Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (09/15/1999)

Department of Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Authorization Act of 1999 - Authorizes appropriations to the Secretary of Energy for FY 2000 and 2001 for energy research, development, and demonstration related to: (1) energy supply; (2) science; (3) fossil energy; and (4) energy conservation.

(Sec. 4) Directs the Secretary, acting through the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy, to commence a program of gas hydrate energy and scientific and environmental research and development. Authorizes grants to, or contracts or cooperative agreements with, institutions of higher education and industrial enterprises to carry out gas hydrate research, development, and demonstration programs. Makes funds available for such programs from specified appropriations under this Act.

(Sec. 5) Requires notice to specified congressional committees before any major reorganization of any Department of Energy (DOE) civilian energy or scientific research, development, or demonstration or related commercial application of energy technology program.

(Sec. 6) Permits DOE to provide funding, with respect to programs and activities described by this Act, only for technologies and processes that can be reasonably expected to yield new, measurable benefits to the cost, efficiency, or performance of the technology or process.

Prohibits the Secretary, as part of the test and demonstration Parallex Project, from selecting a route for the transportation of Mixed Oxide Fuel from Los Alamos, New Mexico, to Chalk River, Canada, without issuing a rule based on the record after an opportunity for agency hearing.

(Sec. 7) Sets forth specified requirements for projects that exceed certain cost limits, including construction projects and those relating to conceptual or construction design.

(Sec. 10) Bars the obligation of funds for construction of a specified project at the Spallation Neutron Source at the Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee until: (1) the Secretary certifies that senior project management positions for the project have been filled by qualified individuals and provides information regarding costs, milestones, laboratory obligations, and management structure; and (2) the Comptroller General reports to Congress that the estimated tax reimbursements that DOE would pay to its contractors as a cost of constructing the Source in Tennessee would be no more than the reimbursements it would pay if the same project were constructed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, or the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

Requires the Secretary to report annually to Congress on such project as part of DOE's budget submission.

Prohibits the use of funds authorized by this Act for: (1) U.S. participation in International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor Engineering Design Activities; (2) the salaries of specified directors in DOE unless such individuals hold postgraduate degrees in science or engineering; and (3) grants or contracts awarded by DOE to a trade association on a noncompetitive basis.

Reduces each of the amounts authorized by this Act for FY 2000 by one percent. Provides for an additional specified reduction for travel costs. Reduces each of the amounts authorized by this Act for FY 2000 administrative expenses proportionately to achieve additional savings of $30 million.

(Sec. 11) Prohibits the use of funds authorized for programs under this Act to award management and operating contracts for federally owned or operated DOE civilian energy laboratories on a noncompetitive basis or to award or modify a DOE contract in a manner that deviates from the Federal Acquisition Regulation unless the Secretary grants a waiver to allow for such deviations.

(Sec. 13) Prohibits the use of funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act by: (1) DOE to prepare or initiate Requests for Proposals for programs under this Act not specifically authorized by Congress; and (2) programs under this Act to produce or provide articles or services for purposes of selling them to a person outside the Federal Government unless the Secretary determines that such articles or services are not available from a U.S. commercial source.

(Sec. 15) Excludes from consideration for grant agreements for programs described by this Act made by DOE after FY 1999 any person who received funds appropriated for a fiscal year after FY 1999 under a grant agreement from any Federal funding source for a program that was not subjected to a competitive, merit-based award process. Makes such exclusions effective for a period of five years after the person receives such Federal funds.

(Sec. 16) Requires the Secretary to make available through the DOE's Internet home page the abstracts relating to all research grants and awards made with funds authorized by this Act.

(Sec. 17) Bars the Secretary from admitting to any classified area of a federally owned or operated nonmilitary energy laboratory any individual who is a citizen of a nation that is named on the DOE List of Sensitive Countries. Authorizes waivers of such prohibition on a case-by-case basis with respect to individuals whose admission is determined to be necessary for the furtherance of U.S. civilian science interests.

Sets forth congressional notification and certification procedures with respect to such waivers.

Makes this section inapplicable to specified facilities.

(Sec. 18) Sets forth Buy American requirements with respect to assistance provided by this Act.

(Sec. 21) Requires the Secretary to commence a program of research and development on the technology necessary to achieve onsite transmutation of nuclear waste into nonradioactive substances. Authorizes grants or contracts to, or cooperative agreements with, institutions of higher education and industrial enterprises to carry out such program. Bars the Secretary from supporting a technology that involves the isolation of plutonium or uranium. Makes funds available for such program from specified appropriations under this Act.

Expresses the sense of the Congress that DOE should increase its efforts to recruit and employ qualified minorities for carrying out research and development functions.