DOE Outlines “Critical Impacts” of Flat Funding on Science and Other Programs

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Publication date: 
17 January 2007

The Department of Energy has prepared a six-page document entitled “DOE Program Impacts Under a One-Year Continuing Resolution (CR).” This analysis predicts the effect that flat funding would have on departmental programs through the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2007. DOE predicts that within the Office of Science programs, facilities such as the Spallation Neutron Source “would not operate at all in FY 2007,” that there would be “severe impacts” to the High Energy Physics program, no run time for the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, a 50% reduction (under one alternative) in domestic and international ITER efforts, and major staff layoffs.

Response to a Senate letter in support of the full FY 2007 DOE Office of Science request has been notable. See the end of this FYI for a list of senators who have signed the letter discussed in , the deadline for which is this Friday, January 19.

This six-page document appeared briefly on a Department of Energy web site. It may be found at an alternative site:

In determining the impacts that flat funding in FY 2007 would have on the science appropriation, DOE made the following assumptions:

- Spending limits for the entire Department would be set at the enacted FY 2006 appropriations level, reduced by the “one-time government-wide 1% rescission.”

- No new starts

- No functional transfers

- No earmarks in FY 2007 (The analysis states: “an earmark under this exercise is defined as any increase over the FY 2006 Congressional Request.”)

Under a section entitled “Critical Impacts” the first item is Science Appropriation, which appears in its entirety below. Other sections can be viewed at the link provided above.


Basic Energy Sciences "Overall reductions Basic Energy Sciences (BES) wide for researchers and students are anticipated to be 295 - 320 relative to the FY 2006 level. SC's newest accelerator-based facility, the $l.4B Spallation Neutron Source, would not operate at all in FY 2007, and thus its ramp-up to full power and full user program would be delayed by one full year. Overall, the number of users will drop by 25%; this is a decrease of about 2,000-3,000 users. The National Synchrotron Light Source-II project will layoff 50 staff. Relative to the planned level in the FY 2007 Budget request, BES programs would be unable to have on board 850-1,000 staff, comprised of existing researchers and students and proposed new hires. Biological and Environmental Research "A recently announced solicitation, designed to support the Bioenergy Research Centers, for new technology development in the area of biofuel development, particularly hydrogen and ethanol, will be cancelled and no research awards made; reducing support for innovative technology to facilitate generating biomass and microbes amenable to enhanced biofuels production. Also, six to twelve layoffs are anticipated at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory User facility, impacting cleanup research.
Fusion Energy Sciences "Domestic and international ITER efforts would be limited to $29.3M (half the planned level) resulting in reduction of 50-75 FTEs (with some at the Oak Ridge National Lab) and slowing the progress of design and R&D of U.S. hardware contributions by 12 months. This would increase ITER total project cost by $15-30M over the current funding limit of $1.122B. The U.S. commitments to the International ITER Organization would be maintained and the USIPO Management and Work Breakdown Structure team leaders are retained.

"An alternative that would have to be considered in light of the signing of the ITER Agreement in November 2006, and the US commitment described therein would be to reduce the balance of the base program by $15.7M in order to maintain a $45M minimal funding level for ITER. This would result in the termination of NSTX (PPPL), suspension of operations at C-Mod (MIT) for at least one year, and a reduction of operations at DIII-D (GA) by ~20%. In this scenario, a reduction of greater than 100 FTEs is likely throughout the fusion program.

High Energy Physics "A year-long CR at the FY2006 funding level, with no further relief, will result in severe impacts to the program. A one-month furlough of all Fermilab employees will be necessary, except for personnel essential for safety and security, along with one month less of Tevatron facility operations. An estimated 120 RIFs will occur broadly across the HEP program, but mostly at SLAC (contractors) and universities (grantees), with the largest impact on International Linear Collider R&D program, HEP's highest R&D priority for a future facility. It will take several years to recover from the loss of skilled technical staff in this area.

Nuclear Physics "For the Nuclear Physics program scientific research personnel at all levels will be significantly reduced. One-time mitigations applied in FY 2006 to deal with the ~9% reduction in funding in that year are not available in FY 2007. About 120-135 researchers and students would be lost. RHIC (at BNL/NY) will not run in FY 2007; ATLAS (at ANL/IL) will only run for 20% of planned levels; and CEBAF (at JLab/VA) and HRIBF (at ORNL/TN) would each run at about half of the planned schedule. In all cases the loss of experienced expertise will significantly impact the scientific productivity in the short and long-term. The delay in programs and projects impact not only the U.S. research community, but also the many international researchers that participate in the programs at these facilities."


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