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Department of Energy

In covering DOE’s science-related activities, FYI focuses on the Office of Science, including its six program offices and 10 national laboratories. FYI also covers the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy and the science-related activities of the National Nuclear Security Administration, including its three national laboratories.

19 Jul 2016

Last week the House passed two bills which would establish new basic energy research initiatives at the Department of Energy, as well as a bill which would update policies for certain NIST programs and direct a comprehensive National Academies review of NIST laboratories.

13 Jul 2016

Among its most significant science-related provisions, the National Defense Authorization Act passed by the Senate would assign management of Department of Defense R&D to a reconstituted Under Secretary of Defense for Research & Engineering. The bill also contains multiple measures to improve DOD’s ability to hire top technical talent, and the authoring committee expresses interest in “comprehensive defense lab governance reform.”

11 Jul 2016

The House will soon vote on two bills that would create basic research initiatives at the Department of Energy focused on solar fuels and electricity storage, respectively. Although the House Science Committee cleared both with bipartisan support, committee members expressed divergent views at the markup on the proper role of the federal government in supporting energy R&D.

20 Jun 2016

After missing a goal for achieving a high-energy-yield fusion reaction by 2012, the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is taking a step back to determine whether fusion ignition by laser is possible by 2020.

10 Jun 2016

The Department of Energy recommends that the U.S. remain a member of the international ITER fusion project through fiscal year 2018 and then reassess its participation. The department notes that without budget increases for the Office of Science, the required U.S. contributions to ITER could delay other facility construction projects, such as the pending upgrades to x-ray and neutron user facilities which an advisory committee just finished assessing.

3 Jun 2016

Last month, the House passed its version of the annual defense policy bill. The legislation contains various controversial components, including a provision which directs the Missile Defense Agency to begin development of a space-based missile defense system.

20 May 2016

Directors from the Department of Energy’s national labs descended on Capitol Hill last month for a fourth lab day, this time with a focus on science.

12 May 2016

Although the House and Senate remain supportive of the Office of Nuclear Energy overall, they continue to stake out divergent stances on nuclear waste disposal via appropriations bills for the Department of Energy – with the House still pushing for approval of the Yucca Mountain repository and the Senate again advancing a pilot program to consolidate waste at an interim storage site.

11 May 2016

During a House Science Committee hearing convened to examine the Department of Energy’s domestic and international fusion research programs, members asked pointed questions about the beleaguered ITER project and probed what the department could do to support additional approaches to fusion energy generation.

5 May 2016

Both the House and Senate fiscal year 2017 appropriations bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration would provide just shy of the requested $12.876 billion and would match the request for the three main subaccounts. However, there are some notable differences beneath these topline agreements.