Department of Energy

11 Oct 2017

At a hearing last week, members of the House Science Committee heard testimony about the status of domestic plutonium-238 supplies, an essential fuel for many robotic science missions. A Government Accountability Office report released at the same time recommends that the Department of Energy improve its long-term planning for producing Pu-238 and associated power systems.

5 Oct 2017

A National Academies study committee is currently conducting a decadal survey for materials research at the request of the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation. The committee is seeking broad input from materials science and engineering stakeholders as it prepares a final report for completion in early 2018.

19 Sep 2017

On Sept. 12, President Trump nominated Walter Copan to be director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. FYI spoke with Copan, a scientist who has dedicated much of his career to facilitating technology transfer between the public and private sectors, about why he is interested in the role and his initial vision for the agency.

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 Aug 2017

Paul Dabbar and Mark Menezes, President Trump’s nominees for the two open under secretary positions in the Department of Energy, are awaiting confirmation. DOE is currently considering reconfiguring the positions’ responsibilities, with potential implications for how the department coordinates its R&D portfolio.

27 Jul 2017

The House appropriations bill for the Department of Energy would maintain funding for the Office of Science at current levels, while the Senate bill would increase it by 3 percent to $5.55 billion. Advanced computing stands out as a clear winner in both bills and the longstanding rift between the chambers on funding for the ITER fusion facility persists.

26 Jul 2017

At a hearing last week dedicated to energy technology innovation, members of the House Science Committee staked out differing positions on federal strategies for supporting R&D and technology commercialization.

24 Jul 2017

The Senate’s fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill for the Department of Energy would provide significant funding increases to the Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. It also rejects the Trump administration’s proposal to drastically cut DOE’s applied energy offices, but would still reduce funding for each.

28 Jun 2017

House appropriators have released a draft bill that proposes flat funding for the Department of Energy Office of Science, a major cut to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the defunding of ARPA–E. However, key senators are signaling their resistance to cuts at DOE, portending a possible standoff between the chambers.

16 Jun 2017

A National Academies assessment found that although it is too early to tell if ARPA–E will achieve its long-term goal of jump-starting transformative energy technologies, the agency has made clear progress with sound organizational practices.


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