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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.

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.

7 Feb 2018

The Trump administration’s policy toward nuclear weapons development and use, articulated in its Nuclear Posture Review, declares the U.S. needs new “tailored” and “flexible” deterrent capabilities and a more “responsive” production infrastructure and technical workforce.

21 Nov 2017

Congress has passed the National Defense Authorization Act, an annual bill that sets policy for the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration. The final version incorporated or adapted many of the R&D-related proposals from the original House and Senate versions of the bill.

22 Sep 2017

The Senate passed its version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act on Sept. 18, sending the bill to conference committee. House and Senate conferees now must come to an agreement on a vast library of provisions, including many concerning R&D policy.

5 Sep 2017

According to a new report, the Department of Energy’s program to develop advanced nuclear reactors has shifted priorities too often and overspent on facility upkeep. After $2 billion in expenditures, no advanced design is ready for deployment.

11 Aug 2017

The House and Senate appropriations bills for the National Nuclear Security Administration would provide much of the Trump administration’s requested 10 percent increase to weapons-related research, development, test, and evaluation activities.

7 Aug 2017

The House spending bill for the Department of Energy proposes to halve the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy, changes that would upend the department’s later-stage R&D activities. Both House and Senate spending bills also propose a range of less drastic funding cuts to DOE’s other applied energy offices.