and other similar approaches are being developed every day.
In light of all of the valuable assets coming from the DOE's medical applications program we
recommend to the committee that the following funding levels be adopted. Radioisotope
Development - $3.5 million (increased from $2.7 million in FY 1996); Radiopharmaceuticals - $12
million (increased from $10.3 million in FY 1996); Molecular Nuclear Medicine - $6.5 million
(increased from $5.3 million in FY 1996); and Clinical Feasibility - $2.2 million (increased from
$1.8 million in FY 1996).
ACNP/SNM Appropriations Testimony
February 29. 1996
Isotope Production - Department of Energy
I want to thank the members of this subcommittee for their continued support for the establishment of the
National Biomedical Tracer Facility (NBTF). The Institute of Medicine endorsed the creation of this
facility in its report on the Availability of Isotopes, published in 1994. As you know, DOE did not move
to the next phase of activity in the development of the NBTF in FY 1995 despite your appropriation. In
FY 1996, you once again recognized a demonstrated national need and appropriated funds for the NBTF.
In addition, you recognized our concern that these fiinds detracted from the research budget and moved
that appropriation to the Isotope Production and Distribution budget, the correct place for this activity.
Yet, DOE has again suggested that they won't do anything in FY 1996 in spite of your recognition of the
importance of this facility as an isotope producer. The NBTF will be a center for research and
development, education, training, technology transfer, and, lastly, production of isotopes. These are all
important missions of the DOE and this facility should be built to enhance those missions. The impact of
this facility on research in nuclear medicine and health care in this country will be immediate as soon as
I want to remind you that the NBTF will not solve all of our isotope production problems. The daily
clinical use of nuclear medicine relies heavily on reactor produced isotopes. The Society and the College
have testified previously that the practice of nuclear medicine in this country is contingent upon a
reliable source of Molybdenum-99. Some progress has been made in attempting to produce Mo-99
which is used to produce Technetium-99m, the workhorse isotope of nuclear medicine. There are also
other isotopes that are not produced in reactors domestically that are essential to the practice of medicine
and the conduct of all kinds of medical research. Some of these radionuclides have great potential for
the treatment of disease and are in clinical testing.
As we requested, the Congress has basically repealed Public Law 1 01. 101, thus moving isotope
production back into the annual budget. Those who work in nuclear medicine owe a hearty thank you to
this committee for spearheading that move. Holding the research community hostage by making isotope
production prohibitively expensive was counterproductive to the expressed aims of this committee. The
DOE now has the resources to develop their production facilities and improve the production processes.
The Institute of Medicine made many recommendations regarding the production of stable enriched
isotopes and radioactive isotopes. To date, the Department of Energy has ignored most of those
recommendations. But the one recommendation that would solve many of these problems would be the
immediate installation of an advisory panel for the Isotope Production program. The advice of those in
the field would be invaluable to DOE and would insure that some of the past mistakes of the Isotope
Production Program would not be repeated, particularly large capital expenditures at facilities that are
not appropriate for isotope production. A panel of representatives from academia and industry would
insure that both the commercial and research communities would be served adequately.
ACNP/SNM Appropriations Testimony
February 29, 1996
The DOE has begun a process to identify those government facilities capable of producing isotopes that
have outlived their usefulness to the physics research community and can be reclassified so that industry,
in partnership with DOE, can operate reactors, calutrons, and other facilities for isotope production at an
incremental cost rather than at full cost recovery. There are numerous models for this elsewhere in the
world. This approach to the optimum use of existing government facilities is very important since not
only nuclear medicine, but researchers in biology, nutrition, environmental research, chemistry and
physics are dependent upon a stable, reliable supply of isotopes for their research.
We urge the committee to adopt report language encouraging the immediate placement of a
federal advisory committee in this area as well as reaflirming its commitment to protect the funds
for nuclear medicine research from those projects under the isotope production division.
Nuclear medicine developed into a $10 billion dollar a year health service industry from a small research
enterprise funded by the DOE and predecessor agencies. This field has been a spectacularly successful
example of the beneficial growth of an industry from federally funded research. At present however, the
flow of products and techniques into the marketplace and into the clinic is threatened by decreasing
support. Success like we have achieved deserves to be recognized and rewarded, not punished by flat or
decreasing research budgets. We continue to need increased research budgets and a stable, reliable
source of isotopes for both clinical and research uses so that we can provide the best care possible for
patients now and in the future.
The College and the Society maintain that the benefits of such research investment will be immediate
and tangible to the general public for many years to come if that support is provided. Thank you.
Thursday, February 29, 1996.
UNIVERSITY NUCLEAR PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH
DAVID WEHE, PH.D., AMERICAN NUCLEAR SOCIETY
Mr. Knollenberg. Dr. David Wehe is here.
So Dr. Wehe, we would like to have you come forward. You are
recognized for the customary 5 minutes, and you may begin.
Mr. Wehe. Yes. The American Nuclear Society is a not-for-profit
scientific and technical and educational society of nearly 15,000
members, and I am honored today to sit here in this seat and wear
Nuclear energy supplies about a fifth of our Nation's energy and
it has a very good safety record. But there is more than nuclear,
what goes on in the American nuclear side than just the conven-
tional fission. Nuclear technology has an important role in medi-
cine and in general industry, and the previous speaker highlighted
the importance of nuclear processes in medicine and the American
Nuclear Society supports those.
For example, nuclear technology in the form of radioisotopes is
used in over 50,000 therapies, 13 million diagnostic procedures,
and close to 100 million laboratory tests every year in the United
States; 85 percent of the experiments at the NIH, National Insti-
tutes of Health, involve the use of isotopes also. So radiation appli-
cations and control industrial processes are important parts of the
American Nuclear Society as well.
Now, in the written statement, which I will leave for the record,
the American Nuclear Society makes specific recommendations re-
lated to fission work and recommendations related to fusion work.
I will leave those for you to look at at a later type.
My particular interest here is in the support of nuclear edu-
cation, research and reactors, and this year, the American Nuclear
Society wants to emphasize in its testimony the importance of
strengthening America's commitment to nationwide university and
postgraduate education programs in the fields of nuclear science
and technology. We need to attract these young people and show
them a commitment to the nuclear science field.
Equally important is the preservation of a solid foundation of
university-based nuclear hardware. Right now we have, this coun-
try has 34 university-owned research nuclear reactors.
These are fairly old reactors, many of which have been commis-
sioned since around the post-World War II period, mostly in the
late 1950s and 1960s. Of the 76 that were originally commissioned,
about 34 remain in operation. That is a tremendous loss, and insuf-
ficient funding was a primary cause for most of those closures.
Since about 1978 as well, the number of nuclear engineering de-
partments and programs at American universities has declined by
more than half. The number of nuclear students, both graduate
and undergraduate, has gone down even more steeply.
What the American Nuclear Society is looking for is support in
both â€” two programs, one is the Nuclear Engineering Education Ini-
tiative which supports graduate students and graduate student fel-
lowships, and university research reactor support. In the area of
university research reactors, there is a great deal of motivation for
supporting these, and one of which, one of the most exciting ones
these days, is on neutron capture therapy.
There has been a number of studies done on deep-seated mela-
nomas, skin cancers and brain tumors that have taken up a
boronated drug and then irradiated through the use of neutrons,
which then destroys the tumor. Again, this is work which is going
on, one of many different projects going on at university research
reactors, but these reactors need support and attention.
So what we are asking for you to do is to take a look at support-
ing both nuclear engineering education through fellowships and
educational programs, and in the university research reactors as
well. As a side note, we took your administrative assistant, Craig
Piercy last week through our University of Michigan research reac-
tor and he enjoyed that immensely, and you will notice he is no dif-
ferent than before, so it is quite safe.
Mr. Knollenberg. As you were probably going to follow up with,
you are going to invite me there as well, in fact, you have, and I
look forward to making that trip.
I should say also that Dr. Wehe hails from the University of
MichigÂ£in, which is a stone's throw from my area. So again, we ap-
preciate your coming today and your testimony will be included,
and we look forward to that trip back to your environment.
Mr. Wehe. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Knollenberg. Thank you.
[The statement of Dr. Wehe follows:!
By the American Nuclear Society
PROPOSALS FOR FY97 BUDGET OF DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Dr. David Wehe, University of Michigan
February 29, 1996
The American Nuclear Society (ANS) Is a not-for-profit scientific, technical, and educational society whose
nearly 15,000 members include scientists; engineers, professors; managers and operators of
manufacturing facilities, research laboratories, and power plants, planners; designers; regulators,
attorneys; and diplomats ANS has members from about 20 other nations, 60 Local Sections, 55 Student
Branches at universities, and 16 Plant Branches at US. nuclear power plants.
Nuclear energy currently supplies more than one fifth of our nation's electricity, with a safety record
unmatched by any major alternative source And it does so while being "environmentally correct," emitting
no smoke, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide or methane Nuclear
technology also has an important role in medicine and general industry. One in three people entering
American hospitals is treated with nuclear medicine, either for diagnoses or for therapy. Nuclear
technology in the form of radioisotopes is used in over 50,000 therapies, 13,000,000 diagnostic
procedures, and close to 100 million laboratory tests every year in the United States. Eighty-five percent of
the experiments at the National Institutes of Health involve the use of isotopes. Radiation applications
control industrial processes to make them more competitive and energy-efficient, and the use of radiation
also makes cutting-edge research on materials and processes possible.
My name is David Wehe. I am Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Michigan,
and am pleased to represent the American Nuclear Society here today. I appreciate the opportunity to
submit this statement to the Subcommittee This testimony has been reviewed by the elected officers of
the American Nuclear Society on behalf of Its membership, in accordance with Society procedures, and
has been approved by the elected President of ANS
PROPOSALS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S FY97 BUDGET, AND RELATED ISSUES
President Bill Clinton has repeatedly stated that he backs high technology Industries that can compete in
international markets, providing good-paying jobs for a well-educated work force. The US nuclear
industry fits these criteria far better than most: US technology Is still the world's first choice For
example, the Japanese recently constructed an American-designed Advanced Boiling Water Reactor, and
have plans for more. Unfortunately, much of the nuclear research program of the Department of Energy
(DOE) has been terminated In recent years By the time the Amencan public realizes the limitations of
alternative supply options, It will be difficult to relnvlgorate a perhaps dangerously weakened nuclear
The alternative may appear simple: "buy foreign" (which, ironically, could be US technology but designed
and fabncated by overseas competition) when the time comes But nuclear power plants, at $2 or 3 billion
apiece, are probably the most expensive single products in international commerce. It makes little sense
to buy foreign equipment when we can produce as good or better reactors here at home, using American
workersâ€” If we have the nuclear industry In place to do the job.
The Department of Energy has not yet released its draft FY 1997 budget. Therefore ANS is making its
ovm proposals In the nuclear field, given the likely budgetary constraints. ANS looks forward to DOE's
maintaining its commitment to the Advanced Light Water Reactor (ALWR) design certification and the
First-of-a-Kind Engineering program. We understand that DOE may be requesting close to the $40 million
Congress approved last year We would like to see the program supported at the level suggested by the
Nuclear Energy Institute, $64 million.
Note that, though the ALWR work is sponsored by DOE, It is cost-shared by industry. Thus it does not fit
the definition of "corporate welfare." Beyond that, if a reactor Is sold, in the US. or overseas, there is a
payback provision in contracts with DOE, so that the Government gets reimbursed.
The Federal Government has made the decision to close out work on the Gas Turbine Modular Helium
Reactor (GT-MHR). ANS recommends that this decision be revisited. For this reason and because of the
cost of the program. ANS feels strongly that the program be closed out responsibly and that its results be
thoroughly documented and safely secured.
ANS supports the continuation of research and development in the field of electrometallurgical treatment
of spent nuclear fuel. This promising technology shovÂ« great potential for application in the disposition of
DOE-owned spent fuel now in storage in DOE facilities around the country. For one thing, it could result in
a substantial reduction in packaged waste volume for ultimate disposal. The National Academy of
Sciences says that electrometallurgical treatment warrants continued R&D DOE supported development
at $25 million in FY96. ANS recommends that this program be given a high priority in the FY97
DOE is trying to deal with one of the most important concerns in the medical and industrial area, continued
availability of radioisotopes. DOE's policy is to privatize US production of isotopes: at present the United
States produces almost none of the isotopes used in large numbers here. The United States requires a
solid, independent, domestic source of isotopes ANS commends DOE for its efforts. It appears that
further work has to be done to make DOE's policy fully practical, in terms of implementing it in cooperation
with private business. ANS vtnshes to assist DOE in this regard.
ANS is concerned about the confusion surrounding DOE's work on the suitability of the Yucca Mountain
site for high-level waste disposal and the possibility of construction of an Interim storage facility If DOE
does not discharge its legal responsibility to begin accepting spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste by
1998, many utilities will face difficult choices ranging all the way to closure of their nuclear power plants, at
great cost to both rate-payers and investors And this would be after collecting more than $11 billion from
electricity rate-payers and placing this money into a fund which was supposed to be used to provide those
waste facilities ANS believes strong support should be given to the construction of an interim storage
facility to make possible DOE's accepting spent fuel by 1998.
And we are very distressed that in mid-February 1996 the Administration once again stalled the California
low level waste (LLW) disposal facility at Ward Valley in the name, it says, of further study. This is in spite
of the fact that the facility has been fully approved by the state govemment, and, more recently, by the
National Academy of Sciences, which reviewed the issue at the express request of the Administration
itself. This is an especially grave issue because California is a bellwether state. With large amounts of
groundbreaking medical and biological research, billions of dollars, and eventually the lives of cancer
patients possibly at stake, such delay is simply unconscionable The White House should order Secretary
of the Interior Bruce Babbitt to transfer Federal land to the LLW project forthwith. If that does not occur,
we hope that Congress will be able to legislate a solution to this ever more intractable solution
It is also becoming more evident that standards and criteria currently being applied to DOE facility cleanup
efforts will force the expenditure of funds far in excess of what w\\ ultimately make sense. The time is
surely at hand for setting reasonable standards that balance calculated risks of action against the risks of
delaying, and perhaps even failing to proceed altogether, with the necessary clean-up projects
ANS continues to object to the full-fee recovery policy imposed on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission. The NRC Is the only agency of which we are avÂ«re that has to pay for all of its operations
out of the licenses it grants to the enterprises it regulates This includes such areas unrelated to US
commercial nuclear pov\Â«r generation as the safety of reactors in the former Soviet Union.
Nuclear fusion represents an important future energy resource which, like current nuclear fission plants,
does not contribute to acid rain or global warming problems, and its deuterium fuel Is plentiful and can be
readily obtained from sea water. In FY95 nuclear fusion received $370 million In the summer of 1995 the
President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended a figure of $320
million as a minimum annual funding level. Instead, in FY96 fusion was cut to only $244 million, a
reduction of a full 32 percent compared to the previous year
DOE'S Fusion Energy Advisory Committee (FEAC) feels that this very large cut will cost the United States
its leadership role in fusion energy research. Nonetheless, FEAC foresees a useful US. program, with
emphasis on the science and technology goals underlying fusion energy engineering, and including
participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). FEAC has prepared a plan
for living with a future funding level set at $275 million. We recommend that FEAC's constant level-effort
budget of $275 million be maintained and perhaps improved.
UNIVERSITY NUCLEAR EDUCATION, RESEARCH, AND REACTORS
This year the American Nuclear Society wishes to put particular emphasis in its testimony on the
importance of strengthening America's commitment to a dynamic nation-wide university and post-graduate
education program in the field of nuclear science and technology. ANS. as the association of nuclear
professionals, has as Its special concern the continued vitality of nuclear education and science on
university campuses, to make sure that the technology is, in a literal sense, maintained by a stream of
motivated young people entering Its ranks on a regular basis. Equally important is the preservation of a
solid foundation of university-based nuclear hardware, in the form of the 34 university-owned research
nuclear reactors. This equipment Is used in such vital areas as medical research, archeology, and
advanced materials research and development, as well as in nuclear physics and engineering as such.
We would like at this point to make a point of clarification. The mission of university research reactors
(URRs) and nuclear engineering education are frequently confused, as is their relationship to the
commercial nuclear power Industry. Nuclear engineering education (NEE) Involves the study of radiation
science, including the operation of nuclear reactors. However, nuclear engineering is only one of the
numerous disciplines using URR facilities. While the commercial power industry employs many nuclear
engineers, many other graduates find employment in non-energy sectors.
Shrinking budgets for research In nuclear engineering jeopardize both the future availability of well-trained
nuclear specialists and the "hardware" base of such programs, the university research reactors, as faculty
are forced to move away from conventional fission reactor engineering and students no longer enter the
field. Seventy-six university research reactors were commissioned in the post-World War II period, mostly
In the late 1950s and eariy 1960s. Only about 34 are still in operation; insufficient funding was a primary
cause for the over 40 permanent closures. Since 1978 the number of nuclear en;, .neering departments
and programs at American universities has declined by more than half. The number of nuclear students,
both graduate and undergraduate, has gone down even more steeply
University research reactors In the United States form a fundamental and vital component in a broad
spectrum of our national research and education infrastructure. The are a source of neutrons for
multldlsclplinary research efforts resulting in contributions to the fields of physics, chemistry, biology,
medicine, epidemiology, archeology, environmental sciences and waste remediation, material sciences,
fiuld mechanics, geology, energy production, and even the regulation of the nuclear industry itself
In education, university research reactors are used for laboratory instruction In all these fields, with
emphasis on radiation measurement, reactor science and engineering, and applications of radiological
techniques. Many of the reactors serve as centers for precollege education programs offered for high
school students and teachers wtio come to the reactor for instructional programs and research. URRs
also form the basis for education of future scientists and engineers in the above mentioned broad range of
disciplines that use reactor-based techniques to solve unique problems.
Compared to national user facilities at national laboratories, university-based reactors often provide a
superior environment for graduate research because of less rigid facility scheduling, enhanced flexibility,
lower operating costs, and available local supporting capabilities. Not only are they a rich resource for
radiation sciences research, but they also can serve as development bases for advanced instrumentation
to be used at national centers.
University research reactors are used for environmental studies in such areas as acid rain and pollution
dispersion. They are used to support verification of the nuclear test ban treaty. Remote radiation
monitoring jnstrunfientation able to sense clandestine weapons testing (components of a global
atmospheric radionuclide system) is being developed and tested at a URR facility.
University research reactors are used in a wide variety of medical research Many URRs contribute to
medicine through basic research in the life sciences, such as Identifying molecular structures and