Bush signs bill to increase R&D funding

26 November 2001

The bill earmarks $250.4 million for DoE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology, an increase of $26 million over the Bush administration budget request. The total includes:

• $32 million for the Nuclear Energy Research Initiative (NERI), $14 million more than requested.

• $7 million for the Nuclear Energy Plant Optimization programme (NEPO), $2.5 million more than requested.

• $12 million for the Nuclear Energy Technologies programme (NET), $7.5 million more than requested. Funding for the NET programme includes $4 million to complete a Generation IV nuclear reactor design roadmap; $3 million for application of Generation IV recommendations; $3 million to support near-term deployment applications for Early Site Permits; and $2 million to test fuels for new reactors.

• $17. 5 million for the University Reactor and Research programme, $5.5 million more than requested.

The bill also earmarks $7.13 billion to the DoE's nationwide nuclear cleanup efforts, including $690 million to begin building a plant to vitrify high-level waste now stored on-site in tanks at the Hanford Reservation in Washington State. The Bush administration had sought $6.33 billion for cleanup programmes nationwide, and only $500 million for the vitrification project.

However, federal funding for DoE's waste management activities at Yucca Mountain is reduced to $375 million in FY '02, $70 million less than requested by the Bush administration and $16 million less than appropriated in FY '01. The $375 million figure represents a compromise between the original House and Senate appropriations bills. The House had approved $443 million. The Senate - through the influence of Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-Nevada), an opponent of the Yucca Mountain site - had slashed funding to $275 million.

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