The new DOE 2021 Federal budget request came out last week at $35.4 billion, down from 2020’s $38.5 billion.
There were some nice surprises, but also some same old stupid ideas.
Good surprises included increased funding for advanced reactors, reprocessing of spent fuel (but then why did we kill the MOX facility that could help with this?), looking at alternative waste disposal strategies, accelerating development of artificial intelligence, providing $5.8 billion for the Office of Science for basic research, strengthening nuclear engineering and weapons stockpile maintenance without explosive testing, strengthening nuclear Navy propulsion systems, enhanced cybersecurity, and $2.8 billion for the Applied Energy Office for next generation energy technologies and grid modernization.
The budget included $27.5 million to develop and implement a robust spent fuel interim storage program, and continue oversight of the Nuclear Waste Fund. There were no funds for Yucca Mountain licensing. This latter decision might change if Trump doesn’t win Nevada in November, but for now it stands.