Demolition crews bring down the Pilot Plant at DOE's Fernald Closure Site in Ohio.
Secretary Abraham joins representatives of Shell and General Motors in the opening of the nation's first integrated gasoline/hydrogen refueling station in Washington, D.C.
January 6, 2004
Secretary Abraham begins a ten day trip to Asia and the Pacific to advance energy security and promote DOE initiatives.
January 9, 2004
In Tokyo, Secretary Abraham and Japanese Senior Vice Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Goji Sakamoto sign a joint statement of intent to pursue pre-competitive research and development in the field of fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.
January 9, 2004
The first truck shipment of transuranic waste leaves DOE's Nevada Test Site for delivery to the Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico. Under an agreement with several Western states, DOE ships waste from Nevada through California and Arizona to WIPP. Some 1,600 drums are expected to be sent to WIPP in 50 to 60 shipments by December.
January 12, 2004
The Department dedicates the nation's newest isotope production facility located at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) in New Mexico. The $23 million state-of-the-art facility, built over the last five years, houses a new beam line and equipment needed to direct part of the 100 million electron volt proton beam from the existing LANSCE accelerator to a new target station designed exclusively for the production of isotopes. "The short lived isotopes produced by this facility and other accelerators in the DOE complex," notes Secretary Abraham, "provide vital isotopes required to diagnose, treat and research serious illnesses such as heart disease and cancer."
January 12, 2004
In Beijing, Secretary Abraham and Zhang Huazhu, Chairman of the China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA), affirm their commitment to recent understandings reached by the two countries to increase cooperation on nuclear nonproliferation, security, and counter-terrorism. The Statement of Intent establishes a process for cooperation with each other and for collaborating with the International Atomic Energy Agency on a range of nuclear nonproliferation and security activities. These activities include efforts to strengthen export controls, international nuclear safeguards, physical protection of nuclear materials and facilities, nuclear emergency management, and radioactive source security by setting up information exchanges and training programs.
January 12, 2004
The Secretary also joins China's Science and Technology Minister Xu and Beijing's Vice Mayor Fan in signing the Green Olympic Protocol for Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games. Participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first energy efficient building demonstration project in Beijing that will lead to more widespread use of clean energy technologies, particularly for the 2008 Olympic Games, the Secretary notes that "this energy efficient building in Beijing demonstrates how the U.S. and China can work together to promote clean energy solutions. I hope that the Green Olympic Protocol for Beijing's 2008 Olympic Games we are signing today will further deepen our joint efforts to improve Beijing's air quality and environment." The U.S. and China have established 11 teams to move forward on Green Olympics cooperation since a Statement of Intent was signed between DOE and China in September 2002.
January 13, 2004
In Manila, Secretary Abraham meets with Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Secretary of Energy Vincente Perez to strengthen the Sustainable Energy Development Program between the two countries and to promote the use of cleaner-burning fuels in vehicles. Secretary Abraham also participates in a "Lights On" ceremony for the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (AMORE) Program, which aims to bring electricity to more than 5,000 homes of former rebel soldiers in 160 remote, conflicted communities. Through the Sustainable Energy Development Program-a $5 million project sponsored by DOE, the Philippines Department of Energy, and the U.S. Agency for International Development-the U.S. provides advisors to strengthen and support Philippines energy efforts.
January 13, 2004
A U.S. Court of Appeals rules that air conditioning efficiency standards set by DOE in May 2002-12 seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER)-violate the anti-backsliding provisions of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. The standards, which were scheduled to go into effect in 2006 and would have mandated a 20 percent increase in efficiency, had been substituted for standards set in January 2001-13 SEER-which also would have gone into effect in 2006 and mandated a 30 percent increase in efficiency. The air conditioning industry had argued that under the January 2001 standards more efficient air conditioners would be prohibitively expensive, which would have the unintended effect of leaving less efficient models in operation. "It is unfortunate and we are disappointed that our efforts to increase the efficiency standards of air conditioners by 20 percent was overturned by the Court today," the Department notes in a statement. "We are currently reviewing the Court's opinion."
January 15, 2004
The Department of Defense awards DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory a three-year, $4.2 million grant to try to predict how the supercomputers of the future will perform. The research will be conducted in partnership with IBM Corp.
January 16, 2004
The Department opens its new Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office in Lexington, Kentucky, that will oversee cleanup activities at DOE's gaseous diffusion plants in Ohio and Kentucky.
January 20, 2004
In his State of the Union address, President Bush urges Congress "to pass legislation to modernize our electricity system, promote conservation, and make America less dependent on foreign sources of energy."
January 21, 2004
The Department reaches an agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department on the terms of a Consent Order that will facilitate accelerated environmental cleanup at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The agreement means that an additional $2.4 million will be provided by DOE's Office of Environmental Management (EM) from its accelerated cleanup account, approved by Congress to fund targeted cleanup projects at facilities around the DOE complex, including work on drains and septic systems, landfills, and groundwater areas at Sandia, bringing the total EM funding commitment to $20.3 million for FY 2004.
January 21, 2004
In response to industry complaints that DOE's ongoing filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is helping drive oil prices to near $35 per barrel, Under Secretary of Energy Robert Card says high "price levels are not something" that should prompt the administration to put off adding to the 700-million-barrel-capacity reserve. Acknowledging that the U.S. oil market is tight, Card notes that "inventories are clearly low, but we will not take action unless there is a supply logic." The decision by companies not to purchase commercial inventories is "purely a rational business decision," Card states. "Why would a refiner buy a bunch of oil at $35 a barrel" and put it in storage when the spring turnaround to gasoline production is just a few months away?
January 23, 2004
Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy John Marburger says that "there is not controversy" over the issue that growing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are altering the Earth's climate. "Climate change is occurring," Marburger says. "This administration is reacting to this known fact by investing in technologies" to mitigate carbon dioxide releases and by fostering energy sources that do not emit carbon, such as hydrogen fuel. "I'm satisfied we're investing in the right things."
January 27, 2004
The Department announces that pursuant to provisions of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act of 2004 it will compete management and operating contracts for the Ames, Argonne, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, and Los Alamos national laboratories.
January 27, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in an interview with the trade publication Inside Energy, says that he plans no new major initiatives for DOE as he enters the final year of the Bush Administration's first term. Content to fulfill commitments made over the past three years, the Secretary says that among his priorities are enacting a comprehensive energy bill, securing management reforms within DOE, and upgrading and repairing nuclear weapons laboratories and production plants. "At this point, we've put the ship on course here," the Secretary observes, "and now it's more of a case of executing the objectives we've set than trying to set a whole new agenda."
January 27, 2004
A joint American and British team that includes personnel from the Departments of Energy, State, and Defense, remove from Libya 55,000 pounds of uranium hexafluoride, centrifuge equipment, and other items. The materials and Libya's detail nuclear weapons designs are being brought back to the U.S. for evaluation, testing, and destruction at DOE's Y-12 National Security Complex.
January 28, 2004
The Board of Directors of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) endorses DOE's EnergySmart Schools (ESS) program. NSBA President, Carol Brown, praised the program for "using a holistic approach to improving the teaching and learning environment by providing resources to encourage healthy high-performance schools and energy education for the consumers of tomorrow." ESS focuses on saving money for the country's schools through reduced energy consumption and creating a healthier and more learner-friendly classroom environment.
January 29, 2004
The Department ranks among cabinet-level agencies in the most recent scorecard to assess implementation of the President's Management Agenda (PMA). The scorecard, which evaluates agency performance in the areas of human capital, competitive sourcing, financial management, e-government, and budget/performance integration, is issued today by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). OMB recognizes DOE as "leading the pack with regard to management improvement."
January 30, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces funding for 13 projects selected under the innovative State Technologies Advancement Collaborative (STAC) to support research, development and demonstration of energy efficiency technologies. Total value of the projects will be nearly $17 million with $7 million coming from DOE and the remainder from state governments. "These projects are an exciting and novel joint approach to energy-efficiency research involving both federal and state dollars and expertise to develop energy smart technologies that save energy and save money," the Secretary says. "This new business model paves the way for redefining how the federal government and the states share the responsibility of bringing energy savings to the American people."
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February 2, 2004
Secretary Abraham unveils DOE's $24.3 billion budget request for FY 2005. "Upon taking office," the Secretary says, "President Bush made a commitment to accelerate environmental cleanup, promote energy security and reduce the nation's dependence on imported energy, maintain the strength and viability of the nuclear weapons stockpile, and double the commitment to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. After three years of progress this work is at a critical juncture which requires financial commitment." At $24.3 billion, the request is an increase from the FY 2003 request of $23.4 billion. Of DOE's four "business lines," the National Nuclear Security Administration is $9.0 billion, a $383 million or 4.4 percent increase above last year. For energy activities, the FY 2005 budget request remains at $2.5 billion compared to the FY 2004 request. Funding for the Office of Science is $3.4 billion, an increase of roughly 2 percent over FY 2004 when excluding Congressional additions in the Omnibus and Energy and Water Appropriations bills. Environment programs are $8.6 billion. This amount includes large increases to accelerate environmental cleanup (increase of $426 million) and establish a permanent nuclear waste repository (increase of $303 million).
February 3, 2004
The Department's Richland Operations Office releases its Final Hanford Solid (Radioactive and Hazardous) Waste Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS analyzes alternatives for 1) disposing of immobilized low-activity waste from the Hanford tanks, low-level waste, and mixed low-level waste; 2) treating mixed low-level waste; and 3) processing and certifying transuranic waste prior to its shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico for disposal. DOE's preferred alternatives include 1) building a large, lined facility on the Central Plateau for disposal of low-level waste, mixed low-level waste, and immobilized low-activity waste; 2) modifying existing Hanford facilities and using offsite facilities for treatment of mixed low-level waste; and 3) modifying existing Hanford facilities, using the Waste Receiving and Processing Facility, and also using mobile processing units to get transuranic waste ready for shipment to New Mexico for disposal.
February 4, 2004
A new National Research Council (NRC) report, The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers and R&D Needs, produced at the request of the Department, states that President Bush's vision of a hydrogen energy economy would have fundamental and dramatic benefits for the nation's energy security and the environment. "A transition to hydrogen as a major fuel in the next 50 years," the report notes, "could fundamentally transform the U.S. energy system, creating opportunities to increase energy security through the use of a variety of domestic energy sources for hydrogen production while reducing environmental impacts, including atmospheric CO2 emissions and criteria pollutants." Secretary Abraham says that the report "confirms that the President's Hydrogen Initiative has the long-term potential to deliver greater energy independence for America and tremendous environmental benefits for the world." The report also indicates that DOE's broad approach to produce hydrogen from abundant, domestic coal resources as well as from renewable energy sources is important for the emergence of a viable transportation system. The NRC report recommends that the Department more fully coordinate its hydrogen programs in its renewable energy, fossil energy, science, and nuclear energy offices. The report also notes that, "in the best-case scenario, the transition to a hydrogen economy would take many decades, and any reductions in oil imports and carbon dioxide emissions are likely to be minor during the next 25 years."
February 5, 2004
The Department releases two draft Requests for Proposals (RFP) for missions related to the new Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls. The first draft RFP focuses on DOE's establishment of the nation's premier laboratory for nuclear energy research, development, demonstration, and education within a decade. The second draft RFP, termed the Idaho Clean-up Project (ICP), establishes a scope of work for accelerating the environmental remediation activities at the Idaho site.
February 5, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces that the U.S. and Lithuanian are working together in the war on terrorism by installing special equipment at the Vilnius Airport to detect hidden shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. "Through this program at airports such as Vilnius, and through other NNSA nonproliferation programs, we are helping to stop terrorists and criminals from smuggling nuclear and radiological material," NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks says.
February 10, 2004
Secretary Abraham, joined by Texas Governor Rick Perry and other dignitaries, officially opens a new General Motors hydrogen fuel cell test facility that will convert hydrogen into electricity for the Dow Chemical Company's manufacturing facility site in Freeport. The new facility will conduct field tests to transfer hydrogen into electricity and will demonstrate the viability of fuel cell power generation for chemical manufacturing. "The Dow-GM transaction typifies the type of creative arrangements that will arise from the new hydrogen economy," the Secretary says. "Not only is this test a first for evaluating the broad industrial use of fuel cell technology, it is the first time a carmaker has used its fuel cell technology to provide electricity and heat for buildings and manufacturing."
February 10, 2004
The Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) announces that oil output will be reduced by 1 million barrels to 23.5 million barrels per day effective April 1, 2004.
February 11, 2004
President Bush, in a speech at the National Defense University, states that the greatest risk to the U.S. or anywhere else in the world is the possibility of a nuclear, radiological, chemical or biological terrorist attack. "There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be tolerated," the President notes. "Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated into action. Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction."
February 11, 2004
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says that his first priority will be to push a comprehensive energy bill through Congress.
February 12, 2004
The Department awards five new contracts to deliver crude oil to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve this spring under the Royalty-In-Kind (RIK) exchange program. Atlantic Trading and Marketing Inc; Exxon Mobil Oil Corporation; Glencore, Ltd; Koch Supply and Trading, LP; and Shell Trading (US) Company, submitted the best offers and were awarded six-month contracts to begin delivering approximately 104,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the reserve, beginning this April.
February 12, 2004
The Department's Office of Science unveils its Strategic Plan, which charts a course for science over the next two decades. "DOE's Office of Science," Secretary Abraham says, "has developed a bold Strategic Plan that holds the promise of leapfrogging our current capabilities and keeping the United States in a leadership position in the international competition for new ideas and technologies." The plan sets seven short-term (5-10 year) scientific priorities: the ITER fusion science experiment, scientific discovery through advanced scientific computing, using nanoscale science for new materials and processes, microbial genomics, physics to explore the basic forces of creation, exploring new forms of nuclear matter, and developing the facilities for the future of science. The plan also sets seven long-term (10-20 year) scientific goals in the areas of: science for energy; harnessing biology for energy and environment; fusion; fundamentals of energy, matter, and time; nuclear physics research from quarks to the stars; computation for the frontiers of science; and building resource foundations for new science.
February 13, 2004
Secretary Abraham releases a statement on the Bush Administration's global climate change initiatives. "The Bush Administration is committed to a comprehensive, innovative program of domestic and international initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," the Secretary says. "Those who question the Administration's commitment to addressing global climate change do not fully appreciate the global benefit of the scientific and technological investments the U.S. has made and is making through a variety of programs. The U.S. takes the issue of global climate change very seriously and is leading the world in investments, several billions of dollars each year, to understand and address it." The statement is issued following comments by David King, chief scientific adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, at a an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Seattle, that the U.S. is not doing enough on the issue of global warming.
February 14, 2004
A Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite is launched from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Station. As a secondary payload, the satellite includes sophisticated nuclear test detection sensors from DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The space-based sensors, developed by NNSA's Office of Nonproliferation Research and Engineering, are used to monitor the Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963 and to deter proliferant nations from conducting nuclear tests in the upper atmosphere and space. The U.S. Air Force launched the first DSP satellite in 1970. The constellation of DSP satellites operates in geosynchronous orbit to provide early warning of missile launches, space launches and nuclear explosions. The last DSP satellite, scheduled for launch in 2005, will mark the end of the present nuclear detection sensor package design but will also carry the demonstration experiment for the next generation of high altitude sensors-the Space and Atmospheric Burst Reporting System (SABRS)-that NNSA is currently developing. Continuing research and development programs have made the sensor packages both smaller and more robust, while greatly increasing the ability to detect clandestine nuclear tests.
February 18, 2004
The Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sign an agreement to expand collaboration on research and computing resources, including the linking of two national supercomputers. The agreement builds on prior research and computing collaboration between the two agencies. The EPA and DOE will link supercomputers in EPA's North Carolina facility and DOE's Sandia National Laboratories. High performance computing allows better and faster runs of environmental models such as the Community Multi-Scale Air Quality model, an important tool for states to meet upcoming deadlines for their air quality attainment plans. "Today's agreement allows us to further our collaborative efforts and leverage the expertise of both agencies," Secretary Abraham says. "I am particularly happy that EPA will benefit from the tremendous store of scientific knowledge and expertise in the Department of Energy's national laboratories."
February 18, 2004
The National Research Council (NRC) releases a report reviewing the Bush Administration's strategic plan for the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) on long-term global climate variability and change. The NRC report, commissioned by the CCSP, commends the plan for including the "elements of a strategic management framework that could permit it to effectively guide research on climate and associated global changes over the next decades." The report recommends that the CCSP " implement the activities described in the strategic plan with urgency" and "secure the financial resources, for the present and the future, that will ensure the overall success of the plan."
February 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces a new effort to educate state and local government officials about the vision of a hydrogen economy. A six-city national tour, dubbed "Hydrogen Power: The Promise, The Challenge," will commence in Lansing, Michigan. Working with regional, state, and local partners, DOE in a series of workshops will offer "Hydrogen 101" to state and local officials who do not have a technical background but are interested in learning more about hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, hydrogen safety, and the challenges to achieving the hydrogen vision. "Achieving the vision of a hydrogen economy requires a revolution in the way we produce, use and store energy," the Secretary says. "This revolution will succeed only through cooperation among federal, state and local partners. It's important that we share an understanding of how hydrogen fuel cell technology works, as well as challenges we face in realizing the vision."
February 19, 2004
The Department releases a solicitation for the second round of proposals under President Bush's Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI). The Department plans to provide approximately $280 million in federal funds for demonstrating barrier-breaking technologies that sharply reduce and ultimately eliminate pollution in coal-based power plants.
February 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham travels to Fairview, West Virginia, to talk with coal miners who were temporarily out of work last year due to a mine fire. The Department provided financial assistance to CONSOL Energy to help cover the costs to test an innovative fire suppression system using a modified jet engine at the Fairview mine. "America needs West Virginia's coal to meet a projected 50 percent increase in coal demand for electric generation over the next 20 years," the Secretary says. "And we need West Virginia's mine workers, productively employed to produce that coal-the fuel that generates 50 percent of our country's electricity."
February 20, 2004
The Department announces that the last of approximately 18 metric tons of plutonium-bearing material at the Hanford Site in eastern Washington has been safely stabilized and packaged for shipment off site. It is the first of three "urgent risks" at the site to be eliminated.
February 23, 2004
Following warnings from the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board that a proposed rule on safety at DOE's defense facilities would undermine protection for workers, Secretary Abraham announces the suspension of rulemaking on proposed changes to the Department's worker safety rules and requirements.
February 24, 2004
The Department announces that DOE's Office of Independent Oversight and Safety Assurance has joined Washington State officials in an investigation into allegations of supervisor misconduct, fraud, and medical records mismanagement by officials with the Hanford Environmental Health Foundation (HEHF). In addition, Secretary Abraham has sent a letter to DOE's Office of Inspector General asking for an investigation of allegations related to HEHF. "Ensuring the safety and health of our workers is paramount and I will not tolerate any action by any contractor that will undermine worker safety," the Secretary says in his letter to the Inspector General. HEHF, a contractor, provides medical services to DOE and contract employees at the Department's Hanford site.
February 25, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces a new program to provide employment opportunities to Iraqi scientists, technicians, and engineers. The program will complement other Bush Administration initiatives that seek to support reconstruction efforts and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) expertise to terrorists or proliferant states. The new effort is in cooperation with the Arab Science and Technology Foundation and the Cooperative Monitoring Center at DOE's Sandia National Laboratories. The unique partnership also will help rebuild key elements of Iraq's critical infrastructure and develop new Iraqi business opportunities that provide sustainability to Iraqi science and technology. "This program addresses the critical need to provide significant and meaningful employment opportunities for all scientists in Iraq," NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks says. "Moreover, it is helping them rebuild Iraqi science and technology infrastructure and reintegrate Iraq into the international science community."Top of page
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March 2, 2004
As part of DOE's ongoing effort to meet its commitments to the State of Idaho, workers at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory successfully complete the Glovebox Excavator Method project. Workers removed 454 drums of waste from the one-acre Pit 9 site more than eight months ahead of the schedule agreed upon in 2002 by DOE, the State of Idaho, and the Environmental Protection Agency. "Information gained from this retrieval," Secretary Abraham says, "is one of many tools that our scientists and engineers will use to implement options for safely performing cleanup of buried waste in the rest of the Subsurface Disposal Area that are prudent, effective and environmentally sound."
March 4, 2004
The Department announces that DOE-funded researchers at the Institute for Biological Energy Alternatives (IBEA) have discovered at least 1,800 new species and more than 1.2 million new genes in Sargasso Sea microbes. "What excites the Department and our Office of Science about this project is its range of potential benefits," Secretary Abraham says. "Scientists have used DOE funds to determine the genetic sequences of all the microorganisms occurring in a natural microbial community, which may lead to the development of new methods for carbon sequestration or alternative energy production. This will offer a direct and early test of one of the central tenets of DOE's Genomics: GTL program-that microbes can be used to develop innovative solutions to address national energy needs."
March 4, 2004
Following testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Guy F. Caruso, administrator of DOE's Energy Information Administration, tells reporters that gasoline prices could reach a record high over the next four weeks. The current average price is $1.717 per gallon; the record high of $1.747 per gallon was set in August 2003. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Caruso informs the senators, "has been successful during the past 5 years in adjusting production to keep prices from falling."
March 5, 2004
The Department is recognized at the 2004 Government Performance Summit for its accomplishments in making significant management improvements over the past three years. The "Excellence in Management" award for exemplary performance on the implementation of the President's Management Agenda is presented to Deputy Secretary of Energy Kyle McSlarrow, who delivers the keynote address on the second day of the summit.
March 5, 2004
The Department submits to Congress a plan for the FutureGen project, the world's first zero emission coal facility that will produce both electricity and hydrogen, while sequestering greenhouse emissions. The Department will spend $500 million through FY 2018 on construction and operations for a 275-megawatt FutureGen plant and an additional $120 million on carbon sequestration. The plant will be operating at full scale by 2012, with a sequestration system completed by the following year.
March 9, 2004
Secretary Abraham launches a national public service advertising campaign designed to make children and their parents aware of energy efficient behavior through a new spokes-villain, the Energy Hog, an energy waster. "The Energy Efficiency Campaign will raise public awareness of the benefits of making smart energy choices at home," the Secretary says. "By developing an appreciation for energy efficiency at an early age, children are able to make smart energy choices and encourage their parents to do the same."
March 10, 2004
The Department releases its Hydrogen Posture Plan, which outlines the activities, milestones, and deliverables that DOE plans to pursue to support the nation's shift to a hydrogen-based transportation energy system. The plan identifies milestones for technology development over the next decade, leading up to a commercialization decision by industry in 2015. "This plan supports President Bush's vision of a hydrogen economy and includes timelines that provide clear and scientific measures to track and demonstrate progress," Secretary Abraham says. "If we achieve our technical objectives, the automotive and energy industries will be in a position to begin to mass market availability of both vehicles and refueling infrastructure by 2020.
March 12, 2004
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Garman answers question on the future of energy and transportation on an "Ask the White House" online interactive forum.
March 15, 2004
At the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Secretary Abraham gives a press briefing and displays some of the unclassified nuclear materials and equipment removed from Libya on January 27. "By any objective measure," the Secretary notes, "the United States and the nations of the world are safer as a result of these efforts to secure and remove Libya's nuclear materials."
March 23, 2004
The Department holds, in Lansing, Michigan, the first of six hydrogen education workshops for state and local government officials.
March 23, 2004
Secretary Abraham tells the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the Bush Administration will continue to fill the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). Concerned that putting oil in the SPR is contributing to near-record gasoline prices, 53 House members the day before had urged DOE to suspend scheduled deliveries. On March 11, the Senate voted to require DOE to stop filling the SPR. The Secretary says that the ongoing effort to fill the SPR is "predicated on national security concerns." Crude oil prices currently are at $35 per barrel.
March 24, 2004
Secretary Abraham and Ford Motor Company host seven student-designed, energy efficient sport utility vehicles (SUVs) at DOE Headquarters as part of FutureTruck 2004, an engineering competition that challenges 15 teams of university engineering students to build cleaner, more efficient sport utility vehicles. The student teams reengineered Ford Explorers to achieve lower-emissions and at least 25 percent higher fuel economy, without sacrificing performance, utility, and safety.
March 29, 2004
At the wind industry's Global WINDPOWER 2004 Conference in Chicago, Deputy Secretary of Energy Kyle McSlarrow announces that DOE will open negotiations for 21 public-private partnerships to greatly expand potential U.S. wind development through advances in cost effective low wind speed technology. The value of the cost-shared projects is expected to total $60 million over the next four years. "The nation's vast wind energy resources can play a much larger role in our energy supply portfolio," McSlarrow says. "These industry and university partnerships will help develop next generation wind technology and open the door to wind power at many locations around the country that otherwise would not be cost-competitive."
March 31, 2004
The Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) reaffirms the February 10 decision to reduce oil output by 1 million barrels to a level of 23.5 million barrels per day effective April 1, 2004. "We are disappointed with OPEC's decision today," Secretary Abraham notes in a statement. "Producers should not take actions that will hurt consumers. This Administration is working actively on behalf of the American people and stressing to big producers that high energy prices are unacceptable. We do not comment on the substance of these discussions, but they will continue. However, today's action illustrates why we must enact a national energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil by increasing domestic supply. As we have been saying for the last three years, we need to develop ANWR's significant resources."
March 31, 2004
The Department announces the release of $43 million for accelerated cleanup projects at the Los Alamos National Laboratory upon reaching agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department. The agreement accelerates environmental legacy cleanup at Los Alamos by 20 years and covers over 800 cleanup sites and 43 square miles, focusing cleanup on the highest priority areas first. The agreement follows discussions by DOE and state officials and Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico).
March 31, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces it will begin moving special nuclear materials from Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 18 (TA-18) to the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) at the Nevada Test Site in anticipation of shifting the TA-18 mission to DAF. "Relocation of this special nuclear material is a major step in accelerating our efforts to move TA-18 operations to the Nevada Test Site," says NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks. "Getting this material out of TA-18 and to Nevada will assist NNSA in more quickly establishing critical national security missions in Nevada while consolidating special nuclear materials in a newer, more secure facility." The TA-18 facilities are the nation's only facilities capable of performing general-purpose nuclear materials handling and criticality experiments. These experiments provide unique training to a variety of federal agencies, including DOE, NNSA, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission personnel in areas such as nuclear materials safety, emergency response in support of counter terrorism activities, and safeguards and arms control in support of programs aimed at controlling excess nuclear materials.
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April 1, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the award of $128.2 million to 30 states and the Navajo Nation to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families. "These weatherization assistance grants will save energy, lower energy costs and increase the health and comfort of thousands of families," the Secretary says.
April 2, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the resignation of Under Secretary Robert Card effective April 18. President Bush announces his intent to designate Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Garman to serve as Acting Under Secretary of Energy.
April 2, 2004
The Department announced that it will enforce a 13 seasonal energy efficiency rating (SEER) standard for residential central air conditioners. This standard, which will apply to central air conditioners starting in January 2006, increases by 30 percent the SEER standard that applies to models sold today.
April 5, 2004
Secretary Abraham and R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, release the Final Report of the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force concerning the investigation of the August 14, 2003, power blackout that affected large parts of the U.S. and Canada. In a formal statement Secretary Abraham says, "The Final Report is the product of months of investigation and analysis by technical experts to determine what went wrong on August 14 and how to strengthen North America's electric transmission system to minimize the likelihood and magnitude of future blackouts. The report makes clear that this blackout could have been prevented and that immediate actions must be taken in both the United States and Canada to ensure that our electric system is more reliable. First and foremost, compliance with reliability rules must be made mandatory with substantial penalties for non-compliance. In addition, a number of technical and organizational improvements are urgently needed to assure efficient and well-coordinated operations across the North American power grid. Failure to implement the Final Report's recommendations could threaten the reliability of the electricity supply that is critical to the economic, energy and national security of our countries. It is vital that the U.S. Congress pass comprehensive energy legislation that includes mandatory reliability standards."
As to the cause of the blackout, the investigation team found that the ability to supply reactive power within the area had been inadequate for several years, and that the regional reliability council had not previously identified this vulnerability. As a result, there are now four groups of causes of the blackout: inadequate system understanding; inadequate situational awareness; inadequate tree trimming; and inadequate reliability coordinator diagnostic support. The Report also identifies seven violations of the voluntary reliability standards administered by the North American Electric Reliability Council.
April 5, 2004
Secretary Abraham unveils the nation's first on-line "Utility Report Card" at Citrus Elementary School in Ocoee. Florida's schools are the first in the nation to demonstrate the web-based "Utility Report Card," which tracks, evaluates and charts energy consumption in schools. The Department joins forces with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Orange County Public Schools, and Walt Disney World Co. to launch the new energy-savings initiative that will help schools reduce utility bills and save millions of dollars.
April 5, 2004
The Director of the DOE's Office of Science, Raymond L. Orbach, announces the official launch of a new complex-wide organizational structure. The new Office of Science structure eliminates a layer of management, redefines roles and responsibilities for headquarters and field managers, and clarifies lines of authority and accountability.
April 6, 2004
In its newly released report, Wind Power Today and Tomorrow, the Department states that in 2003 the U.S. wind generating capacity increased by more than 30 percent. Wind power plants of various sizes now operate in 32 states with a total generating capacity of 6,374 MW of power, enough to meet the energy needs of more than 3 million homes.
April 8, 2004
Assistant Secretary of Energy David Garman dedicates the nation's first joint hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen curriculum project at North Port High School in Florida. The school's hydrogen fuel cell, installed through a partnership between the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Power and Light and Sarasota County, gives students the opportunity to see this new technology in operation. DOE designed the hydrogen energy curriculum to provide a hands-on educational experience for students interested in energy science. Waste heat will be used to heat water in the school's kitchen, while water created by the fuel cell's recombining of hydrogen and oxygen may be used for landscaping. The fuel cell provides five kilowatts of power to the school, enough for a classroom.
April 8, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) states in its April Short-Term Energy Outlook that summer gasoline prices are expected to average a record high of $1.76 per gallon. High crude oil costs, strong gasoline demand, low gasoline inventories, and more stringent gasoline specifications have increased gasoline supply costs and retail prices to high levels well before the peak driving season. The EIA says that the domestic gasoline supply system is vulnerable to severe price shocks if major refinery or pipeline outages occur.
April 14, 2004
Secretary Abraham directs the Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to consolidate the U.S. Foreign Research Reactor Spent Nuclear Fuel (FRR SNF) Acceptance Program within its nonproliferation mission. This decision is intended to accelerate and strengthen the Department's efforts to return weapons-usable nuclear materials of U.S.-origin back to the U.S. "This effort will bring together, under one organization with a proven track record in nonproliferation, the Department of Energy's U.S. and Russian fuel return efforts," says the Secretary. "This consolidation will refocus and strengthen our international campaign to deny terrorists opportunities to seize nuclear materials and will also increase our effectiveness in achieving the reduction and eventual elimination of the use of weapons-usable materials in civil commerce worldwide."
April 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham and Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Rousseff, following a series of meetings in Brasilia, Brazil, announce a collaborative effort to advance hydrogen sector research, development and deployment activities, both bilaterally and multilaterally. A joint team of U.S. and Brazilian officials and experts will develop a hydrogen energy technology roadmap for Brazil. The roadmap will consider possible pathways for future hydrogen production, storage, transfer, end-use technologies, safety codes and standards, and outreach/communication efforts. "We look forward to working closely with our Brazilian partners as we leverage our efforts to pursue the promise of hydrogen energy," the Secretary says. "I have every confidence that, through such collaboration, we will indeed transform this world from one overly dependent on fossil fuels to one powered in large part by clean and abundant hydrogen."
April 19, 2004
Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow, in a visit to DOE's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, announces that the Department has established a "mission need" for upgrading the lab's Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). The proposed CEBAF Upgrade would double the energy of the lab's electron beam to 12 GeV (billion electron volts), build a fourth experimental hall equipped with state-of-art detectors, and upgrade the lab's computer processing capabilities. The upgrade would provide much more precise data on the structure of protons and neutrons as well as open up new physics regimes for study. McSlarrow tells lab employees that he had signed the "Critical Decision Zero" (or CD-0) for the upgrade. CD-0 is the first of five "critical decisions" that govern construction of DOE facilities and projects.
April 22, 2004
The Department and We Energies initiate a joint venture to demonstrate technology that, if successful, could eventually remove up to 90 percent of mercury emissions from certain coal-based power plants. Part of President Bush's Clean Coal Power Initiative, the technology research and development effort will support the goals of the President's Clear Skies Initiative to reduce mercury emissions by 70%. Under the agreement, We Energies of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will design, install, operate and evaluate the process, called TOXECONT, as an integrated system to control emissions of mercury, particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides during the operations of its Presque Isle plant at Marquette, Michigan. DOE's share of the cost of the five-year project is $24.8 million, and We Energies' share is $28.1 million.
April 22, 2004
The DOE's Office of Science celebrates Earth Day by announcing the winners in its first annual awards for Pollution Prevention and Environmental Stewardship. The Best in Class award is presented to the Battelle Memorial Institute for its leadership and management in the development and integration of Environmental Management Systems into the operational and business systems of Brookhaven National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and projects at Battelle Columbus. This integration has reduced hazards and waste generation at all of the sites, resulted in cost savings, improved environmental accountability, and enhanced compliance with environmental requirements and standards.
April 26, 2004
President Bush, in a speech in Minneapolis, declares that "we need a different energy strategy than the one we have today, a strategy that uses technology and innovation to diversify our supplies, to make us less dependent on foreign sources of energy, and to improve the environment." Noting that the U.S. cannot "be the world leader if we're constantly dependent of foreign sources of oil," the President states that "research and development is necessary to change the energy policy of the country." He singles out biomass and ethanol, nuclear energy, coal, and, most prominently, the hydrogen fuel cell as the "new supplies" for the American economy.
April 27, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a speech at Wayne State University in Detroit, announces $350 million in nationwide funding for science and research projects to establish a hydrogen economy. The $350 million represents nearly one-third of President Bush's $1.2 billion commitment in research funding to bring hydrogen and fuel cell technology from the laboratory to the showroom. Selected through a merit-reviewed, competitive process, the projects involve 30 lead organizations and include over 100 partners. Recipients include academia, industry, and DOE national laboratories.
April 27, 2004
The Secretary also announces that DOE has selected over $150 million in hydrogen storage research projects to support the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative. The projects include the formation of three "Centers of Excellence," at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories, integrating the expertise of the DOE National Laboratories in partnership with industry and academia. The centers will address the major technical barrier to on-board hydrogen storage-storing enough hydrogen to enable greater than 300 mile driving range without impacting cargo or passenger space.
April 27, 2004
The Senate rejects an amendment offered by Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) that would have attached a comprehensive energy bill to an Internet tax measure.
April 28, 2004
Secretary Abraham dedicates Sandia National Laboratories' Joint Computational Engineering Laboratory (JCEL) during a visit to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The primary mission of JCEL is to develop advanced science-based Stockpile Stewardship tools.
April 29, 2004
Demolition crews bring down the Pilot Plant at DOE's Fernald Closure Site in Ohio. The plant was the last to be torn down of ten former uranium production complexes that produced high purity uranium metal from 1951 to 1989 to support the nation's weapons production needs. Environmental cleanup work at the site is projected to be completed in 2006.
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May 1, 2004
Six teams take their place in the winner's circle at the second annual Hydrogen Fuel Cell Model Car Challenge, part of the DOE's National Science Bowl®. University High School of Morgantown, West Virginia, takes first place in the Grand Prix speed race, and Chaska High School of Chaska, Minnesota, conquers a 48 degree incline with their hydrogen powered model car to become the "King of the Hill". With model car kit components provided by General Motors, the teams designed and built the small hydrogen vehicles with technical assistance from DOE engineers. Each model car measures a maximum of one foot wide and two feet long.
May 3, 2004
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology team from Alexandria, Virginia, wins the National Science Bowl® championship for the third consecutive year.
May 4, 2004
Seven researchers funded by DOE are honored at a White House ceremony for their work ranging from understanding stellar explosions to the mechanics of biological tissues. They are among 57 researchers supported by eight federal departments and agencies who received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Presidential award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their independent careers.
May 5, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the formation of a new interagency group that, in the interest of energy security and consumer affordability will focus on identifying specific near- and long-term actions that could expand domestic natural gas supplies. The new Interagency Working Group (IWG) will also examine the findings of the National Petroleum Council's (NPC) September 2003 Natural Gas Study and determine the study's consistency with the President's National Energy Policy. IWG representatives will come from the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, Commerce, Homeland Security, and Interior; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and the Environmental Protection Agency.
May 5, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a speech to the U.S. Energy Association, points out the "real achievements" in the past 15 months since President Bush "bold announcement" of "his forward-looking, revolutionary hydrogen proposal" in the State of the Union address. "The approach we are taking is substantial," the Secretary notes. "It is concrete, and it is getting results."
May 6, 2004
In an hour-long meeting with Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil, Secretary Abraham asks that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) increase production to help bring down high prices, which are close to $40 per barrel. Current average U.S. retail gasoline prices, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration, are at a record high $1.844 per gallon. An International Energy Agency report released this week on the impact of high oil prices on the global economy notes that "fears of OPEC supply cuts, political tensions in Venezuela and tight stocks have driven up international crude oil and product prices" in recent weeks, which threatens the global economic recovery.
May 7, 2004
Secretary Abraham designates the Savannah River Technology Center (SRTC), located at DOE's Savannah River Site, as the Savannah River National Laboratory. Secretary Abraham is joined by Governor Mark Sanford, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), and Congressmen Gresham Barrett (R-South Carolina) and Max Burns (R-Georgia) at the event at the site. "President Bush and I are proud of the scientific and technical work ongoing at the Department of Energy's national laboratories," the Secretary says. "And today, we are even more proud to designate this new laboratory and make it a full partner in the critical missions performed by DOE facilities." The SRTC began operations in 1951 to provide research and development support for the nation's nuclear facilities complex and national defense. The Savannah River National Laboratory's work will continue on waste processing, environmental remediation, non-proliferation technologies, and national security projects.
May 7, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces initiatives to improve security across DOE's nationwide network of laboratories and defense facilities, particularly those housing weapons-grade nuclear materials. Addressing a gathering of top security officers from across the DOE complex, the Secretary notes that the Department, which develops and maintains the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile, is responsible for protecting critical national defense assets that "simply put, must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands." The initiatives include expanding the capabilities of DOE security personnel, including possibly federalizing some security units currently managed by contractors; consolidating sensitive nuclear material into fewer locations; enhancing protections of classified computer information; upgrading security systems at key facilities; and making managers more receptive to security concerns. "Since the stakes are so high" the Secretary tells the security officers at DOE's Savannah River Site, "everything is on the table." To maximize the effectiveness of DOE security forces, the Secretary says DOE will consider the creation of a specialized security contingent to guard the Department's high-priority nuclear facilities, with capabilities similar to the military's Delta Force or Navy SEAL units.
May 11, 2004
Secretary Abraham launches Science.gov 2.0 as the next major step in government science information retrieval. Science.gov is the gateway to information about science and technology from across federal government organizations. Science.gov 2.0 provides user-friendly technology enhancements to the interagency science portal. The new technology sorts through the government's vast reservoirs of research and rapidly returns information in an order more likely to meet patrons' needs. Science.gov is made possible through a collaboration of 12 major science agencies.
May 11, 2004
The Department's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ships the first of a series of advanced, superconducting magnets to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. The magnet will play a key role in the operation of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a new particle accelerator due to begin operating in 2007. The 43-foot, 19-ton magnet marks the culmination of a decade-long Fermilab effort to design, develop, manufacture, and test the next generation of focusing magnets for particle accelerators. Next-generation superconducting magnet systems built at three DOE national laboratories-Fermilab, Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley-are a significant part of the $531 million total U.S. contribution to the LHC machine and detectors.
May 11, 2004
Commenting on a proposal by Saudi Arabia to boost OPEC crude oil production by at least 1.5 million barrels per day, Secretary Abraham says "there seems to be a very broad recognition that world demand levels have gone up. The growing world economy is producing much bigger demand, and it was a very positive signal that was sent [by the Saudis]."
May 12, 2004
Spencer Abraham announces that DOE has selected Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and its development partners, Cray Inc., IBM Corp., and Silicon Graphics Inc., to receive $25 million in funding to begin building a 50 teraflop (50 trillion calculations per second) science research supercomputer. ORNL was selected in a peer-review competition with three other DOE Office of Science national laboratories. "The new facility will enable the Office of Science to deliver world leadership-class computing for science," the Secretary says. "It will serve to revitalize the U.S. effort in high-end computing. It is no exaggeration to say that this machine will give both the U.S. scientific community and industrial sector a significant competitive advantage over the rest of the world."
May 17, 2004
The Department announces that successful tests with a new technology funded by DOE have allowed geologists to "see" through thousands of feet of rock to find and tap pockets of oil. Known as "cross-well electromagnetic imaging," the technology penetrates the rocks between oil wells with very long and slow electromagnetic waves. "This technology will increase oil production from existing reservoirs and could be a valuable tool in locating new reservoirs," Secretary Abraham says.
May 18, 2004
The Department announces that DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration has surpassed a congressional target of recovering and securing 5,000 radioactive sources domestically within an 18-month time period. These radioactive materials could be used in a radiological dispersal device, also known as a "dirty bomb." "We are continuing to work overtime to secure and recover radioactive materials that can be used for dangerous purposes," Secretary Abraham says.
May 19, 2004
Researchers at six DOE national laboratories are honored for their outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology to the marketplace. Research teams at Argonne National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories have received the Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer Award for 2004, one of the most prestigious honors in the field.
May 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham begins a nine-day international trip that includes conferences and meetings in six countries: Austria, Greece, Poland, Russia, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Discussions focus on world energy issues, energy security, and nonproliferation.
May 19, 2004
President Bush, in response to calls by Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for the suspension of scheduled oil deliveries to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, declares that "we will not play politics with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That Petroleum Reserve is in place in case of major disruptions of energy supplies to the United States. The idea of emptying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve . . . would put America in a dangerous position in the war on terror. We're at war. We face a tough and determined enemy on all fronts. And we must not put ourselves in a worse position in this war. And playing politics with the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would do just that."
May 20, 2004
Secretary Abraham meets with British officials in London, and the two countries announce two partnerships to promote sustainable, affordable energy in the developed and developing world-the United Kingdom joins the Efficient Energy for Sustainable Development Partnership of the U.S. Clean Energy Initiative, the U.S. signs on to, as of April 28, the U.K. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership. The partners will work together and leverage human and financial resources to maximize their impact in building markets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. "These mutually supporting agreements, entered into enthusiastically by both our nations, will strengthen efforts to increase access to modern, cleaner and more affordable energy services," the Secretary says. "This will, in the long term, help to alleviate global poverty, reduce environmental impacts and further sustainable development."
May 21, 2004
In a U.S. Court of Federal Claims case brought by the Indiana-Michigan Power Co., the judge rules that DOE is not liable for failing in its contractual obligation to begin accepting civilian high-level nuclear waste in 1998.
May 22, 2004
In Amsterdam, Secretary Abraham participates in the International Energy Forum (IEF) Ministerial Meeting, a high level biennial informal gathering of energy-producing and energy-consuming nations. The Secretary addresses the IEF Opening Session and, while at the forum, holds bilateral meetings with energy officials of several countries. The Secretary signs a Memorandum of Understanding with Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Einar Steensnaes that will enhance research in a number of areas of mutual benefit, including carbon sequestration, hydrogen, and clean fuels.
May 23, 2004
Secretary Abraham signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Minister Zhang Guobao, Vice Chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission, to launch the U.S.-China Energy Policy Dialogue. The Dialogue will strengthen energy-related interactions between China and the United States, the world's two largest energy consumers.
May 23, 2004
Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali Naimi informs Secretary Abraham that his country is willing to increase its crude oil production. "I had a very constructive meeting today with minister Naimi, who indicated to me, consistent with public statements that have been made by other leaders in his government over the last couple of days, that Saudi Arabia is fulfilling genuine requests for the month of June for a total of 9.1 million barrels a day," the Secretary tells reporters. "He also stated that going forward they will meet all requests up to their full capacity of 10.5 million barrels a day. . . . I thought this was a very important comment on his part."
May 23, 2004
The Department announces that it will cooperate with an industry team led by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to conduct a detailed study of the potential construction of a two-unit Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) nuclear plant on Bellefonte site near Hollywood, Alabama. The study, which will cost a total of $4.25 million over the next 10 months, will help TVA decide whether to build a new, advanced technology nuclear plant at the site by the middle of the next decade. The plant could produce more than 2600 megawatts of electric energy. DOE will fund half of the cost associated with the study.
May 25, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a stop at Athens, meets with Greek officials and transfers hand-held radiological detection equipment to support increased security for the upcoming Olympic Games. "The Department of Energy is proud to cooperate with the Greek government and the International Atomic Energy Agency to improve security for the Olympic Games," the Secretary says. "It is in our interest to protect the athletes and citizens who will attend this historic event." DOE support was requested because of its expertise in the area of physical protection of nuclear and other radioactive materials, the detection of illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material, and its capability to provide relevant equipment with short-lead time.
May 25, 2004
Groundbreaking ceremonies are held for the new Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) at DOE's Los Alamos (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) in New Mexico. The $76 million center is one of five new Nanoscale Science Research Centers to be built by DOE's Office of Science to provide researchers with world-class facilities for the interdisciplinary study of matter at the atomic scale. The 95,000 square-foot Core Facility is being built in Albuquerque. A 34,000 square-foot Gateway Facility will be in Los Alamos. LANL and SNL will operate CINT jointly.
May 26, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a speech to delegates at the International Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, launches the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), a comprehensive effort to secure and remove high-risk nuclear and radiological materials that continue to pose a threat to the U.S. and the international community. The GTRI will be carried out in close cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and global partners in order to ensure that such nuclear and radiological materials do not fall into the hands of terrorists or other rogue actors. Under the new initiative, DOE will develop a threat-based, prioritized approach to systematically address facilities that possess high-risk fissile and other nuclear materials. The GTRI will accelerate ongoing efforts to repatriate Russian-origin highly enriched uranium (HEU) and spent fuel and U.S.-origin research reactor spent fuel, work to convert the cores of civilian research reactors throughout the world that use HEU to low enriched uranium fuel, and identify other nuclear and radiological materials and related equipment not yet covered by existing threat reduction efforts. The U.S. plans to dedicate more than $450 million to the GTRI.
May 27, 2004
Secretary Abraham, on a stop in Moscow, and Director Alexander Rumyantsev of the Russian Federal Agency for Atomic Energy sign a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russian Federation governments concerning the repatriation of Russian-origin high-enriched uranium (HEU) research reactor fuel to Russia. Under the agreement, more than a dozen countries are eligible to receive financial and technical assistance from the U.S. and others to ship their fresh and spent research reactor fuel to Russia for safe and secure management. The agreement reaffirms the U.S. and Russian Federation's shared commitment to reduce global stockpiles of weapons-usable nuclear materials, to reduce the threat of international terrorism, and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
May 27, 2004
The Department selects the University of Maryland/University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Rochester to host two new Fusion Science Centers. The universities will establish academic centers of excellence that will focus on fundamental issues in fusion plasma science. The centers will perform research in areas of such wide scope and complexity that it would not be feasible for individual or small groups of researchers to make progress. The centers are intended to strengthen the connection between the fusion research community and the broader scientific community. Total DOE funding for the two centers over their five-year duration is expected to be nearly $12 million.
May 28, 2004
Secretary Abraham, after touring the "ELCHO" power plant, which is powered with clean coal technology developed under DOE's Clean Coal program and is located in the Silesia region of southern Poland, invites Poland to become the 17th member of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, an international climate change initiative that focuses on the development of carbon capture and storage technologies.
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June 3, 2004
The Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) decides to increase the crude oil production ceiling (excluding Iraq) to 25.5 million barrels per day (mb/d), effective July 1, and to 26 mb/d, effective August 1, in order to ensure adequate supply and give a clear signal of OPEC's commitment to market stability and to maintaining prices at acceptable levels to both producers and consumers. "OPEC's announcement today is welcome news and, when implemented, will result in new supplies to the market," Secretary Abraham states. "This action demonstrates that producers are taking concrete and immediate actions to address global oil supply needs. We look to producers to fulfill their commitment to increase supplies."
June 3, 2004
Administrator Linton Brooks of DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration submits, on behalf of the Secretaries of Energy and Defense, a classified report to Congress showing a significant reduction in the nation's total nuclear weapons stockpile by 2012. The stockpile contains reserve warheads that back up the operationally deployed nuclear weapons. In 2001, President Bush announced that the operationally deployed force would be reduced to 1,700 - 2,200 nuclear weapons by 2012. His decision was later codified in the Moscow Treaty.
June 7, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration announces that the average price of gasoline across the nation has decreased for the second week in a row to $2.075 per gallon. "OPEC's announcement last week promising new supplies to the oil market, along with recent inventory and import data, are all positive developments in the oil markets," notes Secretary Abraham. "We have seen a modest increase in gasoline stock levels and a decrease in crude oil prices, which indicate that the situation may have entered a phase that will lead to more sustainable supply levels and prices."
June 7, 2004
Secretary Abraham commissions a new $215 million West Virginia project based on new technology that over the next 60 months will deliver environmental improvements, economic benefits, and thousands of new jobs. The clean coal plant will use nearby waste-coal to generate electric power with ultra-low emissions of pollutants while concurrently producing combustion ash byproducts and heat to support industrial activities.
June 9, 2004
The Department announced that it will conduct separate competitions for the management of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, both now managed by the University of California. DOE also announces that it will extend the current contract for the Livermore lab beyond its current September 30, 2005, expiration date in order to separate the two competitions.
June 10, 2004
The DOE announces that seven new states and 13 organizations have joined the Carbon Sequestration Regional Partnership Program, the centerpiece of national efforts to validate and deploy carbon sequestration technologies.
June 15, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration announces that its project to engage Iraqi scientists has completed a survey of Iraq's science and technology priorities. The survey identified health, water resources, environment, energy, and basic science as critical areas in which to employ Iraqi scientists, technicians, and engineers.
June 15, 2004
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Guy F. Caruso, administrator of DOE's Energy Information Administration, states that "absent major disruptions, oil and gasoline markets may be turning a corner." The average wholesale price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped 23 cents, Caruso notes, and "if all goes well, the trend will be for retail prices to follow wholesale prices downward."
June 16, 2004
The House of Representatives passes a comprehensive energy bill identical to the bill approved by a House-Senate conference committee in fall 2003. Secretary Abraham urges Congress to complete the job and pass the energy legislation. "Congress has had three years to pass a comprehensive energy policy that would further advance our policy of energy independence to help consumers and American businesses," the Secretary states. "For three years, some in Congress have balked at addressing America's energy challenges. They should put political differences aside and pass an energy bill that lessens our dependency on foreign oil and secures America's energy needs into the future."
June 16, 2004
The Department announces a major new research and development initiative to develop "microhole" technologies using portable drilling rigs with a smaller footprint and lower environmental impact. The program is designed to bring about faster, cheaper, and safer oil and gas projects.
June 22, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a speech before the National Petroleum Council (NPC), calls on the NPC to conduct a study of refining capacity in the U.S. He asks the NPC to determine the nation's future demand for refinery products, its domestic capacity to meet future needs, the barriers to meeting future demand, and the capital factors that will drive supply growth. He also asks the NPC to examine how worldwide capacity will impact access to products by the U.S.
June 22, 2004
In the 23rd TOP500 listing of the world's fastest supercomputers, machines at DOE's Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories rank 2nd, 3rd, and 9th, respectively.
June 23, 2004
The Department issues Record of Decision for the Solid Waste Program at its Hanford Site in Richland, Washington. Addressing concerns about bringing outside waste onto the site, DOE agrees to limit the importation of such waste to the site to 75% less than the amounts it evaluated for potential disposal there. DOE will immediately cease the disposal of low-level waste in unlined trenches, develop capabilities to treat mixed low-level waste for disposal at Hanford, close onsite disposal facilities (unlined trenches), continue comprehensive groundwater cleanup and monitoring consistent with recently-signed regulatory commitments agreed to by the State of Washington, and use existing and modified Hanford facilities for the storage, processing and certification of transuranic waste prior to its shipment to DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, for disposal.
June 24, 2004
In an energy debate hosted by the Sustainable Energy Institute, Acting Under Secretary David Garman emphasizes the similarities in the policies of the two candidates-President Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry-noting that "I don't believe the visions or the end states of the Bush and Kerry energy policies are inconsistent with each other at all." Garman states that both candidates support development of liquefied natural gas, improved fuel efficiency standards, tax credits for renewable energy, clean coal programs, and carbon sequestration. Kerry adviser David Hayes, in contrast, says there are "serious differences" between the two, primarily on energy issues related to the environment and on Kerry's greater stress on renewable energy, and it is "in the Bush administration's interest to blur those lines."
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July 1, 2004
The Cassini-Huygena spacecraft goes into orbit around the planet Saturn following a seven-year journey made possible partly by work done at DOE sites. Cassini is powered by plutonium-238 produced by DOE's Savannah River Site. The Pu-238 is contained in three radioisotopic thermo-electric generators (RTGs) that convert heat from the plutonium fuel into electricity to power the spacecraft's many scientific instruments, control systems, and communication devices. DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed and fabricated the protective cladding, iridium alloy clad vent sets, to encapsulate the fuel.
July 6, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that DOE and the Department of Defense have completed a joint operation to secure and remove from Iraq radiological and nuclear materials that could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device or diverted to support a nuclear weapons program. Twenty experts from DOE's national laboratory complex packaged 1.77 metric tons of low-enriched uranium and roughly 1000 highly radioactive sources from a former Iraq nuclear research facility. "This operation was a major achievement for the Bush Administration's goal to keep potentially dangerous nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists," the Secretary says. "It also puts this material out of reach for countries that may seek to develop their own nuclear weapons."
July 7, 2004
In testimony before the House Committee on Government Reform's Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Mark Maddox states that "gasoline price volatility should come as no surprise" given "increasing demand and tightened supplies for crude oil and gasoline." Gasoline demand, he notes, "has risen rapidly over the past year, as the U.S. and world economies have emerged from a period of slow growth. In particular, the U.S., Chinese, and other Asian economies are growing rapidly and well beyond experts' projections, which has boosted oil demand." On the supply side, Maddox observes, "increased domestic production of our economic oil reserves should be the cornerstone," with the single most important factor being the opening of "large scale domestic petroleum production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR)." He also notes that the U.S. "has not seen a new refinery built since 1976, and expansion of existing refineries has slowed in recent years. The result is that our refineries are running at near-total capacity of about 96 percent. This means that even if additional crude oil supplies were available, we could produce very little additional gasoline to meet rising demand."
July 7, 2004
An inventory at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico reveals that two zip diskettes containing classified material are missing from the Weapons Physics Directorate.
July 8, 2004
Secretary Abraham, in a speech to a group of researchers and graduate students at DOE's Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Palo Alto, California, announces that DOE and its national laboratories are launching an initiative to promote science literacy and help develop the next generation of scientists and engineers. The Secretary outlines a seven-step program named STARS: Scientists Teaching and Reaching Students. The program is designed to enhance the training of America's mathematics and science teachers; grow students' interest in science and math, especially in the critical middle school years; and draw attention to the women and men who have done DOE science so very well.
July 8, 2004
In an interview in the American Gas Association's monthly magazine, President Bush states that in a second term he would continue to "pursue fuel-neutral policies that rely on all energy sources. The best way to achieve that is by promoting sound policies that increase domestic energy production. Ultimately, market forces should decide which fuels could appropriately meet consumer demands as well as meet the nation's environmental goals."
July 8, 2004
The states of Oregon and Washington notify President Bush, Secretary Abraham, and Attorney General John Ashcroft of their intent to sue the federal government over environmental conditions at DOE's Hanford Site in Washington. Noting that DOE has "not performed . . . an assessment of injuries to natural resources" at the site, the states declare that they "intend to seek an order requiring" such an assessment.
July 9, 2004
A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rejects the State of Nevada's challenge to the constitutionality of the 2002 Congressional resolution approving Yucca Mountain. In the ruling, the Court addresses a number of challenges by the State, local communities, environmental organizations, and the nuclear industry. Various lawsuits had been consolidated into one case. The Court vacates one aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency's health and safety standards for Yucca Mountain, the requirement that DOE limit radiation for a 10,000 year compliance period and not longer, as had been deemed necessary by the National Academy of Sciences. Secretary Abraham notes that DOE "will be working with the EPA and Congress to determine appropriate steps to address this issue."
July 12, 2004
President Bush, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary Abraham visit DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The three inspect materials and equipment from Libya's former nuclear program, which are stored at DOE's Oak Ridge complex, and the President gives a 35-minute talk to employees and guests. Thanking employees for the vital work they do at the laboratory, the President states that "the nation counts on your great expertise and your professionalism in producing, protecting, and maintaining material that is critical to our security. America is safer because of your service at Oak Ridge."
July 13, 2004
The Department announces that the U.S. project office for ITER, a major international fusion experiment, will be located at DOE's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in Plainsboro, New Jersey. PPPL is charged with developing the scientific understanding and key innovations that will lead to an attractive fusion energy source. PPPL, in partnership with DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), will be responsible for overseeing the U.S. ITER Project Office and providing it with the requisite staffing and facilities.
July 13, 2004
Representatives of the nuclear industry, academia, and DOE national laboratories attend the Decision-Makers' Forum on a Unified Strategy for Nuclear Energy, organized by DOE's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory, to discuss a strategy for expanding the nation's reliance on nuclear power.
July 13, 2004
In testimony before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow says that, despite the adverse July 9 court ruling on health and safety standards for Yucca Mountain, DOE still intends to send the application for the high-level nuclear waste repository to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by December and open the repository by 2010.
July 15, 2004
Demolition begins at DOE's Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site, a former nuclear weapons production plant located near Denver, Colorado, of Building 771, once dubbed by the national media as "the most dangerous building in America." The plutonium process building has a 50-year legacy of plutonium leaks and spills, and a major fire occurred there in 1957. In 1994, DOE concluded that Building 771 was its greatest vulnerability because of the hazardous and radioactive materials it once housed. "When this historic cleanup is complete," Secretary Abraham says, "it will show that the U.S. government can clean up the legacy of the Cold War and turn the 6,000-plus acre reserve from a perceived public liability into a true public asset, a National Wildlife Refuge managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."
July 15, 2004
Secretary Abraham directs Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow and National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Linton Brooks to personally oversee the inquiry into the underlying security failures at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) after the inability of LANL to locate two missing classified computer discs. As part of this assignment the two will visit Los Alamos in the immediate future for a first hand review of the situation. "The investigation to date indicates widespread disregard of security procedures by laboratory employees," says the Secretary. "This is absolutely unacceptable. While our first priority must be to locate the missing material, the government will insist that the University of California, which operates Los Alamos, ensures that the laboratory take strong measures to correct the systematic flaws that allowed this problem to occur. Although it appears the laboratory management is taking vigorous action to locate the missing material, short term responsiveness is no substitute for sustained action to impose effective procedures and ensure they are followed."
July 16, 2004
The Department of Agriculture and DOE announce the selection of 22 projects that will receive $25,480,628 for the Biomass Research and Development Initiative. The joint grant program is part of the Bush Administration's effort to increase America's energy independence through the development of additional renewable energy resources from the agricultural and agroforestry sectors. Including the cost sharing of the private sector partners, the total value of the projects is nearly $38 million. The funds will be used for biomass research, development and demonstration projects. "The projects announced today," notes Secretary Abraham will move us closer to our goal of establishing biorefineries that produce power, fuels, chemicals and other valuable products."
July 16, 2004
Secretary Abraham asks the National Petroleum Council to prepare a study identifying the factors that will impact the petroleum refining and distribution industry's ability to meet future demand.
July 17, 2004
Decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) comes to an end at Building 881 at DOE's Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site when the building is safely brought down using explosive charges to fracture the cement walls and floor of the 245,160 square foot basement. Completed in 1952, the facility was used to process and machine enriched uranium into finished weapons components.
July 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces awards to eleven new projects worth a total value of nearly $4.2 million for a new phase of fuel-cell research designed to hasten the wider availability of zero-emissions energy. The projects are focused on developing improvements in fuel cell materials and performance. "The President's Hydrogen and Climate Initiatives envision fuel cells playing a prominent role in the economy and everyday life," the Secretary says. "To reach the goal of zero-emissions energy, we need to reduce the costs of fuel cell acquisition and use. These projects address the last barriers to commercially viable solid oxide fuel cell systems."
July 20, 2004
Secretary Abraham issues a statement on the investigation into security issues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. "The failure to follow appropriate procedures is widespread and extends beyond the security area," the Secretary says. "As a result, Los Alamos lacks an effective system to ensure the proper accountability of so-called Controlled Removable Electronic Media such as computer disks and hard drives. I have directed that classified operations involving Controlled Removable Electronic Media will not resume until Deputy Secretary McSlarrow and Administrator Brooks inform me of their satisfaction that the newly implemented corrective actions provide for complete and verifiable custodial control of such media. The department will continue to insist that the University of California, which operates Los Alamos, take strong measures to ensure that the laboratory corrects the systematic flaws that allowed this problem to occur. The investigation will continue to place the highest priority on locating the missing material."
July 20, 2004
The Department issues two Records of Decision (RODs) for construction and operation of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (DUF6) Conversion Plants at DOE's Kentucky and Ohio gaseous diffusion plants. The conversion plants will convert depleted uranium hexafluoride to more stable chemical forms that will reduce risk at these sites and bring DOE closer to completing its cleanup mission.
July 20, 2004
The White House's National Science and Technology Council releases "Science for the 21st Century," an overview of the Bush Administration's science policies and accomplishments.
July 22, 2004
The Department requests public comments on issues relating to the identification, designation, and possible mitigation of National Interest Electric Transmission Bottlenecks (NIETBs). The call for public input will help DOE fulfill recommendations from the President's National Energy Policy and the National Transmission Grid Study. "By publicly identifying and designating National Interest Electric Transmission Bottlenecks," Secretary Abraham says, DOE "seeks to help mitigate transmission bottlenecks that are a significant barrier to the efficient operation of regional electricity markets, threaten the safe and reliable operation of the electric system, or impair national security."
July 23, 2004
Secretary Abraham orders all DOE operations at all DOE sites using controlled removable electronic media (CREM), such as classified computer hard drives or disks, to conduct an immediate stand-down to improve procedures for protecting such media. The directive is an outgrowth of the problem discovered at the Los Alamos National Laboratory where two zip diskettes containing classified material could not be located.
July 26, 2004
The Department announces it has received proposals for projects in a new generation of clean coal projects, valued at nearly $6 billion, in the latest phase of the President's Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI).
July 27, 2004
Ground is broken on a new Science and Technology Facility at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado. Designed to increase collaboration among researchers and speed the time it takes for new technologies to move from the laboratory bench to commercial manufacturing, the facility will advance solar, hydrogen, and other promising clean energy.
July 28, 2004
At a roll-out event, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Mike Leavitt announces the international Methane to Markets Partnership to develop and promote cooperation on the recovery and use of methane. Methane is a clean-burning fuel that is the main component of natural gas and is also the second most prevalent greenhouse gas from human sources. The intent of the Partnership is to deliver significant energy, safety, and environmental benefits through the recovery and use of methane, while reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The Partnership will focus on deploying cost-effective technologies in landfill gas-to-energy projects, methane recovery projects at coal mines, and improvements in natural gas systems.The Partnership "follows our successful establishment of the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum," notes Secretary Abraham. "In addition to very substantial near-term greenhouse gas reductions, this new partnership will benefit the economies of developing nations across the world." The U.S. is committing $53 million to the Partnership over the next five years.
July 28, 2004
Oil prices reach a 21-year high of $43.05 per barrel amid concerns that exports from Russia's largest oil producer, Yukos, could fall.
July 28, 2004
In a primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell compares oil and gasoline prices to the situation at the end of World War II when "America faced a Europe with a shattered infrastructure, a decimated economy and threatened by an encroaching Soviet Union."He says that the party's presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts), would provide automakers with $10 billion of tax credits to build hybrid cars, cutting U.S. oil demand and reducing imports from the Middle East.
July 28, 2004
Secretary Abraham responds that the charges that the Bush Administration has not done enough to assure energy security "are completely erroneous." The Kerry campaign "has it backwards," the Secretary tells reporters, noting that the senator and his running mate, Senator John Edwards (D-North Carolina), in the Senate have failed to improve energy security. "We have implemented a strong, decisive energy security game plan," the Secretary declares. Congress has "failed to act."
July 29, 2004
In his speech accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for president, Senator John Kerry states that he wants to make the U.S. "finally and forever independent" of Mideast oil. "I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation [for energy]-not the Saudi royal family," he declares to the loudest applause of the night. "And our energy plan for a stronger America will invest in new technologies and alternative fuels and the cars of the future so that no young American in uniform will ever be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East."
July 30, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the upcoming publication of Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking regarding energy efficiency standards for three products: distribution transformers, commercial air conditioners and heat pumps, and residential furnaces and boilers.
August 3, 2004
The Mercury MESSENGER spacecraft is successfully launched on its flight to the planet Mercury. DOE's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory collaborated in the design and construction of the high-resolution gamma ray detector that will measure the elemental composition of the planet's crust.
August 4, 2004
At a headquarters awards ceremony at DOE's Forrestal Building in Washington, Secretary Abraham accepts a symbolic Kermit the Frog ("It's not easy to be green") from Kay Coles, director of the Office of Personnel Management, for DOE's success in implementing the President's Management Agenda (PMA). The Office of Management and Budget issues quarterly scorecards rating agency performance on five PMA initiatives. On the July 2004 scorecard, DOE received three green (success) ratings in the human capital, competitive sourcing, and financial performance areas and two yellows (mixed results) ratings in the areas of e-government and budget/performance integration. These ratings make DOE the highest performing Cabinet agency in implementing the PMA.
August 5, 2004
The Department completes the first Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) shipment returning nuclear fuel to the U.S. from three research reactors in Germany. The shipment contains 126 spent nuclear fuel assemblies of U.S. origin composed of highly-enriched and low-enriched uranium and took place in the framework of the existing Foreign Research Reactor (FRR) Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Acceptance Program. "By accepting this material, particularly highly-enriched uranium that could be used in nuclear weapons if it falls into the hands of terrorist groups, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative plays a key role in removing this material from international civilian commerce," Secretary Abraham says.
August 9, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that DOE will provide $16,337,695 for 162 energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Funding is being provided through DOE's State Energy Program Special Projects competitive grants. State energy offices will use these funds to improve the energy efficiency of schools, homes and other buildings; promote energy-efficient industrial technologies; and support renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass.
August 10, 2004
At a campaign stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry pledges that he will not pursue Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository.
August 12, 2004
"My opponent is trying to turn Yucca Mountain into a political poker chip," the President says. "He says he's strongly against Yucca here in Nevada, but he voted for it several times. And so did his running mate."
August 12, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that 22 universities in 18 states will receive $3.4 million in fossil energy research grants through a DOE program that brings science, university students, and their professors together to advance the study of new clean and efficient coal-use technologies and concepts.
August 13, 2004
The American and Canadian co-leads of the Power System Outage Task Force, David Meyer and Dr. Nawal Kamel, release a joint report called The August 14th Blackout One Year Later: Actions Taken to Reduce Blackout Risk. The report details key accomplishments over the last year and identifies major challenges still ahead.
August 16, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the selection of nine projects totaling $10 million to develop the nation's oil and gas resources and protect the environment. The new projects, part of the DOE's Natural Gas and Oil Environmental Program, will address issues that currently restrict domestic oil and gas production, support development of new technologies, and explore more efficient and environmentally responsible oil and gas production. The nine projects concentrate on two primary areas-access to resources on federal lands and produced water management.
August 18, 2004
With oil prices approaching $50 per barrel, President Bush, in campaign speeches in Wisconsin and Minnesota, declares that Congress needs to pass an energy plan." We need an energy plan," the President tells an audience in St. Paul, "that encourages conservation, renewable sources of energy; an energy plan that encourages the exploration of natural resources here close to home in environmentally friendly ways. But one thing is certain: For the sake of economic security, and the sake of national security, we must become less dependent on foreign sources of energy."
August 19, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces that during an inventory of Classified Removable Electronic Media (CREM) at NNSA offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a technical support organization discovered an accounting discrepancy involving three electronic copies of a classified document. The inventory was conducted in response to an order by Secretary Abraham that requires all DOE facilities to stand down operations involving CREM until complete and accountable custodial responsibility for such media is established with complete inventories, appropriate training and security procedure reviews. NNSA managers ordered an immediate investigation into the discrepancy.
August 24, 2004
Secretary Abraham signs an agreement, in Paris, with France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) Chairman Alain Bugat that will allow cooperation between the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy, Science and Technology and the French CEA. The agreement provides DOE access to the PHENIX fast spectrum test reactor, which has a capability that no longer exists in the U.S. "This new implementing arrangement with the CEA is a positive step forward and will provide for updating, strengthening and expanding the prior understanding of nuclear fuel and fuel cycle-related research and development," the Secretary says.
August 24, 2004
Secretary Abraham meets with Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency. Afterward, Mandil, in an interview with a reporter, says that he and the Secretary agree that current high oil prices are not justified by global supply and demand. "The oil price is really too high now," Mandil states, and is "not in accordance with short-term fundamentals."
August 25, 2004
Secretary Abraham, Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans, and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John H. Marburger, III, transmit to Congress a report-Our Changing Planet-on the Bush Administration's multi-agency Climate Change Science Program for fiscal years 2004 and 2005.
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September 2, 2004
In his speech accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president, President Bush declares that "we will make our country less dependent on foreign sources of energy." The Republican Party Platform states that "a stable, affordable, more independent energy supply is vital to fueling America's economic growth, increasing prosperity, helping families afford prices at the pump, and making America more secure."
September 8, 2004
Secretary Abraham and Overseas Private Investment Corporation President and CEO Peter S. Watson sign an agreement acknowledging their partnership in the effort to promote investment in cleaner, more efficient energy technologies in emerging markets throughout the world. Under this agreement, both agencies will work to create an Efficient Energy and Renewables Program focused on innovative financing and creative partnerships that will lead to environmentally-sound economic growth in developing countries throughout the world. The agreement also advances two U.S. energy initiatives, the Clean Energy Initiative (CEI) and the Clean Energy Technology Export Initiative (CETE). "This important, forward-thinking initiative will help create jobs, improve infrastructure, and support economic growth in developing countries, while also creating new investment opportunities for American businesses," the Secretary says.
September 8, 2004
In testimony before the House Committee on the Budget, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan states that "softness" in the economy "no doubt is related, in large measure, to this year's steep increase in energy prices." He tells the committee that "the outlook for oil prices remains uncertain. Higher prices have damped the consumption of oil-for example, U.S. gasoline consumption, seasonally adjusted, fell about 200,000 barrels a day between April and July. But the growing concerns about long-term supply, along with large prospective increases in demand from the rapidly growing economies of China and India, both of which are expanding in ways that are relatively energy intensive, have propelled prices of distant futures to levels well above their ranges of recent years."
September 8, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA), in its Short Term Energy Outlook, notes that "Oil prices remain high even though OPEC is producing at its highest levels since OPEC began tracking quotas in 1982. OPEC (including Iraq) crude oil production in August was 29.7 million barrels per day, about the same as July levels. World oil surplus production capacity is currently near its lowest point of the past 3 decades, providing an extremely limited cushion in the event of unexpected world oil market disruptions." The EIA states that "a monthly average price below $40 per barrel is not expected until about midway through 2005."
September 9, 2004
Eleven kilograms of enriched uranium fuel, including highly enriched uranium (HEU) that could be used for nuclear weapons, are safely returned to Russia from Uzbekistan in a secret mission conducted by the U.S, Uzbekistan, and Russia. "The recovery, return and eventual elimination of this highly enriched uranium are an important milestone in our campaign to reduce this dangerous material worldwide," Secretary Abraham says. "It was only with the strong cooperation of the Uzbeks and Russians that we were able to successfully complete this important international security mission." The highly enriched uranium is airlifted under guard from an airport near Tashkent, Uzbekistan to a secured facility in Dmitrovgrad, Russia. There, the uranium will be down-blended to low enriched uranium.
September 13, 2004
Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow represents the U.S. in Melbourne, Australia, at the second ministerial meeting of the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum, an international climate change initiative that focuses on the development of carbon capture and storage technologies. "Our emphasis on carbon sequestration is of vital importance as the world's economies continue to expand," McSlarrow notes. "Coal is one of the world's most plentiful energy resources, and one of its cheapest, so it is in our best interest to emphasize the capture and permanent isolation of gases that otherwise could contribute to global climate change. Affordable and environmentally safe sequestration approaches could offer a way to stabilize atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide without requiring large-scale and potentially costly changes to our respective energy infrastructures."
September 15, 2004
G. Peter Nanos, director of DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, announces personnel actions taken as a result of safety and security incidents at the laboratory in July. Four employees are terminated, seven receive either written reprimands, demotions, salary reductions, or suspensions without pay or some combination of these actions, one remains on investigatory leave pending the outcome of investigations, and 10 will return to work without any findings of wrongdoing.
September 18, 2004
Secretary Abraham and Alexander Rumyantsev, Director of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency, Russian Federation, co-host the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) International Partners' Conference in Vienna, Austria. The purpose of the conference is to build and broaden support under GTRI for national programs to identify, secure, recover, and dispose of high-risk nuclear and radiological materials and equipment that pose a threat to the international community. More than 590 representatives attend the conference.
September 20, 2004
Secretary Abraham addresses the 48th General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. The Secretary delivers a message from President Bush and speaks about the GTRI, the successes in U.S. nonproliferation efforts, and the need for increased attention to those with access to nuclear materials and technologies. He expresses concern about a major threat to all nonproliferation efforts-individuals releasing highly sensitive nuclear technology information. "We cannot ignore the possibility that some individuals may abuse their trust for illicit purposes-whether out of political beliefs, financial need, or some other inducement," the Secretary states. "Addressing this vulnerability within our known nations, and collectively through the IAEA, must be a major priority."
September 20, 2004
Secretary Abraham while in Vienna holds a bilateral meeting with Maatoug Mohammed Maatoug, Libya's Head of the Nuclear Program. This was the first such meeting between the two countries. "This was a very good meeting with a thorough discussion on nuclear non-proliferation issues," the Secretary states. "In the past year, Libya has had very significant non-proliferations success. As we know, Libya has voluntarily abandoned its pursuit of nuclear weapons, permitted inspections by the IAEA, and has facilitated the removal of its nuclear weapons components."
September 20, 2004
A study by the University of Chicago examining the economic competitiveness of nuclear power indicates that the future cost associated with nuclear power production is comparable with gas and coal-based energy generation. "This study shows that nuclear power can be a competitive source of energy production in the future and will help meet our environmental goals," says Deputy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow.
September 23, 2004
The Department announces that it intends to enter into negotiations to make available a limited quantity of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help relieve physical shortages of crude oil supplies in the Gulf of Mexico following recent hurricanes. "I have authorized these negotiations in response to the physical disruption of offshore oil production and imports in the Gulf Region caused by Hurricane Ivan's destruction," Secretary Abraham says. "As this Administration has stated consistently, the SPR was designed to protect American consumers against supply disruptions, including natural disasters."
September 23, 2004
The Department's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) dedicates two new research centers. The BioSecurity and Nanosciences Laboratory will conduct basic science in biosecurity and environmental biology. The Center for Biotechnology, Biophysical Sciences and Bioengineering will link advances in LLNL bioscience with the outside medical community.
September 24, 2004
The Department awards SEC Closure Alliance, LLC, a $235 million small business contract to complete the deactivation and closure of the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF) nuclear reactor at DOE's Hanford, Washington, site by 2011.
September 24, 2004
The Department grants short-term loans of 1.7 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help relieve supply shortages caused by Hurricane Ivan's impact on production from the Gulf of Mexico.
September 27, 2004
Oil prices reach $50 per barrel.
September 29, 2004
The Department's contractor at the Fernald Closure Project, Fluor Fernald Inc., responsible for cleanup at the former uranium processing facility in Ohio, begins transferring 8,900 cubic yards of radium-bearing radioactive waste from two concrete silos to steel tanks for interim storage. The silo waste, considered the single biggest threat to the public at Fernald, must be treated and sent off-site for permanent disposal.
September 30, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration successfully completes the first shipment of nuclear materials from Los Alamos National Laboratory Technical Area 18 (TA-18) to the Device Assembly Facility at the Nevada Test Site.
September 30, 2004
In their first presidential debate, President Bush and Democratic nominee Senator John Kerry agree that the single most serious threat to the national security of the U.S. is nuclear proliferation.
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October 4, 2004
President Bush signs the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004. Among its energy-related provisions, the act extends the 1.8¢-per-kilowatt-hour tax credit through 2005 for electricity production from wind energy, chicken litter, and biomass. The act also extends tax breaks for electric vehicles and clean fuel vehicles.
October 5, 2004
Three DOE-supported physicists, Frank Wilczek, H. David Politzer, and David J. Gross, win the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for their investigation of the "strong" force that binds together the particles inside atomic nuclei.
October 5, 2004
Presidential science advisor John Marburger and acting Under Secretary of Energy David Garman invite reporters to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to review Bush Administration initiatives in energy-related science and technology. Noting that "the administration views the Kyoto Protocol as seriously flawed," Marburger states that the best answer to concerns over climate change is not mandating cuts but promoting technologies that would lead to reductions in emissions.
October 6, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration in its Short-Term Energy Outlook and special report Winter Fuels Outlook: 2004-2005 predicts home heating expenditures will increase this winter for all fuel types compared to year-ago levels. Average residential natural gas prices this winter are expected to be 11 percent higher than they were last winter. Heating oil prices are expected to average 29 percent higher and propane prices 17 percent higher. Price, demand, and inventory are driving prices up.
October 7, 2004
Hybrids lead the list of the most fuel-efficient vehicles, at an estimated 61 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city, in the DOE and Environmental Protection Agency Model Year 2005 Fuel Economy Guide. "Fuel efficiency makes economic sense while improving the nation's energy security," Secretary Abraham says.
October 7, 2004
Secretary Abraham tells reporters that the U.S. government has done "everything it can" to stop the rise in oil prices, which are the result of events outside its control.
October 12, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that researchers at DOE laboratories and companies with research funded by DOE have won 36 of the 100 awards given this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with commercial potential. The winning technologies advance DOE's national security, energy security, environmental restoration, and science missions. They will lead to new or enhanced tools for national and homeland security, yield significant energy savings, enable development of new energy sources, help mitigate environmental impacts of certain chemicals and processes, and provide scientists with innovative or improved research capabilities.
October 13, 2004
President Bush signs the Military Construction Appropriations and Emergency Hurricane Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2005. Among its energy-related provisions, the act provides an $18-billion loan guarantee for a pipeline that would bring natural gas from Alaska to the lower-48 states.
October 14, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that Peabody Energy's Mustang Energy Project has been selected to receive a DOE grant under the second round of competition in President Bush's 10-year, $2 billion Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI). The project involves a commercial-scale demonstration of the "Airborne Process" scrubber, regeneration system, and fertilizer production systems at the Mustang Energy Company LLC's 300 megawatt coal-fired Mustang Generating Station in Milan, New Mexico. DOE will provide $19.7 million of the total $79 million cost of the project. Over the next several weeks, the Secretary announces three additional CCPI second-round selections. DOE will provide $235 million to Southern Company Services for the construction, at a total cost of $557 million, of a 285-megawatt coal-based gasification plant near Orlando, Florida. DOE will provide $150 million to Excelsior Energy Inc. and ConocoPhillips for the construction and operation, at a total cost of $1.185 billion, of a 531-megawatt Mesaba Energy Project in Hoyt Lakes, Minnesota, that will demonstrate the next generation of Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power plants. DOE will provide $6.08 million, out of a total project cost of $12.16 million, to Pegasus Technologies, Inc., to demonstrate advanced multi-pollutant controls, including mercury reduction, at an existing 890-megwatt utility boiler at Jewett, Texas.
October 14, 2004
Two major energy storage projects to demonstrate advanced electric energy storage devices in New York State are selected as part of a joint initiative between DOE's Energy Storage Research Program and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In addition, seven smaller analysis and development projects for novel storage technologies are also selected. The three-year program will cost $7.1 million. "These two joint initiatives are an excellent example of the important role the States play in bringing technology from research to the market place," Secretary Abraham says. "This work will help showcase near commercial electric energy storage devices that can demonstrate cost benefits for electric energy consumers."
October 14, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that five DOE national laboratories, a private company, and three universities have signed agreements to form a research partnership in an effort to speed the design and development of an artificial retina that could potentially help millions of people blinded by retinal diseases.
October 14, 2004
Secretary Abraham hosts more than 500 Chicago-area seventh- and eighth-graders and their teachers at the inaugural DOE "What's Next Expo" at the Navy Pier in downtown Chicago as part of a science education initiative he launched earlier this year to inspire young people to pursue careers in mathematics and the sciences. Students tour the nearly 50 interactive and instructional exhibits of cutting-edge science and technology exhibits provided and staffed by science professionals from 14 of DOE's national laboratories and a number of private companies.
October 14, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces that it is expanding its efforts to train border guards and customs officials worldwide to combat the threat posed by the illicit smuggling of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)-related equipment and technology. NNSA's export control office has designed a new Commodity Identification Training curriculum to educate and train customs inspectors and border enforcement personnel from around the world in techniques of detection and interdiction. By the end of November, these trainings will be conducted in coordination with 11 countries, including Lithuania, Latvia, Georgia, Turkey, Thailand and Ukraine.
October 19, 2004
Acting Under Secretary David K. Garman participates in the opening of a hydrogen technology park in Southfield, Michigan, that will demonstrate the successful operation of a hydrogen "power park" with the ability to produce hydrogen to refuel fuel cell vehicles. This cutting-edge facility is the result of a partnership between DOE and DTE Energy to develop, install and operate a multi-use renewable hydrogen station. The station converts electricity from photovoltaic panels at the site and from a municipal solid waste plant off-site to make hydrogen from water, in an environmentally friendly process.
October 19, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces DOE's selection of over $75 million in research projects to support the President's Hydrogen Fuel Initiative.
October 20, 2004
The Department commissions a new radioisotope facility, the Space and Security Power Systems Facility, at Idaho's Argonne National Laboratory-West site. The facility will assemble and test radioisotope power systems that DOE builds for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and various national security agencies. The facility's first major mission will be to assemble, test, and deliver a power system to NASA for the 2006 New Horizons mission to Pluto.
October 22, 2004
President Bush signs the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. Among its energy-related provisions, the act gives incentives to sponsors of a natural gas pipeline from Alaska to the lower-48 states, renewable energy producers, marginal oil and gas well developers, investor-owned electric utilities and rural electric cooperatives.
October 22, 2004
The Department announces completion of the removal of about 2,300 tons of irradiated, or "spent," nuclear fuel from two waterfilled basins just 400 yards from the Columbia River at the Hanford Site in eastern Washington. It is the second of three "urgent risks" at the site to be eliminated.
October 26, 2004
Claude Mandil, executive director of the International Energy Agency (EIA) releases its World Energy Outlook 2004. Noting that "the central message . . . remains an optimistic one," Mandil states that "the Earth contains more than enough energy resources to meet demand for many decades to come. The world is not running out of oil just yet." Rising oil and gas prices, the increasing vulnerability of energy supply routes, and ever-increasing emissions of carbon dioxide nonetheless are "symptoms of a considerable malaise in the world of energy." He describes the inexorable increase in global energy demand from now till 2030-as well as the continuing heavy reliance on carbon-emitting fossil fuels-as "deeply troubling." The EIA projects that demand for oil will continue to expand, at 1.6% a year, from 82 million barrels per day (mb/d) in 2004 to 121 mb/d in 2030. Natural gas use is projected to double by 2030. "What this analysis shows very clearly", Mandil concludes, "is that achieving a truly sustainable energy system will depend on technological breakthroughs that radically alter how we produce and use energy." He calls on governments to take the lead in accelerating the development and deployment of new technologies "that allow us to meet our growing energy needs without compromising our energy security and the environment."
October 27, 2004
Secretary Abraham kicks off DOE's longest running student-teacher research grant program, the University Coal Research Program, which begins its 26th year this week, with the release of a solicitation calling on the nation's colleges and universities to propose new projects to enhance the long-term use of coal.
October 29, 2004
President Bush signs the Ronald W. Reagan National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005. Among its DOE-related provisions, the act gives the Department some discretion in deciding on disposal methods for residual waste in high-level waste tanks at the Idaho and Savannah River, South Carolina, sites once most of their contents have been pumped out. The act takes into consideration DOE agreements with state officials on high-level waste. DOE had sought clarification of its authority after a federal court in Idaho determined that Department plans to reclassify tank residue as a lower-level waste were illegal. The act also transfers DOE's compensation program for ill atomic defense workers to the Department of Labor.
October 29, 2004
The U.S. District Court in Idaho rules that Lockheed Martin Corp. defaulted on a 1994 DOE contract to clean up Pit 9, a one-acre landfill containing radioactive and hazardous waste at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The court orders the firm to reimburse DOE for about $54 million in fees, plus interest. Lockheed also must pay $11.8 million to decommission a facility it had built to work on the site.
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November 2, 2004
President Bush is reelected. In the Senate, Republicans gain a net four seats to bring their total to 55, compared with the Democrat's 44 and one independent. In the House, Republicans pick up three seats and now lead 232 to 202, with one independent.
November 2, 2004
In the State of Washington, voters pass Initiative 297 prohibiting DOE from sending additional radioactive or hazardous waste to the Hanford site until existing waste is cleaned up or shipped off-site. DOE plans to transfer as much as 82,000 cubic meters of low-level and mixed low-level radioactive waste (low-level and hazardous chemicals) to Hanford from other DOE sites for processing and eventual shipment to other locations for disposal.
November 4, 2004
The Department announces awards to two nuclear utility-led consortia under the Nuclear Power 2010 program. DOE will begin the first phase of Nuclear Plant Licensing Demonstration projects with industry teams led by Richmond, Virginia-based Dominion and Chester County, Pennsylvania-based NuStart Energy. These projects are designed to demonstrate the Nuclear Regulatory Commission process for licensing the construction and operation of new Generation III+ nuclear power plants.
November 4, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory supercomputer, the BlueGene/L beta-System developed for the nation's Stockpile Stewardship Program in partnership with IBM, has attained a record breaking performance of 70.72 teraFLOP/s (trillion floating point operations per second). The supercomputer is running at one quarter its final size.
November 5, 2004
A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a lower court decision prohibiting DOE from classifying residual wastes in tanks drained of their liquid high-level wastes as "incidental" waste and entombing it onsite in concrete grout.
November 8, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration reaches an important milestone in its efforts to dispose of surplus weapons-usable material as the 100th shipment of low enriched uranium (LEU) departs the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina for Nuclear Fuels Services in Erwin, Tennessee, four months ahead of schedule. The shipment is part of the Off-Specification HEU Blend Down Project, which downblends surplus U.S. weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU), located at SRS and other DOE sites, into LEU for peaceful use in electric power generation by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
November 9, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces DOE's selection of the Battelle Energy Alliance, LLC, (BEA) to establish the Idaho National Laboratory as the nation's premier laboratory for nuclear energy research, development, demonstration, and education within a decade. The Idaho National Laboratory will combine the research and development components of the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory West. The term of the contract is 10 years and has an estimated value of $4.8 billion.
November 10, 2004
Secretary Abraham joins representatives of Shell and General Motors in the opening of the nation's first integrated gasoline/hydrogen refueling station in Washington, D.C. The station will be used to refuel General Motors' fuel cell vehicles in DOE's Vehicle and Infrastructure Learning Demonstration and Validation Project. The station is the first to be deployed in a projected Washington to New York hydrogen corridor.
November 10, 2004
At a meeting in Washington, D.C., The National Coal Council discusses the final draft of a report for Secretary Abraham on how the government could expedite the construction of new coal plants. The report finds that coal is "the fuel of choice now, and will remain so into the future." Coal is "secure, affordable and environmentally compatible" and "provides a pathway for greater energy independence." Impediments to the construction of new coal plants include length of permitting time and redundant permitting requirements, the prevailing environmental regulatory approach, uncertainty about CO2 emission reductions, lack of sufficient incentives, lack of a regional planning approach, and infrastructure hurdles such as declining engineering resources in the U.S. and limited availability of skilled construction labor to build new plants.
November 10, 2004
Secretary Abraham tells the council that given current oil prices and available technology, producing oil from coal could soon be economical. "A few years ago, that wasn't economical," the Secretary notes. "But today, with oil $47, $48 a barrel and more, we can certainly see the potential [is] greater than ever before."
November 14, 2004
In a letter to President Bush, Secretary Abraham resigns his position pending the confirmation of a new Energy Secretary. The Secretary thanks President Bush for the privilege of serving his administration, and touts DOE's significant success toward reducing America's dependence on foreign sources of energy, improving the environment, and further securing the homeland through efforts to reduce nuclear proliferation.
November 16, 2004
At a meeting of the American Nuclear Society, Senator Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, states that in light of the election results he is confident that a comprehensive energy bill will pass in the next Congress. "I don't see how we can have a better situation," Domenici observes. "I'm as confident as I think you could be."
November 17, 2004
Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Everet Beckner of DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces that three supercomputers at NNSA's weapons laboratories are among the six fastest computers in the world. The BlueGene/L at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory tops the list, with Thunder at the Livermore lab in fifth place and ASCI Q at Los Alamos National Laboratory in sixth.
November 17, 2004
Resources for the Future, the Washington-based, nonpartisan think tank, announces the release of New Approaches on Energy and the Environment: Policy Advice for the President, a collection of 25 analytical prescriptions designed as stand-alone "memos to the President," offering possible policy options for the administration on critical challenges related to energy, the environment, and natural resources.
November 19, 2004
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announces the successful completion at the Pantex Plant outside of Amarillo, Texas, of efforts to refurbish the W87 nuclear warhead and extend its life by 30 years. This marks the end of the first leg of NNSA's program to ensure that the nation's aging nuclear weapons stockpile is capable of meeting national defense requirements without producing new warheads or conducting underground nuclear tests. Other warheads undergoing planned life extension refurbishments include the B61, W76, and W80.
November 20, 2004
Congress passes the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Funding for DOE is $23 billion, up from $22 billion in FY 2004. Nuclear energy Funding is up by more than $100 million over President Bush's request to $513 million. A significant portion of the increase is for the Nuclear Power 2010 program, which is funded at $50 million compared with the administration's request for $10 million. Funding for DOE's science program, at $3.6 billion, is $200 million above the President's request. Environmental management is funded at $7.03 billion, compared to the administration's $6.95-billion request. DOE's electricity transmission and distribution office is increased by $30 million over the request to $121 million. Cuts are made in the nuclear weapons program, down $342 million from the administration's request to $6.6 billion. Yucca Mountain is funded at $577 million, down from the President's $880-million request. Fossil energy programs are funded at $580 million, down from the president's $636- million request and FY 2004 funding of $673 million. In fossil energy, the most significant cuts are for the experimental FutureGen coal power plant. DOE sought $237 in long-term funding, but Congress commits only $18 million for FY 2005.
November 24, 2004
The U.S and Belgium announce an effort to cooperate in the war on terrorism by signing an agreement to install radiation detection equipment at the Port of Antwerp, one of Belgium's busiest seaports. The equipment will be used to detect hidden shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. The agreement is part of the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration Megaports Initiative, which is aimed at thwarting illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material.
November 30, 2004
The Department announces the researchers at its Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and Ceramatec, Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah. have demonstrated the feasibility of using nuclear energy to efficiently produce hydrogen from water. This achievement demonstrates high-temperature electrolysis which utilizes heat to decrease electricity needed for splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Instead of conventional electrolysis, which uses only electric current to separate hydrogen from water, high-temperature electrolysis enhances the efficiency of the process by adding substantial external heat-such as high-temperature steam from an advanced nuclear reactor system.
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December 1, 2004
At a meeting in Washington, D.C, the National Petroleum Council discusses the final draft of a report for Secretary Abraham identifying the factors that will impact the petroleum refining and distribution industry's ability to meet future demand. Among its recommendations, the council calls for the passing of comprehensive energy legislation, streamlining of the permitting process for refinery capacity investment, limiting the number of "boutique" fuels, and easing environmental requirements.
December 1, 2004
In a speech before the council, Secretary Abraham states that the Bush Administration has made the case that production deserves an equal place with conservation and environmental concerns in the energy policy discussion. "Over the past four years we have begun to change the energy debate in a fundamental way," the Secretary says. "Our Department and this Administration have made it clear that we must produce more energy domestically. We have made the argument-and made it effectively, I think-that only a balanced approach, which combines conservation and new production, will meet the challenges of the 21st century. For too long, this side of the energy debate had not been heard in Washington."
December 1, 2004
After addressing the council, Secretary Abraham tells reporters that inadequate refinery capacity is a "serious issue" for policymakers. "Prices tend to go up and you see these price spikes, and one of things we all know is that inadequate amount of refinery capacity is a factor" in the price increases, the Secretary says. If policymakers fail to take action to increase refinery output, he notes, "we put ourselves at greater risk."
December 2, 2004
The Department announces an environmental review of the proposal to consolidate the operations required to support the production of radioisotope power systems at the new Idaho National Laboratory. The operations to be consolidated within an existing secure area at the laboratory would include: 1) the production of Pu-238, 2) the purification and encapsulation of Pu-238, and 3) the assembly and testing of the radioisotope power systems. Among their uses, these systems power spacecraft, providing electricity and heat over long periods of time without any maintenance.
December 2, 2004
A U.S. District Court judge for the Eastern District of Washington issues a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Initiative 297 passed by Washington voters that would prohibit DOE from shipping more radioactive waste from outside the state to the Hanford Site.
December 6, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces that he has extended a policy that to date has enabled the U.S. to recover nearly 500 kilograms of uranium-235-enough to build about 20 crude nuclear weapons-in U.S.-origin high-enriched uranium (HEU) used to fuel foreign research reactors. DOE's decision to extend the period for spent fuel acceptance provides additional time for research reactors to convert from HEU to low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel. The current acceptance policy established by DOE and the State Department in 1996 permits the U.S. to accept certain eligible spent fuel that is irradiated by May 2006 and returned to the United States by May 2009. A revised record of decision, signed by DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator Linton Brooks on November 22, 2004, extends the irradiation deadline to May 2016 and the acceptance deadline to May 2019. "A principal goal of this administration's nonproliferation policy is to secure and reduce worldwide stocks of HEU to keep potential weapons material out of the hands of terrorists and hostile countries," the Secretary says. "This extension will enable the United States to recover HEU that will not be ready for return to the United States by the original deadlines."
December 7, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its report Electricity Transmission in a Restructured Industry states that "the Government does not have the electrical models and data necessary to verify that existing and planned transmission capability is adequate to keep the lights on." The EIA notes that collecting the necessary data "would require long-term, coordinated effort across many government organizations."
December 8, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the selection of 35 new cost-shared projects that promise to strengthen our nation's energy security and reduce greenhouse emissions. The total award value of the new projects is more than $39 million. Awards were made in four research areas: two projects will develop drilling technology for high-speed downhole motors, thirteen projects will improve advanced diagnostics and imaging technology, fourteen projects will advance reservoir efficiency processes, and six projects will help ensure the delivery reliability for natural gas.
December 8, 2004
The National Commission on Energy Policy, a bipartisan group of top energy experts from industry, government, labor, academia, and environmental and consumer groups, releases Ending the Energy Stalemate, a strategy, more than two years in the making, for addressing major long-term U.S. energy challenges.
December 8, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) announces actions for reporting and assuring the quality of weekly natural gas storage data. The moves follow revisions to the data for the week ended November 19, which had contained incorrect data submitted by one or more of EIA's survey respondents. The erroneous data caused gas futures prices to climb more than $1/MMBtu to almost $8/MMBtu.
December 9, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces awards for five new cost-shared research projects to help meet the nation's growing demand for natural gas. The projects, supported by $4.2 million in DOE funding, will develop advanced diagnostic tools and technologies to reduce the risk in exploration and development of deeper gas and tight fractured reservoirs.
December 9, 2004
The Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) releases its Annual Energy Outlook 2005. The EIA offers two "oil price cases" to evaluate the impact of alternative world crude oil price trends. In the first, prices decline to $25 per barrel by 2010 as new domestic and imported supplies enter the market and then rise slowly to about $30 per barrel in 2025. In the second, prices rise through 2005 before falling to about $31 per barrel in 2010 and then reaching $35 per barrel in 2025. "The two scenarios show only modest differences in the evolution of U.S. energy markets to 2025," the EIA notes. "The limited impact of higher prices on oil consumption follows from the fact that the transportation and industrial sectors account for two-thirds and nearly one quarter of total U.S. oil use, respectively. There are currently limited opportunities to switch from petroleum to other fuels in these sectors, so major changes in projected U.S. petroleum consumption are unlikely to occur without much larger price or policy changes that significantly increase energy efficiency." Discounting the potential of hydrogen becoming a transportation alternative to petroleum by 2025, EIA Administrator Guy Caruso states that the U.S. will not be "a lot less energy dependent no matter what happens in the timeframe we are talking about." The EIA report assumes no new nuclear power plants will be built by 2025 and nuclear's share of electricity production will drop from 20 percent to 14 percent.
December 10, 2004
In remarks at the White House, President Bush nominates Deputy Secretary of Treasury Sam Bodman to be the 11th Secretary of Energy for his second term. "In academics, in business, and in government," the President observes, "Sam Bodman has shown himself to be a problem solver who knows how to set goals and he knows how to reach them. He will bring to the Department of Energy a great talent for management and the precise thinking of an engineer." Deputy Secretary Bodman responds that "the job as Energy Secretary, in many ways, combines all aspects of my life's professional work. I started as a teacher in chemical engineering at MIT, spent 17 years helping create and manage Fidelity Investments, and then spent 14 years managing Cabot Corporation, a globally-deployed chemical company. Each of these activities dealt with the financial markets and the impact of energy and technology on those markets."
December 10, 2004
Secretary Abraham states that "Sam is a good friend and will be a great Secretary of Energy. His broad experience in the private sector and as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Treasury will serve the Department and him well in this key position. In nominating Deputy Secretary Bodman to be the next Secretary of Energy, President Bush has made a fine choice. Sam is an outstanding public servant. I extend my congratulations to him and his family on this nomination."
December 10, 2004
The Department's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) commemorates ten years of work securing nuclear and radiological material in Russia and the former Soviet Union by completing security upgrades at two Russian nuclear facilities. Upgrades at a third facility were completed in September. "The completion of these upgrades is an important milestone in cooperative efforts to prevent terrorists from gaining access to Russia's nuclear facilities," NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks says. "NNSA has completed work at nearly 70 percent of sensitive Russian sites. We will continue our important work partnering with the Russians to keep nuclear weapons material out of the hands of terrorists."
December 13, 2004
The Department and Power PartnersSM-a group comprised of the American Public Power Association, Edison Electric Institute, Electric Power Supply Association, Large Public Power Council, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, Nuclear Energy Institute, and Tennessee Valley Authority-sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) establishing a voluntary framework for reducing the greenhouse gas emission intensity of the power generation sector. The MOU establishes goals for the public-private partnership, sets out general principles, and proposes actions to further the partnership's objectives. The MOU also recognizes the importance of developing and deploying new technologies.
December 13, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces the decision to authorize the exercise of a competitive contract option to extend the University of Tennessee-Battelle LLC management and operating contract of DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for an additional five years. The estimated value of the contract is approximately $4.8 billion.
December 15, 2004
Department, State of California, and industry officials dedicate the upgraded Path 15 electricity transmission line linking northern and southern California.
December 20, 2004
At the Second U.S.-Iraq Joint Economic Commission, Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy and International Affairs Karen Harbert and Iraqi Ministry of Oil Director General for Economics and Finance Radwan Al-Sa'adi sign the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Cooperation on Energy Analysis, Science and Technology, and Energy Technology Demonstration. The non-legally binding MOU establishes a framework for formal consultations and cooperation on a broad range of energy, scientific, and environmental issues between the U.S. and Iraq. Activities under the energy partnership will support the rehabilitation and expansion of Iraq's energy infrastructure, which will be critical to advancing Iraq's medium- and long-term economic development goals.
December 20, 2004
The Department launches a new web site with detailed information and tips on how to save money by developing smart energy habits. The site serves as a consumer-friendly portal to detailed energy saving information from various federal agencies.
December 20, 2004
As part of its effort to permanently shut down the last three weapons-grade plutonium production reactors in Russia, DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration signs a $285 million contract with the Washington Group International, Inc., to refurbish electric power generating facilities in the closed city of Seversk, Russia. The refurbishment of these facilities will allow for the permanent shutdown of the two reactors located at Seversk.
December 21, 2004
The Department releases a comprehensive study of liquefied natural gas safety and security that was conducted by scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories.
December 22, 2004
Six kilograms of highly enriched uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons are safely returned to the Russian Federation from the Czech Republic in a secret mission. The mission is a joint effort between the U.S., the Czech Republic, Russia, and the International Atomic Energy Agency and is another accomplishment of the Bush Administration's Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
December 23, 2004
Secretary Abraham announces 35 research awards to U.S. universities totaling $21 million over three years to engage students and professors in the DOE's major nuclear energy research and development programs, including the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative, the Generation IV Nuclear Energy Systems Initiative, and the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative.