| October 1977|
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) replaced the Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) and consolidated Federal energy programs and activities. On October 1, 1977, DOE became the twelfth cabinet-level department in the Federal government. ERDA formed the major part of the new department. The Federal Energy Administration, the Federal Power Commission, and assorted components of the Departments of Interior and Commerce and other agencies formed the rest. DOE reshaped these programs to fit the Carter administration's National Energy Policy.
DOE is responsible for: researching, developing, and demonstrating both nuclear and non-nuclear sources of energy; producing nuclear materials for national defense; and safely managing the waste and cleaning up the contamination from nuclear materials research and production. Today, one of DOE's highest priorities is cleaning up the sites contaminated by, in some cases, 50 years of nuclear research and production.