The Trump administration is again proposing to increase the budget for the Energy Department’s nuclear cleanup office, to $6.6 billion for fiscal 2019.
That would be $182 million above the fiscal 2017 enacted level and $100 million above the amount proposed for the current budget year for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management (EM).
Since the 2018 fiscal year started on Oct. 1, Congress has kept the government running through a series of continuing resolutions that have largely frozen federal agencies at fiscal 2017 funding levels. For EM, that means roughly $6.4 billion on an annualized basis.
Some highlights from the EM budget request for fiscal 2019:
- The Savannah River Site in South Carolina would get almost $1.7 billion, or $287 million more than the 2017 enacted budget level, for its tank liquid waste program. The request would back an increase in glass output at the Defense Waste Processing Facility and startup of the Salt Waste Processing Facility, which has been undergoing testing.
- The Office of River Protection for the Hanford Site in Washington state would be funded at $1.4 billion, or $61 million less than the 2017 enacted level. This Hanford line item would include construction toward startup of the Waste Isolation Treatment Plant (WTP). The funding will continue to support contractor Bechtel National in its effort to start direct feed of low-activity waste for processing at WTP by the end of 2023.
- The Richland Operations Office at Hanford would get $747 million, or $169 million under its 2017 enacted level, for cleanup.
- The cleanup budget for the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Ohio would rise to $415 million, or $33 million above 2017 enacted spending, for decontamination and decommissioning and other cleanup at the old uranium enrichment site.
- The Oak Ridge Site in Tennessee would be budgeted at $409 million, or $90 million less than the 2017 enacted level. The Oak Ridge request includes money for continued decontamination and decommissioning at the East Tennessee Technology Park.
- The Idaho National Laboratory would get $359 million, which is $31 million less than the 2017 enacted level. The funding would include commissioning and startup of the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit (IWTU), which could enter operation this calendar year. It also includes money for operating the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project for transuranic waste.
- The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant cleanup in Kentucky would be funded at $270 million, $2 million less than 2017 enacted level.
- The budget also includes $150 million for cleanup of excess facilities at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which are not in the current EM inventory. The number is down significantly from the $225 million listed in the fiscal 2018 proposal.
In total, DOE is seeking $30.6 billion for the next budget year beginning Oct. 1. A four-page budget summary of its spending plan largely did not cite details regarding reasons for budget increases or decreases. A more comprehensive budget justification is forthcoming.