Simpson Boosts INL Funding in Energy Bill

Posted on 04/24/15 in Uncategorized, No Comments

House Energy and Water Chairman reverses Administration’s nuclear cuts, increases INL funding

Washington, DC – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today announced that the Fiscal Year 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill reverses proposed cuts to Idaho National Laboratory (INL), the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and cleanup activities in Idaho. Simpson is Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which passed the bill through the full House Appropriations Committee today, and had the lead role in deciding funding for all Department of Energy programs.

“I am pleased to report that the Energy and Water bill rejects cuts proposed by the Obama Administration to nuclear energy programs and increases funding for many of the vital research efforts at INL,” said Subcommittee Chairman Mike Simpson. “The funding increases we have been able to secure in the last two years have made a real impact accelerating nuclear innovation programs and addressing much needed infrastructure enhancements at INL.  These investments will support efforts to make sure nuclear energy remains an important component of our nation’s energy mix.”

The FY 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill sets funding for the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy at $936 million, an increase of $102.6 million above fiscal year 2015 and $28.5 million above the President’s request.  Nuclear energy research and development programs that receive funding within the overall $936 million allocation include:

  • The Idaho Facilities Management account, which covers infrastructure maintenance and improvement at INL, is funded at $218.5 million – a $12.5 million increase over last year and $6.7 million above the President’s request.
  • INL’s Safeguards and Security Program is funded at $126.1 million – an increase of $22.1 million over fiscal year 2015.
  • The Nuclear Energy Enabling Technologies program is funded at $111 million – an increase of $10.6 million above fiscal year 2015 and $25 million above the President’s request.
  • Small Modular Reactor Licensing Support Programs are funded at $62.5 million.   This funding is slated for NuScale Power’s Small Modular Reactor which is proposed for construction in Idaho.
  • The Light Water Reactor Sustainability program, which is managed by INL and promotes the continued safe operation of America’s existing nuclear reactors, is funded at $40 million.
  • The Reactor Concepts Research, Development, and Demonstration account is funded at $141 million – an increase of $8.7 million above fiscal year 2015 and $33.5 million above the President’s request. Within the overall $141 million level for this account, $33 million is allocated to fuel qualification for the High Temperature Gas Reactor.
  • Within the Fuel Cycle Research and Development program, the Advanced Fuels program is funded at $60.1 million, the same as fiscal year 2015; and Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition research and development is funded at $55 million, $16.5 million below fiscal year 2015.
  • Within the Office of Naval Reactors, the bill includes $71.2 million for the operation of the Advanced Test Reactor.
  • Within the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the bill includes $5 million for the development of an Electric Grid Test Bed program to enhance existing full-scale electric grid testing capabilities like those at Idaho National Laboratory.

The bill also provides $390 million for cleanup activities associated with the Idaho Cleanup Project and the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project co-located on the Idaho desert with INL.  The funding level of $390 million is an increase of $10.5 million above fiscal year 2015 and $30 million above the President’s request, which will allow the significant cleanup activities currently underway to continue. The bill also includes an additional $2 million for the National Spent Fuel Program, putting the unique expertise of INL to work in order to provide solutions for managing the Department of Energy’s inventories of spent nuclear fuel.

Despite the Obama Administration’s unilateral decision to disregard the federal government’s legal requirement to take responsibility for civilian spent nuclear fuel, the bill contains funding to support the continued adjudication of the Yucca Mountain license application, ensuring the federal government will meet its commitments to Idaho and other states and dispose of used nuclear fuel.

Overall, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill provides $35.4 billion for the functions of the Department of Energy, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation and a number of independent agencies, including direction for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Bonneville Power Administration.

“From water projects across the nation to critical energy research and increased national security, the Energy and Water bill has a wide reach,” Chairman Simpson said.  “This is a responsible bill that prioritizes national security needs and improving our nation’s infrastructure within tight budget caps,” Chairman Simpson said.  “It makes critical investments in the maintenance and safety of our nuclear weapons stockpile, while also funding important infrastructure projects and research that will increase U.S. economic competitiveness and growth.”

The bill is expected to be considered on the floor of the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. The complete Committee Report can be found at: