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FY 2010 House Appropriations Bill - NNSA Weapons Activities

Richard M. Jones
Number 94 - July 16, 2009  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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Later today the House is expected to easily pass its version of the FY 2010 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. Consideration of the bill began yesterday, and under a procedure that some Republicans objected to, amendments offered to the bill were limited.

This bill provides funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy. The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved its version of this funding legislation; click here for selections from the accompanying Senate report pertaining to NNSA’s Weapons Activities.

The following are selections from House Report 111-203 regarding Weapons Activities. The full text of this report can be found here. Under “Other Legislative Activity” at the bottom of the center column, search “Committee Reports.” Eleven pages of tables with the House appropriators’ funding recommendations for all NNSA programs can be found in this report on pdf pages 173 -183.

National Nuclear Security Administration:

The current budget is $9,129.6 million.
The Administration requested $9,945.0 million, an increase of 8.9 percent or $815.4 million.
The Senate appropriations bill recommends $9,998.9 million, an increase of 9.5 percent or $869.3 million.
The House appropriations bill recommends $9,215.1 million, an increase of 0.9 percent or $85.5 million.

The committee report language provides perspective on the appropriators’ approach to NNSA:

“In the past, the Committee has criticized NNSA’s priorities as disproportionately heavy on Weapons Activities and light on Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation accounts. The Committee encourages NNSA to rectify this situation in future budgets. Since the NNSA has presented the fiscal year 2010 budget as a placeholder, the Committee will not belabor the point here, other than to reiterate that the quantity, destructive power, and variety of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile far exceeds any requirement for deterrence of any deterrable adversary in the post-Cold War world. The impact on deterrence of even a series of multiple failures across multiple nuclear weapon types would be almost immeasurably small. In contrast, a single nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a non-deterrable adversary could have an impact on U.S. national security that would be almost immeasurably large. The Committee urges DOE to take a more targeted approach to this challenge in the future.”

The report later explains: “The reduction in the [Administration’s] budget request is due primarily to the movement of $665,534,000 in activities to Other Defense Activities.”

Weapons Activities:

The current budget is $6,410.0 million.
The Administration requested $6,384.4 million, a cut of 0.4 percent or $25.6 million.
The Senate appropriations bill recommends $6,468.3 million, an increase of 0.9 percent or $58.3 million.
The House appropriations bill recommends $6,320.0 million, a cut of 1.4 percent or $90.0 million.

The committee report stated:

“The goal of the Weapons Activities program is to ensure the safety, security, reliability and performance of the Nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. The program seeks to maintain and refurbish nuclear weapons to sustain confidence in their security, safety and reliability under the nuclear testing moratorium and arms reduction treaties.”

Appropriators requested three reports from the NNSA: “U.S. Strategic Nuclear Weapons Strategy for the 21st Century and the Future Nuclear Weapons Stockpile,” “Report on Nuclear Stockpile,” “Report on Laboratory Directed Research and Development,” and “Report on National Threat Reduction Center.”

In addition to a section on “Directed Stockpile Work” the report includes the following language on “Campaigns:”

“Campaigns are focused on efforts involving the three weapons laboratories, the Nevada Test Site, the weapons production plants, and selected external organizations to address critical capabilities needed to achieve program objectives. For Campaigns, the Committee recommends $1,593,591,000, which is $33,861,000 above the request and $26,759,000 below the fiscal year 2009 appropriation.

“Science Campaign.—The Committee recommends $296,439,000, $20,251,000 below the request. The Committee commends NNSA for its outstanding Stockpile Stewardship program, which has performed better than expected and has created a technically superior alternative to nuclear testing. Stockpile Stewardship has enabled us to observe nuclear weapons phenomena more directly, in far more detail, and using statistically more significant samples than are possible with nuclear testing. Because of current progress in Stockpile Stewardship, in particular the recent results from the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility (DARHT), the Committee finds no evidence that nuclear testing would add a useful increment to the immense and expanding body of weapons knowledge arising from Stockpile Stewardship. This is doubly fortuitous in that nuclear testing cannot be executed because of probable diplomatic and nuclear proliferation reactions as well as likely local opposition to nuclear testing. The Committee commends NNSA for requesting no dedicated funding for nuclear test readiness.

“The Committee recommends no funds for the $30,251,000 requested Academic Alliances new program. While the Administration’s budget justification material describes this as a consolidation of activities formerly funded in other programs, there is no concomitant reduction in those program lines. Therefore, the Committee must regard this program as a significant increase over that of fiscal year 2009, and does not find adequate justification for this major increase in an account with such limited funding. The Administration may continue its academic cooperation in the same programs that were funded in fiscal year 2009.

“The Committee includes $96,617,000, $10,000,000 above the budget request, for Dynamic Materials Properties to partially offset the costs of incorporating the activities formerly funded under Dynamic Plutonium Experiments.

“Engineering Campaign.—For Engineering Campaign, the Committee recommends $174,112,000, $24,112,000 above the request. Within this amount, $66,112,000 is provided only for Enhanced Surety of which, at minimum, $30,000,000 is provided only for enhanced
surety intrinsic to the weapon. The Committee directs that priority for Enhanced Surety go to those weapon types at greatest long-term risk.

“Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield Campaign.—The Committee recommendation provides $461,915,000 for the Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield Campaign, $25,000,000 above the request. Within this campaign, the Committee recommends $268,929,000, $20,000,000 above the request, for Facility Operations and Target Production including not less than $8,800,000 for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Within the Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield Campaign, the Committee recommends $77,252,000, $5,000,000 above the request, for NIF Diagnostics, Cryogenics and Experimental Support, including not less than $4,000,000 for the Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

“Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign.—The Committee recommends $561,125,000 for the Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign, $5,000,000 above the request. Within this amount, $5,000,000 is provided for National Security Science, Technology and Engineering Activities for the purpose of technology assessments of nuclear weapons that could be employed by sub-state actors or potentially hostile minor nuclear powers.

“Readiness Campaign.—The Committee recommends $100,000,000 for the Readiness Campaign, the same as the request.”

In addition to the Weapons Activity and Naval Reactors programs, the NNSA also has:

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:

The FY 2009 appropriation was $1,482.4 million.
The FY 2010 request is $2,136.7 million, an increase of $654.3 million or 44.1 percent.
The Senate appropriations bill recommends $2,136.7 million, the Administration’s request.
The House appropriations bill recommends $1,471.2 million, a cut of 0.8 percent or $11.2 million.

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095