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Department of Energy Research and Development Budget for FY2001: Description and Analysis

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Publication Date: January 2001

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL30445

Topic: Energy (Energy research and technology)

Abstract:

For FY2001, DOE requested $8.00 billion for all R&D activities, an increase of 6.7% above the final FY2000 level. For civilian R&D activities, the request was $4.71 billion, 13.2% above FY2000, while for defense activities, the request was $3.29 billion, 1.4% below FY2000. The final appropriation for FY2001 provides $8.33 billion for all DOE R&D, 4.2% above the request and 11.2% above the FY2000 level. For civilian R&D activities, the FY2001 appropriation is $4.76 billion, 1.1% above the request and 13.2% above the FY2000 level, while for defense R&D activities the FY2001 appropriation is $3.56 billion, 8.2% above the request and 6.9% above the FY2000 level.

For the Energy Resources sector, DOE's FY2001 request was 10.0% above FY2000, driven by a large increase in the request for the Renewable Energy and Conservation R&D programs, 17.6% above FY2000. For Energy Resource R&D, the final appropriation is 0.3% below the request but 9.7% above the FY2000 level. For Renewable Energy and Conservation R&D, the final appropriation is 5.6% below the request but 10.9% above FY2000. This is one of the largest year-to-year increases in the last several years. Congress also restored funds for the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles program that would have been eliminated as the result of an amendment to the House version of the appropriations bill.

For the DOE science programs, the FY2001 request was 12.1% above FY2000 including a $162 million increase in construction funding for the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) project. The final appropriation for the Office of Science is 1.8% above the request and 16.9% above the FY2000 level. The entire request for the SNS was funded. Each program within the Office of Science, except Advance Scientific Computing Research received more funding equal to or greater than its request.

For FY2001, DOE asked for a 1.0% decrease for national security and environmental management (EM) R&D programs. The decrease was due primarily to a reduction in funding requirements for the National Ignition Facility (NIF) under its original baseline. The revised baseline, announced in September, resulted in a significant increase in the FY2001 NIF funding requirements. Congress approved a budget authorization for nearly all of the revised NIF request along with a significant increase for the remainder of the weapons R&D program. The final appropriation for nuclear weapons R&D is 8.6% above the request and 7.4% above the FY2000 level. For NIF, Congress provided $134.1 million in new appropriations and approved the transfer of $65 million from other weapons R&D accounts.

Congress restored the Laboratory Directed Research and Development allowance to 6% for FY2001. Concern about NIF cost overruns and technical problems caused the 106th Congress to set several conditions for NIF to meet in order to receive the entire FY2001 appropriation. Attention to NIF along with several other issues considered during the FY2001 appropriations process is likely to continue in the 107th Congress.