help maintain
the nuclear power option for the United States, by focusing on the
long-term enhancement of nuclear energy technology.  The source of
this initiative, according to DOE, is a recommendation from the
PCAST report that urged DOE to establish a new effort in nuclear
energy research.  In presenting the initiative, DOE laid out a
selection of possible research areas, including proliferation-
resistant reactor and fuel technologies, nuclear safety and risk
analysis, and advanced, lower-power reactor design and applications. 
Joint research activities among universities, industry and the
government will be encouraged.  An important goal of the initiative
is to enhance university capabilities in nuclear engineering
   In addition to the NERI, DOE is requesting $10 million for a
program called the nuclear energy plant optimization initiative to
help enhance the life, efficiency, and capacity of existing nuclear
power plants, and aid license renewal.  This proposal also is based
on the PCAST study and forms part of the CCTI.
   There has been substantial criticism of these initiatives by
members of the renewable energy community.  They argue that the
programs are just a recycling of last year's proposals, which were
rejected.  The critics state that the industry does not need DOE's
assistance and the proposals represent "corporate welfare at its
most egregious." (See Endnote 17.)  They point out that DOE 
funding for nuclear energy over the last 20 years has been substantially
greater than for renewable energy and conservation, and that the
latter would be much more effective at reducing greenhouse gas
emissions than nuclear. (See Endnote 18.)  Finally, the critics
claim that nuclear energy is no longer economically competitive,
cannot be revived, and the resources should go elsewhere.
   There are those, however, who believe nuclear energy needs a
fresh look.  They argue that we will need all of the non-fossil
energy options to halt the buildup of greenhouse gases.  Indeed,
that is the argument presented by PCAST in making its recommendation
for more nuclear energy research.  There appears to be sentiment in
Congress in support of this idea as well.  The rejection of the
initiatives last year was based more upon concerns that the proposal
would be of little value in dealing with the problems facing the
nuclear power industry.  Success this year appears to be  depending
on how well DOE can make the case that the initiative is more
designed to shore up the long-term health of the nuclear energy
option than to aid the current nuclear power industry, on the level
of congressional confidence in the industry's long-term future, and
on whether Congress believes such a research program is important to
address the global climate change uncertainties.
   Fusion Energy Science and the International Thermonuclear
Experimental Reactor (ITER).  The ITER project engineering design
activity is to be completed in 1998.  Originally,  a decision on
whether to construct the machine was to be made at that time.  The
partners have agreed to postpone that decision, however, and the
program will enter a 3-year transition period where they will review
options and other considerations before making a decision.  This
action is a result of the high cost of the ITER project as it
currently stands, which is more than the partners are willing to pay
at this time.  DOE wishes to remain in the ITER project during the
transition phase, but at a substantially reduced level   $12 million
compared to $52 million in FY1998 and to redirect the remaining
funds to domestic needs.
   The DOE budget action reflects the advice of the Fusion Energy
Science Advisory Committee and most of the fusion research
community.  It would allow DOE to retain a place at the table where
the fate of ITER will be decided, but with a much lower commitment
of funds.  At the same time, funds that had been used for ITER up to
now would be available for much-needed development of technology for
domestic applications such as improvements of large power tubes used
for electromagnetic heating of plasmas.  Finally, DOE argues that
much of that technology research will have potential applications
for ITER if and when it is built.
   With the demise of ITER, the next phase of U.S. fusion research
is now being determined.  One possibility is a smaller version of
ITER built by the current ITER partners.  Another is a multiple
machine approach where each would explore a different fusion
problem.  A major objective during the transition period is to come
up with a next step that can agreed to by the international fusion
community and accepted by Congress.  Action by the Senate
Appropriations Committee suggests that some in Congress would like
DOE to examine its entire slate of fusion options   both magnetic
and inertial   before proceeding with that "next-step".  The House
Appropriations Committee also is urging such a review.  It is
opposed, however, to continued participation in the ITER engineering
design activity while such a revies is underway.  
   Basic Energy Sciences and the Spallation Neutron Source.  The
spallation neutron source (SNS) would be the most costly project
undertaken in DOE civilian R&D since the demise of the
superconducting supercollider.  When completed, the SNS 
would be one of the most important neutron sources in the world.  
There is substantial support for the project because of the importance 
of neutron sources to research in areas ranging from microbiology to
advanced materials.  The neutrons serve as probes to explore the
basic structure of molecules in those areas.  Products already
developed on the basis of research using neutron sources include new
pharmaceuticals, fibers, and automotive parts.  The three neutron
sources currently operated by DOE are currently in much demand by
researchers from industry, universities, and federal labs.  
   Perhaps the largest concern about the SNS is its cost, estimated
at $1.3 billion.  DOE's record with large projects over the past
several years has not been good as far as meeting budget and
completion targets.   Even without an overrun, it is still an
expensive project and there might be congressional concern expressed
about the total cost.  The SNS is the lower-cost option for new
neutron source planned by DOE since 1984.  Indeed, DOE originally
proposed a steady-state neutron source called the advanced neutron
source (ANS).  Congressional concern about its proposed $2.7 billion
cost, however, caused DOE to cancel the project and move the SNS
forward. At this point, however, Congress appears to be satisfied
with DOE cost and schedule estimates for the project, and its
potential value to U.S. research efforts, although budget
constraints might limit the amount of funding that is eventually
   Stockpile Stewardship.  The goal of the Stockpile Stewardship
program, to replace underground nuclear testing with computer
simulation and laboratory experiments, is unprecedented in its scale
and complexity.  As discussed above, with the signing of the
comprehensive test ban treaty (CTBT) (See Endnote 19.), the
Administration has committed to a complete cessation of nuclear
tests for the indefinite future. Achieving the level of simulation
that DOE is seeking will require substantial advances in computer
power and understanding of weapons physics.  According to DOE, 
that is the only way the nation can retain confidence in the reliability
and performance of its nuclear stockpile in the decades to come.  
   DOE argues that it needs the large increase it requested for
this program, along with the companion stockpile management 
program, to achieve the desired level of confidence in the program's 
efficacy in a timely manner.  In particular, the funding increase is 
needed to make rapid progress toward the goal of 100 trillion 
operations per second for the ASCI project and for maintaining the 
construction schedule of the National Ignition Facility (NIF).  
According to DOE the first goal is critical for achieving full 
three-dimensional simulation of the nuclear explosion.  The second 
goal is important for timely understanding of the critical weapon 
physics needed to develop and validate those simulation codes.
   The Stockpile Stewardship program has evoked considerable
controversy.  There are those who believe it is more complex and
costly than it needs to be to maintain safety, reliability, and
performance of the stockpile. (See Endnote 20.)  These critics
believe that the stockpile can be maintained by remanufacturing
components as they age to original specifications, and by
experimental tests of non-nuclear portions to maintain safety. 
Others believe that the program as DOE outlined will not be
sufficient, particularly as the stockpile reaches ages well past
historical highs in the next few decades. (See Endnote 21.)  
Some of those critics argue that we should not rely just on the 
DOE program but should resume testing while others in that group 
are willing to give  the test ban a try, but believe, at a minimum, 
that the DOE effort needs to expand.  The requested budget 
increase for FY1999 is, to a degree, a response to those critics 
who argue that DOE had underestimated the resources it 
needs for the program.
   Despite the growing controversy, debate over this program may
be muted as it has been for the past few years.  In FY1998, for
example, DOE received a 7.3% increase above its request for the
Stockpile Stewardship program.  While there does appear to be
concern in Congress about the program, there also does not appear to
be much support for any of the other options, ranging from
remanufacturing to a resumption of testing.  Early indications,
however, suggest that some in Congress feel that the large increase
requested for FY1999 might be greater than justified, although there
is also concern by some Members that DOE is underestimating the
resources it will need to meet the goals of the program.  Others
have expressed concern that the program contains inefficiencies and
management problems that are adding significantly to its costs.  One
particular concern this coming fiscal year is the ASCI subprogram,
which is to receive a large fraction of the increase.   DOE
maintains, however, that it needs all of those funds to obtain the
very large advance in computer speed needed to meet the stockpile
stewardship goals. 
   A funding issue that has appeared concerns the use of prior year
balances.  Appropriations and authorization actions in the House
thus far are directing DOE to provide about 5 to 10% of the FY1999
funds for the Stockpile Stewardship program from these past year
funds.  DOE argues that those funds are needed for current year
obligations and will not be available.  If so, the House actions
would mean a substantial reduction from the request for the this
program, bringing FY1999 funding down to FY1998 levels.
   The Administration has submitted the CTBT to the Senate for
advice and consent for ratification, and has stated that the
Stockpile Stewardship program is necessary to make the treaty
possible while maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent.  If the
treaty is taken up by the Senate this year, it is possible that
debate about the Stockpile Stewardship program and its funding
request will intensify.
   Fossil Energy.   This program supports R&D on the nation's major
sources of energy    oil, natural gas, and coal.  Those three fuels
provided 84.5% of the energy used in the United States in 1996 and
are projected to provide 89.6% in 2020.  Because of their large
presence in the U.S. energy supply, private industry R&D has been
large relative to other energy resources that receive R&D support
from DOE.  DOE has tried to carve out research areas that do not
duplicate private sector research, but rather compliment that
research and result in cooperative research efforts.  The result is
a focus for petroleum and natural gas R&D on unconventional supply
options, technologies to enhance production from marginal sources,
advanced exploration technologies, and environmental issues
associated with production.  DOE natural gas R&D is also committed
to exploration of advanced power generation technologies (high
efficiency combustion turbines and fuel cells).   For coal, the
focus has been on fuel conversion (coal to liquids and gases),
advanced coal combustion technologies, and environmental control.  
   Nevertheless, the Fossil Energy program, over the years, has
received much criticism that it is performing R&D best left to the
private sector.  Last year, the program became a target of a group
in Congress that wanted to eliminate programs that it felt was
providing unneeded subsidies to the private sector.  Late last year,
DOE itself proposed elimination of the petroleum R&D subprogram
arguing that the private sector should be responsible for that R&D. 
The proposal called for a 2-year phase-out. 
   The program, however, has enjoyed significant congressional
support.  For FY1998, Congress appropriated a 4.6% increase above
the request.  No other energy resource program, except fusion energy
sciences, received more than it requested.  In addition, DOE
recently rescinded its proposal to eliminate petroleum R&D when it
received a number of complaints from industry groups and some
Members of Congress. (See Endnote 22.)  These supporters stated that
the petroleum R&D funded by DOE was important to the industry,
particularly the smaller independent producers.  
   Regarding coal R&D, DOE argues that it is an important component
of its efforts to combat the buildup of greenhouse gases.  Coal is
the largest single source of such gases and emits more carbon
dioxide per unit of energy than either oil or natural gas.  Because
of the abundant coal resources possessed by the United States, DOE
believes it very important to carry out R&D on ways to minimize the
emission of carbon dioxide, and other air pollutants, from coal
combustion.  Part of this research is directed at ways to sequester
carbon dioxide.  While an interesting goal, effective sequestration
is likely to prove very difficult to achieve because of the large
quantities of carbon dioxide that are emitted from coal combustion. 
   Support for fossil energy research appears strong enough to stop
any efforts to eliminate or dramatically reduce its size.  Concern
about potential duplication with the private sector remains,
however, and is likely to be raised during consideration of the
budget request.  That concern may affect its chances for gaining
approval of the requested increase for FY1999.
   A related issue concerns attempts to merge the fossil energy
program with the conservation R&D program.  Legislation 
(H.R. 1806) has been introduced to accomplish this merger, 
primarily to reduce management overhead costs and reduce R&D 
duplication.  While the research areas of each program differ for 
the most part, both have substantial R&D efforts in advanced turbines 
and fuel cells, and both are heavily involved with electric energy 
production.  DOE does not support this legislation, arguing 
that the merger might slow development of important technologies.  
It also argues that the large number of contracts outstanding in 
the two programs, about 1,000, would make it difficult to 
manage with a single administrator.
                  Concluding Comments
   It appears that DOE will not receive all of the R&D funding it
requested.  An increase over FY1998 seems likely, particularly in
the Science programs.  Support for basic research appears to be
strong in Congress, and this support is being translated into
recommendations for funding of DOE Science programs that mostly 
meet the requested levels.  Support for DOE defense program R&D also
appears to remain strong, although questions are mounting about the
pace and likely effectiveness of the Stockpile Stewardship program. 
The energy supply programs, however, have not enjoyed similar
support.  To some extent the large funding gaps between the requests
and the requirements for certain water projects that had to be dealt
with by the House and Senate appropriators, appear to have
contributed to the absence of any substantial increases for the
renewable energy program.
1.  The major difference between these categories and those used by
DOE is that DOE does not include the Energy Conservation, Fossil
Energy, and Clean Coal Technology programs within its energy supply
category, all of which are included in the energy resources R&D
category in this report.  DOE makes that distinction because those
three programs fall within the jurisdiction of the Interior and
Related Agencies Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committees,
while all other DOE R&D programs fall within the jurisdiction of the
Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.  DOE also includes the
Environment, Safety, and Health program in its energy supply
category while this report includes it in the environmental quality
category.    In addition, R&D funding amounts given in the report
for the FY1999 request are those given in the DOE budget request for
R&D with the exception of nuclear energy, which is described in the
text.  Finally, the R&D funding amounts given for previous years are
the congressional appropriations as printed in the conference
reports.  For a detailed tracking of congressional action on the
FY1998 request, see CRS Report 97-233.
2.  Some of the FY1998 appropriations have been adjusted to reflect
changes DOE has made in the content of those programs at the
direction of Congress.  As a result, the numbers for FY1998
appropriations in this report may not agree in all cases with those
reported in the last update of CRS Report 97-233.
3.  U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Financial
Officer, Department of Energy: FY1999 Congressional Budget Request,
DOE/CR-0051 (Washington: February 1998).
4.  Executive Office of the President, President's Committee of
Advisors on Science and Technology, Report to the President on
Federal Energy Research and Development for the Challenges of the
Twenty-First Century, (Washington: November, 1997).
5.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, Global
Climate Change, by John Justus and Wayne Morrissey, CRS Issue Brief
IB89005 (Washington: continually updated).
6.  Report to the President on Federal Energy Research and
Development for the Challenges of the Twenty-First Century, ES-2.
7.  U. S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Energy Efficiency: A New National Outlook?, by Fred Sissine, CRS
Issue Brief IB95085, (Washington: continually updated).
8.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, The
Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, by Fred Sissine, CRS
Report 96-191 SPR, (Washington: February 28, 1996).
9.  DOE does not include several activities in its definition of
nuclear energy R&D that are included in the CRS definition.  Those
activities are facilities management, isotope support, nuclear
energy plant optimization, and program direction.  All of these
activities, however, lend direct or indirect support to nuclear
energy or other R&D activities within DOE, and therefore are
included in the CRS-calculated total nuclear energy R&D amount.
10.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, The
Department of Energy's Tritium Production Program, by Richard E.
Rowberg and Clifford Lau, CRS Issue Brief IB97002, (Washington:
continually updated).
11.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Renewable Energy: A New National Outlook?  By Fred Sissine,.  CRS
Issue Brief IB93063, (Washington: continually updated).
12.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Magnetic Fusion Energy: The DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Program, by
Richard Rowberg, CRS Issue Brief IB91039, (Washington: continually
13.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, Next
Generation Internet, by Glenn McLoughlin, CRS Report 97-521 SPR,
(Washington: updated September 5, 1997).
14.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Nuclear Weapons Production Complex: Environmental Compliance and
Waste Management, by Mark Holt, CRS Issue Brief IB90074,
(Washington: archived).
15.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Stewardship: Alternatives for Congress, by
Jonathan Medalia, CRS Report 96-11 F, (Washington: December 14,
16.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, The
National Ignition Facility and Stockpile Stewardship: Highlights and
Issues, by Richard Rowberg, CRS Report 97-464 SPR, (Washington:
updated February 10, 1998).
17.  Safe Energy Communication Council, New Energy Budget
Resuscitates Previously Rejected Nuclear Power Funding,  Press
Release, February 3, 1998, Washington, DC.
18.  In the calculation used to make this claim, the Safe Energy
Communication Council included civilian funds for nuclear energy
R&D, civilian nuclear waste R&D, magnetic fusion energy R&D, uranium
supply enrichment activities, and the nuclear waste disposal fund. 
If only nuclear energy R&D is included, total funding for solar and
renewable energy and conservation R&D exceeded that for nuclear
energy R&D for 1978-1998.
19.  U.S. Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service,
Nuclear Weapons: Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, by Jonathan Medalia,
CRS Issue Brief IB92099, (Washington: continually updated).
20.  Ray E. Kidder, "Problems with Stockpile Stewardship," Nature 386
(April 17, 1997): 645-647.
21.  James Kitfield, "At Ground Zero," National Journal, no. 8
(February 21, 1998): 388-392.
22.  Mark Crawford, "Administration Reverses Course, Reinstates Oil
R&D Funds," The Energy Daily, 20 January 1998, 1.
                        END OF FILE

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list