October 15, 2009

Idaho Energy Projects Approved In Final Spending Report

Crapo, Risch announce funding for INL, geothermal, ISU projects

Washington, DC - A number of Idaho initiatives received final Congressional approval today as the U.S. Senate approved the conference report for Fiscal Year 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations requests. The Idaho National Laboratory (INL) will see more than $173 million in new funding for ongoing projects and infrastructure, plus $300 million for new initiatives, as well as continued cleanup activities under legislation approved today by a House-Senate conference committee working on Energy and Water Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2010. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch teamed to request the funding increases on the Senate side.

"This funding maintains Idaho's role as the nation's lead nuclear research laboratory at a time when we have been working to promote nuclear energy in the Senate," Crapo said. "The stimulus dollars, plus the ongoing appropriations agreement, mean that we can accelerate the cleanup while expanding the critical research on a number of energy issues at the INL."

"I am pleased critical infrastructure and next generation nuclear energy projects at the INL will receive this needed funding," said Risch, a member of the Senate Energy Committee. "It demonstrates the important contribution Idaho continues to make to our nation's energy research and security."

The conference report also contains $464 million dollars more for cleanup efforts at the INL. Earlier, both Crapo and Risch won a commitment from Senate appropriators and the U.S. Department of Energy to prioritize cleanup funding at the INL through the use of previously-appropriated stimulus funding. That funding alone brought an increase of more than $460 million dollars. The funding creates hundreds of new jobs and will accelerate the cleanup of buried waste due to be removed from Idaho under the Batt Agreement.

Among the Idaho National Laboratory projects approved in the Conference agreement for Energy and Water Appropriations:

• $173 million for Idaho Facilities Management (new and existing infrastructure improvements at the INL).
• $169 million for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant project (NGNP research and development).
• $136 million for the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (nuclear fuels research).
• $10 million for the Light Water Reactor Sustainability Project (long-term nuclear plant operations research).
• $1 million for equipment for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the INL (education and research partnership efforts).

The conference report also includes $1 million dollars for the City of Boise's geothermal expansion project to pipe heated water across the Boise River to Boise State University. It boosts the Medical Isotope Research program at the Idaho Accelerator Center by $1.5 million. The program to conduct research and promote education regarding isotope production for medical purposes is a coordinated effort between Idaho State University and the U.S. Department of Energy. The report also contains $3.8 million to develop Idaho environmental projects under the Rural Idaho Environmental Infrastructure program. Development of projects will be coordinated through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The conference report now goes to the President for his expected signature.