Congress Approves Record Funding For National Laboratories And For Locks, Dams And Harbors

Tuesday, December 22, 2020
Congress passed legislation sponsored by subcommittee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein that includes the sixth consecutive year of record funding for the Office of Science – the most important U.S. Department of Energy program that supports work at 17 national laboratories, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Senate bill also prioritizes funding for supercomputing and advanced nuclear programs and provides the seventh consecutive year of record funding in a regular appropriations bill for the Corps of Engineers.
 
Senator Alexander said, “I proposed a New Manhattan Project for Clean Energy last March – a five year project with Ten Grand Challenges that will use American research and technology to put our country and the world firmly on a path toward cleaner, cheaper energy.
To provide the tools to create these breakthroughs, the federal government should double its funding for energy research and reinstate the United States as number one in the world in advanced computing. That is why setting a new record funding level for the Office of Science – the nation’s largest supporter of research in the physical sciences – is one of my top priorities.
 
“This sixth consecutive year of record level funding for the Office of Science allows us to take advantage of the United States’ secret weapon, our extraordinary capacity for basic research at our 17 national laboratories and will help build and develop the next generation of supercomputers.
 
“This bill also includes $7.795 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 $69 million to fully fund construction of the new Chickamauga Lock for the seventh consecutive year,” Alexander said. “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.
 
“The funding provided in this bill will also modernize our nuclear weapons facilities at Y-12 and accelerate cleanup of hazardous materials and facilities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.” 
 
Senator Alexander is chairman of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees the U.S. Department of Energy; the Army Corps of Engineers; the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; the National Nuclear Security Administration; the Appalachian Regional Commission; and the Bureau of Reclamation.
  
The Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2021 includes the following priorities:
 
·    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 $7.026 billion, a new record funding level.

·    The bill includes $7.795 billion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – a record funding level in a regular appropriations bill.

·    For the seventh consecutive year, the bill makes full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues for water infrastructure projects, including up to $69 million to continue construction of Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga.

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

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

·    The bill includes $427 million, a record funding level, for the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), which was created by the 2007 America COMPETES Act to invest in high-impact energy technologies.

·    The bill includes $1.78 billion for high performance computing, including $1.015 billion within the Office of Science and $761.2 million within the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). It also includes $225 million for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility.

·    The bill includes $714.947 million from the Office of Science and the NNSA to support the delivery of Exascale systems beginning in 2021 and to continue U.S. leadership in this critical area. 

·    The bill includes a total of $19.732 billion for the National Nuclear Security Administration, including $2.66 billion for our nuclear weapons stockpile modernization and one new program.  These programs ensure our weapons systems continue to be safe and reliable.

·    The Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex is funded at $750 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 bill includes $250 million for the Advanced Reactors Demonstration Program to continue to support development of new technologies for the next generation of nuclear power plants.

·    The bill includes $47 million for research and development to support existing nuclear reactors, and $29.87 million for the Transformational Challenge Reactor.

·    The bill advances efforts to clean up hazardous materials at Cold War-era sites. The bill includes $7.586 billion to support cleanup efforts, which is $1.5 billion above the president’s budget request.  Included in this amount is $613 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, including $180 million for the Appalachian Regional Commission and $30 million for the Delta Regional Authority.

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