The Multiprogram Laboratories:
A National Resource for Nonnuclear Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration
EMD-78-62: Published: May 22, 1978. Publicly Released: May 22, 1978.
- Full Report:
The eight multiprogram laboratories under the Department of Energy (DOE) are government-owned research and production facilities operated by university, industry, or nonprofit contractors. In the past, most of their resources have been directed toward nuclear energy, but they have more recently developed capabilities in the fields of nonnuclear energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D).
The nonnuclear energy tasks undertaken by the laboratories have been relatively small and often appear to focus on fragmented portions of technologies. The initial organizational alinement of the laboratories, with five under an Assistant Secretary or Office responsible for specific programs, is not conducive to their role in nonnuclear energy RD&D. Factors tending to restrict the laboratories' involvement in this area include: (1) the piecemeal basis by which their roles were determined; (2) DOE emphasis on using private industry; (3) incompatibility with the Administration's emphasis on near- and mid-term technologies; (4) DOE reluctance to expand the laboratories; and (5) competition from other in-house research facilities. Also, the laboratories' roles in nonnuclear RD&D have not been adequately defined. In defining the roles, relationships with other research entities should be considered and issues addressed involving the extent of missions in this area, management responsibilities, use of laboratories to funnel money to other institutions, and policy planning.