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House FY 2014 Department of Energy Funding Bill: National Nuclear Security Administration

Richard M. Jones
Number 113 - July 9, 2013  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The House Appropriations Committee has approved its version of the FY 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill.  H.R. 2609 was passed by the committee by a vote of 28 to 21.  A committee report accompanying this bill includes important language regarding funding and policy direction for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).  Selections from committee report 113-135 found on pages 116-142 regarding the NNSA follow.  Note that the FY 2013 budget figures do not include a mandatory reduction of approximately 8 percent for sequestration.  Funding tables are provided on pages 162-170 of this report.

National Nuclear Security Administration:

On page 6 of the Introduction in this report, the committee states:

“As in previous years, the Committee considers the national defense programs, run by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), to be the Department of Energy’s top priority. Even within the limited resources available for fiscal year 2014, the recommendation provides strong support for the President’s proposals to increase investments in the NNSA’s infrastructure through the following national defense accounts: Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation and Naval Reactors.”

The report later explains:

“The recommendation continues the Committee’s strong support for modernization of the nuclear stockpile and its supporting infrastructure.  At the same time, the Committee notes that the full extent of the consequences of the NNSA’s project management problems, especially at the largest of the NNSA’s construction projects, is still coming to light. As the Administration gains a more complete understanding of cost increases and construction delays, it must take the lead to determine whether a new long-term budget plan is needed to meet the nation’s strategic objectives.”

Later in the committee report in the introductory section on NNSA, the appropriators comment on contract and project management reforms, security reforms, additional actions to address security of nuclear materials, program efficiencies, tritium and enriched uranium management, and pensions. 

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $11,501.6 million
The FY 2014 request is $11,652.5 million, an increase of $150.9 million or 1.3 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $11,266.0 million, a decrease of $235.6 million or 2.1 percent

Within NNSA is:

Weapons Activities:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $7,577.3 million
The FY 2014 request is $7,868.4 million, an increase of $291.1 million or 3.8 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $7,675.0 million, an increase of $97.7 million or 1.3 percent

Of interest within the committee report on Weapons Activities is the following language:

Campaigns

“Campaigns are focused efforts involving the three weapons laboratories, the Nevada National Security Site, the weapons production plants, and selected external organizations to address critical capabilities needed to achieve program objectives. For Campaigns, the Committee recommends $1,626,099,000, $66,062,000 below fiscal year 2013 and $84,866,000 below the budget request.

“Science Campaign. -- The Committee recommends $397,902,000, the same as the budget request. The recommendation supports a substantial increase for a robust experimental effort to better understand the properties of plutonium and to ensure the NNSA can support pit certification requirements for future LEPs.

“Engineering Campaign. -- The Committee recommends $149,911,000, the same as the budget request.

“Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield Campaign. – The Committee recommends $513,957,000, $112,914,000 above the budget request. Within these funds, $66,000,000 is for the OMEGA Laser Facility at the University of Rochester. Also within these funds, $329,000,000 is provided for operation of the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The NNSA requested $113,000,000 for NIF operations within its request for Site Stewardship. The recommendation consolidates total funding for NIF facility operations within Campaigns, consistent with how facility operations are funded for Z, OMEGA, and the scientific computing facilities. The NNSA is directed to budget for NIF operations in future budget requests in one location within Campaigns in order to provide better transparency into the total costs of operating the facility.

“Advanced Simulation and Computing Campaign. -- The Committee recommends $564,329,000, the same as the budget request.  The Committee strongly supports the advancement of computing capabilities within the NNSA’s ASC campaign since these resources are essential to maintaining the stockpile. However, funding is reduced from the fiscal year 2013 level to account for savings that are available due to completion of Sequoia at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the existence of $40,000,000 in prior-year balances.

“Readiness Campaign. -- The Committee recommends no funding to continue work under the Readiness Campaign. The production of tritium and other production support activities requested within the Readiness Campaign are instead provided under Directed Stockpile Work since those activities directly support stockpile production needs.”

Separate from the Weapons Activities is Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:

The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory reduction) is $2,434.3 million
The FY 2014 request is $2,140.1 million, a decrease of $294.2 million or 12.1 percent
The House Appropriations Committee recommendation is $2,100.0 million, a decrease of $334.3 million or 13.7 percent

The introduction in this section explains (paragraph breaks inserted):

“Overall Funding Levels. -- The recommendation approves the NNSA’s request to provide funding for Nuclear Incident Response and the Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation programs within funding for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, instead of within Weapons Activities as in fiscal year 2013.

“After accounting for this transfer, the recommended program level is $579,303,000 below fiscal year 2013. The Committee recommendation does not continue direct funding for a domestic uranium enrichment demonstration project, $110,000,000 below fiscal year 2013. Instead, the final installment of funding is provided via special reprogramming authority.

“The Committee’s recommendation takes into account substantial savings that are available as the NNSA nears completion of its four-year effort to secure vulnerable nuclear materials around the world. In addition, the United States and the Russian Federation have agreed upon a new framework to permit continuation of several areas of cooperation in Russia that were previously conducted under the now-expired Cooperative Threat Reduction umbrella agreement.

“The Committee encourages the NNSA to clarify its strategy to continue its international threat reduction activities, which have had strong bipartisan support in Congress. In order to ensure continuity of these activities as the program evolves, the recommendation provides an additional $20,000,000 above the request for international material protection and removal activities within the Global Threat Reduction Initiative.”

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