President Submits FY 2019 Budget Request to Congress

February 16, 2018

President Trump has submitted his FY 2019 budget request to Congress. The Department of Energy has issued a "Budget in Brief" document that provides considerable detail on the proposals for DOE programs. Copies are available on request from Fusion Power Associates: fusionpwrassoc@aol.com

The President requests $30.6 billion for DOE, an increase from $30.1 billion in FY 2017 (FY 2018 levels have not yet been approved by Congress, but programs are currently operating on a "Continuing Resolution" at approximately the FY 2017 levels).

Within the total, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) would receive an increase of $2.2 billion (to $15.1 billion), leaving a net proposed decrease of $1.6 billion for other DOE programs. Within the NNSA budget, the Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield program would receive $419 million, a reduction of $104 million from the current level of $523 million. NNSA Science programs would receive an increase of $128 million to $565 million. The document states, "The FY 2019 Request proposes to rebalance the ICF program to strengthen longer term support for SSP (Stockpile Stewardship) as well as respond to higher NNSA priorities." The FY 2019 Request proposes to initiate a three-year ramp-down in NNSA support for the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics, including the aged Omega Laser Facility.

Within DOE, the Office of Science would receive $5.4 million, the same as in FY 2017. However, within that total, the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences would receive a reduction from $380 million (FY 2017) to $340 million in FY 2019. Within those totals, the US contribution to the international ITER project would receive an increase to $75 million (FY 2019) compared to $50 million (FY 2017). As a result, the domestic US fusion effort would be reduced from $330 million (FY 2017) to $265 million. The document does not state how the proposed reduction would be accomplished.