Proposed budget includes nuclear waste storage, CCS research & development

President Obama 2014 budget nuclear waste CCS solar wind hydro geothermal

President Obama released a proposed 2014 budget that increases the amount of funding to the Department of Energy (DOE) by 8 percent, but lowers funding to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by 3.5 percent.

DOE would get $28.4 billion in discretionary funds, an 8 percent increase above the 2012 enacted level. The budget would also provide 40 percent more money for clean energy technology activities, $615 million to increase the use of and decrease costs of power from solar, wind, geothermal and water, and eliminate $4 billion in subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industries. The budget also calls for modernization of the U.S. power grid, cybersecurity for energy control systems, research and development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) systems, and a one-time $25 million award for the first combined-cycle natural gas-fired power plant to integrate CCS.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the industry backs the budget, but more needs to be done.

"SEIA also encourages the President and Congress to make accelerated renewable energy adoption goals a reality," Resch said in a statement. "A critically important step in that direction is maintaining the Investment Tax Credit that has helped U.S. consumers and businesses access solar at a much lower cost by allowing solar to compete more fairly with other energy sources."

The DOE said it would establish a framework for an integrated program for nuclear waste management, including funding mechanisms. The strategy includes the creation of a consent-based, well-defined facility siting process, implementation of interim storage in the near term, development of geological disposal as a permanent solution, establishing a new regulatory body to run the program and a way to make funds collected to support nuclear waste management directly available for that purpose.

The president also said in the proposal that the EPA would receive $296 million less, or 3.5 percent, than the 2012 enacted level, which equates to $8.2 billion. Some of those funds will go toward investing in an E-Enterprise Initiative, which will assess and reformulate business processes and develop an interactive portal for regulatory transactions with states and the business community. The budget also increases support to states and tribes by $47 million for implantation of delegated authorities, including those for air quality management and water pollution control programs.

To read the full budget published by The Washington Post, click here.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requested $1.055 billion in its FY 2014 budget proposal to Congress, representing a $16.9 million increase over the enacted 2012 budget. Since fees are collected from licensees, the actual cost to taxpayers is $124.3 million, or $4.3 million less than FY 2012.

The budget calls for $812.4 million for reactor safety, $231.5 million for nuclear materials and waste safety, and $11.1 million for the Office of the Inspector General, which conducts audits and investigations of NRC programs.

To download the proposed budget, click here.

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