President George Bush today signed H.R. 6, The Energy Policy Act of 2005. Among the provisions of this 1,725 page bill are provisions providing spending caps for the Department of Energy's Office of Science for Fiscal Years 2007, 2008 and 2009. The conference report, 109-190, elevates the position of the director of the Office of Science, and contains language regarding several physics programs (fusion, Spallation Neutron Source, and Rare Isotope Accelerator) within the Office of Science.
House Report 109-190, the conference report for the Energy Policy Act, may be viewed at http://thomas.loc.gov/. Other Research and Development programs can be found in Title IX. Note that Subtitle G pertains to Science.
AUTHORIZATION LEVELS, OFFICE OF SCIENCE:
Passage by the House and Senate and President Bush's signature on this Act puts two branches of the federal government on record in support of dramatically higher funding for the Office of Science. Whether these authorization level are reflected in future appropriations bills is yet to be seen. It will be difficult in the current fiscal environment to provide this funding for the Office of Science, as evidenced by the significant differences in the budget for the National Science Foundation and the levels authorized in the National Science Foundation Authorization Act.
Here are the figures relating to the Office of Science:
The current budget is $3.6 billion.
The House and Senate passed versions of the FY 2006 funding bill provide $3.67 - $3.70 billion.
The Act's FY 2007 authorization is $4.15 billion
The Act's FY 2008 authorization is $4.59 billion.
The Act's FY 2009 authorization is $5.20 billion.
NEW POSITION: UNDER SECRETARY FOR SCIENCE
The Energy Policy Act creates the position of Under Secretary for Science. Supporters of this change hope this change will give science increased visibility and stature in the large and complex Department of Energy. The existing position of the Director of the Office of Science remains.
PHYSICS PROGRAMS WITHIN THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE:
"SEC. 972. FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES PROGRAM. [All language]
"(a) Declaration of Policy- It shall be the policy of the United States to conduct research, development, demonstration, and commercial applications to provide for the scientific, engineering, and commercial infrastructure necessary to ensure that the United States is competitive with other countries in providing fusion energy for its own needs and the needs of other countries, including by demonstrating electric power or hydrogen production for the United States energy grid using fusion energy at the earliest date.
"(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a plan (with proposed cost estimates, budgets, and lists of potential international partners) for the implementation of the policy described in subsection (a) in a manner that ensures that--
"(A) existing fusion research facilities are more fully used;
"(B) fusion science, technology, theory, advanced computation, modeling, and simulation are strengthened;
"(C) new magnetic and inertial fusion research and development facilities are selected based on scientific innovation and cost effectiveness, and the potential of the facilities to advance the goal of practical fusion energy at the earliest date practicable;
"(D) facilities that are selected are funded at a cost-effective rate;
"(E) communication of scientific results and methods between the fusion energy science community and the broader scientific and technology communities is improved;
"(F) inertial confinement fusion facilities are used to the extent practicable for the purpose of inertial fusion energy research and development;
"(G) attractive alternative inertial and magnetic fusion energy approaches are more fully explored; and
"(H) to the extent practicable, the recommendations of the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee in the report on workforce planning, dated March 2004, are carried out, including periodic reassessment of program needs.
"(2) COSTS AND SCHEDULES- The plan shall also address the status of and, to the extent practicable, costs and schedules for--
"(A) the design and implementation of international or national facilities for the testing of fusion materials; and
"(B) the design and implementation of international or national facilities for the testing and development of key fusion technologies.
"(c) United States Participation in ITER-
"(1) DEFINITIONS- In this subsection:
"(i) IN GENERAL- The term `construction' means--
"(I) the physical construction of the ITER facility; and
"(II) the physical construction, purchase, or manufacture of equipment or components that are specifically designed for the ITER facility.
"(ii) EXCLUSIONS- The term ‘construction' does not include the design of the facility, equipment, or components.
"(B) ITER- The term ‘ITER' means the international burning plasma fusion research project in which the President announced United States participation on January 30, 2003, or any similar international project.
"(2) PARTICIPATION- The United States may participate in the ITER only in accordance with this subsection.
"(A) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may negotiate an agreement for United States participation in the ITER.
"(B) CONTENTS- Any agreement for United States participation in the ITER shall, at a minimum--
"(i) clearly define the United States financial contribution to construction and operating costs, as well as any other costs associated with a project;
"(ii) ensure that the share of high-technology components of the ITER manufactured in the United States is at least proportionate to the United States financial contribution to the ITER;
"(iii) ensure that the United States will not be financially responsible for cost overruns in components manufactured in other ITER participating countries;
"(iv) guarantee the United States full access to all data generated by the ITER;
"(v) enable United States researchers to propose and carry out an equitable share of the experiments at the ITER;
"(vi) provide the United States with a role in all collective decisionmaking related to the ITER; and
"(vii) describe the process for discontinuing or decommissioning the ITER and any United States role in that process.
"(A) DEVELOPMENT- The Secretary, in consultation with the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee, shall develop a plan for the participation of United States scientists in the ITER that shall include--
"(i) the United States research agenda for the ITER;
"(ii) methods to evaluate whether the ITER is promoting progress toward making fusion a reliable and affordable source of power; and
"(iii) a description of how work at the ITER will relate to other elements of the United States fusion program.
"(B) REVIEW- The Secretary shall request a review of the plan by the National Academy of Sciences.
"(5) LIMITATION- No Federal funds shall be expended for the construction of the ITER until the Secretary has submitted to Congress--
"(A) the agreement negotiated in accordance with paragraph (3) and 120 days have elapsed since that submission;
"(B) a report describing the management structure of the ITER and providing a fixed dollar estimate of the cost of United States participation in the construction of the ITER, and 120 days have elapsed since that submission;
"(C) a report describing how United States participation in the ITER will be funded without reducing funding for other programs in the Office of Science (including other fusion programs), and 60 days have elapsed since that submission; and
"(D) the plan required by paragraph (4) (but not the National Academy of Sciences review of that plan), and 60 days have elapsed since that submission.
"(6) ALTERNATIVE TO ITER-
"(A) IN GENERAL- If at any time during the negotiations on the ITER, the Secretary determines that construction and operation of the ITER is unlikely or infeasible, the Secretary shall submit to Congress, along with the budget request of the President submitted to Congress for the following fiscal year, a plan for implementing a domestic burning plasma experiment such as the Fusion Ignition Research Experiment, including costs and schedules for the plan.
"(B) ADMINISTRATION- The Secretary shall--
"(i) refine the plan in full consultation with the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee; and
"(ii) transmit the plan to the National Academy of Sciences for review."
"SEC. 980. SPALLATION NEUTRON SOURCE. [All language]
"(a) Definitions- In this section:
"(1) SING- The term ‘SING' means the Spallation Neutron Source Instruments Next Generation major item of equipment.
"(2) SNS POWER UPGRADE- The term ‘SNS power upgrade' means the Spallation Neutron Source power upgrade described in the 20-year facilities plan of the Office of Science of the Department.
"(3) SNS SECOND TARGET STATION- The term ‘SNS second target station' the Spallation Neutron Source second target station described in the 20-year facilities plan of the Office of Science of the Department.
"(4) SPALLATION NEUTRON SOURCE FACILITY- The terms ‘Spallation Neutron Source Facility' and ‘Facility' mean the completed Spallation Neutron Source scientific user facility located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
"(5) SPALLATION NEUTRON SOURCE PROJECT- The terms ‘Spallation Neutron Source Project' and ‘Project' means Department Project 99-E-334, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
"(b) Spallation Neutron Source Project-
"(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall submit to Congress, as part of the annual budget request of the President submitted to Congress, a report on progress on the Spallation Neutron Source Project.
"(2) CONTENTS- The report shall include for the Project--
"(A) a description of the achievement of milestones;
"(B) a comparison of actual costs to estimated costs; and
"(C) any changes in estimated Project costs or schedule.
"(c) Spallation Neutron Source Facility Plan-
"(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall develop an operational plan for the Spallation Neutron Source Facility that ensures that the Facility is employed to the full capability of the Facility in support of the study of advanced materials, nanoscience, and other missions of the Office of Science of the Department.
"(2) PLAN- The operational plan shall--
"(A) include a plan for the operation of an effective scientific user program that--
"(i) is based on peer review of proposals submitted for use of the Facility;
"(ii) includes scientific and technical support to ensure that external users, including researchers based at institutions of higher education, are able to make full use of a variety of high quality scientific instruments; and
"(iii) phases in systems upgrades to ensure that the Facility remains at the forefront of international scientific endeavors in the field of the Facility throughout the operating life of the Facility;
"(B) include an ongoing program to develop new instruments that builds on the high performance neutron source and that allows neutron scattering techniques to be applied to a growing range of scientific problems and disciplines; and
"(C) address the status of and, to the maximum extent practicable, costs and schedules for--
"(i) full user mode operations of the Facility;
"(ii) instrumentation built at the Facility during the operating phase through full use of the experimental hall, including the SING;
"(iii) the SNS power upgrade; and
"(iv) the SNS second target station.
"(d) Authorization of Appropriations-
"(1) SPALLATION NEUTRON SOURCE PROJECT- There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out the Spallation Neutron Source Project for the lifetime of the Project $1,411,700,000 for total project costs, of which--
"(A) $1,192,700,000 shall be used for the costs of construction; and
"(B) $219,000,000 shall be used for other Project costs.
"(2) SPALLATION NEUTRON SOURCE FACILITY-
"(A) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in subparagraph (B), there is authorized to be appropriated for the Spallation Neutron Source Facility for--
"(i) the SING, $75,000,000 for each of fiscal year 2007 through 2009; and
"(ii) the SNS power upgrade, $160,000,000, to remain available until expended.
"(B) INSUFFICIENT STOCKPILES OF HEAVY WATER- If stockpiles of heavy water of the Department are insufficient to meet the needs of the Facility, there is authorized to be appropriated for the Facility $12,000,000 for fiscal year 2007."
"SEC. 981. RARE ISOTOPE ACCELERATOR. [All language]
"(a) Establishment- The Secretary shall construct and operate a Rare Isotope Accelerator. The Secretary shall commence construction no later than September 30, 2008.
"(b) Authorization of Appropriations- There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section. The Secretary shall not spend more than $1,100,000,000 in Federal funds for all activities associated with the Rare Isotope Accelerator, prior to operation of the Accelerator."