Nuclear, Renewables, Wind

DOE budget lifts renewables, cuts nuclear and coal

8 May 2009 — The Department of Energy’s $26.4 billion budget request for fiscal year 2010 proposes cutting funding for nuclear and fossil power and increasing funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The proposed budget was released May 7. It proposes a 37.8 percent cut in funding for nuclear power and a 20.6 percent cut in fossil energy funds. The budget seeks a 6.4 percent increase for renewable energy programs.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his agency’s proposed $26.4 billion budget request highlights the administration’s commitment to science and technology.

Funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy was $1.7 billion in FY 2008, $2.18 billion in FY 2009 and is proposed to reach 2.3 billion in FY 2010. Some $16.8 billion in additional FY 2009 appropriation was already made.

Funding for fossil energy was $888.5 million in FY 2008, $1.1 billion in FY 2009 and is proposed to be $881.6 million in FY 2010.

Funding for nuclear energy was just over $1 billion in FY 2008, almost $1.36 billion in FY 2009 and is budgeted to be $844.6 million in FY 2010.

Renewable Energy
The proposed Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) budget of $2.3 billion reflects a 6 percent increase over FY 2009. DOE said the budget request builds on Recovery Act funding of $16.8 billion to provide funding for electric vehicles, cellulosic ethanol production, advanced batteries and fuel cells, among other programs.

Wind, solar, geothermal and water power programs are slated to receive $475 million under the 2010 budget to help integrate renewable energy technologies with energy storage and smart grid technologies to resolve intermittency; support wind power research and development to enable wind turbines to produce an increasing fraction of U.S. electricity; invest in solar power to make photovoltaics widely available nationwide and commercially cost-competitive with conventional electricity by 2015; accelerate a refocused geothermal program that conducts enhanced geothermal systems research, development and deployment for base load capability; and pursue water power technologies as part of EERE’s research and development portfolio.

Nuclear Energy
DOE’s proposed budget also requests $845 million for the Office of Nuclear Energy. DOE said this is the final year of investments in demonstrating untested licensing process for new nuclear power plants. The FY 2010 budget requests $192 million for fuel cycle research and development. The budget request focuses on long-term, science-based research and development of technologies with the potential to produce beneficial changes to the way in which the nuclear fuel cycle is managed.

The budget also seeks $20 million to close-out the Nuclear Power 2010 program. This cost-shared, licensing demonstration program supported activities with industry that focused on enabling an industry decision by 2010 to build a new nuclear plant.

The budget request includes $191 million to continue developing advanced nuclear energy systems known as “Generation IV (Gen IV).” These next-generation technologies will enhance the safety, cost-effectiveness, and proliferation-resistance of nuclear power. Gen IV research and development includes activities conducted in support of the solving the underlying technology challenges (fuels, materials, and neutronic and thermofluids modeling) of the Sodium-cooled Fast Reactor, Molten Salt Reactor, Supercritical-Water-Cooled Reactor, Lead-cooled Fast Reactor, Very High Temperature Reactor and the Gas-cooled Fast Reactor.

The FY 2010 budget request also includes $70 million to fund modeling and simulation tools necessary to enable fundamental change in how the U.S. designs nuclear
power and fuel cycle technologies and to fund research into the behavior of materials under extreme conditions, including high radiation fields, high temperatures, and
corrosive environments over long periods of time, relevant to nuclear energy applications.

Fossil Energy
The FY 2010 budget requests $882 million for the Office of Fossil Energy. This includes $431 million for carbon capture and storage research and development, which DOE said is the foundation of its clean coal research program