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Nuclear Energy & Weapons

Given the central role that physical scientists have traditionally played in the history of nuclear energy and weapons, FYI covers major developments in nuclear energy and weapons policy, particularly as they relate to ongoing science policy matters.

22 Sep 2017

The Senate passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 18, sending the bill to conference committee. House and Senate conferees now must come to an agreement on a vast library of provisions, including many concerning R&D policy.

5 Sep 2017

According to a new report, the Department of Energy’s program to develop advanced nuclear reactors has shifted priorities too often and overspent on facility upkeep. After $2 billion in expenditures, no advanced design is ready for deployment.

11 Aug 2017

The House and Senate appropriations bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration would provide much of the Trump administration’s requested 10 percent increase to weapons-related research, development, test, and evaluation activities.

7 Aug 2017

The House spending bill for the Department of Energy proposes to halve the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, changes that would upend the department’s later-stage R&D activities. Both House and Senate spending bills also propose a range of less drastic funding cuts to DOE’s other applied energy offices.

2 Jun 2017

President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget requests a 10 percent increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program. Much of the new funding would go toward accelerating development of an exascale computing platform, enhancing the subcritical nuclear testing program, and launching the Stockpile Responsiveness Program.

12 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 increases the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget by 3.3 percent, slightly more than the requested amount. Much of the boost goes toward addressing the agency’s backlog of infrastructure repair and recapitalization, an issue Congress has highlighted in recent hearings.

26 Apr 2017

According to a new advisory panel review, the Department of Energy’s Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program is a rigorously overseen mechanism for fostering high-value strategic and exploratory R&D at its national labs and is an important tool for workforce recruitment and retention.

20 Apr 2017

This week, the Department of Defense launched a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The review comes at a time when members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about the state of the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise and have begun to debate whether the weapons labs should conduct R&D on new types of nuclear weapons.

6 Apr 2017

Congress is currently advancing four bills that would support the commercialization of new nuclear reactor designs by enhancing R&D at the Department of Energy and instituting a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

27 Jan 2017

The House energy research and innovation bill would provide the first-ever comprehensive policy guidance to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.