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ADDITIONAL STATEMENTS FOR THE RECORD Philip R. Clark, president, General Public Utilities Nuclear Corp. Charles W. Pryor, Jr., vice-president and general manager, Nuclear Power
Division, the Babcock & Wilcox Co., McDerrmott International, Inc................ 1987 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1986
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC. The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:30 p.m., in room 2318, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Marilyn Lloyd (chairwoman of the subcommittee) presiding. Mrs. LLOYD. The subcommittee will please come to order.
This administration's budget for the Department of Energy fission R&D programs presents us with a difficult challenge. I believe it is useful to make some observations about the overall DOE budget first so that we can obtain a better perspective on fission R&D.
First, I would point out that total funding in fission R&D and magnetic fusion research, which are now at nearly identical levels, comes to just slightly over half the basic research budget for the DOE. Also, the DOE proposed request for fission R&D amounts to only a little better than one-third of the total budget for the nuclear waste program and the remedial action programs of DOE. Thus, we are spending almost three times as much money dealing with the legacy of nuclear development as we are investing in the future of the nuclear option.
At the same time, as a 12-year advocate of a balanced energy program, I am stunned at the way fossil and conservation programs have been savaged. Without going into detail, I should also note that the DOE defense programs budget has grown dramatically in recent years, and I have supported the congressional budget for those programs, which I must point out has always been somewhat less than the administration has proposed.
Thus, after 5 years of the Reagan administration, we are looking at a civilian nuclear R&D budget which has fallen by nearly 70 percent to one-third of its fiscal year 1981 level while basic research and defense programs have experienced continued real growth.
I am still of the opinion that we on the subcommittee can work in good faith with the Department and with good will toward its people. But I cannot accept the manner in which funds are being distributed in this fission program, and I would hope that our DOE friends understand the painful array of choices which this budget
and calls for Department be used capabilit
presents. I shall mention just three or four of the major difficulties I have with this request.
One, there are drastic cuts in advanced reactor R&D, with only token funding for the committee's flagship programs, the modular HTGR. In fact, the advanced civilian budget suggests to me that DOE has no hope of a passively safe machine for the mid-1990's and beyond.
Two, the defense energy programs, including space nuclear, are growth opportunities areas, but I question whether or not they have been funded in a balanced manner.
Three, the Department's mortgage in test facilities exceeding $120 million is nearly three times the civilian reactor R&D budget, and calls for very careful scrutiny.
Four, the Department's light water reactor emphasis suggests that R&D funds should be used to solve institutional problems which seem to me beyond the capability of the Department of Energy.
As I noted earlier, these are only some of the major policy issues with funding ramifications with which this budget confronts us. Uranium enrichment also constitutes a very controversial budget in terms of privatization, but I will not dwell on this painful topic today.
I am, nevertheless, looking forward to healthy debate today and next week so that we can arrive at a strong national program in the face of tremendous budget pressures and a weak Executive commitment to the nuclear option.
Next, let me ask our distinguished ranking Republican, Mr. Morrison, to make his remarks.
Mr. MORRISON. Thank you, and good afternoon.
I am pleased to help the chairman kick off these authorization hearings on the Department of Energy's civilian energy research and development programs.
In looking at the Department's budget, I see a couple of trends. The first takes us down the road toward expanded defense-related activities. The second path takes us away from research in advanced reactor concepts. I wonder if these roads are heading in the same direction. And that is part of the question that we will be examining today.
We need to articulate a goal for energy research and develop ment. I believe our goal is to carry out research into efficient, low cost, safe energy resources for the future so that they will be available when we need them.
If defense-related activities can help us reach that goal, they deserve support. If these activities are merely masking the decimated energy budget, they must be examined more closely.
I am also interested to know more about where we are going with advanced reactor concepts. For example, the advanced breeder technology would be cut almost 50 percent under the administration request. These cuts could imperil the continued operation of facilities near and dear to my heart, such as the fast flux test facility. This facility has an unparalleled operating success and has been reaching new milestones and setting world records every month. I believe the Department needs to make a long-term commitment to run this facility, the crown jewel of our nuclear fission
R&D program. I will be most interested on comments on the continued operation of our breeder reactor test facilities.
The Department's budget also seems to point us toward the advanced light-water concept. If this is the case, what is the future for such projects, one near and dear to our chairman's heart, the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, of course, the liquid-metal of interest in my area, and breeder research and I look forward to hearing the Department's views on these issues.
Before we get started, Madam Chairman, I would like to recognize two representatives from the Hanford operations office who will testify today. John Nolan is the director of the Hanford Engineering Development Laboratory (HEDL), which operates the fast flux test facility. In addition, I am happy to have Dr. Tom Claudson from Battelle-Pacific Northwest Laboratories here today. Tom will be talking about several of their activities, including research on the multimegawatt reactor and food irradiation.
Madam Chairman, I think we all recognize there is great pressure on the budget, and the administration proposes significant transitions, we must ask where are we going under these proposals, and I look forward to joining you in finding some answers and these hearings are certainly a beginning in this process. Thank you. Mrs. LLOYD. Thank you very much, Mr. Morrison.
Our first witness is Acting Assistant Secretary of the Department of Energy, Mr. Jim Vaughan, and I expect he will be happy to share with us his views. We may not agree on priorities, but I think he is someone with whom we can have very candid discussion with
You're our friend and we're glad you're here today. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES W. VAUGHAN, JR., ACTING ASSIST
ANT SECRETARY FOR NUCLEAR ENERGY, DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, ACCOMPANIED BY DR. DELBERT F. BUNCH, ACTING DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR REACTOR DEPLOYMENT, AND JERRY D. GRIFFITH, ASSOCIATE DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR REACTOR SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Mr. VAUGHAN. Thank you very much, Madam Chairman, Mr. Morrison, Mr. Fawell. As always, I am pleased to have the opportunity to discuss the Department's nuclear energy research and development programs. I have with me today Dr. Bunch and Mr. Griffith, representing Dr. Wilcox, who is ill, to help me in responding to your queries.
Mrs. LLOYD. We are also happy to have you gentlemen with us today.
Mr. VAUGHAN. As you know, we are scheduled to appear before the subcommittee to separately discuss our remedial action and waste technology programs and our uranium enrichment activities. Therefore, today at this kickoff hearing, in order to place our discussions in perspective, I would like to provide a brief overview of all of our programs, and specifically during that overview would