Alexander: Fourth Year of Record Funding for Our 17 National Laboratories and Supercomputing

Posted on May 24, 2018

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2018 – The Senate Appropriations Committee today approved legislation that provides the fourth year of record funding for the Office of Science – the most important Department of Energy program that supports work at our 17 national laboratories, including the Oak Ridge National Laboratory – and supercomputing. According to the East Tennessee Economic Council, in 2017 the Department of Energy supported 34,360 jobs in 50 of Tennessee’s 95 counties and added $3.4 billion to the state’s economy. United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.

“I would tell President Trump and the Office of Management and Budget that science, research and innovation is what made America first, and I recommend that he add science, research and innovation to his “America First” agenda. This funding bill is a good first step to doing that – it prioritizes federal spending to keep America first in energy research and increases funding to develop the next generation of supercomputer. The bill includes more than $3 billion for the Oak Ridge area. Tennesseans know that research at Oak Ridge means thousands of high-tech jobs for our state and higher family incomes,” Subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said. “The funding 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.”

“This bill also provides $6.927 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 $99.5 million to fully fund construction at Chickamauga Lock for the fifth 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.”

Alexander (R-Tenn.) is chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, which oversees the Department of Energy—a federal agency with three critical missions: nuclear security, science and energy, and environmental management. On Tuesday, the subcommittee approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill.

The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2019 includes the following priorities:

  • The bill restores $2.142 billion to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that was cut from the president’s budget request, bringing the Corps’ budget up to $6.927 billion –a record funding level in a regular appropriations bill.
  • For the fifth consecutive year, the bill makes full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues for water infrastructure projects, including up to $99.5 million to continue construction of Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga.
  • The legislation provides $2.125 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 fifth consecutive year the bill has met or exceeded the HTMF spending targets. 
  • 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 $6.65 billion, also a new record funding level.
  • The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is funded at $375 million, record funding in a regular appropriations bill. ARPA-E was created by the 2007 America COMPETES Act to invest in high-impact energy technologies, and the President’s budget request recommended termination of the program.
  • The bill provides $1.683 billion for high performance computing, including $980 million within the Office of Science and $703 million within the National Nuclear Security Administration.
    • This amount includes $677 million from the Office of Science and the NNSA to deliver at least one Exascale machine in 2021 to reassert U.S. leadership in this critical area.
    • It also includes $205 million for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, an increase of $42.5 million above last year.
    • The bill continues to support advanced manufacturing, and includes $25 million for the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to support the development of additive manufacturing processes, low-cost carbon fiber, and other advanced manufacturing technologies. 
    • The bill includes a total of $14.8 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $1.9 billion for the six 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 $703 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 $150 million for Advanced Reactors, which is $76 million more than the president’s budget request.
    • The bill also provides $47 million for research and development to support existing nuclear reactors, $30 million for the Center for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and $30 million for the Transformational Challenge Reactor.
    • The legislation includes a pilot program to allow consolidated nuclear waste storage, supported by Senator Alexander and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the subcommittee’s ranking member, over the past six years. It also provides funding for the Department of Energy to support storing nuclear waste at private facilities.
    • The bill advances efforts to clean up hazardous materials at Cold War-era sites. The bill provides $7.2 billion to support cleanup efforts, which is $581 million above the president’s budget request.  Included in this amount is $646 million for cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.
    • The bill also continues to fund the regional commissions, which the administration proposed to eliminate, including $155 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission and $25 million for the Delta Regional Authority.