In an attempt to get the Department of Energy's Office of Science budget back on track, the Administration has requested an 18.8 percent increase for the fiscal year starting November 1. Under this request, funding for the Office of Science would increase by $748.8 million, from $3,973.1 million to $4,722.0 million. The Office of Science is one of the three components of the American Competitiveness Initiative.
The Department of Energy's budget would see the largest increase in five years under this proposal. Departmental funding would increase by $1.13 billion to $25.0 billion. Funding for all of the department's primary functions - science, energy, defense, environment, and management - would increase. Of note is the final exhibit in a department-wide overview of the budget which included the statement, "Budget Proposal is Focused on Our Priorities." Above other priorities, such as "expanding nuclear power" and the transformation of the nuclear weapons complex was "Investing in American Competitiveness in the 21st century by continuing to focus on the physical sciences."
Components of the FY 2009 request for the Office of Science follow, with additional comments from a briefing by Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach. For detailed information on the request for each program see http://www.science.doe.gov/obp/FY_09_Budget/FY_09_Budget.htm
BASIC ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 23.5 percent, or $298.3 million, from the FY 2008 appropriation of $1,269.9 million to the FY 2009 request of $1,568.2 million. In commenting on this program, Orbach said "we listen to Congress," announcing a $100 million request for a new program, "Energy Frontier Research Centers." The request fully funds the department's light sources.
FUSION ENERGY SCIENCES: Up 72.1% or $206.5 million, from $286.6 million to $493.1 million. Orbach commented on the "bitter blow" to the program when ITER funding for this year was zeroed, adding that program officials were "doing our best to stay alive." The request does not make-up for the loss of ITER funding this year, Orbach saying "the money is lost."
HIGH ENERGY PHYSICS: Up 16.8 percent or $115.6 million, from $689.3 million to $805.0 million. Orbach spoke of this being a "very difficult year" for the program with "significant layoffs" because of funding reductions. The proposed budget, he said, "gets us back on track."
NUCLEAR PHYSICS: Up 17.9 percent or $77.4 million, from $432.7 million to $510.1 million. Orbach noted that the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider is now on hold, and that the proposed budget will also put this program back on track.
BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH: Up 4.4 percent or $24.1 million, from $544.4 million to $568.5 million.
ADVANCED SCIENTIFIC COMPUTING RESEARCH: Up 5.0 percent or $17.7 million, from $351.2 million to $368.8 million.