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DOE proposes stable FY-97 budget for its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory programs

News Release

March 19, 1996 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — The Department of Energy has submitted a fiscal year 1997 budget request that calls for continued funding of its programs at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory at levels similar to this year.

The proposed 1997 budget includes $457 million from DOE and $60 million from other federal agencies including the Department of Defense, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and NASA. It does not include money the laboratory may earn for doing research for nongovernment clients, which typically runs between $25 million and $30 million.

Under the proposed budget, funding for the laboratory's work in environmental management and energy research would remain relatively constant, while there would be slight increases in energy efficiency program funding, as well as in the lab's contribution to DOE's International Nuclear Safety Program.

Included in the budget request is $35 million for construction of the new Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory and $5 million for operations. When finished in 1997, the EMSL will develop the advanced science and technology necessary to clean up environment problems at government and industrial sites across the country. Research conducted at the EMSL also is expected to lead to advances in energy, new materials, health and medicine, and even agriculture.

The budget request provides for continued funding for research related to the lab's environmental management activities, including the development of cleanup and restoration technology, and techniques for treating waste stored in tanks at Hanford and across the DOE complex.

"The Department obviously recognizes the valuable contribution the lab is making to understanding complex environmental systems," said Laboratory Director Dr. William Madia. "This understanding is leading to new technologies that will fill gaps in the current cleanup program or provide new solutions which can reduce costs and increase effectiveness."

The proposed budget includes funding to continue work in several energy research programs in addition to funding the construction and operation of the EMSL. These programs include global climate change, partnerships with automakers to reduce emissions and weight in a new generation of motor vehicles, and studies of the feasibility of using microorganisms to clean up subsurface contamination. Energy research funding is also used by Pacific Northwest researchers to address public health concerns, including examining potential effects from radiation and chemicals.

"Through its support of energy research programs, the Department's budget will allow the laboratory and the nation to maintain their investments in basic science," explained Madia. "Basic science funding is important since it underlies the creation of the science and technology needed to solve many of our country's environmental, energy and health problems."

The DOE's budget requests a slight increase in funding for energy efficiency programs at the laboratory. Pacific Northwest researchers are currently working on developing and deploying technologies that improve the efficiency of buildings, transportation and industries, and are working to improve the nation's vast energy transmission, distribution and storage system.

The budget also calls for an increase in funding for the laboratory's leadership role in DOE's International Nuclear Safety Program -- a comprehensive effort by the United States and the international community to increase the level of safety at nuclear power plants in several countries. Since 1992, Pacific Northwest researchers have been working to strengthen the physical condition of risky plants -- including those at Chornobyl --- and to train plant operators, enhance the safety culture, and support the development of nuclear safety infrastructures in eastern and central European nations.


Tags: Energy, Environment, Fundamental Science, EMSL, Operations, Energy Efficiency, Emissions, Nuclear Power, Climate Science

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