US FY2022 budget request includes record for nuclear energy

02 June 2021

The US Department of Energy's budget request for fiscal year 2022 (FY22) includes "historic" investments to lay the foundations of a clean energy economy and ensure the USA reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, the DOE has said. The Biden-Harris Administration's budget, which focuses on the post-pandemic recovery as well as investments in clean energy, was sent to the US Congress on 28 May.

(Image: S McCutcheon/Unsplash)

"President Biden's budget request puts America in the driver's seat as we transition towards a 100% clean energy economy," Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said. "These investments will ensure the US is the global leader in research, development and deployment of critical energy technologies to combat the climate crisis, create good-paying union jobs, and strengthen our communities in all pockets of America."

The DOE's budget request totals USD46.2 billion and includes a "record" USD1.85 billion for the Office of Nuclear Energy, which is an increase of over 23% from the enacted budget for FY21. This includes over USD370 million - up 48% from the USD250 million enacted in FY21 - for the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme, a cost-shared programme which aims to build two demonstration advanced reactors within the next six years. It also includes USD145 million for the Versatile Test Reactor Project, which aims to provide fast neutron testing capability to aid US development of advanced nuclear reactor technology. This is more than triple the USD45 million enacted for the project in FY21.

USD368 million requested for Fuel Cycle Research and Development includes funding to lay the groundwork for the development of a consent-based siting process to support consolidated interim storage for used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste.

"Nuclear power provides for one-fifth of America's overall electricity and just over half of our zero-emissions energy, making it a key part of our clean energy future," the DOE said.

No funds for uranium reserve

The request notes that the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration are working to develop and implement the reserve which received an enacted USD75 million in FY21, but does not request funds for the programme in FY22. The organisations involved "are planning to establish a uranium reserve by procuring uranium and conversion services for that uranium, storing the domestically produced natural uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at commercial facilities in the United States, and developing governance processes and criteria for the material's end use", it says.

The presidential budget request will now be deliberated by Congress through its budgeting and appropriations process. The US fiscal year is named for the year in which it ends, so FY22 will begin on 1 October this year.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News