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for people who care about the West

What is the Department of Energy?


Though the Department of Energy is best known as the keeper of the country’s nuclear weapons, the responsibilities of this Cabinet-level department also include broad energy issues, such as production, conservation and research. It operates a system of national laboratories, including facilities in Richland, Washington; Los Alamos, New Mexico; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Berkeley, California. The department most directly affects the West through its oversight of facilities for radioactive waste disposal, including the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and the proposed storage site at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. The DOE had a budget of $29.6 billion in 2016.