The Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Licensing Technical Support program has once again received a budget request of zero dollars and zero cents in the FY19 Presidential budget request, echoing the budget request from FY18. For years, Taxpayers for Common Sense has called for an end to the program, which has forced taxpayers to pick up the tab for costs that should be in industry hands.
After receiving initial funding for the program from Congress in FY12, the DOE slated it to end after FY17. The new administration and House and Senate appropriators were, thankfully, all on board with the plan – the Licensing Technical Support program was zeroed out in the President’s FY18 budget request, and the FY18 Energy & Water appropriations bills in both chambers.
Unfortunately, because Congress has been funding the federal government in FY18 through stopgap continuing resolutions (CRs), which simply extend FY17 program funding levels, the SMR program has continued to receive money since October. In fact, according to the new budget request, if the DOE is funded for all of FY18 via CRs, the program will receive $93 million this year. Even if Congress passes the anticipated FY18 omnibus funding package at the end of March, the program will have received roughly half of the total. All for a program that no one asked for or wanted this year.
Continuing to call for the end of the SMR Licensing Technical Support program in this year’s budget request is a good first step, but Congress needs to ensure no more taxpayer dollars are wasted on pipe dream SMR technology, and cut funding for it for both this fiscal year and the next.
SMR Licensing Technical Support Program