August 1, 2014
Capitol Update

In this issue:



ASME is pleased to announce our first Advanced Manufacturing Fellowship opportunity within a manufacturing innovation institute.  America Makes, located in Youngstown, Ohio, was created in August 2012 to help the United States grow capabilities and strength in Additive Manufacturing by facilitating collaboration among leaders from business, academia, non-profit organizations and government agencies and focusing on areas that include design, materials, technology, and workforce development.

The Fellow will be expected to provide scientific, technical, curricular and intellectual leadership, and analytical support contributing to the advancement of the Institute's goals, particularly as they apply to workforce development and educational outreach. The Fellow will also serve as a liaison with internal and external partners, including policymakers, to help America Makes enhance its network of education and workforce development solution providers and help organize the development of the Body of Knowledge on Additive Manufacturing process, material, and design understanding and methods, both those emerging and those currently in practice, that offer promise for engineering design and technical implementation in the production process.

The Fellow will also support the America Makes partners in the development and marketing of online, hybrid and traditional continuing education courses and workshops in the interest of developing the current engineering and technician workforce in industry, and provide instruction and content resources to engineering and technology faculty at universities and community colleges to assist in evolving their curricula to prepare the technical workforce of the near future with the latest in Additive Manufacturing tools and techniques.

The Advanced Manufacturing Fellow will serve for one year, preferably from January through December 2015, dependent upon availability. An ASME selection committee screens applications and will notify the selected candidate no later than November 30, 2014. The ASME Advanced Manufacturing Fellow would be required to relocate to Youngstown, Ohio for one year during their fellowship.  ASME will provide a stipend of $60,000 for this one year Fellowship.

For full information and an application information, please visit:

Additional information is available at



During the week of July 29th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held four, two-day public hearings in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver and Pittsburgh, to give interested parties an opportunity to comment on the Clean Power Plan proposed rule. The hearings provided these individuals the opportunity to present data, views or arguments concerning the proposed action. EPA has already received approximately 300,000 comments on the proposal and anticipates an estimated 1,600 persons will submit oral comments.

Persons may also comment on the proposal online or by email, fax or letter. EPA considers all comments equally, no matter how they are submitted. The comment period on the proposal is open until October 16, 2014. Instructions on how to submit comments may be found at:

The Clean Power Plan proposed rule may be read at:



The Senate Appropriations Committee has released its draft version of a fiscal year 2015 Appropriations Act for energy and water development and related agencies.  The bill includes funding for key energy related agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  With legislative days winding down during a busy election year and a host of controversial issues being inserted into the appropriations process, Congress is increasingly likely to proceed with FY 2015 appropriations via an omnibus package or concurrent resolution. The Senate's release of draft report language lays down a marker for negotiations with the House later this year. 

The Senate's bill provides $28.3 billion for the DOE, a 3.9 percent increase from $27.2 billion provided in FY 2014 and just $77 million shy of the President's FY 2015 request. The Senate's allocation also comes in at $1 billion over the House's recommended level, but still differs significantly from both the President's request and the House recommendations, setting up difficult negotiations in September.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • $5.086 billion for the DOE Office of Science, 0.4 percent above FY 2014.
  • $2.072 billion for EERE, $243 million below the President's request and $280 million above the House's recommended level.
  • $777 million for Nuclear Energy, $86 million below the President's request and $122 million below the House's recommended level.
  • $475 million for Fossil Energy programs, matching the Presidential request and $118 million below the House's level.
  • $174 million for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, just $6 million below the President's request and $14 million above the House recommendation.

The Senate's full draft bill and report are available at:

The House's recommendations are available at:



House Science, Space and Technology Committee Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), Chairman Emeritus of the Committee, recently introduced H.R. 5189, the Energy and Water Research Integration Act.

The Energy and Water Research Integration Act is a proactive measure that takes into account recent studies done by the Department of Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute, both of which have highlighted how closely connected energy production and water usage are. This bill encourages research into energy technologies that would improve and minimize the use of water in energy production and also establishes a mechanism for federal agencies to work with state and local governments and other stakeholders to advance the understanding of what is known as the ‘energy-water nexus.’ In addition, the bill requires a regularly updated strategic plan to guide these efforts.

This bill is the product of several recommendations from the Committee’s hearings in the 110th and 111th Congresses on Federal research related to water and the energy-water nexus and reports from the National Academies, the Government Accountability Office, the National Science and Technology Council, the Department of Energy, and the Electric Power Research Institute.

Similar legislation, S. 1971, introduced earlier this year by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), is pending in the U.S. Senate.



The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced several new initiatives aimed at enhancing existing programs to modernize infrastructure and reduce methane emissions through improved standards, infrastructure investment incentives, and innovative research to advance the state of the art in natural gas system performance. These initiatives include:

  • Efficiency Standards for Natural Gas Compressors. Today, DOE will take the first step toward establishing energy efficiency standards for new natural gas compressor units by issuing a Request for Information. Gas compressor units are estimated to consume over 7 percent of natural gas end use in this country, and improved efficiency will provide meaningful energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Incentives for Modernization of Natural Gas Transmission System Infrastructure. The Secretary of Energy is recommending that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) explore efforts to provide greater certainty for cost recovery for new investment in modernization of natural gas transmission infrastructure, as part of FERC’s work to ensure just and reasonable natural gas pipeline transportation rates. These efforts may include consideration of a cost recovery mechanism for gas transmission companies who perform upgrades to enhance the safe and reliable operation of the pipeline.
  • Advanced Natural Gas System Manufacturing R&D Initiative. DOE is launching a collaborative effort with industry with the goal of establishing an Advanced Natural Gas System Manufacturing R&D initiative. The initiative will evaluate and scope high-impact manufacturing research and development to improve natural gas system efficiency and reduce leaks. This will include a formal Request for Information, public workshops, and technical analysis and will leverage technology development areas already in progress through the Administration’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP 2.0), including Advanced Sensors, Control, and Platforms for Manufacturing; Advanced Materials Manufacturing; and Advanced Reciprocating Engine Systems.
  • Pipeline Efficiency Research, Development and Demonstration Program. DOE is proposing to establish a new “First Things First” natural gas infrastructure technology program to enhance pipeline and distribution system operational efficiency and reduce methane emissions. The goal of the program is to drive research and technology development to improve identification of methane leaks, for example, by developing smart sensor technologies that collect and communicate data on a variety of operational parameters such as operating pressure and flow rates.
  • Providing Loan Guarantees for New Reduction Technologies. Advanced Fossil Energy Projects that Reduce Methane Emissions. DOE will conduct outreach to industries in the advanced fossil sector and other stakeholders to increase awareness of the $8 billion solicitation that DOE issued in December 2013 to provide loan guarantees to spur commercialization of innovative technologies that reduce methane emissions from gas transmission and distribution systems. This includes, but is not limited to, projects involving new wellhead drilling technology, flare reduction, methane capture and collection, or reducing methane leakage from pipelines and distribution networks.
  • Investing in Technologies for Leak Detection and Measurement. DOE’s efforts will build on the methane sensing initiative underway at ARPA-E, which on April 29, 2014, released a funding opportunity announcement for up to $30 million for the Methane Observation Networks with Innovative Technology to Obtain Reductions (MONITOR) program. This program seeks to fund disruptive technologies for low-cost, highly sensitive systems for the detection and measurement of methane associated with the production and transportation of oil and natural gas.
  • Quadrennial Energy Review. DOE will continue to conduct analysis and engage with stakeholders and the public through meetings for the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER). Two recent QER meetings in Pittsburgh and Denver focused in part on natural gas transmission and distribution systems and the need for modernization. These meetings are engaging stakeholders and the public in the development of the first installment of the QER, which focuses specifically on energy transmission, storage, and distribution infrastructure. This QER will include analysis to estimate the job creation from manufacturing, and installing and maintaining equipment associated with reducing natural gas system leakage through a specific set of best practices.

Additional information is available at:



A new congressionally mandated report from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concludes that the overarching lesson learned from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident is that nuclear plant licensees and their regulators must actively seek out and act on new information about hazards with the potential to affect the safety of nuclear plants. The committee that wrote the report examined the causes of the Japan accident and identified findings and recommendations for improving nuclear plant safety and offsite emergency responses to nuclear plant accidents in the U.S.

Nuclear plant operators and regulators in the U.S. and other countries are taking useful actions to upgrade nuclear plant systems, operating procedures, and operator training in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident. As the U.S. nuclear industry and its regulator, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC), implement these actions, the report recommends particular attention to improving the availability, reliability, redundancy, and diversity of specific nuclear plant systems:

  • DC power for instrumentation and safety system control;
  • Tools for estimating real-time plant status during loss of power;
  • Reactor heat removal, reactor depressurization, and containment venting systems and protocols;
  • Instrumentation for monitoring critical thermodynamic parameters -- for example temperature and pressure -- in reactors, containments, and spent-fuel pools;
  • Hydrogen monitoring, including monitoring in reactor buildings, and mitigation;
  • Instrumentation for both onsite and offsite radiation and security monitoring; and,
  • Communications and real-time information systems.

To further improve the resilience of U.S. nuclear plants, the report also recommends:

  • The U.S. nuclear industry and the USNRC should give specific attention to improving resource availability and operator training, including training for developing and implementing ad hoc responses to deal with unanticipated complexities.
  • The U.S. nuclear industry and USNRC should strengthen their capabilities for assessing risks from events that could challenge the design of nuclear plant structures and components and lead to a loss of critical safety functions. Part of this effort should focus on events that have the potential to affect large geographic regions and multiple nuclear plants, including earthquakes, tsunamis and other geographically extensive floods, and geomagnetic disturbances. USNRC should support these efforts by providing guidance on approaches and overseeing rigorous peer review.
  • USNRC should further incorporate modern risk concepts into its nuclear safety regulations using these strengthened capabilities.
  • USNRC and the U.S. nuclear industry must continuously monitor and maintain a strong safety culture and should examine opportunities to increase the transparency of and communication about their efforts to assess and improve nuclear safety.

The report is available at:

The findings of the NAS report track closely with the recommendations of the ASME Presidential Task Force on Response to Japan Nuclear Power Plant Events issued in June 2012. That report, “Forging a New Nuclear Safety Construct,” is available at:


The articles contained in Capitol Update are not positions of ASME or any of its sub-entities, unless specifically noted as such. This publication is designed to inform ASME members about issues of concern being debated and discussed in the halls of congress, in the states and in the federal agencies.


ASME Government Relations
1828 L Street, NW, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036

  • Melissa Carl covers public policy-related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and diversity issues for ASME. She can be reached at
  • Paul Fakes covers public policy-related energy, standards and environmental issues for ASME. He can be reached at
  • Roy Chrobocinski covers public policy-related research and development (R&D) and manufacturing issues for ASME. He can be reached at