Nuclear energy programs would receive $656 million in fiscal 2014 under a $30.4 billion spending bill approved by the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee.
That is a reduction of $102.6 million, or 13.5 percent, from the current fiscal year and a reduction of $79 million, or 11 percent, from the administration’s request for the new fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
The committee rejected President Barack Obama’s proposal to move the $93.5 million Idaho Safeguards and Security Program from Defense Programs to the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy. This contributed to the lower overall funding level in the committee’s spending bill as compared to the administration’s budget request.
The appropriations bill provides $387.3 million for nuclear energy research and development, a 13 percent reduction from the current fiscal year and a four percent increase from the administration’s budget request.
The largest nuclear energy research program in the House spending bill is the licensing support effort for small reactors of fewer than 300 MW in electric generating capacity. The small reactor program would receive $110 million next year. That is a 66 percent increase from the current fiscal year and a 57 percent increase from the administration’s budget blueprint.
The fuel cycle R&D program would receive $91 million in fiscal 2014, a reduction of 50 percent from the current year and a decrease of 45 percent from the administration’s spending proposal.
The Yucca Mountain, Nev., nuclear waste repository program — unfunded in the administration’s budget — would receive $25 million under the House spending plan. The House Appropriations legislation does not fund the Department of Energy’s strategy to implement the nuclear waste management recommendations of the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.
Another program not funded by the administration — the integrated university program that provides support for the sector’s workforce of the future — would receive $5.5 million for DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy and $15 million for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission under the House Appropriations measure.