Idaho State Journal
INEEL gets most federal research funds
By Anne Minard
Journal Staff Writer
POCATELLO - Congress last week released a breakdown of how appropriated
research dollars are spent across the nation, eliciting a mixed
response from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental
Using information from the 1998 fiscal year, the federal Office
of Science and Technology Policy reported that INEEL is the largest
recipient statewide of federal research dollars.
But Idaho as a whole remains about two-thirds of the way down
the national list of states in terms of those dollars spent.
Getting more money for research is one of the biggest challenges
facing the site as it makes strides to live up to a recent congressional
nod recognizing it as the nation's lead nuclear research lab.
"The point of the whole report was to look at where federal
research and development money went. I think what was remarkable
is that the INEEL is by far the largest research and development
center in the state of Idaho," says Brad Bugger, Department
of Energy spokesman in Idaho.
"Obviously, we would like to pump up the research and development
spending. That's one of the goals for the Bechtel program."
Bugger was referring to a recent partnership between the site
and Bechtel BWXT-Idaho, its general contractor.
"We want a high focus on science, and they're working on
the site to do that." He said a subsurface science center
is an example of one item on the site's wish list that could
bolster research capabilities.
"The whole idea is to integrate the science into your operations,
so cleanup decisions are based in good science."
Overall, Idaho gets $274 million for research and development.
That amount represents about 10 percent of the federal research
and development budget and is the 32nd-largest award doled out
among the states.
Of the state total, DOE is awarded about $209 million annually.
About $21 million is spent on U.S. Department of Agriculture
activities, $16 million each on the U.S. Department of Defense
and miscellaneous research activities. The smallest amount, $11
million, goes to statewide activities of the U.S. Department
Bugger said the DOE portion of the funding has remained consistent
over the years. He said the federal research and development
program is a portion of the roughly $800 million needed for operations
and cleanup at the site.
In the upcoming fiscal year, the DOE is seeking to spend $18.9
billion across all of its projects, an increase of about 9 percent
over this year. Congress will approve or change that spending
request in the fall.
The department also is requesting to boost its overall research
and development budget by 8 percent.
Meanwhile, INEEL will continue to compete for research projects
funded by other DOE divisions, such as the offices that oversee
energy efficiency, defense programs, nuclear operations and national
Anne Minard covers science and the environment for the Journal.
She may be reached at 239-3168 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.