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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.

4 Mar 2016

In recent hearings, congressional and agency leaders highlighted their consensus on the need to modernize the aging U.S. nuclear arsenal and discussed concerns about the impending costs, including private concerns expressed by Energy Secretary Moniz that projected funding levels for future fiscal years are not sufficient to support needed improvements to National Nuclear Security Administration infrastructure.

2 Mar 2016

Republicans and Democrats in Congress are backing, with near unanimity, a bill that would promote collaboration on research and development of advanced fission and fusion energy reactors across the Department of Energy’s national labs, universities, and the private sector.

18 Feb 2016

One element of the President’s request for a 2.9 percent funding increase for the National Nuclear Security Administration has already received considerable congressional attention: the proposed termination of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina.

28 Jan 2016

At a House Armed Service Committee hearing, representatives and witnesses focused on arguments for and against a National Academies study panel’s recommendation that the labs perform a series of nuclear weapon design competitions as a means of maintaining a skilled weapons design workforce.

22 Dec 2015

The annual spending law for FY 2016 increases spending at the National Nuclear Security Administration by 9.9 percent over FY 2015 levels and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy by 8.0 percent. The law also provides direction on nuclear research, development, and safety matters, including the medical isotope molybdenum-99, inertial confinement fusion energy, advanced reactor concepts, and used nuclear fuel disposition.

4 Dec 2015

President Obama signed into law the final 2016 defense policy authorization bill after vetoing an earlier version. The law includes a number of provisions supporting scientific research and collaboration at the Departments of Defense and Energy, including an easing of conference travel restrictions on federal scientists and engineers.

1 Sep 2015

In a 3,400 word speech yesterday at the University of Colorado Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz outlined the role his department played in negotiations with Iran on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The speech reiterated points Moniz made on Capitol Hill following the announcement of the Agreement. When Congress returns next week the House and Senate will consider legislation disapproving the Agreement. President Obama will veto this legislation; it is uncertain if there will be enough votes to override this veto in the Senate.

28 May 2015

Last Thursday the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill providing funding for the National Nuclear Security Administration.  Passed by a vote of 26-4, the $35.4 billion bill now moves to the Senate floor.  The House of Representatives passed its version of this bill on May 1. 

23 Apr 2015

The full House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2016 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill yesterday morning.  The House is scheduled to consider this bill next week.

14 Apr 2015

Tomorrow morning the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee will meet to approve its FY 2016 funding bill.  The subcommittee released the text of the draft 58-page bill; the all-important committee report providing detailed funding levels and recommendations for various programs will be released in coming days after the full committee passes the bill.  This report will be reviewed in a future FYI