U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) has proposed providing $5 million in fiscal 2019 to further research on storage and disposal of spent nuclear reactor fuel by the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).
The proposal is one of more than 170 amendments submitted for a House appropriations “minibus” covering energy and water, the legislative branch, and military construction and veterans affairs funding bills for the budget year beginning Oct. 1.
The amendment would transfer $5 million from DOE administration salaries and expenses to ARPA-E “to support research and grants to further innovation in the safe and secure storage, treatment, transportation, and disposal of spent nuclear fuel from civilian nuclear reactors.”
If approved, the amended bill would boost ARPA-E’s total budget to $330 million for the year.
In a separate amendment, Keating proposed boosting the proposed salaries and expenses budget for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by $1 million, to $954.1 million, “to ensure safe and effective decommissioning of nuclear power plants.”
Keating’s office did not respond by deadline Monday to questions on how the additional funds for ARPA-E and the NRC might specifically be used.
The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. today to set the terms for debate of the appropriations bill, including which amendments will make it to the House floor.
The Senate version of the energy and water appropriations bill would provide just $898 million for NRC salaries and expenses, primarily because appropriators stripped out nearly $48 million the agency requested for licensing of the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada.
House appropriators have proposed fully funding the NRC request for Yucca and added $100 million to the Energy Department’s $120 million request for licensing. Several amendments submitted for the House energy and water bill, though, would zero out that funding.