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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.

8 Mar 2016

Members of a House appropriations subcommittee did not appear to oppose any major thrusts of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget request for the Office of Science. Rather, members of both parties largely focused on longer-term efforts, expressing keen interest in the Department of Energy’s plans for upgrading user facilities, developing exascale computing capabilities, and improving technology transfer.

4 Mar 2016

In recent hearings, congressional and agency leaders highlighted their consensus on the need to modernize the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and discussed concerns about the impending costs, including private concerns expressed by Energy Secretary Moniz that projected funding levels for future fiscal years are not sufficient to support needed improvements to National Nuclear Security Administration infrastructure.

2 Mar 2016

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are backing, with near unanimity, a bill that would promote collaboration on research and development of advanced fission and fusion energy reactors across the Department of Energy’s national labs, universities, and the private sector.

24 Feb 2016

The Department of Energy and two of its advisory bodies largely concur with the findings of the congressionally-chartered Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories. The Commission’s report is the latest in a long series of studies which have discovered a dysfunctional relationship between the Department and the national labs.

18 Feb 2016

One element of the President’s request for a 2.9 percent funding increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration has already received considerable congressional attention: the proposed termination of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina.

17 Feb 2016

In a year when overall spending is being held steady, the Department of Energy and its science programs stand out as winners in the President’s fiscal year 2017 budget request, with discretionary funding increases of 4.2 percent for the Office of Science and 20.3 percent for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy that grow even larger when the Administration’s proposals for mandatory funding are included.

2 Feb 2016

A joint NASA-DOE effort to restart production of plutonium-238 has borne its first fruit: a 50 gram demonstration batch created at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Although this development comes as a relief to those concerned about the U.S.’ dwindling supply of plutonium-238 essential for powering deep space missions, some in Congress are still seeking details on potential ways to reduce demand for the material by using more efficient technologies such as advanced Stirling generators.

28 Jan 2016

At a House Armed Service Committee hearing, representatives and witnesses focused on arguments for and against a National Academies study panel’s recommendation that the labs perform a series of nuclear weapon design competitions as a means of maintaining a skilled weapons design workforce.

27 Jan 2016

The Senate begins debate on a major energy policy bill that would authorize increases in basic research funding at the Department of Energy Office of Science, boost technology transfer activities at the national laboratories, advance exascale computing, and modernize national critical mineral policy.

22 Dec 2015

The Senate confirmed Cherry Murray as Director of the Department of Energy Office of Science and Stephen Welby as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.