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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.

2 Jun 2017

President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget requests a 10 percent increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation program. Much of the new funding would go toward accelerating development of an exascale computing platform, enhancing the subcritical nuclear testing program, and launching the Stockpile Responsiveness Program.

12 May 2017

The final appropriations agreement for fiscal year 2017 increases the National Nuclear Security Administration’s budget by 3.3 percent, slightly more than the requested amount. Much of the boost goes toward addressing the agency’s backlog of infrastructure repair and recapitalization, an issue Congress has highlighted in recent hearings.

26 Apr 2017

According to a new advisory panel review, the Department of Energy’s Laboratory-Directed Research and Development program is a rigorously overseen mechanism for fostering high-value strategic and exploratory R&D at its national labs and is an important tool for workforce recruitment and retention.

20 Apr 2017

This week, the Department of Defense launched a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear weapons policy. The review comes at a time when members of Congress have become increasingly concerned about the state of the nation’s nuclear weapons enterprise and have begun to debate whether the weapons labs should conduct R&D on new types of nuclear weapons.

6 Apr 2017

Congress is currently advancing four bills that would support the commercialization of new nuclear reactor designs by enhancing R&D at the Department of Energy and instituting a new licensing framework at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

27 Jan 2017

The House energy research and innovation bill would provide the first-ever comprehensive policy guidance to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

9 Dec 2016

Both the House and Senate have passed the fiscal year 2017 “National Defense Authorization Act." The NDAA is a bill, passed annually, that authorizes and sets policy for defense programs at the Defense and Energy Departments, including defense R&D.

29 Nov 2016

At a Senate hearing, appropriations subcommittee leaders disagreed on the advisability of the federal government embarking on an effort to spur the development and deployment of new types of nuclear reactors.

17 Nov 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has promised to reverse Obama’s climate change actions and rescind the Iran nuclear agreement, but his positions on research funding are unknown.

27 Sep 2016

Last Friday, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling on nations to maintain their moratoria on nuclear weapons testing pending ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Leading up to the resolution, current and former policymakers reflected on the 20-year-old treaty’s prospects, including Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who referred to ratification of the treaty as “unfinished business,” and former senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who argued that the U.S. should never ratify the treaty.

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