Funding for Oak Ridge National Laboratory could be cut by $185 million under the budget request released by President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
If Trump’s budget request is enacted, the lab’s funding would drop from about $1.247 billion in Fiscal Year 2017, which ends September 30, to roughly $1.062 billion in Fiscal Year 2018. That would be a decrease of roughly 15 percent.
The reduction would be even greater when compared to the $1.27 billion allocated to ORNL in Fiscal Year 2016, according to preliminary laboratory tables posted by the U.S. Department of Energy. In that case, it would be about a $206 million decrease over two years.
But it’s not clear that the president’s budget request will pass or even be considered in Congress. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, including Senator John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican in the GOP-controlled Senate, have declared the Fiscal Year 2018 presidential budget request that was released Tuesday “dead on arrival,” according to NBC News. Lawmakers have said that the cuts are too steep and the accounting is too unrealistic, the network reported.
Under the president’s budget request, overall spending for DOE would drop by $1.6 billion from $29.6 billion in Fiscal Year 2016 to $28 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.
Funding for DOE’s Office of Science would decrease to $4.5 billion, or $874 million below the Fiscal Year 2016 level. ORNL is an Office of Science lab.
Energy programs would drop to $2.2 billion. That’s $2.4 billion below the Fiscal Year 2016 level.
There would be more DOE funding for advanced scientific computing research. Computing and the leadership computing facility would be bright spots at ORNL.
But there would be big cuts to basic energy sciences, biological and environmental research, electricity delivery and energy reliability, nuclear and fusion energy, and high-energy and nuclear physics.
In one of the largest cuts, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy would be reduced 69.3 percent from Fiscal Year 2016 to Fiscal Year 2018, dropping to $636 million, a $1.4 billion decrease. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is one of the partners of ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Hardin Valley, which new Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured on Monday. It’s also the facility that has 3D-printed a Shelby Cobra, a wing trim tool for Boeing that set a Guinness world record, and other vehicles and 3D-printed items, including a printed utility vehicle, or PUV, and a small house.
Weatherization and state energy subprograms would be eliminated under the president’s DOE budget request, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy would be terminated.
“The FY 2018 Budget Request refocuses the Department’s energy and science programs on early-stage research and development at the national laboratories to advance American primacy in scientific and energy research in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” DOE said in a budget request overview. There would be a “renewed focus on cutting-edge innovation and fostering the transition of those breakthroughs to the private sector for commercialization,” the department said.
Some other labs would also experience funding cuts, while others would see increases. Funding at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico would rise from $2.12 billion in Fiscal Year 2017 to $2.23 billion in Fiscal Year 2018.
While spending for ORNL would be down significantly under the president’s budget request, spending for the National Nuclear Security Administration would increase, rising to $13.9 billion, or $1.4 billion above the Fiscal Year 2016 level. The Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is an NNSA site.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
You can see the preliminary laboratory tables here.
You can see a DOE budget request fact sheet here.
You can see a budget brief here.
You can see a DOE budget page with links to more information here.
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