Alexander: Congress on Track to Provide Record-Level Funding For National Laboratories, Supercomputing

Posted on December 16, 2019

“This is an important bill for our country and for Tennessee. Funding these priorities is not the cause of the runaway federal debt. These priorities are funded in the portion of the budget that only increases at about the rate of inflation.” -- Senator Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, December 16, 2019 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the Senate will vote this week on legislation that includes the fifth consecutive year of record-funding for our 17 national laboratories and keeps the U.S. number one in supercomputing.

The bill includes several of Alexander’s priorities:

·         $7 billion, an increase of $415 million above last year, which is a new record for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. This is the fifth consecutive year of record funding for our 17 national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

·         $1.82 billion for high performance computing (supercomputing).

·         New record funding level for the Army Corps of Engineers, and provides up to $94.5 million to continue construction of Chickamauga Lock.

·         $745 million to continue building the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex.

·         $682 million for cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

 

“The best-kept secret in Washington is record-funding for the Office of Science, which funds our national laboratories and supercomputing,” Alexander, who serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee said. “The legislation the Senate will vote on this week will provide record-level funding for the fifth-consecutive year for our 17 national laboratories. Our national laboratories are our secret weapons, which is why I’ve worked hard to help increase funding for the Office of Science by 38 percent over the last 5 years.  The legislation also includes $230 million for the first year of a new advanced reactor demonstration program, which will build at least 2 advanced reactors over the next 5-7 years.”

 “This bill also includes funding to keep America number one in the world in supercomputing and build the next generation of supercomputers. Over the last five years, funding for supercomputing has increased by 59.8 percent. Oak Ridge is home to the fastest supercomputer in the world, and that’s because of consistent federal funding and smart people like the people who live and work in Oak Ridge.

“The funding in this bill will also modernize our nuclear weapons facilities at Y-12 and accelerate cleanup of hazardous materials and facilities at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex, which is building the largest federal construction project in Tennessee since World War II.”

Alexander continued, “Our legislation also includes $7.65 billion – a new record funding level in a regular appropriations bill – for the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain and rebuild our nation’s waterways, including up to $94.5 million to fully fund construction at Chickamauga Lock for the sixth consecutive year. This is great news for East Tennessee since the new lock will help keep up to 150,000 trucks off I-75 and keep the cost of shipping goods low for manufacturers across the state. Finally, our bill includes up to $2.163 million for dredging the Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake.

“This is an important bill for our country and for Tennessee. Funding these priorities is not the cause of the runaway federal debt. These priorities are funded in the portion of the budget that only increases at about the rate of inflation.”

Learn more about what’s included in this legislation:

·         The U.S Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which supports basic science and energy research and is the nation’s largest supporter of research in the physical sciences, is funded at $7 billion, an increase of $415 million above last year, and also a new record funding level.

·         The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is funded at $425 million, record funding and an increase of $59 million above enacted.  

·         The bill provides $1.82 billion for high performance computing, including $980 million within the Office of Science and $840 million within the National Nuclear Security Administration.

·         This amount includes $814 million from the Office of Science and NNSA to support the delivery of Exascale systems beginning in 2021 and continue U.S. leadership in this critical area.

·         It includes $225 million for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, an increase of $25 million above last year.

·         The bill includes $292 million for the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor operations, an increase of $10 million above last year.

·         The bill also includes $60 million for the Proton Power Upgrade and $37 million for the Second Target Station at the Spallation Neutron Source.

·         The bill restores significant cuts made in the president’s budget request by providing an additional $2.686 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, bringing the Corps’ budget up to $7.65 billion – a record funding level in a regular appropriations bill.

·         The bill continues to support advanced manufacturing, and includes $25 million for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to support the research and development of additive manufacturing processes, low-cost carbon fiber, and other advanced manufacturing technologies. 

·         The bill includes a total of $16.7 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $2 billion for the four life extension programs, which fix or replace components in weapons systems to make sure they're safe and reliable.

·         The Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex is funded at $745 million, which will continue to keep this project on time and on budget, with a completion year of 2025 at a cost no greater than $6.5 billion.

·         The legislation sends a strong signal about our support for developing new technologies that will support the next generation of nuclear power plants. The bill includes $1.5 billion for Nuclear Energy, including $100 million for Small Modular Reactors and $285 million for Advanced Reactors.

·         The bill also provides $47 million for research and development to support existing nuclear reactors and $35 million for the new Joint Modeling and Simulation Program.

·         The bill advances efforts to clean up hazardous materials at Cold War-era sites. The bill provides $7.5 billion to support cleanup efforts, which is $986 million above the president’s budget request.  Included in this amount is $682 million for cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

·         For the sixth consecutive year, the bill makes full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues for water infrastructure projects, including up to $94.5 million to continue construction of Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga.

·         The legislation provides $2.163 million for dredging at Memphis Harbor McKellar Lake.

·         The bill provides funding that exceeds the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund (HMTF) spending target established by the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014.  This is the sixth consecutive year the bill has met or exceeded the HTMF spending targets. 

·         The bill also continues to fund the regional commissions, including $175 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission and $30 million for the Delta Regional Authority.

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