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US Department of Energy.

From: NEN, Vol. 5, No. 10, Jan. 1998, p. 11-12.


Here are highlights of the DOE budget request extracted from "FY 1998 Congressional Budget Request - Budget Highlights and Performance Plan," DOE/CR-0046, published February 1997.

The core mission statement of the DOE is:

The Department of Energy, in partnership with our customers, is entrusted to contribute to the welfare of the Nation by providing the technical information and scientific and educational foundation for the technology, policy, and institutional leadership necessary to achieve efficiency in energy use, diversity in energy sources, a more productive and competitive economy, improved environmental qualify, and a secure national defense.

This is the mission statement under which thousands of people and animals were killed or gravely injured by downstream fallout from the Jackass Flats atomic testing; the radioactive contamination downwind of the Hanford Site that totaled three times the environmental radiation caused by the Chernobyl explosion; that permitted the injection of plutonium into U.S. citizens to study the results; and that established the official position that cold fusion should not be funded.

Here are the funding requests for four major areas:

Energy Resources: Secure Supplies of Clean, Affordable Energy -- $ 2 billion.

National Security: Reducing the Nuclear Danger -- $ 6.6 billion.

Environmental Quality: Accelerating Progress, Meeting Commitments -- $7.8 billion.

Science & Technology: Ideas Creating Jobs, Products and Industries for Tomorrow -- $2.5 billion.

Under the more specific Energy Supply Research and Development are listed the current programs for which funds are sought:

The total for Fossil Fuel Energy Research and Development is $365,805,000
and ZERO for new energy systems.

The requested budget for Energy Information Administration is $62,800,000 to provide information on oil & gas; coal, nuclear, electric and alternative fuels; energy markets and end use; integrated analysis and forecasting, data processing services; information services, statistical standards, program direction ($41,800,000 for this); and ZERO for new energy sources.

From this brief summary it is understandable that there are many in Congress who are clamoring for the closing of the DOE and the distribution of its activities to other government agencies. An intensive review of the past performance of the DOE in meeting its core mission leaves much to be desired. The current estimated costs for cleaning up the DOE weapons-related sites is $250,000,000,000 or 13 times the DOE's entire national budget request for 1998.

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Feb. 23, 1998.