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Nuclear Energy & Weapons

Given the central role that physical scientists have traditionally played in the history of nuclear energy and weapons, FYI covers major developments in nuclear energy and weapons policy, particularly as they relate to ongoing science policy matters.

26 Sep 2018

President Trump has signed a fiscal year 2019 spending package that rejects his proposed cuts to the Department of Energy’s applied R&D programs for the second year in a row. Funding for renewable energy R&D remains stable, while government investment in nuclear energy R&D will continue its rapid increase.

21 Sep 2018

Within a 4 percent overall budget increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration, funding for most weapons and nonproliferation R&D programs will remain steady in fiscal year 2019. Congress rejected steep proposed cuts to inertial confinement fusion programs and greenlit development of a controversial new low-yield nuclear warhead.

17 Aug 2018

The latest version of the National Defense Authorization Act contains numerous provisions that aim to enhance innovation in defense technologies and combat foreign efforts to exploit U.S. R&D. It postpones a proposal to reform the relationship between the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Department of Energy.

20 Jul 2018

The new management team for Los Alamos National Laboratory represents a mix of continuity and change for the storied national security lab, which has been plagued by a series of safety mishaps in recent years.

3 Jul 2018

As the conference committee for this year’s iteration of the National Defense Authorization Act begins its work, conferees will navigate numerous proposals for changes in defense R&D and innovation policy.

7 Jun 2018

The fiscal year 2019 spending bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration advanced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reject the Trump administration’s deep proposed cuts to fusion research, accept its request to develop a new low-yield nuclear weapon, and split on whether to continue construction of a plutonium conversion facility that it wants to terminate.

6 Apr 2018

The final spending legislation for fiscal year 2018 raises the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget by 13 percent to $14.7 billion, with most major R&D programs benefiting from the increase.

9 Mar 2018

A House Science Committee hearing this week showcased committee members’ ongoing support for fusion energy research and U.S. participation in the France-based ITER project currently under construction. The committee also discussed the consequences of proposed cuts to the budget for inertial confinement fusion research.

7 Mar 2018

The National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget would rise by about $2 billion under the Trump administration’s proposal for fiscal year 2019. Most weapons-related R&D programs would benefit from the funding influx, with the notable exception of Inertial Confinement Fusion, which the administration seeks to cut by 20 percent.

27 Feb 2018

The new head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, has deep experience in nuclear security affairs. At her confirmation hearing, she testified that her top priorities for NNSA are modernizing the agency’s infrastructure and reinforcing its high-skill workforce.