Savannah River Site’s largest construction, nonproliferation and environmental cleanup projects would receive adequate funding for fiscal year 2013, based on budget requests rolled out Monday by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
In a conference call with reporters, Energy Secretary Steven Chu outlined a $27.2 billion budget plan with a host of cuts, including the elimination of $4 billion in fossil fuel subsidies and the cancellation of 35 projects that failed to meet research milestones.
At SRS, however, the spending plan stipulates only a modest reduction for the site’s environmental cleanup programs, which include the processing of liquid waste stored in Cold War-era tanks and the vitrification of high-level radioactive waste into a permanently stable form.
The site’s proposed fiscal 2013 environmental management budget of $1.3 billion reflects about a $13.4 million reduction from the 2012 budget, officials said, adding that the small reduction would enable all major programs to continue as planned.
Also included in budget requests unveiled Monday was $569.5 million for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s mixed oxide fuel facility under construction at the site. The sum represents a $90.3 million increase from the $479.2 million in the 2012 spending plan.
Chu also pledged to support research and the development of new energy technology, with plans to spend up to $770 million on nuclear energy, including $65 million for cost-shared awards to support first-of-a-kind small modular reactors and $60 million for nuclear waste research and development.
SRS in particular has been named as a potential site for such research and development programs, in addition to a possible site where small reactors could be manufactured in the future.
The funding requests unveiled are merely a starting point and are likely to change before being completed later this year.