On Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2015 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill. The $34 billion bill provides funding for the Department of Energy, including the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) which received $11.4 billion.
The Senate Appropriations Committee was scheduled to vote on its version of this bill yesterday. That session was postponed and a new date has not been announced. The postponement was reported to have been made because of concerns that an amendment to prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions from power plants might have been approved. The Senate bill provides $11.9 billion for NNSA.
The House Appropriations Committee has posted a draft version of the report accompanying its legislation. The report’s 27 page section on the NNSA starts on page 126. Interested readers are strongly urged to read pertinent sections in their entirety as only selected excerpts are provided below. Funding tables can be found on pages 170-179 of the report. Information on the FY 2015 Administration budget request is here.
The committee report’s introduction on pages 6 and 7 includes the following language:
“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 2015, the recommendation provides robust support for the President’s proposals to modernize the nuclear weapons stockpile, increase investment in the NNSA’s infrastructure, prevent the proliferation of nuclear materials, and support the naval nuclear propulsion program within funding for Weapons Activities, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Naval Reactors.
“The recommendation continues the Committee’s strong support for the NNSA’s Weapons Activities. The Administration has embarked on a multi-year plan to modernize the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile and its supporting infrastructure. Early formulations of the modernization plan tended to focus on stretch goals for warhead life extension programs and major construction projects that were based on overly optimistic timelines and invalid cost assumptions. The NNSA’s failure to deliver on those promises has damaged the credibility of the organization. However, the fiscal year 2015 budget request is a positive development due to the increased emphasis on conservative strategies that are attainable, affordable, and ultimately more realistic.”
In a later section of the report under the heading “Program and Project Management” found on pages 9-10 the appropriators comment on the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility and the Uranium Processing Facility, stating that “both [are] facing serious challenges, and it has become clear that the Department may not have sufficient funds to complete these facilities in a timely manner.”
Total National Nuclear Security Administration:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $11,207.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $11,658.0 million, an increase of $451.0 million or 4.0 percent
The House bill provides $11,361.6 million, an increase of $154.6 million or 1.4 percent above current funding
The report has language on Laboratory Directed Research and Development, and Overpayments into the NNSA’s Contractor Defined Benefit Pension Plans.
Within the NNSA are the following selected programs:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $7,781.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $8,314.9 million, an increase of $533.9 million or 6.9 percent
The House bill provides $8,204.2 million, an increase of $423.2 million or 5.4 percent above current funding
The report has language on Life Extension Programs (for which full funding was provided), Science, Inertial Confinement Fusion and High Yield, and Advanced Manufacturing, the Uranium Processing Facility, CMR Replacement Project, and other programs.
Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation:
The FY 2014 appropriation was $1,954.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $1,555.2 million, a decrease of $398.8 million or 20.4 percent
The House bill provides $1,555.2 million, a decrease of $398.8 million or 20.4 percent below current funding
The report has language on Continuing Nonproliferation Activities in Russia, and Reinvesting in the Nonproliferation Capabilities of the DOE National Laboratories. Appropriators provided $149.0 million above the request for Savannah River’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility along with extensive language (pages 141-143) on this facility which the Administration’s proposed to put into a cold standby position, the report concluding “The recommendation provides funding above the budget request to sustain the current pace of construction on the MOX facility in fiscal year 2015 and includes a provision that prohibits the use of MOX funding to place the project in cold standby.”
The FY 2014 appropriation was $1,095.0 million
The FY 2015 request is $1,377.1 million, an increase of $282.1 million or 25.8 percent
The House bill provides $1,215.3 million, an increase of $120.3 million or 11.0 percent above current funding