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Chairman HATFIELD. This is Cabinet day on the Hill. I just came from a hearing with Secretary Shultz.
Senator DOMENICI. Security guards all over the Hill.
Secretary HODEL. Not me, Senator. Nobody knows who I am. (Laughter.] Senator DOMENICI. Nobody wants your job. (Laughter.)
MAGNETIC FUSION PROGRAM Well, this might be as much a statement as it is a question, but maybe you would have a sentence or two in rebuttal. This is a small problem, but in the 1984 appropriation the Department requested funds to begin the upgrade of a fusion machine at the Los Alamos Scientific Lab. In its approval of that request, including the upgrade of this ZTH machine, it added funds for problems closely related to the machines. We added a million dollars for the study of the effect of plasmas on the walls of that and $3.5 million for the compact toroids. Now my concern relates to how those funds have been spent since they have been appropriated.
For example, of the $1 million in your request for the design of ZTH, only $400,000 has reached the lab and that has been retargeted for operating the present machines. Supposedly the balance of those moneys are on the way but they have not been received even though we are almost halfway through the year of a million for the first wall research that neither of the labs have received funds as of this time. My staff checked as late as last night speaking to people in the programs.
The area of $3.5 million add-on for the compact toroids in the Department continued this approach, first withdrawing $750,000 from the budget and then announcing that some of the funds appropriated were to be delivered and those delivered to the tune of $750,000, but not $3.5 million, and no net gain in funding even though the bill that we approved seemed rather clear.
Now we are not talking, as I understand this, from my involvement with the project that has no merit, speaking about scientific or technical merits, because their own advisory board has not been supportive, yet it seems to me that the staff in the Department seems intent on frustrating the process related to this project. As I said, maybe that is not a question, maybe that is just saying to you I don't think that is the way to do business; maybe you ought to look at it.
Secretary HODEL. Senator, if I may start a response which I think I will have to follow up for the record, because you and your staff have made very plain your concern about this; I was briefed, I thought, thoroughly on this matter. The advice that I received is that the $1 million which was for fusion systems engineering, particularly on the first wall systems, has been released to Sandia National Laboratory and that, in fact, $1,250,000 has been made available to them. This is obviously a very serious disconnect on information which I simply will have to pursue. I will find out why the laboratory is supplying you with one set
of information and why I am being supplied a different set of information. My advice in anticipation of the hearing was that we are all right on that, but I think we need to find out what happened.
Second, on the funding for the magnetic fusion program, both the reversed
Senator DOMENICI. That was my next one.
Secretary HODEL. I know your concern. My understanding is that we have released all of the money at the approved level for the reversed field pinch and in the case of compact toroids about, as I recall it, an $11 million activity. All together, the Los Alamos share of the compact toroid funding was to have been $5.8 million. My information is that we have made available $5.1 million. We have taken $700,000 from the total for use in alternate fusion fuel research, mainly for the maintenance of university contract services in this area. About $200,000 of the $700,000 is being spent through Los Alamos National Lab, although the other $500,000 would not be. So what concerns me is that clearly the information you are being given indicates what I am told has not happened. I think I can't go further than what I have but I do need to follow up and get a satisfactory answer to you and to me as well.
Senator DOMENICI. I think that is right, Mr. Secretary, but also I would hope that in the process if there have been departmental reasons justifying the delays, that is one thing; if it is just that somebody down there in the Department does not think this is the way it ought to be done, we have that problem all the time. You are supposed to do that, that is why we are up here I guess and people will decide.
Secretary HODEL. Senator, as you know, it is my personal desire to see to it that we properly and responsibly expend the funds that you in the Congress are providing DOE. That is one of the matters I took to heart from the time I entered this job and it would be very troubling to me to find that without adequately recognizing the concerns of the Congress we were distributing the funds differently. Now I will pursue this and advise you.
Senator DOMENICI. I appreciate that.
I have one other question on the fusion; I will give it to you and you can answer it for the record. I don't want to impose on the committee.
Thank you very much.
MAGNETIC FUSION ENERGY Question. Mr. Secretary, on the broader topic of fusion, the Department is in the process of coming to a decision on whether to proceed with the next large experiment, that is whether or not you will build a machine that will actually burn tritium fuel for fairly long periods of time. Obviously, building such a machine will cost a great deal of money and, as I understand it, the Department is considering doing this within the existing budget. Now Mr. Secretary, if a commitment is made to that machine, clearly a number of other areas within the program are going to have to be sacrificed. My guess is we will have to sacrifice the research on Mirror machines and research in the
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area most commonly called advanced concepts. My question really is, Mr. Secretary, does it make sense to sacrifice those areas, like advanced concepts, where we are looking for fusion machines that will make practical power reactors in the future? In focusing all of our efforts into this next physics experiment do we lock ourselves into that machine which we use to do the physics experiment, that is a large Tokamak reactor? It has not been my experience that utilities are overjoyed at the thought of a very large capital intensive machine such as the Tokamak. Aren't we making the same mistake we have made before of locking ourselves into a technology which utilities will not want to buy?
Answer. It is too early in the planning process for a possible ignition experiment for me to be able to give a comprehensive answer to your question. However, both the Energy Research Advisory Board (ERAB) and the Magnetic Fusion Advisory Committee (MFAC) hae stated that the two key objectives of the fusion program should be to investigate reactor core conditions in an ignited, long-pulse experiment and to develop an economically attractive fusion reactor concept. The pace of achieving these two objectives would depend on available funding. Therefore, planning for a possible ignition experiment includes careful attention to cost and consideration of international collaboration to ensure that both objectives can be effectively pursued.
I share your belief that capital cost is one of the significant factors in the attractiveness of a fusion reactor. While conventional Tokamak reactor plant designs have been capital intensive and comparable in size to existing nuclear plants, advanced Tokamaks show promise of reduced reactor size, and experiments are underway to test some of these ideas. For example, in the Princeton Beta Experiment (PBX) at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Advanced Toroidal Facility (ATF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, plasma shaping and special fields are expected to allow higher power density operation. Other toroidal concepts are being developed with the possibility of further substantial size reductions, such as compact toroids and Reversed Field Pinches (RFP's). The United States leads the world in compact toroid research and participates in RFP development, which is being advanced by a next-step device now under construction in Italy. The MFAC has been asked to assess these supporting concepts to identify areas where increased emphasis would result in better understanding of fusion physics. In addition, the potentially simpler linear concept, epitomized by the tandem mirror, is being strongly supported.
However, all of these other concepts are at a much earlier stage of development and could not be considered for a near-term ignition experiment. To date, we have achieved plasma conditions in the Tokamak equal to those required for thermonuclear breakeven, which we expect to demonstrate using the reactor fuels deuterium and tritium in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) in 1986. The Tokamak is the only concept advanced to the point of readiness for an ignition experiment. The physics and technology data to be gathered from studying the reactor core, combined with results from further development of advanced concepts, including the Tokamak itself, will provide the basis for development of economically attractive fusion reactors.
In a program as complex as the magnetic fusion program, the balance between major objectives and competing approaches requires frequent reassessment based on technical results. The Department is responsible for maintaining this balance, and does so with advice from MFAC and periodic reviews by ERAB.
GREGORY COUNTY PUMPED STORAGE HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT,
SOUTH DAKOTA Senator ABDNOR (presiding). Mr. Secretary, it is good to be with you today. I only have one or two questions.
I am going to also submit one question in writing because I am sure you are not familiar with the question I am talking about. It deals with a Gregory County hydropower project. I am going to leave the question with you and you can give me an answer at a later time, not so much for the record but maybe for the record, too, if you wish.
(The question and answer follow:)
QUESTION SUBMITTED BY SENATOR JAMES ABDNOR
GREGORY COUNTY HYDROELECTRIC POWER PROJECT Question. The Corps of Engineers has been studying a large-scale potential pumpedstorage hydroelectric power project in South Dakota. It's called the Gregory County project, and the State has been trying to organize the necessary group of utilities to participate in the kind of partnership financing arrangements sought by the President.
As you know, there are institutional problems in working out these kinds of arrangements. but do you believe these difficulties can be worked out? More specifically, do you believe it is possible to allow construction cost-sharing contributions from investorowned utilities on a basis which is fair to them, but which does not adversely affect the traditional rights of the preference power customers?
Answer. A proposed pumped-storage hydroelectric power facility to be located in Gregory County, S. Dak., is authorized in S. 1739, which has been favorably reported by the Committee on Environment and Public Works. The issues raised by this question are contained in a letter to me from Senator Abdnor dated February 13, 1984. My staff is reviewing these issues and others raised in that letter, including the subject of regional preference. I expect to be in a position to provide a comprehensive response for Senator Abdnor in the near future.
EDGEMONT, S. Dak.
OFFSITE REMEDIAL ACTION PROJECT Senator ABDNOR. All of us have our parochial questions and problems and I am going to ask you about one of mine; I think you are familiar with this. We have included in our last few reports language on this matter. This subcommittee has accorded the offsite remedial action project at Edgemont, S. Dak., a high priority. Are you familiar with that?
Secretary HODEL. Yes.
Senator ABDNOR. Again, the committee gave this project a high priority. We did, in fact, direct you to complete the offsite work during the current fiscal year. I understand, however, that you have other obligations which may prevent your Department from proceeding as swiftly as we might hope. I am advised that the Edgemont offsite project is well underway and that you have every intention of complying with our directive to the extent your resources will allow. Are you confident that the amount you are requesting in your fiscal year 1985 budget will permit you to move ahead quickly with remedial action at this and other sites covered under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation and Control Act of 1978?
Secretary HODEL. Yes, sir. We have, as you know, a very extensive program on the uranium mill tailings sites and also the formerly utilized sites. Those two programs have attracted a great deal of our attention. We have a priority listing of the various sites, identifying those which need the most urgent attention. We have also had some assistance in the Congress and we have tried to do as responsible a job as we can.
SUBMITTED QUESTIONS Senator ABDNOR. Why don't I leave this for you in writing, too, because I only have a minute and every one of us has projects. I will give both of these questions to you. Please provide the subcommittee with a complete response for the record. [The questions and answers follow:)
QUESTIONS SUBMITTED BY SENATOR JAMES ABDNOR
REMEDIAL ACTION SITE WORK Question: Mr. Secretary, as you know, this subcommittee has accorded the offsite remedial action project at Edgemont, S. Dak., high priority. We did, in fact, direct you to complete the offsite work during the current fiscal year.
While I understand that other obligations may prevent your Department from proceeding as swiftly as we might have hoped, I am advised that this project is well underway and that you have every intention of complying with our directive to the extent your resources will allow.
Are you confident that your fiscal year 1985 budget request will permit you to move ahead quickly with necessary remedial action at this and other sites covered under the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation and Control Act of 1978?
Answer. The Department's fiscal year 1985 budget request will permit us to move ahead with this project on a schedule that is consistent with project completion within the 7-year period authorized by the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978; that is, by March 1990. In order to optimize the budget profile for the project, it was necessary to defer work on some of the sites from the schedules shown in our initial site master plan. Under the current master plan for fiscal year 1985, we will complete the site work at Canonsburg, Pa., and have work underway at Salt Lake City, Utah; Shiprock, N. Mex.; and Durango, Colo. The cleanup of vicinity properties will also be underway at several sites, including Edgemont, S. Dak.
Question. Mr. Secretary, would you please provide me with a written account of your Department's activities and expenditures at Edgemont to date, together with your forecast for fiscal year 1985?
Answer. The Department's actual and projected expenditures at Edgemont through fiscal year 1985 are listed in the table provided for the record.
[In whole dollars) Fiscal year
$13,400 1984 (through June 30, 1984)...
25,100 1984 (balance of year).........
...... 1,106,000 To date, we have obtained 46 owner-access permits. Engineering design is underway on 22 properties. By the end of fiscal year 1984 we will complete the engineering for 49 properties and the remedial action on 21 properties. During fiscal year 1985 we will complete the engineering on 18 more properties and remedial action at an additional 21 properties. Cooperative agreements with the State of South Dakota and the Tennessee Valley Authority, under which the work at Edgemont will be conducted, are being negotiated and execution of these agreements is expected in the near future.
STRAIT OF HORMUZ
Senator ABDNOR. We have been hearing a lot about the Strait of Hormuz and what would happen if that was closed. Are you following that situation over there?