President Donald Trump’s budget request to Congress calls for cutting the Department of Energy’s (DOE) funding by nearly 14 percent, partly by eliminating energy subsidies and loans. Trump is requesting $28 billion for DOE in fiscal year 2018, which is a $4.5 billion reduction from 2017. The budget plan cuts scientific research into solar, wind, coal and natural gas power by $866 million, roughly 19 percent. Trump plans to divert some of the savings to increase spending on nuclear weapons programs.
Daily Caller 23rd May 2017 read more »
President Donald Trump’s proposed budget includes a cut of about $120 million for the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, despite two recent incidents that raised concern about worker safety at the former nuclear weapons production site. Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons, and it now is engaged in a massive environmental cleanup that costs more than $2 billion per year. “The Tri-Cities community sacrificed a lot to help our country win World War II and the Cold War,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington, a member of the appropriations committee, on Tuesday. “The president’s proposed budget for Hanford, despite urging from both sides of the aisle, is a real disappointment.”
Japan Times 24th May 2017 read more »
The Trump administration is proposing to end construction of a facility deigned to convert 34 mt of plutonium from surplus nuclear weapons to nuclear reactor fuel, concluding it would “be irresponsible to pursue this approach when a more cost-effective alternative exists.” The administration, which Tuesday unveiled its proposed fiscal 2018 budget, said it will direct CB&I Areva MOX Services to develop a plan “as soon as practical,” to halt construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and securely shut the facility by late 2018. The 2018 fiscal year starts October 1. Congress must authorize and appropriate fiscal 2018 spending and the president must sign the budget bill. The $340 million that Congress appropriated in an omnibus budget resolution for fiscal 2017 was earmarked primarily for the installation of ductwork and to seal openings in the facility used during construction. The fiscal 2018 proposal states appropriations for the MOX project after this fiscal year are “to be determined,” with no dollar amount specified. A justification for terminating the MOX project that the US Department of Energy provided Tuesday noted that the facility’s $4.8 billion cost projected in 2007, with a startup date of 2015, had ballooned to $17.2 billion by 2016, with 2048 the earliest date, by which mix-oxide fuel could be produced. DOE now estimates the completion cost at up to $26 billion. DOE noted that analysis it and “external independent analyses” have conducted “have consistently concluded that the MOX approach to plutonium disposition is significantly costlier and would require a much higher annual budget than an alternate disposition method, ‘Dilute and Dispose.'”
Platts 23rd May 2017 read more »
For a third straight year, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant has been shut out of a key auction to sell its power, intensifying the chances that the country’s most famous nuke facility will close in two years. TMI owner Exelon issued a statement Wednesday morning acknowledging that TMI for a third straight year did not sell power at the capacity auction held by PJM Interconnection, the firm that controls power in parts of 13 states. Success at the auction could have guaranteed the sale of TMI’s power in 2020 and 2021. The plant will likely sell its electricity to the grid by other means piecemeal, but the power auction is a staple for a power plant’s economic stability.
Lancaster Online 24th May 2017 read more »